Whoever is concerned with the subject of watches for the first time enters a world full of names and conceptual meanings. And at the beginning there are some question marks: How does a mechanical watch work, what differences are there and why are high-quality watches so expensive?Above all, there are many different styles, brands and models, which make the search for the perfect watch to the odyssey. This little watch guide will give you a little overview and make you more familiar with the fascinating world of watches.
<h2><strong>Quartz Or Mechanical?</strong> <strong>How A Watch Works</strong></h2>
In general, a distinction can be made between mechanical and battery operated, so-called quartz clocks. While quartz clocks are distinguished by their practicality and precision at an affordable price, mechanical watches are the purist’s choice. Even if their daily range deviation is in the seconds range and thus corresponds to a multiple of the quartz clock, mechanical watches are significantly more expensive to manufacture. Their energy is fed by the tension of an elevator, which means that it can do without any electromagnetic forces. The key component of a mechanical clock is the inhibition. It owes its name to the fact that it is a mechanical hindrance and prevents the energy from being unloaded at once as in the case of retractable toy cars in a matchbox format . Instead, it is evenly distributed in the direction of pointer play by means of a continuously hooking and releasing anchor. Mechanical watches are distinguished in watches that are hand-wound by means of the crown and those which are self-winding (automatic) by means of a rotor due to the natural natural movement of the wrist.
The expensive price of a luxury watch does, of course, not only result from the mechanical gait. Even more than in most other industries, the brand’s reputation as a brand and its history and exclusivity also flow into it. Above all, however, the development costs for a specific watch model and the know-how of the manufacturer are reflected in the purchase price. In this connection, a distinction is made between so-called manufactures, which produce a part or all of the movements themselves, and the watch brands, the rough works of a supplier (usually ETA) and in some cases modify and / or beautify them. Although this distinction sometimes simplifies reality, it is a first indicator of the independence in the manufacturing process and the know-how of a watch brand.
<h2><strong>Additional Features: If Complications Are Desired</strong></h2>
With regard to know-how, one also distinguishes between the abundance of mechanical disciplines a watchmaker can handle. While the term complication is usually negatively connoted in everyday life, he describes in the clock language a mechanical additional function beside the time indication. The most common is the function of the chronograph. This is a stopwatch whose stop time is indicated by two or three small auxiliary dials and is triggered and stopped with usually two pushers. The model shown here is a TAG Heuer Monaco , a genuine chronograph classic. A special feature here are the two left-hand chronograph pushers, which are arranged on the right side of the crown, on the side of the crown.
Often the term <em>Chronograph</em> with <em>Chronometer</em> confused. The latter designates watches which have been tested and certified by a recognized testing body with regard to their accuracy. The following is an Omega De Ville, which has received a certificate from the Swiss <em>Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres</em> , or COSC, and is therefore officially designated as<em>Chronometer</em> . Here you can find out more about the distinction betweenChronograph vs. Chronometer.
Another known complication is the date function. This is particularly diverse, ranging from a simple date display to the perpetual calendar, which always shows the correct date without manual adjustment and taking the leap year up to 2100 (or even longer). There are also watches with date plus weekday display as well as watches, which also display the current month and in some cases also the year (full calendar or triple date). Of all the calendars mentioned here, however, only the perpetual calendar (or, in a peculiar form, the annual calendar and the 4-year calendar) is able to know the different monthly lengths of 28, 29, 30 and 31 days.
The catalog of different functions, which the world of the watches holds, is of course not only limited to the date function and the chronograph. There are clocks with clocks in a certain sequence of different tones indicating the time (minutes repetition) or models with alarm function, such as theVulcain 50s President’s Watch pictured here with the famous cricket caliber.
Many watches, so-called <em>Grandes Complications</em> , combine several sometimes complicated mechanical additional functions. The most prestigious complication is the Tourbillon. Strictly speaking, no function in the proper sense, it is a small rotating cage which, because of its constant movement, overrides position-dependent frictional differences in the interior of the watch. Contrary to other watches, models with Tourbillon do not matter whether the watch is running in a horizontal or vertical position. Since wristwatches are regularly subjected to regular movements on the wrist and do not stay in the same position, the practical use of the tourbillon is controversial. However, the special appeal of a tourbillon and the technical challenge that comes from it does not make any difference, and the Tourbillon is and remains the king’s discipline of all mechanical complications.
