1. automatic watches

  2. Beginners Guide: 14 Important Watch Terms and What They Mean

    Beginners Guide: 14 Important Watch Terms and What They Mean

    Watch Terms People who delve deeply into a certain culture often forget that others have not gained the knowledge and experience that they have. Such is the case with watches and watch terms. As many of the most seasoned collectors and content creators wrongly assume that their audience will know as much as they do. The truth is that there are always beginners, and those people deserve some assistance with the basics of the timepiece world! That education is precisely what I have decided to provide today. The following are fourteen essential watch terms and what they mean. 1: Movement One of the most important distinctions between watches is what kind of movement they have. One of the most important watch terms refers to the machinery that makes the watch tick. For traditional timepieces, there are three variants: Automatic, manual, and quartz. 2: Automatic Automatic pieces have tiny apparatuses in them that mechanically turn the hands. They are generally more expensive than other types of watches and take an incredible amount of craftsmanship to create. They also power themselves through motion. 3: Manual Manual watches are the same as automatic pieces, but they have one key difference. It is the fact that you must wind them by hand or machine, rather than them automatically gaining power through motion. 4: Quartz The last of the movement types is quartz. These pieces work by using a crystal, electrical impulses and a battery. They are almost always cheaper than their automatic or manual counterparts. 5: Dial The dial is the part of the watch that you look at when you need to read it. It holds almost all of the crucial information, such as the time and date. 6: Bezel The bezel is the ring surrounding the dial of a watch. This part is not usually found on luxury or fashion watches, but is standard in many other types of pieces. It almost always has some sort of function, the most common of them being a low-tech stopwatch. 7: Crystal This watch term refers to the glass that covers up your dial. It generally comes in two forms. First is mineral crystal, which is sturdy but not as luxurious as you might like. The second is sapphire, which is strong but also adds class to a piece. 8: Chronograph A chronograph watch is essentially a tiny stopwatch installed into your watch. It is one of the most popular extra features that comes in timepieces. People enjoy them for their utility and the craftsmanship that goes into building them. 9: Style Watch terms like this one is pretty clear. While people might be talking about aesthetics when they use the term “style,” it is most often used to describe what general category that piece fits into. The most common of them include dive, military, pilot, dress, and racing. 10: GMT This term stands for “Greenwich Mean Time,” but having a GMT watch generally means being able to set it to two-time zones. This function is especially useful for travelers or business professionals who want to check the time in another place without having to reset their watches.     11: Luminescence In the acclaimed Harry Potter series, a person’s wand lights up when they say “lumos.” That spell comes from this term. In the watch world, it refers to pieces with components that light up. The function of this feature is being able to see the time in low light conditions. It is most often incorporated in dive watches. 12: Power Reserve Above, I explained what an automatic watch is. One of the best things about them is that they gain power by simply wearing them. When you take them off, though, they keep on ticking for some time. The reason is that they keep some power in reserve. The best pieces often retain that energy for at least a few days without wearing them. 13: Skeleton A standard watch either doesn’t show you its movement, or you can only see it through a window on the back of the dial. Skeleton watches are ones with windows on the front of the dial that allow you to see the inner workings of the piece while it ticks. 14: Winder If you have a manual watch, you will need to wind it to make it work. Many do so by hand, but a large percentage of watch owners prefer to have a machine do it. These instruments are called winders. Many people with automatic watches use them too, as they like to fill up their power reserves rather than relying on motion alone. Sometimes joining a new hobby or culture leads to you feeling like you don’t belong. One of the ways in which that happens is when people use words that you do not understand. Even worse, they might not want to explain them to you. I hope that reading this article allows you to bypass that pitfall and become more knowledgeable about the horological world and watch terms!  

