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Fashion & Style

The top 10 stores for watches in Toronto

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / April 6, 2014

watches in torontoThe top stores for watches in Toronto offer everything from inexpensive fashion-focused watches to obscure mid-priced brands to the kind of high-end timepieces Bay Street bankers dream about. Though a certain segment of watch nerds may disagree, there's no rule that you need to spring for the latter option in order to make that piece of wrist flash worth your while.

In the advent of smartphones, many predicted watches would fall by the wayside as a fashion item, remaining only on the wrists of the aforementioned boardroom dwellers, or leisure-class high rollers who see their Swiss tourbillons as signifiers of status and wealth. But, as in so many other areas of fashion, nostalgia prevails: A new wave of sleek, retro, reasonably inexpensive designs has appeared right alongside the Barbour jackets and Pendleton flannels in men's boutiques across the city.

This list omits stores that focus entirely on high-end timepieces. Check these spots out if you're looking to stock up on a couple of stylish budget-friendly watches, or just grab something to wear while you save up for the Panerai or Baume & Mercier you've been lusting after. Either way, you'll be fashionably on time.

Here are the top stores for watches in Toronto.

Classic Creations
Located at Yonge and Finch, Classic Creations is primarily a jeweler, with the dizzying array of prestige watch brands to prove it. Watch geeks on a budget, take note: Classic Creations has all the mid-century-style Shinolas you could possibly handle, with most of the Detroit watchmaker's watch collection on offer ($550-$900). On the lower end of the price spectrum, there's also department-store mainstays like Coach, Tissot and Victorinox.

Watch IT!
Sure, it's part of a Canada-wide chain, but the Yonge-Dundas store is a popular destination. That's for a good reason: They stock everything from the outlandish (Karl Lagerfeld) to the serious (Tissot, 88 Rue du Rhone), the sporty to the military to the classy, with plenty of inexpensive, fashion-y brands represented.

Uncle Otis
Yorkville's Uncle Otis carries killer fashion watches to complement their lineup of casual menswear - some, like their vintage-styled Timexes, have downright un-Yorkville prices (they start at around $50). But for the discerning and higher-budgeted, there's Uniform Wares and Tsovet's stylishly spare timepieces, rounded out with a couple of ribbon-strap Daniel Wellingtons.

The Accessory Bar
The former Bang-On store near Yonge and Dundas is now stocked high with backpacks and caps, and lined with rows of glass cases packed with a huge range of Nixon watches (ranging from the spare to the out-there), mega-clean designs from Belgian brand Komono, and a few G-Shocks. Service is friendly and knowledgeable.

European Jewellery
On your next stroll through the Eaton Centre, you'll be able to spot the horology geeks from a mile away: They're the people breaking their nose cartilage on the glass cases outside European Jewellery, ogling the J12s and Planet Oceans. That's not to say that everything at European will cost you as much as a reasonably nice car - Hamilton, for example, has a rep for making some of the finest stuff in the high-three-figure-range. (If you're looking for a cheap thrill, though, this may not be your spot.)

Piled high with unusual, high-design gifts, this oddball Yorkville shop (the name stands for Realm of Ludicrous Objects) sells watches by companies you didn't even know made watches - think Alessi and Braun - and some sculptural, sci-fi inspired novelty watches from 01 The One.

Lost & Found
Ossington's favourite menswear store/coffee shop features a handful of watches from Shinola, real-deal dive watches from Military Watch Co. and retro models from Miansai. Though the selection's small, they're planning to expand their Shinola collection; the store's staff add they'll also do special orders for buyers looking for a certain model.

Minh Chau
In addition to being a mainstay on our lists of best optical stores, Minh Chau also operates a jewelry and watch boutique in Chinatown. It's a favourite source among fans of certain brands (Omega and Tissot come to mind) for the selection and discounts.

So Hip It Hurts
At the moment, the legendary Queen West skate shop appears to stock two watch brands, Nixon and Vestal. But with several cases liberally interspersed around the store, the selection's pretty respectable, and the designs are cool enough that you don't need to be a skater to wear 'em.

La Swiss
The selection has shrunk since La Swiss moved to Bloor from its long-ago home in the Eaton Centre. Now, it's quite the mixed bag - TW Steel, ESQ Movado, and Victorinox alongside a number of high-end Swiss brands and their own house line. The real treasures are to be found in their vintage case, which features pieces from stratospherically expensive brands like Piaget and Blancpain for a fraction of the cost. (Granted, that's still in the thousands.)

What did I miss? Add your picks for watch stores in the comments.

Photo of So Hip It Hurts by Jesse Milns.



Aaron / April 6, 2014 at 02:55 pm
It's been 7 years I've gone without a watch. With the cellphone clock and parking meter clocks, I can survive without the bling.
LJ replying to a comment from Aaron / April 6, 2014 at 03:05 pm
avp. / April 6, 2014 at 03:37 pm
Unless they have Patek and Audemars, they're not real watch stores.
Jeremy / April 6, 2014 at 06:02 pm
Admittedly I never voted for this Best of List (was there an option to?), but Royal De Versailles should at least get a mention. Consider this it.

