We sometimes hear that “the watch is the only jewel of the man”. It is true that the watch is a strong accessory in an outfit: it can perfect the latter as demolishing all the elegance that you have tried to build. The watch must be chosen carefully, otherwise it is better not to wear!
It must sign your personality, beyond the notions of good or bad taste: you must love it. It’s a bit like choosing a perfume: it must not be an object to “have” put on your wrist to complete your outfit but, on the contrary, it must fit into your look as if it were part of you.
When we see you, it’s not the thing you have to see first. But it is a detail that must be noted and must bring a positive note. It seems that women (and men too) pay particular attention to this accessory / jewel because it allows to better understand the personality and social status of his interlocutor.
First, Some Basic Vocabulary:
- Bracelet (here in leather)
- Horn (allows the attachment of the bracelet)
- Box of round shape. There are all shapes (square, triangular) and all materials (plastic, gold, platinum, aluminum)
- Crown (allows setting time, date, winding)
- Index (the numbers 1, 2, 3…and the graduations)
- The name of the mark, the logo
- The small second (we can find a second central otherwise)
- Blued needles
- Calendar (the date)
- Power reserve (how much time is left before having to wind the watch)
- Phases of the moon
- Dial (plate on which we find the reasons, below is the movement, the “engine” of the watch)
Mechanical watches suffer from a “grandpa” image among the general public. And yet, there are many innovative designs among this type of watches (sometimes too futuristic). However, to have quality, it is essential to aim at the high end.
Exit the Russian mechanical watches, from Eastern Europe or elsewhere! Indeed, they are made of poor-quality steel and the design makes the parts mesh poorly between them. They will break very quickly and will sometimes be irreparable.
Today, buying a quality mechanical watch that will give you style therefore requires a high budget: more than a thousand dollars with the purchase. Indeed, we must also take into account the maintenance: a complete review every 3 to 5 years maximum, or $500 to $5.000 (or more) in the high end. And I do not even talk about wait times that can be very long.
This is not necessarily valid for the vintage, but it is necessary then to have a little knowledge and passion to recognize the good deals. Neither is it valid for the few watches containing ETA movements (ETA is a company that produces components and watch movements), which have the advantage of sometimes having a nice design and always a mechanism of Swiss quality, for $150-500.
I immediately make a parenthesis about high-end watches that are sold like hotcakes: some luxury brands sell more than a million watches a year in the world. I doubt – but this is only one personal opinion – having a wrist such a watch, despite its generally high price, can allow you to really assert your personality and originality.
Among mechanical watches, there are also watches with manual winding and automatic.
An automatic watch is equipped with a set of parts called “automatic module” that allows you to reassemble the watch (“to restore energy to the engine”) at the discretion of the wrist movements during the day. You put your watch before you go to bed, and normally you pick it up the next morning and it still works. No need to wind it up unless it has been worn for a few hours/day (depending on the power reserve of the watch). So, you have to move for it to work!
A manual watch must be reassembled daily to walk. Just turn the crown (it takes less than a minute in the morning and evening) to give energy to the watch.
An automatic watch therefore offers an undeniable advantage and comfort of use for not much more expensive than a manual winding watch.
Quartz Watches (or “Battery”)
Quartz watches have a significant advantage over mechanical watches: they are ultra-precise. The quartz movement, even Chinese less than $10, remains more precise than the high-end movement at $50.000.
Another plus point: we find correct in all ranges: from $50 to $500, you have a range of really wide choice. The budget is more affordable and the maintenance consists of a stupid battery change that will cost you $10 (we sometimes change the entire movement, it then costs $20 to $100). Attention, in the high-end is a complete revision that will be billed to you, then count at least $300, even much more.
Which Watch Style to Choose?
The golden rule to follow is simple (and it’s the same as for glasses): you have to see AND try the watch in real life! No buying on the internet without trying the watch, it’s really important!
Why? Because even if you have all the technical information, a photo or a 3D image is not worth the reality. The materials take and return the light, there are effects of matter as for a garment.
I am unable to give you the tracks to find the watch (because it depends on your personality, your tastes, your social environment) but I can nevertheless give you some ideas to avoid certain watches. As for a garment, I take the basic matrix: size, material, design (equivalent of fit, material, cut).