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  3. 6 Factors to Consider When Buying A Watch as a Gift

    6 Factors to Consider When Buying A Watch as a Gift

    The holidays are coming up and you’re probably thinking about what gifts you can give to your loved ones. One option on the table is a watch, which is an excellent choice for just about anyone! The watch market is massive, though, and sometimes confusing. This is true even when you’re buying for yourself. When purchasing for someone else, it is even more difficult. Luckily, you can narrow your search down by considering the factors below. Price One of the best ways to simplify the process is choosing a price point. The following are some standard prices ranges and what you’ll typically get from them. Under $100: A well-made watch with quartz movement and conventional materials. $100 to $500: High-quality quartz pieces, some basic automatic movements, and the potential for advanced features. $500 to $2,000: Automatic movement or an incredibly high-quality Swiss quartz watch. $2,000 to $10,000: Automatic movement with incredible craftsmanship. $10,000 or More: The top of the line. These pieces will be well made, crafted from the best materials, and have a highly respected brand behind them. Ultimately, your best bet is getting a watch that is fantastic but makes sense for your budget. Whoever you’re giving a gift to will not want you breaking the bank for a timepiece if you don’t have the money for it. Whether that means sticking to an affordable price point or splurging on a luxury piece is up to you. Movements We talked a lot about movements in the section above. If you aren’t sure what that means, the term refers to how the watch functions. The three basic watch movement types are as follows. Quartz – This movement relies on the combination of a tiny quartz crystal and a battery to make it move. Watches that use it are the most affordable on the market. Automatic – If you’ve ever seen a watch with an open dial that shows the inner workings of the machine, that was probably an automatic piece. Not all of them display their insides, though. This movement is essentially a tiny ticking machine that is powered by the motion of you wearing it, hence the name “automatic.” Manual – The least common type of movement is manual. It is nearly the same as automatic, but rather than it being self-winding, you must wind it up by manually. Personality & Function Different watches come with a variety of functions. They can be water resistant up to hundreds of meters, sense the temperature, track fitness data, and much more. When you’re buying one as a gift, assess the personality and lifestyle of the person you’re giving it to. Are they a big fan of the outdoors? Do they wear business attire often? Answering these questions can guide you in your choice. One example would be buying a Fitbit for a fitness buff. Another is getting a rugged, feature-heavy outdoor watch for someone that goes camping frequently. Where It Will Be Worn This issue is similar to the previous section. The reason it is important is that you want to get someone a watch your gift receiver will actually use. The following are a few typical settings they might wear a watch for and what kinds of pieces to consider for each. Daily – If your gift receiver is someone that wears watches every day, you will want to choose one that has a versatile aesthetic and fits in just about anywhere. Formal Occasions – A small, elegant dress watch. During Exercise – A comfortable piece that won’t break down when exposed to sweat and other forms of moisture. Fitness tracking software is a bonus. Underwater – A rugged watch that is water resistant to a reasonable depth. You can either go with a metal dive watch or a plastic piece built for pure function. Size The size of a watch is more important than most people would initially think. Pay attention to how many millimeters the dial is on your potential gift watches. The three factors to consider are setting, wrist size, and personal style. Generally, smaller wrists, more subtle fashion, and formal events call for smaller pieces. The opposite of each of those attributes calls for a larger dial. Strap The four materials you can choose from are metal, leather, rubber, and nylon. Each has a distinct look and makes sense in different settings. Metal and leather are the most common, and they work in almost all situations. Rubber and nylon straps are best known for rugged conditions or people going for a unique look. The truth about giving gifts is that your loved one will likely appreciate whatever you give them. Still, putting some thought into purchasing a product that fits their personality well is worth your time and energy. If you decide that a watch makes sense for your next gift, you now know which factors to consider and how to make the perfect pick.

