Watch Shopping Guide – Useful Suggestions

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watchBefore you shop for your next watch, be it an Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Laurent Ferrier, Nomos or Tudor, or any watch for that matter, it is a good idea to know how watches are classified. Watches are generally classified as either quartz watches or mechanical watches. Mechanical watches are further broken down to automatic watches (automatic winding) and manual wind watches. Mechanical watches consist of all mechanical components and hence the name mechanical watches. Mechanical watches do not need a battery. Quartz watches do need a battery. Quartz watches get their name from the quartz crystal that is in use to power the movement.

There are inherent advantages and disadvantages with both quartz and mechanical watches. Quartz watches are more accurate and less expensive than similar mechanical watches. However, you do have to change the battery generally every 1-3 years, which will incur additional cost and inconvenience. Mechanical watches are a bit less accurate. They are heavier and usually cost more than similar quartz watches. However, mechanical watches are viewed as more than just timepieces; they are pieces of art. They are canvases where watchmakers showcase their creativity and skills. Even a simple mechanical watch can have over 100 parts in them compared to just a few dozen in certain quartz watches. It is not difficult to see that it takes far more expertise to put a mechanical watch together. Knowing whether you want a quartz watch or a mechanical watch will help you filter out a significant number of choices. Watches are further classified into categories based on their functions or complications. Examples of popular complications are chronograph, perpetual calendar and moon phase, to name just a few.

What is Popular Now
Currently, chronograph watches and dive watches, are the most popular watches available on the market. Chronograph watches are watches with a stop watch feature built in. Most people buy chronograph watches for the look. Frankly, few actually use the function. Dive watches are popular because they are often rugged looking and convey a sense of durability, not to mention the fact that they have high water resistance.

What to Look For
Once you determine whether you want a quartz watch or a mechanical watch and the kind of complications you want it to have, it is time to look at some case, crystal, bracelet or strap materials.

Case Materials
Popular watch materials for watch cases are stainless steel and titanium. Stainless steel and titanium are good because they are durable. Titanium is lighter than stainless steel, but much stronger. However, it is usually finished with a duller look compared to stainless steel. Titanium tends to be a little more expensive than stainless steel.

Crystal Materials
Sapphire crystals and mineral crystals are recommended for most watches. Sapphire crystal is much harder than mineral crystal and is significantly more scratch resistant than a mineral crystal. They are obviously more expensive than mineral crystals. Materials to avoid are glass and acrylic. They are found in many low end watches today.

Watch Bracelet and Strap Materials
There are a wide variety of watch band materials ranging from stainless steel to ostrich skin. Which material works best for your watch is determined by your taste and your intended use for that watch. If you are active and will be getting the watch wet often, then you will want to go with either a metal bracelet of some sort or a rubber strap as they are easy to clean and maintain. It is not recommended for any type of leather strap to be submerged in water as it can deteriorate the quality of the band.

Learn these basics about watches and you will soon discover that you can spend less time determining what you really desire in order to find the one that best fits your taste and your style of life. Daniel P. Jordan, our Managing Director, can further explain and assist in this connection. He can be reached at 1.312.337.4700.