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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:59 am 
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Congratulations! You have just discovered mechanical watches!

Mechanical timekeeping devices have been around since the early 17th century and they have been making a wonderful comeback lately, after quartz watches over the past 25 years dominated as ubiquitous, inexpensive and accurate "every day" timekeepers.

As a newbie to the area of mechanical watches, there are a few things you should know about them.

Your mechanical watch does not require any sort of license or any exam to study for (and it usually won't come with an instructional video disclosing the "secrets" of living with a mechanical timepiece). But just like with the newborn baby or the new puppy, you are now responsible for the watch and your personal ownership experience.

In some cases, you may actually never own the watch. You merely look after it for the next generation.... ;)

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Therefore I thought it might be a good idea to start a loose series of subjects that every new owner of mechanical watches might find useful to get started. So without further delay, here are my 10 things every new owner of a mechanical watch should know about.

But before I go too far into the details, here are some general thoughts on watches.

Just like there is clothing for certain occasions, there are different styles of watches for different occasions. And just like you wouldn't go to the beach for a swim in an elegant Tuxedo, wearing a dress watch to the beach might be a bad idea as well. You get the point.

There are many categories of watches; dress watches, sports watches, dive watches, aviator watches, military watches, chronographs, repeaters, jump hour watches, regulator watches, moon-phase watches, perpetual calendar watches, tourbillion watches and so many more. While many of these watches serve a specific purpose, the truth is that all of these different styles exist so that we have a reason to collect more watches and own watches in as many categories as possible. :wink:

One size does not fit all. Your best friend may have found the perfect watch for his lifestyle and personal taste, but that doesn't mean his choice should be your first choice. Listen and learn, but keep an open mind and pay attention to your likes and dislikes. You will eventually learn that there is no "best watch" but many "great watches for you".

The journey really can be the destination for a watch collector!

Cheers & enjoy your journey

Matt


Last edited by Matt V. on Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Accuracy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:12 am 
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1. Accuracy

There are 24 hours in a day, which translates to 86,400 seconds passing.

If the the movement in your watch is off by only 10 seconds in 24 hours (+10s/24h) as compared to e.g. an atomic clock, the error rate of your mechanical masterpiece is still only 0.022 %, the accuracy is an amazing 99.988 percent. Not too shabby for a few pieces of metal providing mechanical functions. So how does it work?

A coiled up metal spring is what powers your mechanical watch. And what's releasing that power (in more or less precise intervals) is a sort of pendulum in the shape of a wheel; the balance wheel.

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Every movement of the balance wheel swinging in one direction is called a "beat" and is causing the subtle "tick" sound you notice when listening closely.

The beat rate or the frequency of the "ticks" can be different, depending on the movement of the watch. You can find watches with a comforting beat rate of 18,000 beats per hour and some with "high beats" that tick 28,800 times per hour.

And every complete cycle of the balance wheel swinging back and forth once (2 beats) will release the second hand of the watch to move forward one position.

A watch movement with 28,800 beats per hour (bph) will release the second hand 4 times every second, causing us to perceive the movement of the second hand as smooth and sweeping.

During each back and forth swing of the balance wheel, it is exposed to numerous factors that can cause it to deviate from a previous beat.

Mechanical movements and their accuracy are affected by extremes of temperature and are designed to keep good time if worn on the wrist for eight hours a day with ambient temperatures between -10°C and +35°C. If removed completely from the wrist, your watch may gain time during the winter, but will return to normal accuracy as soon as you start wearing it again. If your watch is stored at temperatures outside the normal range (as low as -10°C or as high as +60°C) the components may even cease to function normally. By the way, even LCD display quartz watches are negatively impacted by cold temperatures and the liquid crystals inside the display can freeze up completely when they get cold enough. And warmer temperatures may cause your watch to gain time.

Position also impacts the accuracy of a mechanical movement. The friction of pinions inside their jeweled bearings not only is dependent on condition or wear and lubrication, the orientation in space of the movement (position) and thus gravity impact the transmission of the stored energy through the gears and the little gyroscope inside the mechanical movement, the balance wheel, also experiences the effect of gravity differently depending on its position.

So what does all this mean for you and the accuracy of your watch?

