Which Watch Should I Buy?
I am often asked this question by my customers. Before a question like that can be answered, I have to ask for what type of watch you are looking.
What purpose will the watch serve?
There are many different watches made for many different purposes and you need to know how the watch will be used.
What do you need the watch to do?
First, you need to know if the watch will be a dress watch worn only on evenings out, or will it be a watch you will wear while working in the garden? A dress watch can be slim and elegant, more like a piece of jewelry; a work watch should be more durable and easy to read.
Do you need the watch to be water-resistant?
Will you wear it in the shower or diving?
There is a big price difference between a water-resistant watch and a professional diver’s watch.
Do you want a watch you can wear in the shower or a watch that will be used for scuba diving?
Gaskets should be coated with a silicon-based lubrication when the watch is opened and available locally if they are damaged.
What functions do you need?
Do you want a calendar, a stopwatch, a watch that gives time in more than one time zone, an alarm?
How much accuracy do you want?
Do you time sporting events or is accuracy within a minute or two a day close enough for you?
Do you want a mechanical watch or a quartz watch?
A quartz watch uses a battery that needs replacing every one to three years but usually does not require as much maintenance as a mechanical. A mechanical watch uses a mainspring for power and requires cleaning and oiling every four years or they are subject to wear. Quartz watches are generally more accurate but many people prefer the “art,” shall we say, of the mechanical watch.
Are you looking for a work watch that you need for the time function only, or are you looking for a watch that will be passed down in the family?
I repair many watches that came from fathers and grandfathers.
Are you looking for an investment?
Watches can be a good investment if you are careful and study the market for used watches.
How much money do you want to spend?
Are you prepared to spend thirty dollars, three hundred, or three thousand?
You might spend one hundred and twenty dollars on a work watch or several thousand on a precision high-grade watch. There are watches available on today’s market that sell for seventy or eighty thousand dollars.
Do you want a gold plated case or do you need stainless steel?
The thickness of gold plating today is measured in microns; stainless steel wears forever but only comes in white. Titanium watches are available but band replacement might be a problem. Several years ago watches appeared on the market with the band integral to the case. When the band wears out, as bands do, will you be able to replace it. Seiko has a policy of discontinuing parts, bands included, after the watch is ten years old. Is the crystal – the glass covering over the face of the watch – easy to replace or will it have to be specially cut? Round and flat crystals are readily available but a faceted crystal might not be available a few years from now.
Is the crown – the part used to set the watch – easily replaced?
Rolex crowns, for example, are easy to replace but are lock-down crowns that require the threaded tube to be replaced at the same time. They require more time than a dress watch that can usually be repaired in a day. In the last few years some watch manufacturers have decided not to supply watchmakers with the parts to repair their watch, so the watch must go to the factory; sometimes for something as simple as a new gasket or a crown. Sending a watch to a repair center means packing and shipping and waiting six weeks or more for your watch to be returned. There are several local watchmakers competent to repair and seal any watch available but are constrained by the lack of a part.
To summarize: Decide what you want and purchase a watch that has only the functions you need and no more. The parts that are most subject to damage or wear are the BAND, CRYSTAL, CROWN, and GASKET. You should be able to replace the band with whatever type of band you want; expansion, leather strap, or bracelet. The crystals, crowns and gaskets should be available locally.
All About Water Resistance