When you first start learning about watches, one word that will come up frequently is movement. Movement includes the sweep of a watch's hands over its face and the mechanics that generate that effect. The movement of watches are essential to how it operates and maintains time – consider it the "heart" of the watch.
There are three types of watch movements which are mechanical, automatic, and quartz. The distinctions between them, as well as their benefits and drawbacks, are discussed further below.
A mechanical watch features a mechanism driven by a mainspring, a coiled metal wire wound by hand. Once wound, the mainspring gently and evenly unwinds, enabling the second hand to move in a smooth, sweeping manner around the face of the watch. The majority of mainsprings are 9-13 inches in length. The longer the mainspring, the greater the power reserve of your mechanical watch, and the longer you can go between windings.
Not all mechanical movements are the same. Attention determines the smoothness and accuracy of a watch to the detail and craft that goes into it. Many collectors consider automatic movement watches the pinnacle of timepieces due to their historical heritage and the hard labor and engineering that must make them. Owning a mechanical watch is more than simply a means for these enthusiasts to demonstrate their respect for history, elegance, and quality.
Automatic watches are similar to mechanical watches in that they are powered by a mainspring and employ sophisticated gears to move the watch’s hands. Still, they do not require the user to wind the watch manually to keep it ticking. Instead, while wearing the watch, your movement throughout the day charges the mainspring. Therefore, the phrase automatic movement came into use. They are also known as self-winding watches.
How does an automatic movement watch wind itself? Within the watch is a slight weight called a "rotor" that rotates when your wrist movements during the day. It is linked to the mainspring and winds it as it travels. Automatic watches also include a slipping clutch device to prevent the clock from becoming overwound while being worn.
If you are not wearing your automatic watch, place it in a watch winder. It's a little mechanism that rotates the look in a circular motion while being stored to keep it wound. It is especially crucial if your watch contains functions such as a calendar or date display. Assume your automatic watch includes a calendar, but you decide not to wear it for a few days. If you don't keep it in a winder, the battery will die, and the display will become stuck on the time and date the watch stopped ticking. If you want to wear the watch again, you'll have to reset both.
If you're like most people, the watch on your wrist right now is most likely a quartz watch. There's a good explanation behind this. Quartz timepieces are extremely precise and reasonably priced.
Instead of a coiled mainspring, a quartz movement is driven by energy from a tiny battery. The battery transmits power through a small quartz crystal, which vibrates 32,768 times each second. A circuit measures the vibrations and transforms them into a pulse, which moves the watch's second hand. Quartz watches have a characteristic “tick tick tick” movement because electric pulses move the second hand. It does not have the smoothness of a mechanical or automatic watch.
Quartz movements are significantly more precise and can take far more abuse than mechanical or automatic watches since they rely on electricity and have fewer moving components. As a result, most "sport" and "field" watches employ quartz movements.
Quartz movements are also relatively inexpensive. A watch that maintains perfect time for $4 can be yours. Of course, if you want something with a little more oomph, you'll have to spend a little more.
A simple wristwatch shows you the time. However, many wristwatches have functions that display the date or even the phase of the moon. These minor additions on wristwatches are known as complications.
Aside from calendars and moon phases, other complexities include alarms, power reserve indications, and repeaters (a feature that chimes the hour and minutes on your watch at the press of a button).
The chronograph is another option. It is a stand-alone time system that also functions as a stopwatch. Most chronographs are made up of three tiny dials (also known as sub-registers) located within the watch’s main dial.
You'll generally find two buttons on the side of the watch's case: the top button starts/stops the clock while the bottom button resets it. A chronograph is sometimes combined with a tachymeter, a scale engraved around the rim of a timepiece. Whether the chronograph and tachymeter are used together, the user may compute speed, distance traveled, and fuel consumption (when driving or flying). Watches and tachymeters are unique, and I want to write a whole essay about using them in the future.) Keep an eye out for updates.
It is up to you to decide how many and which complexities you want in your watch. Dressier timepieces are sleeker and have one (typically the date) to none dials. More complexities are frequently seen in athletic and casual clocks.
Even if you know what the person you want to purchase for loves and hates, you must always consider your pocketbook first. There are watches available for every price range, from $100 to $100,000. You may be the kind to spend a little extra when you locate the perfect thing, but having a predetermined amount in mind is essential. There is no need to increase (or decrease) retail pricing.
Styles and features
We advised that you consider the watch's intended receiver. It is since this is the single most significant aspect of purchasing a watch. For example, if you're shopping for a pragmatist who isn't into electronics and features, a beautiful three-hand watch with an easy-to-read dial may be a good choice. Consider watches with colorful dials or unique case designs if they are a fashion junkie. Features are also essential.
For example, if you are purchasing for a sports fan, a chronograph (which times intermediate activities such as swimming laps or sprinting) may be a preferable alternative. Calendars, multiple time zones, and global timer signals may be helpful if the individual is a corporate executive or a globe traveler.
Brands are a little more complicated. But, before you continue reading, keep in mind that you are not required to purchase a particular watch brand. However, knowing the best brands – at all price points – is beneficial. Larger, more well-known brands may have a more potent cache if you purchase in a low-cost category. When it comes to more costly timepieces, personal preference comes into play as well.
Some individuals are highly brand aware and crave a big name brand, while others like to go off the beaten road and seek a lesser recognized brand that may offer a lot of bang for the buck while also leaving others asking, "What is that watch on your wrist?" Again, some of this decision-making is influenced by knowing who you purchase and how much money you have available.