Well, it starts with the grade of the movement. Grade, or quality level" means the quality of the ingredients (metals, alloys etc.), the level of finishing (e.g. polished pinions) and tightness of tolerances. All of this comes at a price, but the better the ingredients, the more opportunities for the movement to perform its best.

An ETA 2824-2 automatic movement for example can be had in 4 grades: Standard, Elabore, Top and Chronometre. The differences between them can include mainspring (material), Antishock device, balance wheel (material), hairspring (material) and regulation, yet many people believe ETA is equal to ETA. ETA also allows "a la carte" upgrades to movements and clearly differentiates performance between the grades: the base model of the 2824-2 ("standard" grade), often a "gold plated" movement, is only spec'ed for +- 12s/24h average rate, 30 s max. difference between positions (regulated in 2 positions only) and +-20s/24h for isochronism performance. A top grade on the other hand is already spec'ed for only +-4s/24h average rate, 15 s max. difference between positions (regulated in 5 positions) and +-10s/24h isochronism performance. Those are significant performance differences based on different ingredients, finish and tolerances of the same basic design!!! These differences translate into precision or consistency.

But what about the Chronometer grade? It is essentially a TOP grade movement that passed the COSC Chronometer specification testing and comes with an individual serial number engraved on the barrel bridge as well as a COSC chronometer certificate. Nothing special was done to the movement itself besides the test and engraving/paperwork, yet it does come at a price.

So what exactly is the COSC?










[more to come]


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 Post subject: Date Change
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:18 am 
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2. Date Change

The movement inside a mechanical watch "stores" energy during the course of the day by tensioning a spring to later switch a date display. The movement in your watch should have been adjusted to release that spring (causing the date display to change) sometime around midnight.

Some movements perform this change beautifully and "suddenly", while others seem to start moving the date and changing the angle slowly for at least 2-3 hours until the new date is finally displayed correctly in the date window.

If your watch changes the date at noon rather than at midnight, it's not broken.
It actually still changes the date at midnight, yet you mistakenly thought it to be noon. Set the time and move the hands ahead 12 hours and you should be fine again.

If your watch changes the date at a very different time, but consistently and always around that same time (e.g. at 9pm or 4am), the hands might simply have been put on incorrectly indicating time a few hours ahead or after midnight. Get the watch to a watchmaker and he will remove the hands, put them back on in the midnight position (when the watch changes the date).

Most watches offer a quick date feature, which allows you to set the date quickly and advance it by turning the crown which has been pulled into the first setting position.

Do not use this quick set date function when the time as displayed by the hour hand is in between 8pm and 3am!!!

Some movements may get damaged on their sensitive date change mechanism (Valjoux 7750 based Chronographs for example) and you can break the mechanism by not following the rule. Others might not have enough energy stored in the date change mechanism spring afterwards to properly change the date at midnight.

Some GMT type movements have the quickset date function and GMT set function in the same first setting position. Turning the crown in one direction will change the date, turning it in the other direction will change the time indicated by the GMT hand. Follow the same rule for avoiding the quickset feature during certain times, as it may damage the movement!

If you have used the quickset date feature during the period you should not have used it and notice the next morning that watch hasn't changed the date to the correct one / is still displaying the previous days date, simply set the time ahead 24 hours and watch it change date when you set the time. You should see the mechanism perform as designed and display the correct date the next day.

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 Post subject: Luminousity
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:40 am 
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3. Luminousity

Ever since watches were first worn, people were looking for ways to use them to tell the time in darkness.
Repeater watches that announced time by chiming hors and minutes acoustically are one approach, using luminous materials that glow in the dark probably the simpler one.

Note that all luminous material follows the laws of physics!

Emitting light requires energy and that has to come from somewhere. Early approaches to luminous paint were based on Radium, a radioactive material. At the time, the effects of radioactivity on human physiology were not fully understood, which unfortunately lead to the untimely deaths of many people involved in painting the dials or working/restoring them.

Many vintage watches still have Radium painted markers or hands and should be considered hazardous material. While the Radium paint provided luminosity, it also deteriorated over time with the loss of its radioactive characteristics. This resulted in the material loosing its luminous capability.

These days, so called "Tritium tubes", small gas tubes painted with a phosphorous material on the inside and filled with radioactive H3 Tritium gas, are a popular method to provide luminosity that does not need to be "charged".

