Quartz vs. Mechanical
First and foremost, the thing to consider when buying a quality watch is if you want a “quartz” or a “mechanical” watch.
Quartz watches are easy to maintain because they are inexpensive and their typical accuracy is 15 seconds per month which means they may lose or gain time by 15 seconds per month on average. They are powered by a battery usually a lithium-ion cell which is usually long-life which lasts up to 3 years. So no problem there.
There is another semi type of quartz watch which is called Eco-drive where the lithium-ion cell is rechargeable. In this case, sunlight which is called solar power e.g. Citizen Eco-Drive or wrist movement which is called rotor-power recharges the battery e.g. hybrid like a Seiko Kinetic which should not be confused with a rotor that winds the mainspring on a mechanical watch.
Mechanical watches tend to be more expensive as compared to quartz. Mechanical watches are not as accurate but most modern watches are very accurate, some of them are renowned certified chronometers which are accurate to 5 seconds per day. Power comes from a mainspring which is either self-wound by the movement of the wrist which turns a rotor inside which in turn winds the mainspring. There are watches that are hand-wound only by the rotation of the crown or both, hand-wound and automatic.
The power restored in the mainspring is usually lasting 40-80 hours depending on the brand, so if left unused the watch will need to reset and wound (you can buy a watch winder that will keep it wound).
Maintenance is expensive on a mechanical watch as compared to quartz, but it is not really a downside when the time between maintenance is very long i.e. two or 3 years.
Purists will say that mechanical is the only true watch. No doubt first wristwatches were, of course, mechanical. Mechanical watches have certain something about them they really grow on you. Everybody has to start somewhere, and people who enjoy automatic watches also own quartz as well. The worst thing one might do is say “my cell phone gives me time why would I put on a wristwatch” and neglect the charm of wearing one.
Dial and Case back
When selecting a watch its dial is very important. One should consider factors such as material, shape, and size. The majority of watches have a round dial so you can never go wrong with that. Rectangle and square-shaped watches are the other main watch shapes.
The diameter of a watch dial is also important because everyone has a different wrist size therefore it is highly recommended that you try on any watch before you buy it. Old vintage watches had much smaller dials than many of the watches being made nowadays. Not only does the diameter of the watch affect the overall look, but it also affects comfort. Too big of a dial could dig into your wrist and be very uncomfortable to wear, due to its weight it could hang down and not stay upwards. Thickness of a watch should also be considered. Too thick dial can be uncomfortable so try before you buy.
The material is another important factor when buying a timepiece. Stainless steel is the most common, and the best material for watchmaking in regards to quality, price, and value. Ceramic and titanium are low weight with ceramic being very scratch resistant and holds its value over time.
Titanium and steel are not highly scratch-resistant, but a coating of PVD or DLC (black or grey) can make them very resistant to scratches. Gold and platinum provide the most bling and flair but they are also the most expensive and heavy.
The case back of a quartz watch is always solid, there is no point in seeing a quartz movement which is not very fascinating. Mechanical watches, on the other hand, are fascinating to look at and therefore many watches have open hearts from the front or transparent case backs.
Some brands use a mineral glass or hardlex crystal in their watches as opposed to sapphire crystal because of its cheapness. Most of the brands which use an exhibition case will use a sapphire glass. For dive style watches, professional tool watches, sports watches, the case back is typically solid (steel, titanium are most common) to ensure safety and water resistance.
Acrylic mineral crystal and sapphire crystal are the three most common types of glass on watches. Plastic was common in vintage watches, as well as low priced pieces. Mineral crystals are found mostly on entry-level watches. Sapphire crystals are the premium ones as they are very clear and scratchproof but be careful as their hardness can be very brittle when smashed.
If you are aiming for a watch for under $500, or a collector’s item then you should always opt for sapphire glass. Anti-reflective coatings are very helpful, when you look at a timepiece with and without a glare-proofing coat on a sunny day, you will quickly understand the importance of an anti-reflective coating.
A plain three-hand watch displays hours, minutes, and seconds. Some timepieces may even come with just the hours and minutes, just the hours they are mostly dressed watches.
Most of the popular functions which come in Casio watches are dual time zone, world timer, chronograph, alarm, and date. Casio brand is known to make innovative watches with digital and analog modules both with some of them having chronograph like Edifice series. Modern-day mechanical watches have advanced functions like the tourbillon, split-perpetual calendar, and minute-repeater.
Strap or Bracelet
There is a multiple-choice when it comes to straps or bracelets depending on personal comfort. Leather straps, suede leather, Crocodile leather, vintage leather, nato, rubber, textile, and metal bracelets are the main choices. It is useful to own multiple straps or bracelets and strap to go with one watch depending on the mood.
Brand, price, discounts, reliability, and durability are the main factors to be considered while buying quartz, and Heritage plus resale values are other important factors to consider if you are investing in a mechanical timepiece. If you read our blogs and other watch publications, as well as shopping around, you will find useful information about the watch world.
Many brands now sell directly online via their own proprietary websites or other resellers. In this internet age buying watches online is safer than it has ever been, however, always be cautious in whom you buy from because scammers are everywhere. Always look for authenticate online stores or resellers. We highly recommend only buying from “Authorized Resellers” or directly from the manufacturer’s website.