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Guide to watches

For many men, a watch is the only piece of jewellery that they will wear on a day to day basis (apart from a wedding ring), so it's understandable that they want to get it just right. A watch can make or break an outfit: tying it together or standing out like a sore thumb. This guide sets out the key points you need to know.

 

Watch Movements

There are several different types of watch movements and depending on your lifestyle and personal choice you will probably find one type will suit your needs better than the others.

Manual wind
A mechanical watches consist of a mainspring and barrel to power the watch, a set of wheels to transmit the power down the to the escapement and motion work to allow you to be able to set the time and wind the watch up. The escapement consists of a balance wheel and pallets on most modern watches this is known as a lever escapement. There are also various other types of escapement such as Omega’s Co-Axial. Mechanical watches must be hand wound, usually every day but some more unique watches will run for 8 days between winding.

Automatic
An automatic watch is basically a manual wind watch with an automatic mechanism attached to the top of it. The automatic mechanism is a special set of wheels and a rotor weight.  When the watch is moved it causes the weight to spin in which turns the gears to turn and winds up the mainspring of the watch. Automatic watches tend to keep better time because they are constantly worn the watch is effectively always fully wound up which provides a constant force to drive the mechanism, where as in a manual wind watch the power from the mainspring slowly diminishes as the spring unwinds.

Quartz
Quartz watches are a battery powered and use a piece tiny piece of synthetic quartz crystal to measure time. Quartz is a piezoelectric material this basically means if mechanical pressure is applied to it the quartz will produce an electric current, if an electric current is passed through it the quartz crystal will vibrate at a precise frequency which is then used to measure the time, this is then processed by the integrated circuit and a stepping motor is used turn the wheels and in turn the hands of the watch

Solar Powered/ Eco drive
Solar powered watches are basically just quartz watches but the dial is a solar panel and instead of a normal battery it contains permanently rechargeable lithium ion cell. Natural or artificial light is captured through the solar panel on the dial and then transferred into energy which is stored in the lithium ion cell. The watch then works in exactly the same way as any other quartz watch.

Radio Controlled
Radio controlled watches again are basically just a quartz watch with a radio transmitter attached which receives a signal every 15mins and adjust your watch to the correct time to ensure it is always keeping accurate time.

Water resistance

ATM

Feet

Meters

Usage

3

100

30

Splash proof should not be fully immersed in water.

5

165

50

A watch with this level of water resistance is capable of being worn around sinks, while playing sports and surface swimming.

10

330

100

A watch with this level of water resistance is capable of being worn around sinks, while playing sports, swimming and snorkelling.

20

660

200

A watch with this level of water resistance is capable of being worn around sinks, while playing sports, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.

100

3300

1000

A watch with this level of water resistance is capable of being worn around sinks, while playing sports, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and deep sea diving.









 

Top tips to keep your watch water resistant

Never press the pushers or pull the crown out while immersed in water.

  • If the glass crown or cases seals get damaged the watch will most likely not be water resistant any longer if this happens take your watch to a reputable watch maker and have the relevant parts changed and the watch’s water resistance checked.
  • Watches water resistance should be checked at least once every 12 months although if you regularly use your watch for swimming or diving every 6 months would be recommended.
  • If your watch comes into contact with salt water wash it well in fresh water afterwards (salt water will corrode the seals.
  • If the watch has a screw down crown make sure this is fully screwed into the case before allowing the watch to come into contact with water.

Watch terminology 

 

Term

Meaning

Analogue

Is a watch that displays the time via 2 or more hands.

Aperture

A hole in the dial something is displayed through usually the day or date.

Bezel

The bezel is the outer metal ring around the crystal of the watch. It is used to hold the crystal on the watch. Sports watches often having rotating bezels with various different markings to which can be used to measure various different things including speed or distance travelled.

Calibre

Was originally used to state the configuration and size of the movement of the watch. Now is generally used to state the maker and individual movement reference.

Case Back

The back of the watch is called the case back his is usually removable although on certain types of watch the glass is removable and the movement come out of the case via the front of the watch. The case back can be fitted in several different ways, the majority of lower end watches have snap on case back which are just a friction fit, more expensive and waterproof watches are generally a screw fit or have small screws to hold the case back on.

Chronograph

A chronograph is a watch with a stopwatch function usually indicated on either one, two or three sub dials.

Chronometer

 

Is a Standard set by the Official Watch Institute of Switzerland (COSC). The watch has to be tested and confirmed to keep time to within very strict guidelines.

 

Crown

The crown is used for setting the time and date or any other functions of the watch and if mechanical also for winding the watch.

Crystal

 

The glass or plastic that covers the watches dial that prevents the hands and dial from getting damaged.

Digital

Is a watch that displays the time via an LED or LCD display and has no hands.

Dual or Multi time

This is a type of watch that displays two or more time zones

End of life indicator

The end of life indicator is a feature of more modern quartz watches, when the watches’ battery is running low the watches second hand will start to jump four seconds at a time indicating the battery is coming to the end of its life.

Hands

The pointing devices usually anchored in the centre of the watch which indicate the time via markings on the dial.

Helium Escape Valve

A system used for diving it is to allow helium to escape from the watch while in a decompression chamber.

Jewels

 

Within a watch movement there are usually jewels these are synthetic rubies used as bearings for the wheels of the watch mechanism.

Screw Down Crown

A watch which has a crown that screws into the case to improve the water resistance properties of the watch.