How To Buy A Watch: The Ultimate Guide For Men
There comes a time in almost every man’s life when he feels the itch. No, not that itch. The itch, the urge, the pull, the veritable rite of passage that is buying a proper watch.
But what is a proper watch? To Esquire, it’s one that shows you’ve made the effort, that you’re no longer content telling the time from your mobile, that – yes – you’ve taken a big step toward actual, bona fide manhood.
The problem with the world of men’s watches (“horology” to give its proper name) is that it can feel to the outsider like a pretentious club that doesn’t want you as a member. Ask a watch bore about the difference between a quartz and an automatic movement and he’ll look at you like you’ve used his best single malt whisky to get a bonfire going.
Happily, Esquire is here to help you through the horology jungle, so you can feel empowered to make your next big watch purchase with confidence. Knowledge is everything.
What You Need To Know About Movements
The first step on the road to owning the watch of your dreams is understanding the basics of what makes them tick. Yes, literally.
That means a quick word on the importance of ‘movements’.
The movement (also called a calibre) is the mechanism inside a watch — the “engine” that powers the thing. In modern watchmaking there are two main types of movement. The first is the quartz, which uses an oscillator, regulated by a piece of quartz and powered by a battery, to keep time. The majority of high-street watches use quartz movements as they’re cheap to make and extremely accurate. The second type of movement is when things get interesting.
Quartz v Automatic
For “real” watch-lovers, only mechanical movements are an acceptable way of powering a watch. While there are some manually-wound models about, the majority of mechanical movements are now “automatics”.
An automatic calibre works by using the movement of the wearer’s wrist to wind the mainspring, which in turn powers the watch. The great watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Omega, all produce in-house movements, which are exhaustively tested before being put on sale. Other watch companies buy in ready-made calibres from specialist manufacturers like ETA or Sellita, which are used in countless mid-range automatics.
Despite the fact that watch snobs would never dream of buying a quartz timepiece, they actually beat automatics hands-down for accuracy. So why all the fuss about mechanical watches?
Keep up-to-date with the latest news, styles and advice on men’s watches right here