Sunday, April 15

Watches - A quick intro to the world of watches

I've always had an interest in watches...but of late, I've been particularly interested in the world of luxury watches...all thanks to Yvie, and Nat, one bot a Breitling watch, and the other, manages the brands of some fine watches

Well, for those who have the same interest as me, here's a quick primer on watches

There are many myths and misunderstandings about watches. This guide will help to dispel some of these frequent myths and help empower you, the buyer, to make an informed decision before you purchase your next timepiece.

brands worth brandishing

Even though Helen Hunt is technically hot - fit, blond, rich - you wouldn’t really respect any man that said that she was his dream woman.

The same goes for watches. There are many seemingly good brands to the untrained eye, but for watch fanatics there are certain models that are the Jessica Albas (the cream of the crop), others that are the Sienna Millers (promising and up-and-coming) and more still that are the Paris
Hiltons (overrated). So take note of the brands below.

Good: IWC and Franck Muller

There are great watches that have made their way into mainstream culture,
such as Patek Phillippe,
Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Chopard, Jaeger-Le Coultre, and Ulysse Nardin to name a few. Then there are those brands that are unanimously respected solely within the watch community -- for example, IWC and Franck Muller. IWC (the International Watch Company, not the International Whaling Commission) is the only watch company in Eastern

Switzerland and is renowned for the elegance and engineering found in its “Flieger,”; “Portugieser” and “Aquatimer” lines. Franck Muller on the hand, is a watchmaker who is greatly admired for his intricately complex timepieces, including “Revolution 2,” “Revolution 3,” “Crazy
Hours,” and “Color Dreams.”

Up-and-coming: Panerai and Oris

Unlike the sometimes disturbingly young up-and-comers in Hollywood, watch
companies that are on the rise can be well over 100 years old. For example, the Italian luxury watch brand Panerai was founded in 1860, but is only now becoming a favorite with watch lovers on the strength of its “Radiomir” and “Luminor” series.

In contrast to the older Panerai, Oris is a young, nubile trendsetter that started in

1904. Most well known for attaining one of the highest quality ratings in the history of the COSC (we'll tell you what that acronym denotes later), Oris recently gained recognition for becoming the official watch of the BMW Williams Formula 1 team.
beware the watchdogs

Overrated: Tag Heuer and Movado

If you spent enough money, you could probably get plenty of people to think

that clams were great watches. Many aficionados feel that that’s how Tag Heuer and Movado have powered their image as elite watchmakers. Not saying they make bad watches, they do have some fine models, u juz haf to do your research and sieve out the Jessicas from the Paris'.

Chided by many watch lovers as grossly overrated, the recognition these companies reap is usually attributed to their marketing campaigns: Tag having paid massive sums to have the likes of Tiger Woods to sport their line, and Movado having glossed over the astronomical price tag

of their quartz watches with glitzy ad campaigns.

watch the lingo

Anyone who has seen Back to the Future knows that time keeping is a tricky process that requires a whole world of jargon to explain its inner workings. With this in mind, it is

imperative that visitors to the realm of luxury watches arm themselves
with the terms and lingo needed to communicate. Here is some crucial terminology you need to know.


Even though this term is a combination of two small intimidating words -- “chrono” and

“graph” -- don’t worry; all chronograph refers to is a type of watch that has both timekeeping and stopwatch functions. What you will need to look out for are the different types of chronographs available, namely analog chronographs (the old style with separate hands) and

digital chronographs (those watches with electronic displays that no aficionado would be caught dead wearing).

Perpetual calendar

Though you could consider an hour-long conversation about watches to be

“perpetually boring,” be sure to remember that perpetual calendar refers to watches that display dates, but do not need to be adjusted to accommodate a change in months.


In the same way that the pharmaceutical industry has the FDA and women have the Miss

Universe Pageant, watchmakers have their products approved by the COSC,

or Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (the acronym represents

the French name); to show they are of good quality. Though it isn’t

required, big-name watchmakers pride themselves on having the COSC test

their products for 15 days, in five positions and at three different

temperatures to receive a unique serial number (whose digits correspond

to the quality of the timepiece) and the right to officially call their

watch a chronometer.

The Swatch Group

The largest watch company in the world, the Swatch Group houses some of the most famous, but not necessarily reputable, watch brands on the planet, including Breguet, Blancpain, Omega, Jaquet-Droz Even if you’ve managed to talk the talk and name-drop some reputable brands,
there are certain remarks that can forever damage your budding reputation as a man capable of appreciating luxury watches. Here are some key ones to avoid.

“Rolex is the best.”

