To some people, a good wrist watch is characterized by its physical appeal – that’s how shining the case together with the dial and strap appear to look. And to many, they believe that a good wrist watch has to do with how much it really costs.
There’s a school of thought or rather a generalized myth that best and quality wrist watches are known by their prices. The more expensive a wrist watch appears in the market, the more value and sophisticated the craftsmanship offers.
I wouldn’t want us to subscribe to that in this guide. We will look into it in a future post. Today, I will show you the major characteristics one should focus when deciding to buy wrist watches. You may need to check our earlier guide on Wrist Watch Buying Guides – Things to consider when buying Watches.
Characteristics of a Good Wrist Watch
- Watch material
- Watch mechanism
1. Watch material
In our guide, things to consider when buying Watches, we explained a lot about watch materials. Watch materials include watch case, strap and type of crystal. The commonest watch case materials are stainless steel, alloy metal, ceramic and wood.
Stainless steel has dominance in both watch case and strap. It is used because of its strong resistance to corrosion and durability. In watches, the application of stainless steel varies alot. The popular stainless steel in watches is 316L (having a low percentage of carbon).
Alloy is a better alternative to stainless steel and popularly used in low cheap watches. They are not bad watch materials but not strong resistant to corrosion as found in stainless steel. Cheap watches use alloy metal in their cases and strap. Some average watch manufacturers combine both stainless steel (which could be 304, 304L, 316) and alloy metal together.
When we talk about watch band or strap, there is synthetic leather or what is referred as PU Leather, Genuine Leather, Stainless steel, Alloy steel, Rubber. Stainless steel and Genuine leather have been favourite watch bands because they are reliable.
Other watch materials to consider are the type of crystal used in the watch making process. Three crystal types are
- Acrylic glass
- Mineral glass / Hardlex
The better options are sapphire crystal and Mineral glass. Sapphire crystal is touch and has a strong hesitance to scratch than mineral glass. Acrylic glass is quite poor – it scratches so quickly.
2. Watch mechanism
Watch mechanism defines the internal architecture and working of wrist watches. As cars have chassis and engines, so wrist watches have cases and movements. The watch movement controls how our watches keep time depending on how they are crafted.
Watch movement is the powerhouse of wrist watches, pocket watch or any timekeeping device. Most people are literally enthusiastic about how shinny the watch case captures their attention same way those cheap watches we usually come across at car parks than noting the internal details.
These are watch movements
- Chinese Movement
- Mechanical Movement
- Automatic Movement
- In-house Movement (optional).
The worst among the four watch movements are Chinese movement and sometimes in-house movement. Chinese movements are so cheap and not really reliable in timekeeping.
If you were able to buy wrist watches between ₦300 – ₦5000, the chance is that it is a combination of cheaper watch materials. You should not mind what they write in their description. Check the materials that may be involved in watches in that price range.
- Alloy case or Mixture of alloy metal and stainless steel (304, 304L, 316),
- PU Leather, Alloy or rubber strap
- Acrylic glass mirror
- Chinese movement or undisclosed in-house movement.
These materials above are technically what you paid for in a ₦300 – ₦5000 wrist watch. I am not with the opinion to spend a fortune in order to buy a watch. Undisclosed in-house movements are terrible in the sense that it becomes nightmare for watchmakers to repair the movement.
Craftsmanship is what makes a wrist watch unique and stand out. It is quite obvious that fashion watches have taken off the interesting part of horology and timekeeping. Usually, a watch represents pride, history, homage and still reflects to timekeeping.
Earlier watch making process takes a lot of days to make a watch. This is attributed to the fact that watchmakers are directly involved in the watch making rather than commercial mass production of wrist watches. Brands like Omega, Patek Philippe have strong and unique watch making models.
A good watch enthusiast has passion for craftsmanship rather than random watch designs in the market. I would not miss to point out on cheap watches whose case are too shinny. The materials are electroplated with cheap metals that wear off in less than 2 months.
Buy watches that has a strong sense of pride and history. Fashion watches fades within some periods because they keep changing as trends come and go but watches that have inspiration from history and horology, are presents to always remember in times to come.
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