What You Need to Know When
Buying a Wrist Watch
When you have made the decision "I want to buy
a watch" there are a number of things that you should consider, and it
does not matter if you want to make an online purchase and buy a
watch with a diamond bezel,
a collector's timepiece, an expensive quality watch that makes a
wearer or a low cost replica, here are some suggestions that may help
make a wise choice when you purchase your next watch. An understanding
of the different parts or components of a watch will help you
understand the terms used in an advertisement and allow you to better
make comparisons between different brands and styles that are
available. It will also mean that when you have bought your watch it
will most likely be suitable for your needs and just what you want.
Address or Street Address of the Seller
There are many reputable online retailers where you can buy a
watch at a greatly reduced price, who only have a web address, usually
a phone number where you can make contact, and who have been giving
and reliable service for many years.
But you may prefer to have peace of mind by buying a watch online from
a seller who also has a physical street address.
Manufacturers of quality watches normally appoint a network of dealers
and there are usually advantages when you buy a watch from one of these
authorised agents. An authorisation agent should ensure that you
an authentic watch, true to the brand that you have chosen, and not a
or a replica, and guaranteed new and not worn or refurbished. The
should also be able to explain the quality and the benefits of the
components that the manufacturer has used.
The Components of a Watch
To be able to select a watch that best meets your needs you would
benefit by knowing the names and functions of the main components.
First the watchcase, which is the housing that contains the time
keeping mechanism and is made of gold or silver plated brass in lower
value watches, or from stainless, gold or platinum in the higher
quality and prestige wrist watches.
The time keeping mechanism is called the movement, and this movement
may be mechanical and consist of a series of gear wheels and a main
spring which provides the power. The main spring can be powered by
winding a knob, which is called the crown, and is located on the edge
of the watch. In
earlier watches the crown was used to "wind" the watch, that is power
the mainspring and it could be pulled out to a position where it could
be rotated to alter the time indicated by the hands and to carry out
functions such as displaying the day and date, showing the phases of
moon, acting as an altimeter or incorporating an alarm, and these are
adjusted by one or multiple crowns.
The transparent covering of the watch face is called the crystal and
crystals come in three types, acrylic which is an inexpensive plastic
that resists cracking but is easy to scratch, a mineral crystal which
is a manufactured glass product and is harder and more scratch
resistant than the acrylic but will shatter more easily, and sapphire
crystals that are manufactured, are chemically the same as sapphire
gems and are nearly as hard as diamond, are very scratch resistant, and
are the most expensive.
The bezel is a metallic ring that surrounds the face of the watch and
holds the crystal in place. A sports watch may have a bezel that is
graduated with minutes or seconds marked on it and can be rotated and
so be used
to calculate elapsed time. Fashion watches may even have precious
stones such as diamonds embedded in the bezel.
The watch face is called the dial and is usually marked in hours and
minutes, but sometimes other markings may be used and a certain amount
of judgement may be needed to assess the time that is indicated by the
A bracelet is a metal band which is usually made up from a series of
links that can be added or removed to let the bracelet fit the user's
size and the watch is attached to the bracelet. Some bracelets are made
from flexible woven metal with length adjusting clips.
A watch strap is similar to a bracelet but is made of a flexible
material such as leather or plastic.
Types of Watch Movements
Mechanical watches are watches where the power is obtained from a wound
up coil mainspring, and that power is then passed through a balance
wheel that ocillates back and forth and then through a
series of wheels and gears that measure time and then display that time
by rotating pointers, or hands, to point to a time scale marked on the
This method of indicating the time is referred to as an analog display,
and is often preferred to a digital display because a referenced time
can be visually judged from the position of the hands, whereas a mental
calculation is often required if the time is displayed in a digital
form. Mechanical watches may lose up to 30 seconds or so every 24
hours, nevertheless traditionalists often prefer mechanical movements
and many of the highly priced collector watches are mechanical.
Quartz watches are by far the most common today and quartz movements
are found in most analog watches and in all watches showing digital
displays. They operate by having an electrical charge which may be from
a battery, or a small
within the movement which is activated by the wearer's arm movement, or
a small solar cell embedded in the watch face, and this charge causes a
very thin synthetic quartz crystal to vibrate at a known frequency. If
the watch has an analogue display it converts this pulsation into a
mechanical pulse which is passed through a system of gear wheels which
finally control the hands on the watch to indicate the time. If the
watch has a digital display the vibrations of the quartz crystal are
passed through an electrical curcuit that is able to reduce the pulse
until they vibrate once each second, and this pulse is then
used to move the digital time forward by one second. The watch then
counts these pulses until they reach 60 and the watch then moves the
minute display forward by one minute and so on.
Quartz watches have the
advantage of being far more accurate time keepers than pure mechanical
watches because the quartz crystal vibrations are much more
precise and regular than the back and forth spinning of a balance wheel
in a mechanical watch, and they may only gain or lose one or two
minutes over a year time
span, they do not require the winding of a mainspring, they have no or
moving parts and require little maintenance, they can be built and put
into thinner cases, and so are less bulky.
One advantage when you buy a watch from an authorised dealer is that
you will have access to the manufacturers warranty whereas a
non-authorised seller will usually provide their in-house warranty, or
use an outside firm that specialises in providing warranty services.
Such in-house warranties can be excellent value and match that of the
manufacturer, but you may have a preference to use an authorised
dealer, if so, add that point to your list. Warranties should be
viewed, checked and considered, and may extend for a few months to five
Discounted watch prices are common, and are often offered by online
retailers who are not authorised agents and so do not have to maintain
an agreement or contract requirements with the manufacturer, and this
allows flexibility in setting prices. These retailers often have a very
big turnover, buy in large quantities from warehouses or resellers, and
so buy with large discounts that can be passed on to the customer.
caution should be taken, and you must be satisfied when you buy a watch
at a very large discount that the watch is what you believe it to be.
you buy a watch with a particular brand name you should be sure that
you receive is not a replica, that it is genuine to its brand and has
not been used or refurbished. Unless of course you intend to buy a
that is a replica, has been used, or has been refurbished.
A collector's timepiece may be new or used watch and would be best
purchased from a reputable seller, preferably one of long standing in
the watch industry. You may buy a watch that is new with the hope that
it will become a collector's piece because it is from a limited
production run, a one-off diamond watch that appeals to you because of
its beauty, or of a quirky or unusual design watch that you think may
become a collector's item in time because of its uniqueness.
If you want to buy a watch that appeals to you, and you do so
irrespective of the price, and you want to keep and wear it, or maybe
just admire it, then it is a collector's piece to you, and you place
your own value on it.
Used watches of superior brand and quality can sometimes become a most
desirable collector's item and they are an entirely different matter.
Rolex have achieved this status and businesses have developed around
restoring them to their original condition and they can become very
expensive to buy.
Mechanical watch movements require periodic maintenance, they are not
as accurate as electronic movements and are subject to the effects of
magnetism and ambient temperatures, but they are often a most desirable
collectable watch because of the care and craftmanship that goes into
their manufacture, in fact wearing a quality mechanical watch is often
looked upon as a status symbol.
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