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The most popular material used for watch dials and hands however is a substance that requires "charging" and will than release this stored energy in the form of luminosity over time. The trade name for this stuff is Super-Luminova.

Here is some more (detailed) information from the manufacturer:
Quote:
Super-LumiNova® afterglow / photoluminescent pigments represent the latest, innovative development in the field of non-radioactive lighting for watch in-dustry.

Based on their extremely improved light storing capacity these new pig-ments can now be used for night markings on watch dials and hands with satisfying results. Long afterglow- or photoluminescent pigments operate like a „light battery“.

After sufficient activation by sun- or artificial light they emit light in the dark for many hours. Larger markings remain visible for the whole night. This activation and subsequent light emission processes can be repeated again and again, and the material does not suffer any ageing.

Nemoto & Co. Ltd. Japan have deposited and obtained confirmed patents all over the world for this new generation of high performance pigments (see ap-pendix 5). Super-LumiNova® pigments only can guarantee to the user and their products that there is no risk of any patent infringement. We, therefore, strongly recommend you to clearly specify the use of Super-LumiNova® to avoid any misunderstandings and unexpected proceedings.

Super-LumiNova® phosphorescent crystals belong to the class of high per-formance photoluminescent inorganic pigments. Foreign atoms built into the crystals act as activation, storage and luminous centres. With sufficient activa-tion by artificial- or sunlight, electrons are lifted in the activation centres to higher energy levels. The more intensive and the longer this activation respec-tively „charging“ lasts, the more electrons are lifted up. After a storage phase these electrons fall back to the ground level and emit the energy loss in form of visible light. Just after termination of the activation process, very many elec-trons start falling back to the ground level and emit intensive light; with pro-gressing time less and less electrons fall back and the light emission is decreasing steadily. The decay curve is just following an e-function.

The total luminous intensity is directly depending on the numbers (= mass) of luminous crystals as well as the saturation of activation. To achieve the maxi-mum afterglow, the mass of Super-LumiNova® deposit should be as big as possible and the activation as intensive to come close to saturation (see fol-lowing graphs).

Super-LumiNova® pigments are absolutely free of any radioactive substances and are pure phosphorescent inorganic pigments of Earth Alkali-Aluminate type. As such they show alkaline behaviour when getting in contact with water or humidity. The handling of these substances does not bear any risk provided safety and handling prescriptions are observed.

Super-LumiNova® pigments basically maintain their properties as a „light bat-tery“ over an unlimited period of time, since there is no chemical reaction caused by the activation and afterglow cycles. It means that these pigments can be activated again and again and will always maintain their ability to re-emit their „stored light“ in the dark.

These inorganic aluminium oxide crystals are very hard and may show abrasive properties during processing; they are resistant against mechanical stress and high temperatures up to several hundred degrees over a longer period. Super-LumiNova® pigments show excellent resistance against light and do not fade greyish when exposed to strong sunlight and high humidity, as compared with zinc sulphide pigments. Strongly coloured pigments (dark red, light green, etc.) may loose some of their colour strength when exposed to strong sunlight. ISO colours (C1 to C9), however, maintain a much better stability.

If these pigments are in direct contact with water or high humidity for a longer period of time, they suffer from destruction by forming a white (hydroxide) surface layer and start loosing some of their performance. Sufficient encapsula-tion with binder or coating with protecting varnish systems provides a good barrier against humidity influence. We strongly recommend to perform necessary tests and homologation procedures.

Super-LumiNova®-pigments show a 100 times higher brightness performance compared with known zinc sulphide pigments. The unit to express luminous intensity is Candela/m2; in watch industry it makes more sense to use nCd/mm2 (nano candelas per square millimetre). Basically this luminous intensity depends on the following criteria:

• Performance / Quality of the phosphorescent pigment
• Quantity or mass of applied pigment on dials and hands per mm2
• Degree of activation

To compare the performance of such pigments, 50 mg (0.5 mg/mm2) of pow-der material are mixed with a recommended binder and applied over a sur-face of 100 mm2 (1 cm2). The dried deposit is then fully activated by sunlight (or Osram Vitalux) and the decay of the luminous intensity (nCd) is measured vs. time. Key-values are intensities at 10, 60 and 500 minutes (a whole night) after activation. The new ISO/DIS 17514 (horology luminescence intensity specifies 30 mg/cm2 pigment deposit with activation 400 lx/20'/D65 resp. 200 lx/30'/D65.

