As a beginner, I can’t distinguish between Patek Philippe and Raymond Weil, or Carl F. Bucherer and Le Méridien, it is normal and there is no need to worry. In this overly serious industry, brands and the media tend to overestimate the public perception, and exploring the wonderful Swiss watchmaking world seems prohibitive, and the burly security guards in front of most high-end boutiques don’t look friendly. If you want to buy a timepiece for your family, friends, or yourself (whether it is a popular style of the logo series or a comparison and selection from different brands and different models), but you do not know where to start, please read it patiently, the following is for everyone Listed some basic elements to consider.
Made in Switzerland
The Swiss watchmaking industry is mainly distributed in three regions: Geneva, the Jura Valley, La Chaux-de-Fonds, and later formed an industrial concentration area around the city of Biel. Notable exceptions, such as IWC on the other side of the country, the city of Schaffhausen on the German border.
Swiss watches are among the most popular in the world, but what is ‘Swiss’? This question may sound funny, but there are strict rules about the application of the ‘Swissness’ or ‘Swiss Made’ label. The new federal law, which came into effect on June 21, 2013, strengthens the concept of “Made in Switzerland”. Specific to the watch product category, at least 60% of the value contained in the movement and the watch must be created in Switzerland. In Switzerland.
The fact that ‘Swiss Made’ is printed on the dial of a watch does not mean that all parts of the watch are made in Switzerland. Watches that meet the more stringent 100% Swiss-made standards are derived from those ‘Manufacture’ brands that make most of the parts themselves and assemble the watch. Given Switzerland’s high labor costs, this self-heating will have a considerable impact on prices, making this type of watch even more special. You may find a Swiss watch with a Swiss movement for less than 2,000 Swiss francs, but if you add the concept of ‘Manufacture’, the price of the movement can easily be doubled.
What to watch for: watch case
Watches made by top brands such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are made almost entirely of precious metals, such as red, white and platinum. Gold watches are a status symbol in many countries and cultures. For example, in the United Kingdom, gold watches are often the first choice for gifted retirees because the gold material itself guarantees luxury. However, for most of us, classic Swiss watches often come with a stainless steel case, and price is one of the main reasons. Most Swiss-made watches are made of 316L stainless steel. This material does not contain nickel and does not cause any skin allergies; it will not be oxidized or rusted over time, and can be polished during maintenance. Restores the original gloss. Of course, there are also lower cost steel materials available, which means more affordable watches.
Special attention should also be paid to the lugs, which usually take the form of elongated protrusions that attach the strap or bracelet to the case. A poor-quality watch may have sharp edges, which can catch clothing, tear cuffs, and even hurt the skin. Swiss watch cases are mostly polished by hand and machine to ensure smooth and rounded edges. Hold in your hand or wear your wrist, you can clearly distinguish the difference between luxury watches and inferior products.
The case has a variety of shapes, from classic round to rectangular, square, barrel and pillow. The combination of a unique case or bezel with a specific material has become a signature feature of many famous series. For example, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was the first luxury watch collection to feature a stainless steel case, featuring a unique octagonal bezel with screws. Brands like Cartier have shaped the shaped case into an important symbol of a series of products, such as the rectangular Tank watch and the deformed Crash watch.
What to choose from: watch straps
Above we mentioned the stainless steel case, the same material also applies to the bracelet. As far as the bracelet is concerned, comfort seems to be more important, so make sure that the bracelet is polished and has a smooth outline. Whether stainless steel or various kinds of gold, the bracelet can have a variety of designs, but it is almost always composed of metal links, which can have various sizes and surface finishes.
In addition to the bracelet, there is also a strap. Since French dominates the Swiss watchmaking industry, the French word ‘Bracelet’ can refer to either a metal bracelet or a strap, which can sometimes cause confusion. Anything that connects the watch to the wrist in a non-metallic form is called a strap, whether it is rubber, leather, or fabric.
Watch lovers, especially men, have also created a unique strap culture. The strap can come from a variety of leathers, such as calfskin, crocodile and salmon. Rubber straps are very suitable for diving watches, and fashionable NATO straps woven from various materials are now even used in high-end collectible watches. Different strap options may complement or split the look of the watch. As the saying goes, you pay for your money. You may be able to buy a normal NATO strap for less than 50 Swiss francs, but high-quality handmade leather also has its price, so don’t be surprised if you see a high-end leather strap with a price of several hundred Swiss francs. Due to its affordable price, NATO straps can easily be replaced with colors based on specific models or special events, from F1 team color schemes to Wimbledon’s signature purple-green.