The watch must be proportional to your wrist. There, beyond the measurements given in millimeters, it is also a question of feeling. Hence the interest of trying it before buying it. We must absolutely avoid tiny watches that feminize the wrist and oversized watches whose horns protrude from your wrist.
You really have to ban too big watches! (even if we do more and more today) We see that, it’s just ugly. A reminder: the watch should not jump in the eyes of others, it must remain discreet!
In the same spirit: no crown or huge buttons on the sides, it is a total absence of finesse and elegance (be sure to watch if you can take them in hand, usually we catch by the underside with the nail and then pull).
A bracelet is your size when you can pass the index between your wrist and the bracelet, and nothing more (except for diving or sports watches, they are tight against the combination).
Focus on leather or steel (steel links can pull and tear hair on the other hand). Even gold, platinum, etc. Aluminum has a good ratio of lightness and resistance. Warning: if you have an allergy or your skin rust, avoid the materials involved.
There are also so-called “NATO” bracelets that have a military origin. They are extremely resistant, comfortable and hypoallergenic. They have a sporty connotation and bring an undeniable touch of relaxation (which can give an interesting contrast)
For the case: they are often plated or rhodium plated (a thin layer of gold, rhodium or other was applied to the base material for aesthetic and / or technical reasons). If you have a watch plated, warn the watchmaker before he does his repair. If he polishes it to remove a scratch, the surprise is bad!
For glass: they are often plexiglass (we find so-called “sapphire” glasses for the high-end). There are also “scratches”. Small scratches are polishing, otherwise you can change the glass.
Which Watch Design to Choose?
Overall, avoid too futuristic watches, digital display that are more reserved for teens or athletes.
The criteria to be taken into account:
- Bracelet: not too futuristic, not too imposing compared to the watch, comfortable, easy opening and closing and safe.
- The horns: no forms too original, they must be consistent with the case.
- The case, the crown, the pushers: no shapes too original, not too big.
- The glass: avoid the magnifying glass on the glass to be able to read the date.
- The dial: not too charged (even if it’s a chronograph with 3 counters!), Avoid the flashy colors, if you want a white dial: avoid the white fridge door (an off-white / beige / cream is still better), avoid logos too big brands.
- Needles: not too big! Not too much luminova (neon luminous paste), no needle-like motifs in the shape of hearts, spades etc. The blued hands are the most beautiful effect (I think). No digital signage.
- Indexes, numbers: not too big, you do not test the view by reading the time on your watch.
- Counters and counters (which can read the date, the seconds etc.): avoid those who are too marked and who break the harmony of the dial, avoid having full everywhere (and then, too much information kills news).
- The bottom: it can be glazed to see the movement and mechanics.
What Not to Do!
Wash your hands, shower, do the dishes with your watch (hot soapy water coming in the form of a spray damages the joints).
Use your watch for everything and anything (for sports and DIY, buy another watch (futuristic digital display if you want, there you can).
Do not read the instructions for your watch and believe that it does not work or not working properly.
Change the date between -3 hours and +3 hours the normal date change (if your watch changes the date to midnight, do not manually change the date between 9pm and 3am), otherwise you break a coin inside and the date will still work but more all the time. This is of course not valid for electronic digital watches.
How to Choose My Watch Then?
There are many brands of watchmaking (infinitely more than the general public generally imagines). So, to find THE watch in this jungle of choice, I propose a small method (this is just an example huh!):
If you really do not know where to start: look at the ads of different brands and talk with anyone about the subject (friends, family, colleagues). This allows you to discover the world of brands.
Make a photo plank with some models of watches that you like and do not like, and know how to explain in a few words why.
Go to a watchmaker or a watch store (Galeries Lafayettes Paris has the advantage of gathering many brands on one level, it already allows to give ideas). Do not hesitate to really go to all possible places, we are sometimes pleasantly surprised!
Speak with the watchmaker or salesmen and try out models, write down the references of those you like. Ask if there are used models or stock purposes, again we are sometimes pleasantly surprised.
Take the time to make your choice (see the list of criteria). Nothing is urgent, you can always know the time differently in the meantime. Do not forget that it is an accessory that can perfect like demolishing all your style!