Very often luminous intensities according to DIN 67510 T4 are specified which are based on measurements of powder material in a cuvette. These val-ues cannot be compared, however, with values indicated in this paper which are specifically defined for use in watch application.

The following graph shows the difference in luminous intensity vs. time of Su-per-LumiNova® compared with known phosphorescent zinc sulphide pig-ments:

Comparison Decay* of Luminous Pigments01101001000012345678time [hours]luminous intensity [nCd/mg]Super-LumiNova GL C3Phosphorescent Zincsulfide Pigment*fully

Based on "RC TRITEC" model calculations the achievable brightness / legibility can be evaluated already in the design phase and be adjusted, if necessary. We kindly support you in making your products in highest possible quality.
Super-LumiNova® pigments can offer their full performance only if they have been fully activated ("charged with light"). Best results are achieved with day-light (sunlight) or blue white artificial lamps. The therein contained blue light or UV emissions are mainly responsible for proper excitation of Super-LumiNova® pigments.

Under normal conditions of use, however, the markings of a watch will never be activated to saturation, although the pigments are optimised for high activation sensitivity. The new ISO/DIS 17514 with activation conditions of 400 lx/20'/D65 resp. 200 lx/30'/D65 takes these practical conditions in consideration.

Excitation vs. rel. Brightness of Super-LumiNova® GL C3with different light intensities and light sources0102030405060708090100051015202530excitation time [min]relative brightness [%]3mW/cm² (Osram Ultra Vitalux, sunlight)1000 lx (Osram Ultra Vitalux, sunlight)400 lx /D65 (6500 °K, Osram Biolux)200 lx /D65 (6500 °K, Osram Biolux)200 lx (2700 °K, Lynx, warm fluorescent light)

Practical example:

If a wrist watch is permanently covered by the shirt-sleeve it gets activated only weakly, and little light is emitted in the dark. The following graph shows after-glow performance of Super-LumiNova® pigments after different excitation con-ditions:

Afterglow performance of a dialactivated with different light sources/intensities10100100010000060120180240300360time [min]luminous intensity [nCd/dial]60' 3mW/cm2 (Osram Ultra Vitalux, sunlight)20' 400lx/D65 (6500 °K, Osram Biolux)30' 200lx/D65 (6500 °K, Osram Biolux)5' 200lx (2700 °K, Lynx warm fluorescent light)visibility level

Our standard colours are shown in the enclosed shade card. As mentioned be-fore, the colours C1 to C9 correspond to ISO-3157 and ISO/DIS 17514 stan-dard and have higher light fastness than fluorescent shades (e.g. light yellow, dark red, etc.). We are specialised in realising a wide range of special colours to your request. Basically, however, we have to mention that any coloration of the basic natural colour reduces the afterglow intensity (table 3 in appendix 1 shows relative intensities).

Designation of Super-LumiNova® pigments (as per example):

SLN GL light yellow:
SLN = Super-LumiNova pigment
GL = green line (green emission in the dark)
light yellow = daylight colour of the deposit

The daylight colour or appearance strongly depend on the thickness of Super-LumiNova® deposit and the colour of the substrate or the undercoat. If the luminous layer is very thin, the colour of the undercoat will shine through and will strongly change the appearance. How to eliminate these negative influences you will learn in the following chapter.

Super-LumiNova® pigments need to be protected against humidity. The var-nishes or binders supplied by RC TRITEC LTD. as per attached list are suitable for the use with Super-LumiNova® pigments. All these binders have excellent transparency, resistance against yellowing, outstanding adhesion properties and are suitable for a wide range of applications. Instructions for mixing and use are provided in the specific technical data sheets. Thin layers of Super-LumiNova® paint show a certain transparency. The background colour may shine through and disturb the aesthetic appearance. We, therefore, recommend to apply a white undercoat on dials and a white reflecting coat on the back-side of hands to overcome this disadvantage, and improve at the same time the brightness up to 50 % by the reflection effect.

Approved white undercoats are supplied by Berlac AG:

• Berlaprint 090.010.100
• Berlaprint 093.010.100

Because of the humidity sensibility of Super-LumiNova® pigments we supply them in hermetically tight plastic bottle and which we recommend for subsequent storage in dry environment. The storage temperature is of minor importance since these pigments are inert to temperature influence.

