If you are a watch wearer or planning to be a collector, it is necessary to know something about the timepiece you are wearing or planning to buy. This article will give you the pros and cons of owning a watch, the mechanism, and anything in between. In this article, we will give you an idea of the mechanics and the art of watch wearing.
If you are starting to familiarize anything about watches, you have to make sure you know about the movement of all the moving parts of the watch. Movements include not only the sweep of the hands of the watch but also the mechanism of all the gears inside. The gears and and springs inside are what make it move, in short, they are the “heart of the watch. There are three types of movements: automatic, mechanical and the quartz.
The mechanical movement is run by metal coiled wire mainspring that is made by hand. When the mainspring is wound, it slowly unwinds evenly, causing the watch’s hands to move smoothly. According to Wikipedia, a regular mainspring is about 8-10 inches long, and the longer your mainspring, the longer your watch’s power supply. Just like any other devices, most mechanical movements differs with every device. Every movement will be different depending on who made the watches and the attention to details will determine how smooth the hand runs and how accurate the time is. For most watch collectors and aficionados, mechanical movement watches are considered the top of the line, “creme de la crème” of timepieces due to its detailed design. Owning one of these is not just about telling the time, but also appreciating the design of the timepiece, the history behind it and most importantly, the craftsmanship.
The pros of having mechanical watches
First of all, mechanical watches don’t need batteries because it is powered by a mechanical mainspring made of metal. Gone are the days where you will need to go to a watch repair shop every year just to replace your dead battery. When the watch stops, all you need to do is wind it up, and voila, good as new. Other enthusiasts like the smooth sweeping movement of a mechanical watch compared to the usual “tick, tick tick” movement of quartz watches. Another good thing about mechanical wristwatch is the engineering behind it. Although you can’t see the insides or show it off to people, the mechanical component of it like the gears, springs and how they work together to make the device run is such a work of art. Watchmakers spent a lot of hours working on that masterpiece, perfecting every detail that can’t be seen by the naked eye. If you are into craftsmanship masterpieces, then mechanical watches should be in your collection.
The cons of having mechanical watches
Most mechanical mainsprings can go for full two days without winding, although it is advisable to wind it at least once a day. For some users, winding can be a satisfying habit, but other people find this a big nuisance. Since mechanical watches are made up of metal gears and springs, it is highly susceptible to water, shock, dust, and magnets or commonly known as the “Four Horsemen of Mechanical Apocalypse.” The good news is, most modern mechanical wristwatches are made to withstand these “Four Horsemen” but you have to make sure that you do all the necessary precautions. If your work will allow you to be in frequent contact with dirt, moisture, pressure or a magnet, it is advisable to use quartz rather than a mechanical watch. Just save the mechanical one for formal events and occasions. Another problem with mechanical wrist watches is its accuracy over time. While more expensive, well-made mechanical watch can give you a 99.999% accuracy or about +/-1 second a day, its performance will dive as time goes by. You need to bring it to a watch repair shop every 5-10 years for tune-ups if you want to maintain its accuracy. And lastly, mechanical timepieces are very expensive. Craftsmanship and precise watchmaking are needed to make a mechanical watch and it will take more time to make one. So if you are looking for the best mechanical timepieces like Rolex, Patek Philippe or Frederique Constant watches, Certified Watch Store can give you the best deal in the market today.
Automatic watches are almost the same as their mechanical counterpart. They also use metal gears and mainspring to move the hands. The difference is they don’t need to be hand-winded to power the watch. Instead, the constant movement of your body will automatically wind the mainspring of the watch. The reason for this is because of the rotor or the small weight inside the watch that will move as the person wearing the watch moves their wrist. The rotor is connected to the mainspring and it has a slipping clutch to prevent the mainspring to over-wound since the person wearing it is in constant movement throughout the day. If not in use, you can put the watch in an automatic winder, a device that runs in a circular motion so that it will stay wound even if it is not in use. If not wounded, the automatic wristwatch will stop working and you need to reset the time and date to keep it accurate.
The pros of having automatic watches
Just like their mechanical counterpart, automatic watches don’t need batteries. It is also hassle-free since you don’t physically wind the watch to keep it running. It also runs smoothly and not the “tick, tick, tick” type of watch.
The cons of having automatic watches
Automatic wristwatches are also sensitive to the “Four Horsemen of Mechanical Apocalypse” namely moisture, dust, pressure, and magnet. You also need an automatic winder to wind it while not in use. It is not expensive, but it is an additional cost. Like mechanical, automatic watches are also less accurate. It will also lose accuracy over time. And lastly, it is an expensive piece of jewelry since it needs time to make and the craftsmanship is very superb.
Lastly, the quartz. This is an inexpensive piece of jewelry. The majority of people are wearing quartz whether they knew it or not. The reason for that is quartz watches are very accurate, affordable and can easily be mass produced. Unlike mechanical and automatic wrist watches, quartz uses electricity from a small battery to run. The battery sends electricity through a quartz crystal causing it to vibrate faster, 2,768 times per second to be exact (click here for more information about quartz crystals). These vibrations are then converted into pulses which move the hands of the watch. Because of these vibrations, quartz has this distinct “tick, tick, tick” sound as the second-hand moves. Since quartz has few moving parts, they are far more accurate compared to mechanical and automatic watches and they are resistant to moisture, dust, pressure or magnet. This is the reason why most people use this kind of watch, not to mention they are very cheap, like $4 cheap. But if you want a more sophisticated and designer quartz watch like Frederique Constant, you have to spend more than $4 for that.
The pros of having quartz watches
Quartz is more accurate compared to mechanical and automatic. It also needs less maintenance since it has few moving parts. All you need to do is change the battery every year. It is also durable because it is made of few moving parts. It is also immune to the “Four Horsemen of the Watch Apocalypse” namely moisture, dust, pressure, and magnet. It is usually used by people that have “rough and dirty jobs.” It is very affordable.
The cons of having quartz watches
Not like mechanical and automatic watches, quartz doesn’t have that smooth movement. They also lack the charm and character that mechanical and automatic watches have.