We don't want to give you the wrong impression: Rolexes are great watches. But what

you need to understand is that Rolexes are revered among watch lovers in the same way that BMWs are revered among car enthusiasts: Great cars, but can still be outdone by Mercedes and Porsche.

"Is it waterproof?”

Luxury watches do promote themselves as being “water resistant” -- meaning that water and

moisture are incapable of entering the casing. But asking if a watch is “waterproof” implies that you’re looking for a timepiece that you can use for swimming, scuba diving or water-balloon fights (i.e. activities not appropriate for watches designed to fit an upscale style).

“Does the watch light up at night?”

In a similar fashion to the "waterproof" faux pas, this question connotes that you are looking for a watch that helps you coordinate a 3 a.m. ice-cream binge, not one that will accent your Armani suit.

questions that show consideration

Did you know that a lot of game hosts doesn’t actually know all the answers on those shows?

Because he's the one asking the questions he seems informed on most topics. Well, the same dynamic works for watches; specifically, if you’re able to ask questions that get watch aficionados debating amongst themselves, you can simply stand back and be recognized as an
individual well versed in the trade. Here are some questions that will turn the focus away from you and get you props at the same time.

1) What is your position on the current standards for the “Swiss made” label? (At the moment, to be considered “Swiss made” a watch needs to have 50% of its components from Switzerland, while the watch’s motor and casing needs to be assembled in the country.)

2) Vertical distribution (selling watches through retailers) has been all well and

good, but how do you feel about these new boutique shops?

3) Are tourbillions (watches with a rotating mechanism that deters gravity from affecting timekeeping) really worth the price?

4) Which is a superior winding system (the self-powered engine that is

installed in most watches), the unidirectional or the bidirectional?

it’s okay to watch

Compared to women, men have very few options when it comes to accessories that exude personality (and no, glow sticks don’t count). After all, the fairer sex has shoes, purses, jewelry, and, in some cases, even small dogs to enhance the kind of image they aspire to project. Because of this limitation on males, watches have taken on new importance; they allow image-conscious men to convey an appreciation for engineering, style and status. So if elevating your appearance is a personal goal, internalise the watch primer outlined above and be sure to take
advantage of one of the few ways to make an impatient glance at the time a fashionable one.


Some myths exposed...

Rolex makes the world's best watches.

. Rolex makes superior watches and is credited with several important innovations but that doesn't mean it makes the world's best watches. Rolex may be the best known luxury brand but Patek Phillipe is widely considered by experts to be the industry's premium watchmaker.

Sometimes Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin are mentioned in the same breath as Patek Phillipe.

Next to Rolex, Tag Heuer makes the world's best watches.

. Tag Heuer make watches that cover a wide range of budgets. Most Tags are mass produced quartz pieces with unexceptional movements. Many Tags are more noted for their jewelery than their fit and finish. Tag does make some very fine, high-end models but you need to do your research.

An expensive watch keeps better time than an inexpensive watch.

Wrong. A $20 Timex will probably keep better time than a $2,000 Omega.

The reason for this is that most watches under $500 use Quartz movements, which are cheap to produce and are highly accurate. Mechanical movements, usually the domain of more premium watches, are inherently more complicated and expensive to produce and will not tell
better time than a Quartz watch. In addition, you will pay more for a watch often because of its value as a piece of jewelery.

A Swiss-made watch means the watch is completely made in Switzerland.

Wrong. According to Swiss law, a Swiss-made watch means that at least

50% of the parts are Swiss made and that the assembly, finishing, and final inspection occurs in Switzerland.

The more jewels in a watch movement, the better.

. A standard watch movement requires 17 or 18 jewels but more than

that doesn't mean it is better. Two watches with identical performance

may contain a different number of jewels. The jewels themselves are

synthetic and are not valuable in anyway except to aid a timepiece's


It's easy to tell if a watch is counterfeit or fake.

. It's increasingly difficult to tell if a watch is fake or not.

The generic fakes sold on the streets of New York are fairly obvious

fakes but there are sophisticated syndicates operating in Japan and

Switzerland that make virtually identical reproductions, including such

things as the manufacturer's logo and serial numbers.

The Omega Speedmaster is NASA's only official watch.


On July 21, 1969, the Omega Speedmaster became the first and only watch

worn on the moon. However, in addition to the Omega Speedmaster

Professional, NASA's official permissable watches are the Omega

Speedmaster X-33, the Casio G-Shock, and Timex Ironman watches.


This guide has been adapted from an article by Swiss Watch Boutique, specialising in fine Swiss watches at wholesale prices.

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