SUPER-LUMINOVA®
LumiNova AG
Speicherstrasse / P.O. Box 147
++ 41 71 335 73 73
++ 41 71 335 73 74




There you have it!

No free lunch, even with luminous materials. To get good performance, you need lots of material (thickness plus surface area).

You can have strong glow that fades or less strong glow that lasts longer. Think of it as a runner: you have the sprinters that go all out and are fast (strong lume, loosing its strong glow after a while though) or the long distance runners, that even out their pace and go for a long time (lume that's not as strong as the "runner's", but goes all night). There are some companies that go for the "flash" (and some watch buyers that fall for it) and chose the material that gives an initial strong luminous effect, but if you really think about it, what matters most is that the lume still works after a few hours so you can read the time at 3.00 am when it is pitch black outside.

On a separate subject: there are many self-proclaimed "experts" out there that will judge a watch by its luminous capabilities. Seriously, that makes as much sense as judging a car by its headlights! :lol:

What these "experts" fail to realize (besides the physics) is that there are watches with different applications. Many dress watches do not even have luminous material. On the other hand, large dial / large hand aviator watches live and die by legibility, even in the dark.

Hope my thoughts made some sense!


Last edited by Matt V. on Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Magnetism
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:42 am 
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4. Magnetism

[Work in progress]


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 Post subject: Maintenance and Care
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:45 am 
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5. Maintenance and Care

Your watch is a precision instrument.

Treat it accordingly and be careful with it (even though some of the macho advertising wants you to believe these mechanical luxury timepieces are invincible). Avoid undue shocks (such as dropping the watch on a hard surface or banging it into objects). Avoid wearing your watch while participating in sports like tennis or golf; the sudden acceleration or impact could cause damage to the complex mechanical movement, in some cases moving the regulator (causing changes in timekeeping), unseating the balance staff even stopping the watch or hands falling off their pinions, markers falling off the dial or luminous material breaking off the hands.

Use common sense and if you feel it might get rough, use a "beater" watch or a G-shock that was designed to take this kind of abuse. Better safe than sorry! :D

In general there are two trains of thought when it comes to maintenance; some argue that as long as the watch/movement are running fine, you shouldn't bother with service.

Others are religious about getting their watch movement serviced on a regular base.

I have heard of watches running without service for a long time, but I have also spoken to the watchmaker that performed the service once they went in and got the story on wear and tear and the excessively high cost to replace parts or restore functionality that could have been avoided with regular service.

A watch movement is a precision mechanical instrument. Not unlike a car's engine. Yes, you can drag out oil changes on your car's engine and you may be able to get away with it (for a while at least). But likely, at some point, you may incur damages that are rather expensive to fix and are in no relation to the cost of regular oil changes.

The same holds true for watches and regular movement service. The chance alone for the watchmaker to take the movement apart, inspect it for damage, wear and tear, clean it thoroughly, put it all back together, lubricate it well and check it all out again, well, makes sure that you will be able to enjoy it for a long, long time.

Yes, modern lubricants have great specs, but oils can still dry up over time or with little use. And those tiny parts do wear out if not lubed correctly.

In 5 years, a watch movement will have beat 1.26 Billion times and the tiny balance wheel inside will have swung back and forth covering a distance of about 2,352 miles. During the same time, your own heart may have only beat about 158,000 times and you are (hopefully) taking much better care of that! :)

My personal recommendation is to get a movement serviced every 4-5 years. It's the responsible thing.

Preventive maintenance; just like you wouldn't wait for the brakes on your car to fail or you wouldn't wait for the engine to blow before you change the oil, you need to consider preventive maintenance on your mechanical timepiece!

Get your watch checked for WR at least once every year and get gaskets replaced immediately when an issue is discovered.
Keep your screwdown crown closed whenever you are close to water/moisture and make sure to check it.

Check the springbars on a regular basis, especially when you wear your watch in pool watcher (chlorinated) or salt water. Those little parts are usually not rust proof stainless steel and do deteriorate (rust/break) over time, especially if they are being neglected. Nothing more frustrating than a part that's only a few dollars to fail and losing an expensive watch as a result. And no, don't look for a someone else to bail you out if you ignore the springbars rusting away right under your eyes. You can only blame yourself if you fail to pay attention!