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  4. Watch Movement Types and How They Differ

    Watch Movement Types and How They Differ

    When you’re choosing a watch, there are many decisions you need to make. One of the most crucial choices is which type of movement. For those of you who are not familiar, the movement of a watch refers to the mechanism behind how it ticks. There are many watch movements. Like anatomical movements, Japanese quartz movement, and mechanical watch movements. But the three primary types are manual, automatic, and quartz watch movement. Each of them has their own set of positives and negatives, so before buying your next piece, you should understand them. Below, we go over the types of watch movements and the basics of each! Function At some point, you have probably asked “how does a watch work?” or more specifically, “how do automatic watches work?” These question have answers, which depend on the movement your manufacturer has chosen.  Manual – Manual winding watches. This type of movement gets its name from the fact that you must manually create the energy the watch needs to function. You do so by winding the watch by hand. This is the oldest movement of the three and has been used for centuries. For watches with this movement, you will need to wind your watch up just about every day. Lately, this style has fallen out of favor due to its lack of convenience. Automatic – Watches with this movement function almost identically the manual watches, except you do not need to wind them yourself. This is because the mechanism is built in such a way that it winds itself when the wearer moves. Classic style combined with self-winding functionality makes this movement a very popular choice. Quartz – Quartz movement is the simplest of the three, given that it uses a battery and a quartz crystal to keep itself ticking. The battery runs the engine, while the crystal makes the second hand tick at the rate it is supposed to. Accuracy Though watches are perhaps most commonly bought for their aesthetics, people find great use in having the time on hand whenever they need it. This makes accuracy of utmost importance. Manual – A well-made manual watch will keep the time quite well, but it is prone to slight variation. Additionally, given that these are hand wind watches, you may find yourself seeing the wrong time due to the watch stopping unexpectedly. Automatic – The accuracy of automatic pieces is roughly the same as manual. They are good, but not great, and they will occasionally stop and need to be reset. Quartz – These watches are the best timekeepers of the three because of the quartz crystal that is found inside. What happens is the electrical impulse of the battery vibrates the crystal at a rate of 32,768 per second. The watch can sense each vibration, and moves the second hand at every 32,768th vibration. This number stays the same every time due to the chemical composition of quartz. Though the science is a bit difficult to understand, just know that quartz movement keeps the most accurate time. Upkeep When you purchase a watch, you are also signing up for some level of upkeep. If you are okay with getting semi-frequent repairs, you can choose any movement. If you want your piece to be hands-off, you should understand the upkeep for each. Manual – Though these types of watches do not need battery changes, they will need a tune-up every few years to ensure functionality. These trips to the repair shop are infrequent but can be quite expensive. Automatic – Upkeep for an automatic watch is roughly the same as manual. It runs off of kinetic energy, so there is no battery replacement but will need regular tune-ups. Quartz – Given that this movement is battery powered, you will need to take a trip to the watch repair shop every 12-24 months. Most watch enthusiasts report that this is not much of an inconvenience, though. Additionally, this type of repair is very cheap when compared to the two other movement types. Price One of your most significant decisions in buying a watch is the price. This makes it vital to understand the typical price ranges of each movement. Manual – Given the intricate inner workings that go into manual watches, they are often quite expensive. Automatic – What is an automatic watch?  Automatic watches have mechanisms that are even more complex, given that they wind themselves. This leads to high costs. Most of the luxury brands on the market run on automatic movement. Quartz – What about automatic vs quartz? This movement is not very expensive to produce, meaning quartz watches are almost always less costly than other movement options. For watch brands in the affordable space, they will likely run on quartz. When you’re choosing your next watch, deciding which movement to target should be one of your first decisions.(Don’t forget styling too! Some watch enthusiasts are fans of watches with gears showing.) The movement watches make are important. Depending on your priorities, you can choose manual, automatic, or quartz.  Whichever you prefer, know that there is no wrong way to go. All you need to do is balance your preferences and decide which is right for you. Once you do, you can go shopping for your timepiece with knowledge and confidence. 

