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A Beginners Watch Guide

In public, you’ll surely notice that the majority of men wear (or own) a watch. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to tie a look together that just needed that extra ‘something.’ You’ll also see men who make it something more than just an accessory. It’s an obsession. A buy into something so perfect and well-crafted that it is beyond their comprehension. A piece of precision, artistry, and beautiful engineering. This article will serve as a man’s first foray into the beautiful world of watches.

Beginners Watch Guide

Vocab:

Dial: Quite often referred to as the ‘face.’ This is the surface under the crystal that has numbers on it.

Crystal: The glass that protects the top of your watch

Movement: The mechanics that make the watch keep time. Most common are quartz, and mechanical.

Case: What holds and protects the movement.

Crown: The knob sticking out from the side. It is used to set the time.

Bezel: The metal ring that holds the crystal in place.

Clasp: The locking mechanism that keeps metal bands secured around your wrist. Often called a buckle on leather/nylon/rubber bands.

Movements:

Beginners Watch GuideMechanical: A movement that is regulated by many, many little gears and springs. These movements are considered artwork, and many large companies design the movements ‘in house.’ The most common type is an automatic, which is powered by a rotor that moves around a pivot inside the case every time you move. An easy way to tell if a watch is mechanical or not is by the motion of the second-hand. The second-hand should appear to make a ‘sweeping’ motion, moving several times every second.

Quartz: Quartz movements have become the most popular movements for watches today. Very accurate, and widely available for reasonable prices. Quartz watch’s second hands usually ‘tick’ rather than ‘sweep.’ A Quartz movement uses a battery to pass a current through quartz. The quartz vibrates at a very specific 32,768 times a second. If you divide this number of vibrations by 2, fifteen times, you will get 1 oscillation – which is exactly what the mechanics inside of the watch does, creating the ticking of the watch.

Kinds of Watches:

There are 3 typical instances in which you would wear a watch: sport, casual, and dress.

Sport: sport watches are usually made with rubber, or plastic, and are extremely durable. Think Casio G-Shock.

Casual: casual watches have metal, fabric, or sometimes leather bands. This is the broadest category of watch.

Dress: Typically dress watches should have no complications (other dials inside the watch), have a leather band, and a black or white dial. Minimalistic class is the best way to describe this.

Note: for a more detailed guide, check out Phil’s article, which is dedicated to watch bands.

Buying Guide:

This is only a few of the many, many, many brands out there. I just picked some of the most well-known, and reputable.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 1.55.20 PMLow End:

Timex: an excellent American watch company that makes stylish, durable timepieces at a fantastic price-point.

Seiko: a Japanese brand with fantastic mechanical options. If you want a cheap mechanical watch, buy a seiko.

Casio: known for their G-Shock, durable.

tissot-couturier-goud-watchMiddle of the Road:

Citizen: very handsome watches that are quite durable. Their Eco-Drive is very popular.

Swatch: a budget Swiss-made watch. Very popular, varying quality.

Seiko: this was in the low-end, but they make a broad range of products at very different price points.

Tissot: a reputable Swiss watchmaker with a long history. Very good quality.

(Beginning of Upper Middle of the Road/Low High-End)

Tag-Heuer: a very popular ‘luxury’ brand. Their brand image is better than the level of watches they produce (in the mid-level category.) Some of their more expensive watches are ridiculously complicated. A fairly innovative company.

Omega: Very high quality, and a fantastic value. Beautiful watches, my favorite is the Speedmaster. (I like the Seamaster more, but it falls into the high-end category.) This brand has a lot of watches that are definitely considered ‘high end.’

Rolex-SubmarinerHigh-End:

Rolex: a name everyone has heard of. They are probably the most reputable, and stylish brand. Classic. They retain value well compared to most other brands. Some say they are inflated.

IWC: catered toward a very masculine demographic. Very good-looking watches. I especially like the Portuguese.

Breitling: a watch tailored toward pilots. Good-looking watches, albeit very busy dials. An acquired taste, and very well-built. Maybe on the lower end of ‘high-end’ watches.

Patek Philippe: a very high-end watchmaker. Admired by many, however, they don’t really strike a chord with me. Priced very exclusively.