Great store, great watches.
Jimmy b / April 6, 2014 at 06:36 pm
Love my Nixon watch collection, best designed and last forever. So Hip It Hurts is my spot all day
Khanh / April 6, 2014 at 09:31 pm
This is a terrible list by anyone's standards. European Jewelers is probably the worst store you can walk into, terrible customer service and unknowlegable staff, no thanks.
LK / April 6, 2014 at 11:34 pm
Halfway through reading this, wondered which try-hard wanker would yap about Patek in a piece that says straight off the top "this list omits stores that focus entirely on high-end timepieces" and includes Nixon ... so congrats, avp., for being that try-hard wanker. And yeah, RdV is a nice store J., but again obv. high-end.
kevinn / April 6, 2014 at 11:50 pm
@Khanh you're so right. I'd rather go watch shopping at The Bay or Sears.
ricky / April 7, 2014 at 12:02 am
user-pic is the most real and best watch store in toronto. Very disappointed that blogto missed out on this company! They buy and sell new and used watches. From Rolex, Patek, ap, omega and many more. Do your. Research before posting shit watchstores.
Knoc / April 7, 2014 at 10:29 am
European Jewelry is a bloody joke. Don't even waste your time. Rude staff and no knowledge about the pieces they sell. You get judged the moment you walk in there and if you are not "high end"-you wont get the time of day from them.
Royal De versailles is a toss up, but good for the variety of high end pieces they offer.
Mentioning as well.
TO Rocks / April 7, 2014 at 10:33 am
Sorry to say but this list sucks. Any of the mall stores are way overpriced. You don't need to pay for Watch It or European Jeweller's mall rent.

Do your homework. Go to a local jewellery store and price compare. If you're into low end watches ( under $300 ) then head to ebay. You'll save at least 30-40% vs retail. For high end yes...head to a store with reputation as they will also have better volume with certain watchmakers therefore should have better pricing.

As for Sears and The Bay they are like the airport. No clue what prices are like outside their world. The only time worth shopping there is when they prices are 40% off ( then comparable to the outside world ).

@kevinn. are expensive. I got the same work done to my gramps watch for 50% less than what they were charging.
bobo / April 7, 2014 at 05:07 pm
After reading this article on Shinola:

I don't think I'll support them
DaveTO / April 7, 2014 at 07:21 pm
Scott Wilk at Wilk Watchworks is not only a very talented local watchmaker but a super nice person.
Met him at the One of a Kind Show and purchased a watch off him, excellent craftsmanship and customer service.
This guy deserves some attention:
Himself / April 8, 2014 at 10:59 am
Whoever came up with that list doesn't know much about watches. Also, Royal de Versailles ought to be in that list, even if their customer service is appalling. Was ready to spend a few grands there but decided to spend my money somewhere else due to how poorly trained their staff is.
Rafael Duarte / April 10, 2014 at 05:49 am
Accessory bar and So Hip it Hurts are the places to go!
Roberto / August 8, 2014 at 06:05 pm
Watchfinder Has to be on the list! They sell high end luxury watches at affordable prices. New and used.
Also the best, and I mean the best polishing in Toronto.
Roberto / August 8, 2014 at 06:06 pm
cartoon sex / August 18, 2014 at 08:20 pm
Ƭhis iss a "deep dark secret he has been harboring, according to the NY Post. You live and die with the repercussions and consequences of your own choices and decisions. Hence, in journalistic terms cheating stories are not cheap written materials but life - events put on paper.
Chris / September 19, 2014 at 11:18 pm
I too agree that this list is horrible but does anyone have any suggestions other than just saying this list sucks. for example, I am trying to find a store in TO where I can by lines like NOMOS, IWC, TUDOR, STOWA, ARCHIMEDE, etc and just other swiss watches. Any suggestions for a store in Toronto or online?

Younes / October 25, 2014 at 08:24 pm
EVOSY is a great Canadian online store for watches too.
cool watches / November 19, 2014 at 03:35 am
Grate work! If anyone try to finding store for purchasing cool watches then this list very is helpful for them.
Stephen Clark / November 21, 2014 at 09:12 am
I've only had a couple experiences at Canadian Watch Imports on Spadina, but there's a wide selection there and the staff were quite helpful. Both times I was only sort-of aware of what I was looking for, and both times I had someone lay out all the options from a variety of price points. Both times I left satisfied.
tony shamas / December 23, 2014 at 08:47 am
I didn't know about watchfinder, thanks for sharing, very cool!
Roberto Vazquez / April 1, 2015 at 05:28 pm
Watchfinder should have a mention to this list. Bought my first used Rolex on there.
They also charge half the price and time for a overhaul service compared to Rolex Canada.
Donald Walter / March 14, 2016 at 02:05 am
Amazing collection. I love wearing watches and always prefer to buy branded watches from online stores.
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