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  5. History of Watches: A Quick Timeline

    History of Watches: A Quick Timeline

    Watches have been around for a long, long time. But what is the actual history of watches? Ever asked yourself, “When was the watch invented?” Or wondered how they’re made? Watches today are not what they used to be. Take a look at a smartphone for example. What we know is that it can take calls, send texts, track fitness data, and carry out scores of other functions. At this point of highly advanced technology, it is interesting to look back throughout history and understand where watches came from in the first place. Below, we briefly go over the history of watches from when were watches invented to now. Invention of the Clock Before we talk about watches and the invention of them, we must go over the history of timekeeping devices. Though early civilizations used primitive time-telling devices, such as sundials, the first clock was invented by the English in 1275. In the beginning, they were so basic that all they could do was ring a bell at every hour. Still, engineers and blacksmiths collaborated for hundreds of years and eventually were able to build clocks that looked roughly like the mechanical ones we have today. They also started to experiment with metals outside of the traditional material, steel. That included silver, bronze and brass. Pocket Watch History When was the pocket watch invented? These were such primitive times that the famous religious figure John Calvin actually banned the wearing of jewelry in Switzerland. This opened up a massive opportunity for anybody in Switzerland that could create pocket watches. Historically, the first of them was produced in the late 1500’s and like the earliest clocks, only had an hour hand. As the utility and popularity of pocket watches became apparent, the industry was further funded and advanced. The result was more reliable pieces, the inclusion of minute and second hands and a growing consumer base. Widespread Adoption In the 19th century, the industrial revolution had taken hold and every industry was experiencing massive improvements. Many changes took place, but the most prominent were superior products, lower prices and mass production. One sector that was swept up in this wave of productivity was pocket watches, and they finally reached the mass market. Before this, only the wealthy could afford such expensive and luxurious timepieces. Now, commoners could afford them too. The Wristwatch History  Though wristwatches had been around for centuries, their use was not widespread. In fact, they were primarily worn by wealthy women. The reason was that at first all watches were too expensive for common people. Then, after the prices fell, there were still very few people wearing them because they were considered a women’s style, and not many women chose to wear watches. What shifted this trend was the adoption of men using wristwatches in the military. This began in 1880 when Constant Girard decided to outfit his German naval officers with wristwatches. In the following years, doing so became more and more popular. Use on the Battlefield We’re talking about the history of watches, but watches have a history with history itself. Though WWI had many massive implications, one of the less significant ones was the use of wristwatches. What happened is that soldiers in the trenches did not want to take a watch out of their pockets every time they needed to check the time. They opted for the more functional wristwatch, which could be checked immediately and did not require the soldier to take one of their hands off their weapon. Beyond convenience, having the time handy was a critical factor in making military maneuvers. The reason is that different groups of soldiers could coordinate attacks even if they could not communicate. Instead, they would agree to attack at a particular time and use their watch to confirm coordination. Wristwatches Take Over After the war, it was now acceptable and trendy for men to wear wristwatches.  Watch company marketing departments began to use depictions of soldiers wearing wristwatches to sell them to other men. Additionally, men who had worn them throughout the war had become accustomed to doing so and wanted to continue that habit. The result was an explosion in the popularity of wristwatches, which allowed them to nearly take over the entire pocket watch market. Technological Developments Once watches became a massive industry, money came pouring in for research and development. This led to added features such as chronographs, quartz movement, useful bezels, and more. The result was a diversification of the functions watches could carry out, which further expanded the market for them. Watches Get Smarter In the last twenty years, computers have been getting smaller and smaller. First, they went from the size of entire rooms to personal computers. Next, we developed laptops and smartphones. Now, in the modern age, we can fit advanced computers in tiny compartments that fit on our wrists. The result is smartwatches like the Apple Watch. There is still a large market for vintage style watches, but smart innovations are changing the watch industry in rapid fashion. When you go shopping for watches online, most of the pieces you come across are vastly different than timepieces were throughout history. The reason is that what you see today is the accumulation of hundreds of years of advancements. Now, whoever you are and whatever you are looking for, there is a piece for you. You just have to go find it.

