How to Choose a Fine Timepiece and Terminology

Watch enthusiasts will agree that a well-crafted timepiece is more than a necessity. It’s an investment meant to last a lifetime, as long as properly handled and maintained. The watch you wear says much about who you are. It’s most likely one of the few daily worn accessory pieces, and moreover, certain Swiss watches have taken on the position of ultimate status symbol and become a family heirloom. With all the different options available to choose from when purchasing a watch the process can be quite daunting. From the appearance of a watch and the extra features a watch may have, which are called complications, it’s also essential to pay attention to what type of watch you are choosing. In other words, what makes your timepiece tick?

Watch Movements

To determine the type of movement a watch has, all you have to do is look at the second hand as it moves around the face of the watch. If you can see the second hand making a ticking motion as it marks each passing second, the watch most likely has a quartz movement. This quartz watch is your basic battery-powered timepiece. Typically, they keep time well and are quite accurate, requiring very little maintenance aside from a battery replacement once every few years. If you choose a quartz movement watch, you will not need a watch winder or to remember to wind your watch. Short of a dying battery, your timepiece will keep ticking away accurately. All of the power that runs a quartz movement watch comes from that little battery, and no extras are needed. A Quartz type watch is a good choice for those who choose a smartwatch for daily wear or those who love the convenience and simplicity of a set-it-and-forget-it product.  You can find one of our Fine Swiss Quartz watches here.

If the second hand of the watch makes more of a smooth – or sweeping- type of motion, you’re looking at a piece with a mechanical movement. Any timepiece of this type will contain precise engineering with an incredible level of craftsmanship. These watches don’t run on batteries; instead, mechanical movement watches fall into one of two additional categories, Manual vs. Automatic, which might mean you’ll need a watch winder or to wind your watch daily to keep your timepiece running accurately.

If you choose a manual mechanical movement watch, it will require hand winding very regularly in order to keep time. In these types of watches, a tiny spring stores the energy you create when you wind it by hand, and this energy is transferred through barrels, levers, springs, and gears throughout the watch to power it. Depending on the specific timepiece, you may need to manually wind it as often as every 24 hours or as little as once a week. Many manual timepieces can run for 2-10 days before they wind down. With this type of watch, it can be helpful to get into the habit of winding your watch every morning before putting it on.

So how can you tell if your mechanical watch has a manual winding mechanism? Some watches will state on their dial that they are mechanical or automatic. You can also flip it over and look at the back of the watch. If you have a transparent back cover and can see all of the beautiful little gears and tiny precision parts that make this watch tick, you’ve most likely got a manual. Whether you can see into the back or not, you can also tell that this is a manual wind watch if it lasts more than 40 hours without movement or if it ever stops running while you have worn it most of the day.

If you have an Automatic watch, then it is powered by the harnessed energy of the daily natural movements of the wearer. Another clue is if you gently shake the watch and feel the rotor moving inside.

Automatic is the technology that most luxury watches use. This type of watch is the finest available and doesn’t require a battery or any manual winding on your part to keep it running. Instead, automatic watches run on the energy harnessed by the natural movement of your swinging arm as you wear your timepiece for a day.  An example of one of our fine automatic watches can be found here.

Typically, enough energy can be stored to keep your watch going without a winder overnight. That being said, the best way to keep your watch running at top performance is to keep it running – in other words, you should take measures to ensure that your timepiece doesn’t stop unless you enjoy setting and resetting your watch each time it winds down. Typically, an automatic timepiece will keep time for about 30-40 hours without human movement, though some watches boast a power reserve of 60 hours or more.

We hope you enjoyed our post.  Watch for our future blog post on watch complications and if a watch winder is something you or your loved one needs.