Understanding How Watches Work

Whatever Happened to Winding?

Depending on your age, you may or may not remember seeing your father wind his watch each night before going to bed. If he did not, he would surely wake to a watch that had stopped. Those days became history with the advent of the automatic watch. What makes it automatic? It still has the same basic mechanism to keep the watch working, but how that mechanism is powered changed the way we cared for our watches.

All mechanical watches work in a similar manner. They require a movement of a series of gears to “tick” of increments of time, which in turn registers as movements of the hands on the face of the watch. A rotor in the watch sits on a staff in the middle of the watch’s movement. It rotates in a circular motion and winds the mainspring which is the source of power in mechanical watches. With an automatic watch the winding of this spiral spring is done automatically with any arm or wrist movement.

Self-winding, automatic watches work great for people who wear the watch each day, but if you do not wear the watch frequently, it needs manual winding about twice a week. Even automatic watches will stay working better if they are wound manually about once every two weeks because this helps keep the watch lubricated. It is a misconception that automatic watches never need any winding, since it all depends on the movement of the arm to keep it functioning well.

A power reserve lets the movement of your watch keep time for anywhere between 10 and 72 hours. There is something called a power reserve, and the bigger the reserve, the longer your automatic watch will keep running without further movement or manual winding.

Rolex was the first watch manufacturer to devise and patent the rotor system that is still used today. They called it the Perpetual and it was part of the popular Oyster line created in the early 1930s. Emile Borer was the Rolex technician who came up with the system, but he was not the first to develop a rotor. That distinction goes to Swiss watchmaker, Abraham-Louis Perrelet as long ago as 1770. This was quite the invention because it wouldn’t be until much later in time that wrist watches were worn and there just wasn’t enough physical movement with a pocket watch to make it a feasible way to move the rotor and wind the mainspring.

Automatic watches differ from quartz watches which are powered by batteries and not by either a manual or automatic winding system. Powered by a battery, the quartz crystal inside a quartz watch vibrates nearly 33,000 times per. Watch batteries last about two years, where automatic watches have a never ending source of power: movement or motion.

Quartz watches account for most moderately priced watch sales today, but connoisseurs of watches still like the prestige and elegance of a finely crafted mechanical watch. Automatics have started to regain some of the quartz market in recent years accounting for huge increases (95%) in sales between 1993 and 1995.

Lubrication is essential to keeping an automatic watch running well. Watches can be lubricated by manually winding the watch periodically and taking it in to a jeweler once about every 3 to 5 years. When winding an automatic watch, just wind it about 30 to 40 times or until you feel some resistance. Keeping the watch is a watch winding box is also a good way to keep the watch lubricated.

Automatic watches are also quite affordable. They actually come in every price range. Some economical brands include Invicta watch and Orient watch, and then the price can reach into the very expensive range depending on the embellishments or the prestige of a specific brand.

All About Women Watches

Do you remember the women’s watches of yesterday, scaled-down versions of men’s watches, or diminutive, ladylike dress watches forever awaiting a big night out? They’re history! Today’s women’s watches have become hot fashion accessories meant to get noticed, with large, look-at-me dials, glitter galore and more color than a king-size box of crayons.

The Growing Size Of Women’s Watches

When it comes to women’s watches, petite and feminine are no longer almost synonymous. Case sizes are getting larger, and what used to be a relatively standard diameter of about 24 millimeters, is now downright petite. Some women’s styles are truly mammoth, 40 millimeters in diameter or more. Why this trend toward super-sizing? One reason is men’s watches. As they’ve grown to massive dimensions, women’s watches have bulked-up also. Another reason is the recent popularity of women’s chronograph watches, which necessitated dials large enough to accommodate chronograph subdials. And the biggest reason for the new interest in big women’s watches: the large faces have room for jazzy numerals, decorative dials, fancy hands and all manner of snazzy indicators – all the things that make a watch worth wearing.