Same with the screws on your bracelet: check them every once in a while. Make sure to use a thread locker (Loctite) after you have sized your bracelet. You don't want to have a screw pin
come loose and have the watch drop on the floor.

Bezel maintenance: Use it, move and turn the bezel every so often. Rinse the watch and bracelet thoroughly after you have been in the pool (chlorinated water) or sea (salt water) and once in a while, drop a little oil in between the case and bezel, turn the bezel to have it make its way underneath and thus lubricate it / keep the springs from oxidizing or setting.

After all, you do check tire pressure (or the lug nuts after you put a few miles on the winter radials you just put on), the air filter as well as coolant levels and make sure to change your engine's oil regularly, right?

A little preventive maintenance and care will ensure you can enjoy your watch for many years!


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 Post subject: Power Reserve
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:46 am 
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6. Power Reserve

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 Post subject: Prices
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:50 am 
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7. Prices

"You can't get something for nothing."

This old saying still holds true in the age of global markets and eBusiness. And you still get what you pay for!

We all look for that great deal, but especially these days, eBay and Internet sales increase your risk to fall victim to a scam and to loose your hard earned money in the process.

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Correct. Stay away from companies that try to wow you with marketing and that deal that sounds way too good to be true, a discount off a fictitious list price that is too good to pass up.

Don't fall for these scams!

A list price is often used to create a sense of value (and luxury, exclusivity etc.), so some brands use a fictitious inflated list price to "position" their watches on par with other watches at that price level and than offer steep discounts.

People will fall for the "perceived value" (which doesn't necessarily reflect reality) and the sense of getting a great deal at those discounts.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "value" as

- a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged
- the monetary worth of something : market price
- relative worth, utility, or importance


So value is rather subjective, and someone with a focus on "the hunt" and only getting the lowest possible price/highest discount will have a different opinion on "value" than someone who knows watches, understands the subtle differences in quality (and cost) or appreciated intangibles such as service or a business being in it for the long haul.

Let's face it, the watch industry is a business just like everything else.

Prices are usually the result of cost plus markup (even though some Very Rich Mans Watch! brands rather use "positioning" pricing, common for luxury items).

The cost of the ingredients (movements, dials, hands, cases, bracelets etc.) depends on "uniqueness", volume (think tooling costs divided by the number of items/watches being produced with these tools, raw material cost, waste) and quality (tolerances/yield).

This is where you often have the rule of diminishing returns being quoted.

A hand that is being made specifically for a watch, for example with a length that hits the markers on the dial perfectly, with an angle in the middle rather than being flat, with a highly polished finish, is a lot more expensive than a "generic" hand, produced in high volume and used by different brands/watches, painted and of a generic length. To most people, a hand is a hand and they couldn't care less if the hands and dial are cobbled together and don't really "fit".

A polished dial with applied markers is more difficult to manufacture (multiple steps) as well as to handle, resulting in lower yields and higher costs. Simple, matte finish printed dials can be easily mass produced for little cost. Many don't see the difference to an intricate dial costing many times the price of the "basic model". Others are fooled with dials that are made to look like they are hand or engine turned, yet are mass produced injection molded or stamped.

Movements can be had from ETA directly, with configuration choices like from a "menu" (forget about all the marketing you read of companies "modifying" their movements. Only very few companies can actually do that, most buy to their spec directly from ETA. Just ask the question how/where they are doing the modifications and with what tools/machines ).

Also, these days if a company hasn't been buying from ETA directly for a long time or is a smaller/newer brand, they have to buy their movements on the secondary market. And these consequently can vary greatly in quality and condition (dried up oils etc.). For many, a movement us a movement (if it says 2824 on it, it's a 2824, right?) and the differences in quality and price remain hidden behind the caseback.

Many WIS have learned these lesson over time and appreciate these subtle, yet significant differences. Sort of like a really good bottle of wine you learn to appreciate once your pallet gets some experience. OK, I'll admit it: some people prefer cheap wine in a box.

Similar to parts cost are labor costs.

Industrial labor mass producing watches on a line, with every worker only performing one step of the process, is a lot more cost effective than a certified watchmaker handcrafting a watch completely, carefully regulating and testing everything.

And if the "brand" doesn't even do their own assembly, they pay someone else (private label manufacturer) to do the job, for a markup of course (and additional markup passed on to the consumer, that doesn't really mean you're getting "more" or a "better" watch.

