Luxury Watches FAQ


Few people rush out and buy a luxury watch without doing some research and studying a bit.  After all, a designer watch is a significant investment, and you want to make sure that you’re buying the right model and brand for you in order to ensure that you get the longest possible use out of it.  You also want to make sure that you buy the model and brand that’s best suited to your intended purpose.  If you’re active in the outdoors, you might want to get a sports model and you certainly wouldn’t want one with a leather band if you were going to be wearing it for activities that might expose it to water or perspiration, for instance.

Below, we’ll cover a few frequently asked questions about luxury watches and timepieces in general.

What is a watch movement?

mechanical watch movementThe movement is a general term to describe the inner workings of the watch; it’s the part of the watch that keeps time.  In years past, there was only one kind of movement, known as mechanical.  This consisted of a series of gears, powered by a spring that has tension applied to it when the watch is would.  As the spring unwinds, it applies power to the gears to turn the hands of the watch.  Over time, an automatic movement was developed; this allows the watch to wind itself by using a moveable weight inside the unit that applies tension to the spring when the wearer moves his or her arm.  Mechanical movements were the only ones known to the watch industry until 1969, when Japanese companies introduced the quartz movement to the world.  These are electronic devices that use a quartz crystal that vibrates some 32,768 times per second to keep the watch correctly timed.  Watches with quartz movements don’t require winding, as they are powered by a small battery that typically lasts several years.  They are also far more accurate than mechanical movements; typically to within a few seconds per year.  A recent advancement allows some watches to receive a radio signal from government-operated atomic clocks; these are even more accurate electronic movements.

What is a crystal?

The sliver of quartz used to time a modern electronic watch isn’t the only “crystal” the unit contains; the term “crystal” is also used to describe the glass that covers the face of the timepiece.  There are basically three kinds of material used to make crystals  for modern watches:

Acrylic – An inexpensive clear plastic.  It has the advantage of being lightweight and inexpensive, though it is easily scratched.  Most scratches can be buffed out, but acrylic crystals are typically used on inexpensive watches.

Mineral – Mineral crystal is a form of glass with several other elements added to it to increase its hardness.  Most mid-priced watches have mineral crystal, as it’s quite a bit harder than acrylic and less prone to scratches.

Sapphire – Sapphire crystal is the hardest, most expensive, and most desirable materials used for covering a watch face.  It’s more difficult to produce, but it’s several times harder than mineral crystal, making it ideal for sports models, chronographs, and high end watches.

With proper care, any type of watch crystal should be capable of protecting the watch face, though sapphire crystal models will certainly last the longest.

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What kind of band should I buy?

luxury watches with metal bandThe purpose of a watch band is to hold the timepiece to your arm.  Really, anything that will do that will work, which means that the band is mostly a cosmetic item and your primary consideration should be how the timepiece looks.  Many sports models have rubber bands, as they are resistant to both water and perspiration.  If you spend a lot of time on outdoor activities, you should consider a watch with a rubber or plastic band.  Leather bands are used interchangeably with bands made of metal, such as stainless steel, platinum or even gold on watches made for business use or formal wear.  Leather holds up fairly well, but doesn’t last long when it gets wet or comes in contact with perspiration.  Most metal bands should last as long as the watch to which they’re attached, but leather bands may require occasional replacement.  Replacement bands are generally available from your retailer or the watch manufacturer.

What is water resistance?

water resistant sports watchWater resistance, usually expressed in meters, is a measure of how well the watch holds up to water exposure.  Often referred to erroneously as “waterproof”, water resistance comes in different levels and can offer a general guideline as to how your watch will react to being exposed to water and other elements.  Most luxury watch manufacturers offer a minimum of 30 meters of water resistance, which generally means it should be kept away from water.  If you want a watch that you can reliably use while swimming or any other activity that will completely immerse the timepiece, we recommend that you purchase one that is rated to at least 100 meters.  Watches created especially for divers and others who spend a great time in the water, rather than near it, or often rated to 200 or even 300 meters.  These have extra seals in several parts of the watch to ensure that water isn’t going to get in, even if submerged in reasonably deep water.  Watches that see this kind of use on a regular basis should be inspected by your jeweler every few years to make sure the seals are still working properly.

Which designer watch is right for me?

That question is impossible to answer.  There are tens of thousands of designer watches on the market in price ranges that vary from less than $100 to $100,000.  Some are designed for everyday wear, others for business wear, and others for truly special occasions.  Do you frequently attend formal events?  If so, you might want an elegant, diamond covered watch.  If you’re really the casual type, you might want a relatively inexpensive, brightly colored model.  There are many traditionally styled models that are suitable for wear at the office.  There are almost as many designer watches styles as there are people who are interested in them, so it’s really a matter of shopping around and finding something that suits you, your budget, and your lifestyle.

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