Color And Women’s Watches

While it’s true that pink is considered the color for girls and women, so, it seems, are blue, purple, green, red and yellow. All are showing up these days on women’s watches. In addition to pastels and vibrant primary colors, there’s also a more serious palette of grays (pearl, slate, charcoal) and browns (coffee, copper and bronze) for occasions that call for some gravitas. And, yes, orange is still hot. If you can’t find a woman’s watch these days to go with every outfit in your closet, you’re just not trying. The dominant look is watchstraps and dials that match, the latter often mother-of-pearl, dyed any color you can imagine. Also popular are colored gemstones, especially sapphires, in all their various hues – yellow, pink,orange, and, of course, blue.

Wild New Shapes For Women’s Watches

We’ll bet you’ve never seen so many unusual shapes as are currently being offered by today’s watch makers. One of the biggest trends in women’s watches is non-round styles. It’s both a new development and an old one: when wristwatches came on the scene in the early 1900s, women’s models took on a range of wild shapes before settling into the more staid rounds and rectangles of later decades. Now, once again, it’s anything goes, with flower shapes (from Tissot and Citizen, among others), crosses (Roger Dubuis, Locman), egg shaped (Breguet), long rectangles curved to fit the wrist (cK), semicircles (Jean d’Eve) and ovals (from companies too numerous to mention). Van Cleef & Arpels even has a watch shaped like the Alhambra in Spain. So-called east-west watches, which are wider than they are high, are gaining fashion momentum. They’re available now in oval, rectangle and tonneau shapes, with more variations on the way.

The lesson is clear: when you’re adding to your wardrobe, don’t forget watches.

Mechanical Women’s Watches

Watch makers are all wound up about women’s mechanical watches. Ever since quartz movements came to dominate the watch world, women have largely eschewed mechanical ones. When men began snapping up mechanical watches in the 1980s – as they’re still doing today in enormous numbers – most women stayed with quartz watches.

Today, many makers of mechanical watches have launched initiatives to win women over. They’re offering a plethora of new women watch models: not plain, garden-variety mechanical watches like your grandmother used to wear, but extremely-fancy ones, incorporating a full spectrum of special features and functions: chronographs, full calendars, power reserve indicators and even tourbillons. In terms of styling, they’re pulling out all the stops, with eye-catching displays for all these exotic add-ons – a winning combination of function and fashion.

Glitzing Up Women’s Watches

These days women’s watches are so gem-laden that the term jewelry watch is almost redundant. But truly glamorous, gem-laden women’s watch models designed for after-dark festivities are more plentiful than ever. Perhaps as a consequence of this – and the need to set themselves apart from the crowd – they’re also more unusual in design, moving far beyond over-the-top bling. Just a few examples: Jaeger-LeCoultre has new jewelry versions of its Reverso watches that have diamonds set in a lopsided-checkerboard pattern and, in another model, a pattern resembling dice. Patek Philippe has a new version of its Twenty~4, decorated with a bubble pattern composed of diamonds. Cartier has several new enamel and diamond models inspired by jungle animals, including a tiger-striped pendant watch. And Piaget has a diamond watch customized with the owners fingerprint.

Watch Straps and Style

Watch straps are no longer mere appendages. As watches have become accessories, watch bands have stepped into the spotlight as well. No wonder: a watch strap can make a plain watch fancy or tone down a dressy one for office wear. Or, like magic, turn a basic watch into the perfect companion for a colorful beach wrap.

Exotic watch strap materials are hot these days and include sea snake, python, galuchat (stingray) and simulated big-cat skins (especially leopard). Fabric straps are also plentiful – Audemars Piguet has an array of embroidered silk ones on some of its women’s watches. Then there’s the old standby, calfskin, dyed a vibrant color or embossed to look like lizard.

Many watches are designed so the owner can change the strap herself. Some watchstraps can be converted from one style to another. The Baby Star by Zenith Watches, for instance, has a thin leather strap that can be worn alone or, for a sportier look, on top of a wide cuff.

Tips To Consider Before Buying Watch Online

Are you thinking of buying a wristwatch online? Join the crowd! Watches have become one of the most popular online purchases. But as you may have already discovered, the enormous variety of styles and brands can be a bit confusing. Here are some guidelines that hopefully will help you to narrow your choice.

First there is the issue of size. Watches have gotten much large over the past few years. While a typical men’s watch may have measured 32-35mm a few years ago, newer men’s watches average 38-42mm with some as large as 55mm. Rectangular watches of course tend to be narrower than round watches. Average case width for a mens’ rectangular watch is 28-34mm. Bigger watches look great in pictures, but unless you’ve tried one on, and like it – a big watch can be a great conversation piece – you should probably stay in that 40mm range.