What most people see is only the final product, an assembled watch ("a watch is a watch"). Who cares if you have to send it back two or three times to get one without a little quirk or flaw, as long as it's cheap, right? Who cares if it runs +20s/24h out of the box, you can always regulate it yourself, right? Or do you rather pay a little more and have the QC done for you, so you receive a quality watch that is individually regulated?

Than there is the cost of distribution. A dealer who sells the watch wants to make money on it, that's why they are in business. Make no mistake, a dealer that sells at a 20% discount still makes money on the sale. What you get in return may be a completely different story though. Will they help you if you need help or just tell you to deal with the manufacturer yourself?

To me, there is value in being able to go to the dealer, see/touch/feel his inventory, buy it from the dealer right there, get it sized (if needed) and take it home. Get it WR tested every year "while I wait" and serviced when I need it. It does come at a price though.

After sale service, access to spare parts etc. is a different story. Many small brands don't even consider spare parts or have their own watchmakers, so if you need a spare part like a bezel a few years down the line, you may be out of luck. That low price watch you bought may have turned into a "disposable" and not be such a great value after all.

And there is the marketing cost. Full page ads, celebrity endorsements, event sponsorships. Even the "wining and dining" some Very Rich Mans Watch! brands do with their customers. It may make you feel better about your purchase, give you the "image transfer" you need that comes with branding and brand recognition, but does it really make the product any better (or make it a "better value")?

So when you compare two or three watches of similar price, they may have arrived at that price in very different ways. Even watches of a different price may reveal a lot about their actual value if you look at them closely. Do you prefer higher quality ingredients or marketing to make you feel good about your purchase?

In the end, what matters to you says a lot about yourself. Are you a hunter/gatherer only in for "the kill" or the lowest cost or are you a Connaisseur that recognizes and enjoys a fine timepiece?

Note that when you vote with your pocket book, you directly influence where this industry (and our hobby) is going.

If all you want is the lowest price ("Wall-Mart" model), than that's what you'll get. The good, the bad and the ugly. You are supporting it and you'll have to accept all of the consequences.

If however mechanical timepieces are still a coveted luxury item for you, you notice and appreciate quality and the subtle differences and are more concerned with tangibles like "the heart", the ingredients and after sales service and support, your definition of value is a different one.

[More to come]


Last edited by Matt V. on Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Service
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:54 am 
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8. Service

If you own or drive a car, chances are, you've had to have some sort of service done to your vehicle. Be that an oil-change, rotating of the tires or even new parts like new brake pads installed.

Watches and their mechanical movements need to be serviced just the same.

[more to come]


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 Post subject: Straps and bracelets
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:55 am 
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9. Straps and bracelets

[work in progress]


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 Post subject: Water Resistance
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:00 pm 
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10. Water Resistance

Let's face it: no watch is absolutely water proof and I don't care what statements marketing sometimes makes!

But your watch was designed for a certain water resistance.

Understand what that depth rating means in the real world and respect it!

A dress watch with a 30m WR value probably shouldn't be worn on a scuba dive, even if you won't get down to that depth.

The watch was likely tested to be properly sealed at the manufacturer when it was built and shipped. Don't assume that this isn't going to change over time. It is now your responsibility as the owner of the watch to maintain that water resistance, or at least to monitor it and act accordingly, if you don't want to risk potential damage. Get your watch WR tested every year and the gaskets replaced if needed. And always make sure the crown is either pushed down or screwed down all the way when you have a watch with a screwdown crown.

Failure to follow these simple rules can result in water entering the watch case and potentially causing expensive damage. In that case, you should only blame yourself and accept responsibility!

[more to come]


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:20 am 
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that's a great deal of info mate, thank you so much for sharing this! it got me enlightened :)


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:09 am 
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Hello,\
well its mean mechanical watches are good by quality as compare then quartz,
am still use quartz watches and this brand is new for me....now I decide to discover this world also.


Last edited by DavidBrett on Sat May 12, 2012 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Welcome David
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 9:15 am 
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I think when you do a little research you'll find that MarcelloC's autos will give you as much good service and is nearly as accurate as any quartz watch you could buy. My N3 is several years old and still runs pretty close to my atomic G-Shock day-in-and-day-out.


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