What you should know about
Reasons to buy a fine watch
It's practical. Watches today not only tell time, but they can
tell you the day, date and time in other time zones, remind you of an appointment,
wake you up and monitor your heartbeat.
It's fashionable. Watch styles reflect and define the times, from
sports chronographs to ultra-thin dress styles. They're an important accessory.
It's prestigious. Some watches carry the grace and tradition of
names recognized around the world as signifying the highest elegance in
jewelry and timepieces.
It's artistic. Fine watches are designed by artisans and craftspeople
who fashion case, bracelet, dial and sometimes gems into not just a functional
timepiece, but a work of art.
It's a potential heirloom. Your watch can be an investment in
beauty and value. Certain gold and diamond watches, over time, even increase
in value. Witness the prices some prestige timepieces fetch at famous auction
houses. And, it is a lovely remembrance of a loved one.
It's priced to fit your pocketbook. Whatever your price range,
whatever your need, there's a watch for you. If you enjoy changing your
watch to fit your activity, fashionable less-expensive yet highly accurate
watches are available from your jeweler in a variety of styles and price
If you can afford the most extravagantly designed, precious metal watch
encrusted with gemstones, your jeweler can offer you a wide selection to
Types of watches
MECHANICALS are the traditional "wind-up" watches. They
work because of a mainspring inside the watch which the wearer winds by
turning the crown on the side of the watch. The spring gradually unwinds
and turns tiny interlocking wheels which move the watch hands to measure
seconds, minutes and hours.
The AUTOMATIC or SELF-WINDING watches wind themselves as the wearer
moves their wrist. The wearer's arm actions cause a weight behind the movement
to rotate, winding the mainspring. They can also be wound manually.
QUARTZ watches are powered by batteries, rather than a mechanical
spring. The batteries send electronic impulses through a small bar of synthetic
quartz crystal which vibrates more than 32,000 times per second. Those vibrations
are channeled through a series of gears that result in one impulse per second.
The terms ANALOG and DIGITAL refer to the way timeis displayed
on the dial. Analog simply refers to a watch with traditional time-telling
"hands." Quartz analogs are watches in which the hands are moved
by the electronic impulses passing from the battery through the quartz crystal
to a step motor which moves the hands.
Digital watches display the time with digits - numbers -instead of hands.
The numerals are created by either light-emitting diodes (LED) or liquid
crystal displays (LCD).
Quartz watches are generally more accurate than mechanical watches, for
two reasons. One, mechanical watches have many moving parts. That means
more friction and less accuracy as the parts interact. Digitals have no
moving parts. Two, the quartz crystal's constant and amazingly frequent
vibrations per second enable watches to measure the second with unprecedented
accuracy. A quartz watch should function properly for years with a battery
life of one to up to five years
SPECIAL FEATURE watches perform a variety of tasks. Besides telling
the hours, minutes and seconds, many watches reveal the month, day and year.
Some also give the phases of the moon or the time in other countries or
CHRONOGRAPH watches measure small fractions of a second. Some
are used to calculate speeds, distances and altitudes. There are specialized
watches for astronauts, pilots, parachutists and skin divers-even timepieces
that meet the special needs of blind persons. Also, most fine watches today
are specially made to resist water, dust, wind, shock and magnetic fields.
Price & style
Watch prices range from around $20 to more than $10,000.
The most expensive watches are those made with precious metals such as
gold or platinum and decorated with precious gemstones. They also require
the labor of skilled craftspeople. Some of the finest watches are handmade
by master watchmakers who have spent a lifetime developing their craft.
Selecting a watch, like selecting any piece of jewelry, should be based
on personal taste. Today's watches are not only timekeepers, but are considered
important fashion accessories. Men and women make a
definite fashion statement by the watch they choose - sporty, dressy,
youthful, tailored or sophisticated.
People today are replacing their old-fashioned watch with a complete
wardrobe of watches to suit their lifestyles. For sport or leisure, a person
may want to wear a chronograph. For business use, a more tailored-looking
watch with a leather strap and neutral color dial is sometimes desired.
For evening and dress wear, the sky is the limit for decorative and elegant
watches. Gold or platinum bracelets with or without precious gemstone accents
- for men and women - provide an excellent way to show off your fashion
panache. To achieve the expensive luxury look without the expense, watches
of gold overlay are also available.
Where to buy your watch
No matter what style of watch you choose, there are some guidelines to
follow. Buy a watch with a familiar trademark or one whose performance has
a good reputation. To avoid being "ripped off," always buy from
a reputable jeweler whom you know and trust in the community, who is available
today for advice in making your purchase and tomorrow for service and future
reliable purchases. Since it is difficult, if not impossible for the untrained
person to detect a counterfeit, avoid the transient street peddler or questionable
mail-order promotions which advertise huge discounts on so-called designer
or "famous name" watches.
Read your warranty. Be sure that the manufacturer is behind the warranty.
Take the time to show you care
- Wind a mechanical watch in a clockwise direction, preferably about
the same time each day. Take it off your wrist so as not to place undue
pressure on the stem.
- Although many watches are equipped with shock-resistant devices, it's
not wise to subject it to overly vigorous treatment.
- Replace broken or scratched crystals immediately: even a hairline crack
can let dust or moisture into the mechanism, threatening its accuracy.
- Unless the degree of water-resistance was clearly specified when you
bought your watch, don't risk wearing it into the shower or pool, or on
a moist wrist.
- No matter how handy you are, don't attempt any "do-it-yourself"
watch repairs. Only an expert watchmaker should be trusted to put your
watch back into working condition if there is a problem.
- It's best to replace a battery in a quartz watch before it runs out.
Dead batteries left in the watch can leak or corrode and ruin it. Also,
don't attempt to change the battery in a watch yourself. Take it to a specially
trained jeweler or manufacturer's authorized watchmaker or watch repair
person. (Batteries can run for one to five years, depending on the watch.)
Finally, if you have any questions, ask your jeweler. Your jeweler values
you as a customer, and you should trust their judgement.
As time goes by
From the beginning of recorded history, it has been important for man
to know the age-old question, "What time is it?" Although we know
the sun rises and sets on a regular schedule, increments of time in between
have come to dictate to us our daily individual lifestyles.
Cavemen used a pointed stick and a circle of stones to make the first
crude sundial. Generations followed with equally rudimentary devices which
gradually became more intricate: knotted ropes, hour glasses, water clocks,
notched candles, candle clocks and clock lamps.
Finally, mechanical clocks driven by wheels and weights made their debut
during the Middle Ages. These were made more accurate when Galileo discovered
the pendulum principle. Locksmith Peter Henlein then invented the coiled
mainspring around 1500 and used it in the first portable clocks.
In 1571, Queen Elizabeth I was presented with the first known wristwatch:
unfortunately, like most watches of that day, it kept atrocious time. Eighteenth
and Nineteenth century craftsmen made the watch a work of art while improving
its efficiency. Today, modern technology has brought the watch to a peak
of accuracy and beauty, and has invented some totally new ways to mark the
passage of time.