Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner is probably the most famous watch of all time. Even if you have never heard of it, you have probably seen it. Chances are, if you haven’t seen an authentic Submariner, you have seen a replica, a copy or a straight knock-off. It has been the most copied watch (style wise) by watch makers all over the world. It has also been the most counterfeited. Many Rolex enthusiasts will tell you that a Submariner is like walking around with cash on your wrist – meaning, if you should ever need to, you can easily sell or trade a submariner for very close to its actual value, more so than any other piece of jewelry or valuable item. It was featured in many early James Bond movies. It was Bond’s watch of choice for all activities; from diving to socializing with the elite. All of the features discussed in the article “What Makes a Watch Fine?” are incorporated in the Rolex Submariner. Even collectors not fond of Rolex will tell you that this is truly a timepiece every watch enthusiast should own.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Brief History of the Wrist Watch

Many people seem to be asking the question "What creates a fine watch?" Watches and their purpose have changed dramatically since the first wrist watch was invented towards the end of the 19th century. The wrist watch filled a need for pilots that needed to keep track of time on a device that was more easily accessible than the more common pocket watch. It was simply more practical to use a watch strapped to their wrist than dig through their pocket during a flight to keep track of time.

During the First World War, officers utilized wrist watches to lead battles and wrist watches became a necessity for artillery men to conduct attacks at precise moments. At the end of the war, these men were allowed to keep their watches and when they went home, they spread this trend to many middle class people in the cities and towns they were from, all over the U.S. and Europe. Since then Wrist watches have become a popular necessity for many.

With the birth of cell phones and popular electronic devices, the wrist watch has changed from being a necessity for time keeping to more of an accessory or just fine jewelry. The accuracy of time pieces was once the most important factor when choosing a wrist watch. Today, with the emergence of good technology, virtually all watches are very accurate - from the cheapest $10 watch to the very expensive $10,000 watch. Accuracy is no longer the deciding factor in which wrist watch one chooses.

What Makes a Watch Fine?

There are many opposing opinions on what truly constitutes a fine wrist watch. Here we will list a few items that the masses generally agree makes a fine wrist watch.
The Face
This is the part of the watch you look at to tell the time. It goes without saying that there are many different choices and configurations of watch faces – from the fancy to the plain to the odd. Fine watches will use fine materials to construct the face of the watch and will put information such as brand logo and water resistant rating directly on the face of the watch and all markings will be detail and precise. The purpose of the watch will mostly determine the design of the face of the watch.
The Movement
The information regarding watch movements can fill an entire text book. I will be brief and simple. The movement is the brain of the watch. It is all of the working gears and moving parts inside of a wrist watch. Swiss movements are considered to be of the highest quality followed by the Japanese movement in a distant second place. Fine watches will almost exclusively use a Swiss movement and be manufactured in Switzerland. Japanese movements however, are far more popular due to the low cost. The two most common types of movements are the automatic (self winding) and quartz (battery operated movements). A quick google search will give you all the information you need (and probably a little more) on these two types of movements. Fine watches will almost always use an automatic Swiss movement and will cost thousands of dollars. The typical wrist watch you find in your local department store will utilize a Japanese quarts movement and can be had for as little as $10-$20 but a descent one will average $50 to $100.
The Case
This is the body that holds the movement (or the brain) of the watch. It can be made of many materials to include but not limited to – plastic, steel, stainless steel, titanium, gold, silver, platinum and many other precious and non precious metals. The purpose of the watch will generally determine the materials used to construct the case. Fine watches cases are generally going to be made with highly polished stainless steel or gold.
The Cristal
This is the glass that covers the face of the watch. Tempered glass, sapphire and synthetic sapphire are common in many watches. A fine watch is generally going to have a sapphire crystal because of the high scratch resistant properties of this material. Many watch manufactures currently utilize technologies such as anti-glare coating to improve the quality of their high-end watches.
The Bezel
This is the band of metal that circles the crystal. There are many features that have been incorporated in bezels. Some watches have rotating bezels for time keeping functions. Some bezels are diamond encrusted for looks. The function of the bezel will be primarily determined by the function of the watch.
The Crown
This is the knob on the side of the case used for setting the time or winding the watch (on earlier models). Some features of crowns are – low profile crowns to prevent snagging and screw down crowns for added water resistance on many pro-diver wrist watches. A fine watch will typically have logo or symbol of the brand or manufacturer stamped or machined into the crown.
The Bracelet
This is the strap that is used to secure the watch to your wrist. It can be made of plastic, rubber, leather (synthetic or genuine), steel, gold and many other precious metals. The purpose of the watch will generally determine the materials used to construct the bracelet.
The Clasp
This is the latch that is used to lock the bracelet on your wrist. On fine watches, the clasp it usually marked with the company/brand logo. There are several different types of clasps. The function of the watch will help to determine the type of clasp. On high end sports watches, the clasps will generally have a double or triple locking mechanism so that if one fails during an activity the watch will still remain secured to your wrist.