Watch Buying Guide
If you’re looking for a new watch, the massive amount of brand choices and considerations can be very over whelming. So what should you consider? We have put together an informative guide that will help you in making your decision!
What you need to consider before you start
- Personal tastes.
- Ideal / practical requirements.
- Most importantly, budget.
A watch movement is the heart of a watch that acts as the powerhouse to make the watch and its functions operate. Here we can explore the different types of movement available at Michael Jones Jeweller:
Quartz watches have a reputation for being very affordable yet incredibly accurate.
Using electricity from a small battery, a current is passed through a small quartz crystal, causing the crystal to vibrate. The vibrations are then measured by a circuit, converting the vibration into a pulse, which moves the second hand on the watch. They have a distinctive ticking movement, unlike the smooth sweep of the second hand seen on a mechanical or automatic watch.
Quartz movements rely on electricity and only a handful of moving parts, so they’re much more accurate and can last a lot longer between services than mechanical or automatic watches.
Automatic and Mechanical Movements
Unlike quartz watches, Automatic and mechanical movements do not use batteries, they contain a fully mechanical movement powered by a mainspring and uses intricate gears to move the watch hands. Where standard mechanical watches require the user to hand-wind the watch to keep it ticking, automatic watches have a rotor within the movement which winds up the mainspring while you wear the watch throughout the day. Hence, the name automatic, they are also known as “self-winding” watches.
If you are not wearing your automatic watch, the power reserve will become depleted and after a while the watch will stop. The power reserve of a watch differs depending on the brand and watch model so you may want to think about investing in a watch-winder. This is a little device that moves the watch in a circular motion while it’s stored so it stays wound. This is particularly important to do if your watch has features like a calendar or date display.
If you don’t store it in a winder, the power will run down and the display will get stuck on the time and date the watch stopped ticking. When you decide to wear the watch again, you’ll have to reset both.
Mechanical and automatic watches are very complex and can contain hundreds of individual parts. Many people admire them for the engineering and detail which go into their creation; however, unlike quartz watches, they are not always the most accurate timekeepers and may require the time to be adjusted every so often.
Solar / Eco-Drive Movement
Solar-powered watches were pioneered by Citizen. These timepieces can convert light from just about any source into energy, then store it in built-in, tiny power cells. It is designed to charge from ordinary everyday light sources like indoor fluorescent lighting and desk lights. You can go about your everyday life confident that your watch will never stop.
While solar watches are almost always a better option than quartz watches due to the recharging capability it’s hard to compare them with automatic/mechanical watches, which offer a fundamentally different experience.
Solar watches are much more accurate than mechanical watches and have a significantly longer power reserve. Practically, they are an obvious choice. Nevertheless, automatic watches provide a smoother second hand, which is aesthetically more pleasing; along with arguably a higher level of craftsmanship due to the complicated mechanism within.
The Watch Type
This list could easily go on and on, but we will keep it simple and explain the differences between the types of watch you can expect to find in the showrooms of Michael Jones Jeweller. We also have a few suggestions of when you might wear them to help you pick your perfect timepiece for your needs
The Diving Watch
The Diving watch could be noted as the favourite.
When to Wear: While the dive watch was designed for underwater use, it's all-metal casing and bracelet, along with the iconic heritage, make it a suitable wristwatch for versatile everyday wear. You can pair it with your sportswear, casual wear, business casual wear, and business formal wear, if you take your fashion tips from James Bond, you can even get away with wearing a dive watch with a tuxedo.
The Dress Watch
Initially intended to be worn as a piece of jewellery, the dress watch was created in the 1800’s originally for women but towards the end of the century it became popular with men who wanted the practicality of wearing their timepiece on their wrist, rather than in their pocket. The dress watch is all about simplicity and sophistication; it is sleek rather than encumbered. It’s not flashy, and draws attention to itself in the most subtle of ways.
It is the classiness and the way it compliments your ensemble that makes a dress watch special.
When to Wear: As the name implies, you wear a dress watch for more formal occasions, with a business suit or a tuxedo. You can also wear a dress watch with any outfit although it may not pair as well with a t-shirt and jeans.
The Pilot’s Watch
Wristwatches have been a part of aviation since its inception. In fact, one of the first purpose-specific men’s wrist watches ever made was for a pilot friend of Louis Cartier back in 1904
In the decades after, watchmakers built on that original design to make timekeeping easy for pilots during take off, most notably with the addition of a chronograph.
In the 1930s, the Swiss company Breitling made onboard chronographs for planes in the Royal Air Force so pilots could determine their speed, distance traveled, and fuel consumption. In the 1940s, they decided to put their chronograph on a wristwatch, thus creating the Breitling Chronomat, as well as the basis for the future of aviation watches.
