Watson Gym Equipment Review

TLDR: They say buy cheap, you buy twice and kitting out a commercial gym, or even a home one, is rarely something that comes in on budget. We review Watson Gym Equipment to help you get an unbiased take on the UK based brand.

Read: Our Summary

Highlights

  • Watson is based in Frome in the UK and manufacture in Great Britain
  • Watson kit out one of our selected best bodybuilding gyms in the UK
  • Winner of our guide to the best leg press machines
Watson Gym Equipment Review

Quick Watson Ratings

Reliability
95%
Credibility
100%
Resale Value
70%
Initial Cost
75%
Value For Money
80%
Watson Gym Equipment Guide

Who are Watson the gym brand?

Watson is an equipment focused brand as opposed to apparel, and their gaze is fixed on resistance kit and not really cardio/motion machines. Their range includes calibrated dumbbells, lifting platforms and highly engineered products. For this reason, they are more often found in gyms that attend to weightlifters, over those which grab your membership dues, offer loads of treadmills and throw you a water bottle.

What are the origins of Watson?

Nice little story this. Simon Watson is the founder, he doesn’t live a million miles away from my fellow Barbells Abroad founder Lee, over in Somerset, and as a younger man loved weightlifting, as well as making things. In his garage some 2-3 decades ago, he started making bespoke gym equipment and selling some of it. That built the reputation regionally in the UK of Watson Gym Equipment, these days, you’ll see them around the globe.

Where is Watson gym equipment made?

From their manufacturing and business HQ in Frome, Somerset; Watson gym equipment is both designed and built in the UK. On the Watson estate are full training facilities, enabling purchasers to sample a huge range of the Watson brand; plus it looks great for influencer shots I bet too. 

It’s in our diary to visit – it looks pretty epic. 

Where will you find Watson

Watson Gym Equipment Review

Much like Panatta, Watson is a little more specialist. For gyms that like to select the right machine for the right task, you’ll likely see their name plates dotted around. One of the UK’s best gyms ‘Dedicated Fitness’, in Merseyside, is fully Watson’d out. It looks magic and with the number of Youtube/Tiktok influencers that train in that place, it’s a good pairing for the brand. 

You won’t see Watson in the Argos catalogue, and if you have their kit in a home gym, you’re living nice.

Is Watson gym equipment expensive or cheap?

  • Watson scores a higher purchase point for new vs Technogym

With a lifetime seal of approval, you are going to pay more for Watson Gym Equipment than brands such as Mirafit, Body Solid or Primal Strength. But with that higher price is a product that anecdotally appears more resilient. 

If you are kitting out a home gym then you may not ever inflict the wear and tear something like Watson may protect you from. In that instance, then you may consider it expensive. It’s possibly more than you need. However, if you’re opening or refitting a gym with a stream of lifting fans, you are going to want equipment that needs replacing less frequently – Watson may work out cheaper long term. 

And if all else fails and you have to shut a gym down, you’ll find it easier to find buyers for Watson gear than a Mirafit power rack. The latter is a Facebook Marketplace special, the former will find its way into another gym pretty quickly. This resale value is important, as it tells you the quick asset value of the brand. 

Big entry price, but big exit price too.

Pros: What does Watson do well?

  • Good secondary market for their premium equipment
  • Excellent customer service and lifetime support
  • Credible brand in the bodybuilding subculture
  • Engineering – Innovation is in the DNA of the company
  • Quality equipment
  • Specialist strength training equipment for bigger lifters – big back rests, foot places etc
  • Customisable – branding – powder coat – stitching colour

Cons: What does Watson do less well?

  • Higher price point than mainstream commercial brands
  • Some leg press editions have no catches
  • Fairly narrow dumbbell grips

Watson vs the rest?

If you’re UK based, (or US and/or Aussie) then having a manufacturer who speaks your same language is a helpful feature, particularly when you’re shelling out top dollar (Big Pounds). Both Technogym and Panatta are Italian, so for English language speakers that’s a one up.

Watson vs Panatta vs Technogym
Price wise Watson gym products are fairly evenly priced to Panatta, cheaper than Eleiko in some parts, and perhaps a shade more than Technogym. While I love one of Technogym’s leg presses, the 45 degree plate loaded setup, the Animal leg press from Watson is superior if you are trying to cater to advanced lifters.

It has a larger back pad space, the foot place is massive and the unilateral aspect of the Watson Animal Leg Press embodies the engineering innovation that created the brand.

Sure you can single leg press on any leg press, but stashing your leg while you do it, is often uncomfortable. Watson have thought of this and you can safely pass your leg into the lifting area as the side that isn’t being used is locked off. That nuance and attention to detail makes Watson a winner for me for bodybuilding gyms. 

Technogym have some nice kit, and deserve to be in credible gyms, but they are a bit….’mid’. Watson is for that 24 stone powerlifter, or offensive tackle pumping out a leg workout. Super specialist.

Is Watson a good gym brand?

In a nutshell – yes – Watson is considered in the top tiers of gym equipment. I look across the landscape at other brands who appear in the bodybuilding vertical, Arsenal Strength, Nautilus etc and really at this level, the only difference is the branding. 

If you could kit out a gym, do you go for labels that casuals recognise such as Hammer Strength, sexy name plates like ‘Arsenal Strength’ or super durable Watson. There isn’t much to knock them for. Watson make excellent gym equipment and I love their foot plates vs Panatta’s sometimes wobbly ones.

If you buy Watson gym equipment, you are unlikely to be disappointed.

Most Popular Watson Gym Products

Where can you buy Watson Gym Equipment from?

You can buy Watson gym gear direct from https://watsongym.co.uk or see if there is any used gear on the secondary market at somewhere like “UK Gym Equipment Online

Watson Gym Equipment Verdict

Reliability 90%
Aftercare 100%
Resale Value 80%
Pro Bodybuilder Focus 96%
Style 80%
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