Buying yourself a watch? What to consider – Part 1
If you like most people still choose to wear a watch and are looking to buy one, you must determine what you want as wristwatches have a variety of options, e.g:
- Do you want a digital or an analogue watch?
- What type of band do you want? Leather, rubber or metal?
- Do you want a quartz or mechanical movement?
- Do you want a Japan movement or Swiss Made?
- Do you want a Sapphire Crystal or Mineral crystal?
Below are some tips to help in your decision making.
Do you want a digital or an analogue watch?
Digital watches are usually sports/activity watches and should only be worn casually
Do you want a leather strap, rubber strap or a metal bracelet?
Leather straps are the most versatile they can be worn formally and informally but should be avoided for sporting activities and sweat will shorten the life of the leather strap.
Rubber straps should be worn informally, that is for sports activities and casually. Ideally you shouldn’t wear a rubber strapped watch with a suit.
Metal band are can be worn either informally (for sports or casually) or formally making them the most versatile. When wearing them formally though you need to be sure that what you are wearing is not so bulky that they cannot be covered by the cuffs of your shirt.
Do you want a quartz movement (battery powered) or a mechanical movement?
Many people often ask, which is better? If it is a function of accuracy, the quartz watches are more accurate tan the mechanical movements, but the accuracy in question here is maybe a few seconds in a year. So it isn’t major.
Some also talk about the cost of maintenance… after some time you have to change the batteries for the quartz movement unlike the mechanical movements. The cost of changing the battery however and the frequency with which the batteries have to be changed make this cost negligible compared to the overall cost of the mechanical movements. Mind you mechanical movements have to be serviced at intervals (based on manufacturers recommendation) … and the cost compared to that of replacing a battery is substantial.
Then there is the initial cost. On the average the same watch in both quartz and mechanical movement, the mechanical movement will be 60% more expensive than the mechanical
Do you want a Japan movement or Swiss movement/Made watch?
Japan mvmt as we would usually see on Japan movement watches indicates that the watch movement is made in japan and Swiss movement on a watch indicates that the movement is made in Switzerland
Usually the Japan movements are cheaper than the Swiss movements and consequently used in most of the fashion brands as this makes the watches cheaper. The Swiss movements being more expensive will be used in more expensive watches.
Please note that a Swiss movement watch is different from a Swiss made watch…. A Swiss movement can be used in a non-Swiss Brand watch or in a watch manufactured in another country.
A Swiss made watch however will always have a Swiss movement and in addition to the movement certain minimum amount of Swiss Man hours and Swiss materials would have to have been part of the manufacturing process.
On the average, Swiss Made watches will be more expensive than Swiss movement watches which I turn will be more expensive than Japan movement watches.
The Swiss made badge on a watch is like a seal of approval indicating that a certain minimum level of quality can be expected from the watch. Consequently they are usually more desirable among the discerning.
Do you want a Sapphire Crystal or Mineral crystal?
What is referred to as the crystal is what in lay man’s terms is called the glass. It seals the watch dial from the outside elements.
The type of material from which the crystal is made determines how easily it will scratch. The three main types of watch crystals are: Acrylic/plastic, mineral glass and sapphire glass.
The cheapest and most easily scratched is the acrylic/plastic type and consequently is found in the cheaper watches.
The mineral glass is made of glass that has been tempered giving its surface increased scratch resistance and making it less likely to splinter. They are significantly more scratch resistant than acrylic and will be a little more expensive. Most fashion brands use this option as it helps keep their cost down and usually you are expected to have changed you fashion brand watch after the third year.
The Sapphire glass used in watches is not real sapphire but synthetic sapphire but with the same hardness as real sapphire. Sapphire is one of the hardest substances known to man. Consequently it is virtually scratch proof until it meets the few items like diamond that are harder. This makes it the most expensive of all the options
If you are tough on your watches and you plan using the watch for a long time, then investing in a sapphire crystal watch will be worth it on the long run. This is because there is a level of scratching that is considered unacceptable on a watch.
For more, please read our article on "Buying yourself a wristwatch? What to consider – Part 2"