When to Wear: The size and more casual look of pilot watches make them a good fit for more casual outfits, not as suitable for black tie or more formal business wear which may not allow the watch to fit comfortably under a cuff.
The Driving Watch
Car racing and wristwatches have been linked together since the 1930s. This is because racecar driving relies on accurate timekeeping to measure the outcome of the race.
But it was TAG Heuer that created the standard for racing watches by adding a chronograph and tachymeter which are the two modern, defining features of a driving watch.
The first TAG Heuer chronographs were made in the 1930s and 1940s for pilots in the Luftwaffe, but by the 1950s and 1960s, it was race car drivers who were wearing them to measure their speed and distance. TAG Heuer cemented its racing status when actor Steve McQueen wore the TAG Monaco 1133 in the 1971 film, Le Mans. The rest, they say, is history.
When to Wear: Racing watches tend to be more refined looking than dive or pilot watches. The bold statement look makes them more suitable for casualwear rather than formal wear.
The Smart Watch
A smart watch is essentially a wearable computer. These might seem like a recent addition to the watch family but they certainly have history.
The first true smartwatch was the Data 2000 which was launched in 1983. This model came with an external keyboard for data entry and had a 2000-character capacity.
It wasn’t until 15 years later in 1998, Steve Mann developed the first modern version of the smartwatch and was rightly hailed as the father of wearable computing.
Today, smartwatches include GPS functionality, heart rate monitors and much more. Some smartwatches have become an extension of the wearer's smartphone, handing off calls and updating health information.
Smartwatches continue to and will always evolve as technology evolves with them.
When to Wear: Depending on your needs you can always wear a smartwatch. If yours is for running, cycling, swimming, golf and a whole lot more, these are all on board with brands such as Garmin to keep you on track with your fitness. However if you want to play it safe, stay subtle, be able to swap screen styles depending on your outfit and even keep up to date with your social media, you have the likes of Michael Kors who have designed their smartwatches to blend in with the diving watch wearing crowd.
You'll notice that some watches have extra dials and hands: these are called complications. Complications are easy to explain, have a look at some of the ‘extras’ you might come across when you are shopping with Michael Jones Jeweller
- The "Chronograph" which is used extensively in motor sport models as it is the one with stopwatch functionality.
- The "GMT" provides a fourth hand that can be set to the alternative time zone of the wearer's choice.
- The “Tachymeter” is used to conveniently compute the frequency in hours of an event of a known second-defined period, such as speed based on travel time, or measure distance based on speed. This is a scale sometimes inscribed around the rim of an analog watch with a chronograph.
- The “Date” refers to a display of an analog date which uses a center hand with an arrow or a crescent that points to the date on the outside of the dial. This rotates over the twenty four hour period to display the date of a new day at midnight.
- The “Day-Date”similarly to the “date” this complication also shows the day of the week displayed on the dial in addition to the standard date display. These displays are normally placed at noon and three.
- The “Annual Calendar” is a complete calendar displaying day, date and month with minimal adjustment. The date displayed on the timepiece is based on 30 day and 31 day months to ensure that the correct date is always displayed.
- The “Perpetual Calendar”is an astronomical complication which gives the date, day, month and sometimes moon phases while automatically taking the number of days in the month, and the cycle of leap years, into account so the watch never needs to be adjusted.
Just as there's no typical wrist size, there's no typical size of watch, so there is no right or wrong. Just personal preference.
The standard sizing for men’s watches have a case diameter between 34-44mm but some go up to 50mm or more. The larger the watch case, the heavier it will be so if you want a watch you can put on and forget about you may want to consider a smaller size or a lighter material. Titanium is a fantastic choice for large watches, it is 45% lighter than steel so even the largest of watches will not feel cumbersome.
Try a few out and see what is most comfortable for you.
It is worth also noting that the thickness of the case also affects how the watch looks. A watch of 10mm thickness will sit better under a cuff than one that's 15mm.
Straps and Bracelets
Style or substance, as long as it is comfortable for you, there is no wrong or right when deciding if you prefer a strap or bracelet watch. You can find variety at Michael Jones Jeweller
- A metal bracelet looks great on more heavy duty and sports style watches.
- Leather is the popular choice for conventional and minimalist timepieces.
- Another modern favourite is the canvas or "NATO" strap, which was famously worn by Sean Connery, as James Bond in Goldfinger. This can lend itself to a much less formal style than a leather strap and works well on sports watches too.
Many watch models come in the option of a strap or bracelet version so it is possible to change it in the future.
After taking in the above, we hope you have a better idea of what makes a great watch and why some watches command such status, respect and of course price tags.
If you would like to talk to our friendly on-site experts you can contact us here.