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  6. Watch Guide: How Are Watches Made?

    Watch Guide: How Are Watches Made?

    The question “how are watches made?” is a bit too general to answer as is. Instead, we should focus on a specific type of watch. Luckily, there is one that is profoundly more interesting than the rest: Mechanical. Lets look into how to make a watch. Generally, the most expensive and sought-after watches are mechanical, as opposed to quartz or digital. If you browse the website of a genuine luxury brand, the odds are that the vast majority of their pieces are mechanical and have a hefty price tag. The reason is that the inner workings of these watches are incredibly intricate, and many consumers see them as works of art. For this reason, we will point our focus to mechanical watches, with a few ending notes on other variations. Aesthetic and Functional Vision Watches have been around for a long time. Ever thought about how watch parts are made? Before any production begins, the watch manufacturer needs to have a plan. One part of that plan is deciding on the aesthetics and functionality of the watch. As far as aesthetics, they need to focus on issues like color, size, buckle type, and more. For functional aspects, the manufacturer has many options such as bezel function, showing the date, being water resistant to great depths, or having a chronograph. These decisions are important because they change the personality of the watch entirely. If you go one direction, you get a minimalist watch that just tells the time. On the other side of the spectrum, you might get a piece with a significant amount of functions and a design that turns heads. Once the manufacturer decides precisely what they’re trying to do with a piece, they can move on to the next step. High-Tech Movement Design The second aspect of pre-production planning is designing the movement of the watch, which is defined as the mechanics behind its various functions. Generally, this is some combination of springs, screws, wheels, and other typical mechanical pieces. Of course, not every watch is the same. Sometimes a manufacturer will want to create a unique movement, or they will include a difficult function like a full year calendar or chronograph. To do this, manufacturers use computer programs. This allows their engineers to develop perfect systems that are sure to function correctly. Once the movement is settled on and designed, it’s almost time for production to get started. Choosing Materials The last decision watchmakers need to make before beginning production is what material they want to use. (The standard is stainless steel.) Those include precious metals, ceramic, leather, expensive plastics and more. Again, these decisions are based on what the manufacturer’s goals are with the watch. If they want to create a bare bones model that is meant to solely tell time without costing too much, they will choose steel. If they are in the luxury space and want to create a piece with some flash, they may choose gold or silver. In-House or Partnership? Ever wondered how to build a watch? At this point, the manufacturer has a plan for the aesthetics, functionality, movement, and materials. Finally, they can move on to producing the watches. There are two ways to go about this. First, they can create the watch entirely or mostly in-house. This means that rather than sourcing their parts and materials from other businesses, they build a watch from the ground up. This is typical of luxury manufacturers, who pride themselves on controlling every aspect of production. The alternative is choosing a partner to produce some or all of the watch. That can mean contracting out individual pieces then assembling in-house, or submitting a design to a factory and having them build the entire watch. This practice is generally characteristic of more affordable brands. Hand or Machine? The final step in production is to decide which aspects of their watches will be hand built versus which will be built by machines. As with the former point, there is a split here for luxury and affordable pieces. In general, expensive pieces have more handmade aspects, while affordable watches are entirely machine-made. How Quartz and Digital Differ The other primary movement type, quartz, undergoes a similar process. The only difference is that the inner workings of those watches are usually less complicated than mechanical. For digital watches, the steps are again roughly similar, but when creating the dial and inside of the watch, they opt for digital circuitry. If you’ve ever wondered why watches are so fascinating, perhaps this article has answered that question. The potential reason is that an incredible amount of time, effort, and creativity goes into making a timepiece. The manufacturer must make choices regarding aesthetics, functionality, movement, materials, and production specifics. Of course, you don’t see any of this when you make your purchase. Instead, you see only the result: A masterpiece. Now that you know how watches are made and the watch making process, maybe you’ll appreciate the little wrist pieces a little more.

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