Ladies’ watches have gotten larger as well, although many women opt to wear men’s watches these days. A large watch on a woman’s wrist can make a bold fashion statement. But if you are shopping for an average size ladies’ watch, anything under 24mm would be considered “petite”, 24-28mm “average”, and 28mm and up large. An average size ladies’ rectangular watch would be 18-22mm.

Quartz v. Mechanical. You may have heard the terms “quartz” watch and “mechanical” or “automatic” watch, but don’t really know what is the difference, or which is better. A quartz watch is simply an electronic watch, usually powered by a battery, although some are solar, and others are powered by kinetic enery. A good quality quartz watch is extremely accurate and reliable. They are also relatively less expensive than mechanical watches. The only maintenance they require is an occasional battery change. A quartz watch is the best choice for most people who just want an inexpensive, reliable watch to tell the time.

Most Citizen Watches have a technology called “Eco-Drive” which is really just a fancy way of saying solar-powered quartz watch. Solar powered watches don’t have a battery that you need to change, but an internal capacitor that will power the watch for several months when fully charged. Casio, and a number of other manufacturers also offer solar powered watches.

A mechanical watch, is a wind-up watch powered by a spring that turns a series of gears and eventually the hands. It is a more traditional technology that goes back several hundred years. “Automatic” mechanical watches are self-winding. The way this works is that a small rotor on the back of the watch’s movement spins around with any movement as you wear your watch. As it spins, it winds a spring, which provides power to the watch. When the spring is fully wound, it will typically power the watch for about 42 hours before it needs to be wound again.

Mechanical watches are popular with collectors and watch enthusiasts. Properly maintained, a good quality mechanical watch can last a lifetime and even become an heirloom.

Analog v. Digital. Analog watches are simply watches with moving hands. A digital watch is a watch with a small LED or LCD screen that displays the time in a digital format. Analog watches are considered to be somewhat more elegant and dressy, as well as traditional. The function of an analog watch is usually limited to time, day, date and maybe a stopwatch or an alarm. Digital watches frequently provide much more functionality than analog watches. Some of the newer digital watches are equipped with functions such as electronic compasses, altimeters, barometers, thermometers, timers and multiple alarms.

Another factor to consider is theĀ  “crystal”. The crystal is the glass that covers the dial. Crystals are usually made of acrylic, mineral glass, or cultured sapphire crystal. Acrylic scratches very easily, but can also be polished to remove minor abrasions.

Mineral glass is more resistant to scratching than acrylic, but cannot be polished once it gets scratched, although it is relatively inexpensive to replace. A watch with a good quality mineral crystal should hold up pretty well if you are gentle with your watches.

A sapphire crystal is virtually impossible to scratch, and theoretically can only be scratches by a diamond, or another sapphire. Watches with sapphire crystals are usually more expensive, but stay looking great for longer.

If you are looking for a “work horse” watch that you plan to wear most days, for a long time, the case material is important. Solid stainless steel, titanium or gold watches will last much longer than watches which are constructed of a base metal, and plated with another material. They also will not rust, and are less likely to provoke allergic reactions on your skin.

Swiss v. Japanese. The best watches in the world are made in either Switzerland or in Japan. The Japanese are perhaps best know for the quartz watch. Seiko, Citizen and Casio are the largest Japanese watch manufacturers and are highly respected for their quality. When you buy a Swiss watch, look for the small label on the dial that says “Swiss Made”. This guarantees the watch was constructed in Switzerland and meets a minimal standard of quality required by the Swiss government. The Swiss are best known for mechanical watches, but also produce high quality quartz watches as well.

Leather v. Metal Bracelet. This is mostly a matter of taste, but there are other factors to consider as well. Leather straps are very comfortable, lightweight and more dressy, but must be replaced periodically because sweat and dirt from your wrist causes them to wear out over time. Metal bracelets are more popular in the United States than in other places and are very durable, although some people consider them to be less comfortable. Rubber straps combine some of the durability of metal bracelets, with the comfort of leather. Rubber straps are becoming more acceptable in dressy situations and are sometimes seen on quite expensive watches.

