In the recent years, watches are making a comeback. This time around, not for telling time, but as a fashion accessory.Without a doubt, the best accessory anyone can add to a particular wardrobe is a watch. It has always been a status symbol to wear a “Swiss Made” watch. It is a known fact that Switzerland has come to epitomize horology. The small city of La-Chaux-de Fonds in the canton of Neuchatel, Switzerland is the watch making Capital of the World.Here all the luxury brands house their state of the art factories. Craftsmanship and technology go hand in hand and prestigious brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Vacheron Constantin, etc. are pushing the limits of engineering and yet maintaining their heritage.
Watches come in different styles and price ranges. They can be categorized into two main types, i.e. Mechanical/Automatic and Quartz watches. Top tier watches are Mechanical/Automatic. Whereas the more affordable brands constitute both Automatic and Quartz. Mechanical watches work with different mechanical parts that have been synchronized with each other, thus the name. Mechanical watches use a mechanism to function. They have a spring, known as a mainspring that needs to be wound periodically which transmits force through a series of gears to power the balance wheel. The balance wheel is a device that oscillates back and forth at a constant rate. The escapement then releases the wheels of the watch forward a small amount with each swing of the balance wheel, this, in turn, moves the hands of the watches at a constant rate. The watch needs to be wound manually to function in this case. Then Automatic watches were invented and a device known as a rotor was added to the movement of the watch. Automatic watches are basically mechanical watches plus a rotor. This allows the watch to be wound automatically whilst wearing the watch. The rotor moves with every movement of the human hand and thus winding the mainspring of the watch constantly. Quartz watches were another step forward and were invented in the 1970s and are powered electronically, by a battery instead of a spring. The battery eliminates the needs for all the mechanical parts that constitute a mechanical watch. This simplifies the watch and is very cheap to manufacture, yet maintaining the accuracy of time. In terms of accuracy, quartz watches are far more accurate compared with mechanical or automatic watches. The Japanese invented this technology and have made watches affordable for everyone. This has negatively impacted the Swiss watch industry and many companies have either closed down or have been acquired by other bigger brands.
There are many different types of watches ranging from the simple casual watch, the more sophisticated dress watches to the chronograph or diver’s watches. Then there are the digital watches. The most ubiquitous digital watch has to be the Casio. Everyone has at least owned a Casio watch once while growing up. In recent years the trend for fashion watches has also increased. Clothing brands have launched their affordable timepieces.
These are generally quartz watches that are very affordable but come in different colors and designs. This is done so that these watches can be paired with different wardrobes without being expensive. A nice watch always complements the wardrobe and is used to make a fashion statement. Brands such a Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors and Guess stand out in this category. These watches are battery powered and mostly always manufactured in China. Then there are the mid-ranged affordable quality watches made by the Japanese. These watches are mostly quartz watches but quality Automatic watches are also made for the masses. The brands that dominate this market are Seiko, Citizen, Orient, Alba, and Casio.
Despite the advent of quartz watches, expensive Automatic (mechanical) watches still appeal to the elite customer just as expensive cars do. These ultra-rich customers can sometimes spend a fortune on watches ranging in the millions of dollars. These watches are exclusive and sometimes even limited to only a few pieces. They are made from very expensive and rare materials such as solid gold, platinum, white gold, diamonds, etc. Sapphire crystals are used for the glass on the dial of the watch due to its beauty and high resistance to scratches.
A nice watch, be it an expensive Swiss timepiece, an affordable quartz watch, or even a smartwatch always complements the wardrobe and tells you a lot about the person wearing the watch. It is a silent statement that reflects the taste and lifestyle of any person. It may also reflect the mood of someone wearing a particular type of watch. Although all the expensive brands of the world have always strived to achieve maximum accuracy of time and have added complications such as moon phase indicators, dual time and perpetual calendars to their line of watches, yet ironically a large number of people that own these sought after pieces, wear these watches to make a statement and not so much for its core function, i.e. telling the time.