In certain cultures, the groom receives gifts of a watch and/or a suit. Because the watch and suit are more of a personal taste, many grooms are given the choice to select their own gift. I’ve been given the opportunity to choose a watch for myself, so I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about watches. Listed below are 3 things I’ve learned along the way that may help you in your search:
1. Watches are generally powered by battery, solar, motion, or by hand. Battery, solar, and some motion powered watches use electricity and quartz crystals to keep time. Seiko makes a line of “Kinetic” watches which convert motion into an electrical charge, stored in a rechargeable battery, allowing them to use a quartz movement. Other motion powered watches (also known as mechanical or automatic) tend to have no electrical components. The “reserve charge” is a spring that powers the watch even when the watch is not moved for a period. Hand wound watches need manual turning of the crown to wind the spring.
2. The following paragraphs from http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/accuracy.shtml#quartzvsmech explain how the accuracy and consistency of a quartz watch and a mechanical watch compare:
“The day-to-day performance of quartz is much more consistent than mechanical under identical conditions. Quartz performance is affected mainly by temperature changes and weakened batteries. So a quartz watch that you measured to gains 0.5 second yesterday will be consistently increasingly off correct time by about that amount. You can be pretty certain that in 60 days, it will be about 30 seconds off. At the end of a year, it would be likely be over 180 seconds off.”
“Compare that to a mechanical watch that you measured to gain 2 seconds yesterday. It would seem that our example quartz watch is 4 times more accurate than this. But while the daily measured daily variations seem much higher, they are not likely to be as consistent, so will have a dampening effect. You cannot accurately predict that this mechanical would therefore be off by 120 seconds at the end of the same 60 days. It might be right on time, or it may be 200 seconds off. That broader range of variations allows most mechanical watches to stay closer to correct time than the daily variation rate implies. Over a year, some mechanicals can on average stay closer to correct time without having to be reset than a quartz watch might.”
3. With cell phones and laptops, a watch is not as necessary for time keeping as in the past. Since cell phones can get the time automatically by signal, it can be more accurate than any quartz or mechanical watch. Buying a watch is not merely about accuracy in telling time but about personal style. To some, it can be a status symbol (e.g. Rolex has successfully marketed itself as a status symbol over the years).
Ok, so you might be thinking this is interesting but what watch did I choose? I haven’t yet, but I’ve narrowed it down to the Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T, Mondaine Sport I Gents Chronograph, and the Orient Journeyman. Before my research, I never even heard of Mondaine or Orient, but here’s a short synopsis of each brand and where I’ve found has the best deal for each brand:
Citizen is one of the top three watch companies in Japan (along with Seiko and Orient). Their Eco-Drive watches are solar powered. The specific model I chose is an atomic watch (it receives a radio signal and automatically sets the time). It is also a world watch, meaning I can choose the city closest to my time zone and it will automatically set the time for that location. Their watches tend to be water resistant up to 200m. Basically, it’s the most technologically advanced watch of the bunch. The styling is simple and not too busy. The best price I found for this watch was at certifiedwatchstore.com . BUT, they are not an authorized dealer so you don’t get the manufacturer’s warranty. Instead, they offer their own warranty equal to the length of the manufacturer’s warranty. They are a wholesaler rather than a dealer, so that’s how they can offer those low prices. They got high ratings on resellerratings.com and I’ve also checked on them with the BBB in NY and they seem to have a good record. Factoring in that the only time you should need the warranty is for repairs or battery replacement (eco-drive watches don’t need battery replacement), this may be a great website to buy from.
Mondaine is the official watch of the Swiss Railways. Their design prioritizes visibility and looks stylish at the same time. Although the model I chose is not the “classic” version, it is a very classic (and classy) looking watch which I would be glad to have commemorate my marriage. Various online stores sell Mondaine watches but my model was out of stock in most. I’d start with their website mondaine.com and check out their dealers because I’ve noticed that even the authorized dealers of Citizen watches (e.g. jewelry stores) offered a 20% discount from the MSRP.
Orient is a relatively unknown brand in the US. They focus mainly on mechanical watches and are now part of Seiko. Orient recently began targeting the US market using the website orientwatchusa.com . If you go on their website, it shows you a 30% coupon code (mardigras11), but I discovered through watching their video reviews that they have a 50% coupon code (Affordable50), and it works during checkout. I’ve checked reviews on Orient watches and it’s hard to find a negative review. I had a question about how mechanical watches handled dates (since months have different days) and I found it hard to contact the company. My emails haven’t been replied to and when I called their phone number, it went directly to voice mail with a greeting more like a personal mailbox than one for a business. So although the products seem to be great, I don’t know what their service would be like.
I hope that this has been an informative and interesting read. For most people, choosing a watch will not be a drawn out research project as mine has been, but I enjoyed it. Please feel free to share any insights or deals that you come across!