When you buy a watch online, make sure you are comfortable with the vendor’s return policy so that you can return the watch you purchased if it isn’t quite what you expected. As with anything purchased online, you should also carefully inspect your watch as soon as you receive it, so that you can immediately report any problem to the vendor. The larger vendors are generally very good at quality control.

If you have a large wrist – over 8 inches for a man and over 7 inches for a woman – you should be aware that not every watch will fit you out of the box. Online watch dealers usually have great customer service department that can help you find a watch that will fit.

The final tip to buying a watch online is look for a vendor that has daily deals. In addition to convenience and outstanding selections, most online watch dealers have daily specials that can save you hundreds if not thousands on the watch of your choice. If you find a watch dealer that has daily deals but your favorite watch never seems to go on sale, call them directly and ask for a deal. You would be surprised on how often they will offer you a discount right on the spot.

Happy Shopping!

Selling Used Watch Online

Guides on how to buy used watches are far more common than guides on how to sell used watches.

This article will point you in the right direction by giving you a few options.

Firstly we will look at what you must do to ensure you are going to give a good deal to ensure maximum financial return for yourself, then we will look at your options for selling your used watch.

1) Firstly you must make sure your watch is in the best possible condition you can restore it to at minimum cost whilst retaining the integrity of the watch.

The easiest and cheapest way is to give your watch a good outside clean.

Simply wipe over the watch with a watch polishing cloth and then inspect for any scratches etc.

If you have major scratch damage then consider if its worth getting the watch professionally polished at your local watch dealer.

If it is light damage then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem selling it as is, but if it is heavy damage then you should consider the cost of polishing versus what you will lose in resale value and make a decision about getting it polished.

2) You should try to ensure that you have any boxes and papers that are part of the original packaging.

The more you have with regards to the original packaging and the better condition it is in, the better price you can command for you watch, especially with private buyers, dealers do not take this factor too heavily into consideration, but it does help.

Warranties are not usually too much of a concern as they are of no use to the new owner in almost all cases due to the registration policies of most watch retailers with the brands when the watch is purchased new.

You basically have 4 options when you decide to sell your used watch.

a) Private sale.

A private sale is between you and another person face to face.

This can be to a friend or relative, or it can be someone who has enquired about the watch you have advertised for sale.

You can advertise used watches in classified ads both online and offline or even via your website or Facebook.

Caution should be used in using this method. Common sense dictates that there are many dishonest people in the world and someone who arranges to meet you to by the watch after answering one of your ads may not come with the intent to give you money when they leave with the watch. That is putting it very mildly.

Private sales are best conducted amongst friends and relatives, but your circle of prospective buyers is the most limited option on the list.

b) Auction sale.

There are of course several famous auction sites that will enable you to sell your watch in a safe manner and this is by far the best and safest method with which to sell your used watch to a stranger.

The scope of prospective buyers is huge, but be sure to follow all guidelines and be honest about the watch when you enter you listing. Price it fairly and fulfill what you offer.

c) Sell to a dealer.

Selling to a watch dealer is a safe and easy way to sell a used watch but will also bring the lowest return.

Watch dealers will buy the watch at a far lower price than a private individual because the dealer has to perform checks on the watch and any repairs, they also have to try to sell it at market price be able to discount to close the deal, pay commission to the sales people and of course make a profit.

Watch stores who carry pre owned watch selections and of course pawn shops are your best port of call for dealer sales.

d) Perform a trade in.

An increasing number of watch stores are now entering the pre owned watch market and are offering a trade in service.

A “trade in” is when you select a new watch you may want to purchase and offer to part exchange your old watch in against the price of the new watch to enact a discount.

For example, you may have an old watch (watch A) and decide you want to buy a new watch (watch B)

Watch B is $10,000, the dealer offers to sell you the watch for $7500 and watch A.

Basically watch A is counted as a discount for you, the dealer wins as well because they then go on to sell the trade in watch to pull back some of the money they lost on the new watch they discounted for you.

Trade ins are safe and a good way to pull value out of your old used watch but again, unless you are buying a new watch that far exceeds the value of your old watch you will not get as much as you would if you sold it privately.

These tips will point you in the right direction with regards on how to sell a used watch.