What to watch: dial
If you read hundreds of watch technical specifications, you will find that the dial can have a variety of colors and retouching, silver, brushed and electroplated. In addition to the enamel dial (there are many different types), the first thing to consider when making a selection is the color scheme. Then readability. Can you see the time? If there are other functions, such as timing, can it be read clearly? Switch to a dark environment and try again, now? Is there a fluorescent material on the dial, and if so, how bright is it in the dark? It may not sound that important, but keep in mind that this is one of the criteria NASA considers when screening the lunar table.
Sometimes it is not necessary to check the technical specification manual, and the dial will provide us with relevant information. Watches that comply with Swiss-made labelling requirements are decorated with the word ‘Swiss Made’ somewhere on the dial, usually on the bottom of the dial. If it is an automatic watch, the dial will also be decorated with ‘Automatic’ to confirm that the watch is equipped with an automatic movement. In more refined and luxurious watches, you can also see the words ‘guilloché main’, which refers to the hand-guilloché embellishment; or ’email grand feu’, which indicates that this is a large fire enamel dial.
What to choose from: Precision Chronograph (or Observatory) and Chronograph
In simple terms, a Chronometer is a device that measures time. But in the watchmaking industry, the term refers specifically to precision timing instruments, because ISO 3159 specifies the conditions that watchmaking brands need to meet when they want to use the ‘Chronometer’ for a specific model. Chronograph, on the other hand, is a device for measuring elapsed time. The root of ‘Chronograph’ comes from the Greek words ‘chronos’ and ‘graph’ because early chronographs recorded the elapsed time in the form of dots.
What to choose from: Movement
If you are a collector or enthusiast, you may already have a certain understanding of the inner workings of the watch; if you are a complete beginner, you need to know some very basic but very important knowledge. First of all, all watch movements operate according to the principle of vibration, and the vibration is divided step by step until it is converted into a fraction of a second. Taking a quartz movement as an example, an electrical pulse from a battery excites a quartz oscillator to vibrate at a very high frequency (typically 32,768 Hz).
The mechanical movement has a history of centuries and powers the earliest pocket watches. It still occupies an important position in the Swiss fine watchmaking industry. The biggest advantage of the mechanical movement is that it does not require a battery. The energy is stored in the mainspring. The mainspring is wound manually or manually (Automatic / Self-Winding) to convert the movement of the wrist into the energy of the mainspring. The existence of the escapement means that the mainspring will not release all the energy at one time, but will transmit it to the balance and hairspring in a controlled manner, during which the vibration will be gradually divided to a fraction by the gear train. second. The vibration frequency of most mechanical movements is between 2.5 and 5 Hz, which means that the second hand can be accurate to one tenth of a second. In general, the most intuitive way to distinguish between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch is to look at the second hand. The second hand of the quartz watch is ‘jump second’, which jumps one cell at a time; the second hand of the mechanical watch is ‘sweep second’, which passes smoothly continuously.
Quartz movements can be produced on a large-scale industrial scale, requiring almost no skilled artisans; mechanical movements are mainly manually assembled by experienced watchmakers who know how to adjust the movement to the best accuracy. Therefore, the price difference between the two movements is very large, which is reflected in the average price of mechanical watches is much higher. In some cases, Swiss mechanical watches are equipped with a transparent sapphire case back, allowing you to watch the movement. In addition to being able to tell the difference between manual and automatic (the automatic movement is equipped with a winding oscillating weight), this is also a good way to check the quality of the retouching of the movement.
What to look for in a table: complication
‘Complication’ in watch terminology refers to additional functions added to the basic mechanical movement. One of the most common complication in men’s watches is timekeeping, and one of the most popular complication in women’s watches is the moon phase display, which is usually paired with a date display to describe the current state of the moon. Other common complication features are calendars of varying degrees, from the simplest ‘date’ to ‘week-date’, to ‘three calendars’ (week, date, and month), annual calendars (required only once a year at the end of February Manual adjustments) and more complex perpetual calendars (taking leap years into consideration without requiring any adjustments until 2100 years ago).
What to watch for: men’s and women’s watches
Men and women have different tastes, and watchmaking brands also take this into account in their function and design. On the one hand, men tend to look for functional watches and may be particularly interested in the movement; on the other hand, women may be more interested in practicality and do not want to worry about whether the watch needs to be wound. Watch sales statistics show that women show a clear preference for quartz watches, while men like the complexity of mechanical movements. The watchmaking brand caters to women’s tastes, and launches a gold case and mother-of-pearl dial. The original simple and low-key case, dial and even the bracelet are paved with diamonds, shining brightly. However, some women prefer to wear a watch specifically designed for men. Therefore, we often hear such complaints. Ordinary watches are either too masculine or too feminine, and the products provided by watchmaking brands fail to meet their neutral aesthetic taste.