A list of watch complications can never claim to be conclusive. Constantly new mechanical solutions and gadgets are developed. Although the basic function has been virtually unchanged for several centuries, the watch industry is subject to a constant technological change. As far as the purchase price of watches is concerned, it can be summarized that the more expensive the production is, the more imaginative, independent and exclusive the brand is. Of course, the image of a brand is not based solely on its history and tradition. Some brands manage to create a specific image by means of large-scale advertising campaigns, for which the customer is also willing to pay a higher price.
<h2><strong>Pilot Or Diving Watch?</strong> <strong>Everyone Has Their Own Style</strong></h2>
And that’s it with our little excursion in watch mechanics. Of course clocks fulfill an important functional purpose in everyday life and appreciate a technique, functionality and production tradition that has been almost unchanged for centuries. From our point of view, however, watches are above all a fashion accessory, which should be fun. Much more decisive than data on gear reserve and accuracy are subjective criteria: How do I like a watch and how does it feel on the wrist? To what extent does it represent my personality and style? Wristwatches appear in a wide variety of designs. The range ranges from sportier timepieces such as diving or pilot watches to more elegant models, which are also referred to as dress watches or suit watches.
In general, sports-oriented watches are slightly larger and more striking.Their robustness is also reflected in their design. Many sporty watches have a chronograph function, a rotating bezel and one or more number dials on the bezel or dial dial. They all perform a specific function, such as setting the correct dive time, determining average speeds over a certain distance, or completing various computing tasks. Although most of the features of sporty clocks are less used in everyday life due to technical advances and advanced digitalisation, they have long since become independent as design features. There is also a good dose of nostalgia, reminiscent of the golden age of the so-called ” <em>toolwatches”</em> of the 1950s and 1960s, which were actually used for the purpose for which they had been created.
The watch, shown below, is the Omega Seamaster 300M. In language usage, it is often referred to as the Seamaster Diver as it represents the real diving watch fraction within the Seamaster series. In addition to a water tightness of up to 300 meters, the watch has a one-way rotating bezel, which adjusts the dive time, as well as light-emitting diodes and indices and a helium outlet valve.
In addition to the functional aspect of the chronograph, it also creates its own watch style due to its unmistakeable appearance. Chronographs are often sporty in design, with many models dedicated to racing. The Rolex Daytona , the TAG Heuer Carrera and the Omega Speedmaster Racing are examples. At the same time, a number of more elegant chronographs are offered to create a bridge between dresswatch and sporty design.
Aviator clocks also often have a chronograph function. A well-known example of this is the Breitling Navitimer classic flyer chronograph . In their design, other pilot watches are more reminiscent of an official military equipment, which in many cases they are or have been in the past. The IWC pilot Mark XVIII, shown here, can be mentioned here.
Compared to sports watches, dresswatches are usually smaller and stylistically more reserved. While sports watches are mostly (but not exclusively) made of steel, elegant watches are often used in gold as well as in steel.
Regardless of whether dresswatch or sporty chronograph, caution is required when interpreting the indicated watertightness of watches. In our article Waterproofing the clocks correctly , we show you what an indicationof 20, 50 or 100 meters in everyday life means.
<h2><strong>A World Full Of Brands And Their Icons</strong></h2>
When it comes to high-quality watches, Rolex is usually at the beginning of a journey of discovery of different brands, each of which is a separate world. The company’s heritage is carefully transported to the present and is carried by the brand-name icons. Models such as the Rolex Submariner , the Omega Speedmaster or the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso have existed for many decades – flag ships, as any watchmaker in his own ranks.
The epicenter of watchmaking is located in Switzerland, strictly speaking, in the Jura mountains, to its southernmost foothills, which extend to the gates of the trading city of Geneva. At the same time, there are a considerable number of interesting watchmakers from France, Germany, Italy, Japan and many others. If you want to learn more about the most famous watch brands and to get to know their most famous watchmaking models, then we would like to recommend the top 10 Swiss watch brands ,Top 10 German watchmakers and The 20 most popular luxury watch models in the world.
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