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Watch is one of the most important accessories one chooses to wear and choosing a proper timepiece is not as easy as it may seem, therefore we have decided to create a short guide with essential things you have to know when buying a watch. The guide is here to help you with making a decision but also to make some of the terms, we often mention in our reviews, a little more familiar to you, if they already are not.
So, what is the first thing you have to know?
First of all, there are different types of watches that fit different outfit. Our first division will obviously be based on design, but we will get to mechanical aspect later on as well. If you like to dress formal and need a watch to wear on formal occasions we suggest you to take a look at dress watches or luxury watches. Dress watches are made to be ultra-thin so that they can remain unnoticed underneath your cuff. Most of them have roman numerals which contribute to their elegance. It is not rear to encounter dress watches made of precious materials which explains their high price regarding the fact that they lack functions other than telling time since it would make them bigger, bumpier, and less elegant.
Dress watches usually have a minimalistic design. That, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t find minimalistic watches for a price much lower than luxury ones. Sophisticated and stylish, without extensive details and functions that may ruin their look, and considering the fact that they mostly use quartz movement (we will discuss about movements later on in this text) minimalistic watches tend to be cheaper than the rest, and may serve you very well in formal occasions, if dress watch is out of your budget, since, regarding their design, they are not far behind them, if at all. You can save a lot of money and buy a seriously good-looking watch if you opt for this kind. Of course, minimalism is very popular nowadays so you can find minimalistic design in many other types such as military or industrial watches.
Somewhere in between elegant and sport watches, lies the aviator watch. It was designed in 1911 to be used by pilots since it can convey a large amount of information, crucial for pilots before the electronic age. Their retro look and masculine design with many functions, which may not be as necessary as they were, are what makes this type of watches unique and desirable. It is not necessary, of course, for these watches to have a lot of functions. Like with all the others, it is mainly the design which places the watch in a certain category.
Speed plays an important role in designing a watch. As there are watches inspired by aviation industry so there are those inspired by motorcycles and cars. We call these watches driving watches. Driving watches usually come with tachymeter – a scale inscribed around the rim of a watch that’s used to compute a speed based on travel time or measure distance based on speed. Of course, in order to perform those calculations, you’ll need to have a chronograph, so most of these watches have it. The dial and sub-dials are made to resemble speed dials on cars and motorcycles and tones used are usually those that you encounter on sport vehicles (combination of black and red, black and yellow, etc.). What you get is a great looking sport accessory that matches the wheel of your car or your cycling gloves and contributes to your rebellious, speed-loving look.
If you are a professional diver or a diving enthusiast then you understand the need of having a diving watches market. Their functions, luminescence, and the fact that they can withstand immense water pressure make them an indispensable part of diving gear. Their casual sporty look, however, makes them a great to choice to wear during summer, even if you are not near the water.
There is, of course, a vast number of watches that don’t fit in these categories or fit in more than one since trends are constantly evolving and people in watchmaking business are doing everything to keep up with them. But what sets watches apart besides design?
The most important thing in a timepiece is its movement – what makes the clock tick. There are two types of movements – mechanical and quartz. Quartz movement is a cheaper but more accurate type of movement. It uses battery to send an electrical current through a small quartz crystal which creates vibrations and those vibrations keep the movement oscillating. It does not require maintenance except for occasional battery change. Mechanical movement, however, is more popular nowadays and is regularly found in luxury watches because of its level of quality and craftsmanship. One of the most important things that mechanical movement brought to watch-lovers is that the second hand on a watch goes smoothly in a sweeping motion while on a timepiece with quartz movement it ticks every second. Mechanical movement uses a spring that has to be wound up in order for the mechanism to work. There are two types of mechanical movements: manual and automatic. Manual movement needs to be wound up manually – by hand. Some timepieces need to be wound up every day while some can work without winding for almost 8 days. Automatic movements use the movement of your hand to wind the watch automatically so if you wear the watch every day there will be no need for you to wind it.
Besides movement, the price of the watch is determined also by a material used in its construction. The more expensive the material is, the more expensive the watch is. When it comes to dial windows there are two main types of material used for making it (some companies use more, like Seiko’s hardlex) – mineral and sapphire. Mineral is the cheaper one and therefore it is easier to be damaged. Sapphire is a more expensive variant, and, obviously, provides better protection.
Picking a proper timepiece is, after all, a matter of personal taste and the idea of this article was to make it a bit easier to you and to familiarize you with some facts that may help you with your decision.
We hope that you have found this guide to be useful and that now that you know these essential things you are ready to make the right purchase.