Watch Articles

6 Things to Know About Luxury Watches

June 7, 2018 - Watch Articles
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Bewildered by the world of luxury watches? Rest assured, you are not alone. It’s a world where wristwatches command five- and six-figure pricetags (and sometimes seven- or eight-figures too), brands have baffling pronounciations, and terms you’ve never heard before—moon phase, complication, chronograph—can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars. (If not more.) That’s why we’ve put together this primer of the six things everybody needs to know about luxury watches. Read on, and you’ll be feeling expert in no time at all.

6 things to know about luxury watches:

  1. What are the different types of watch movements?
  2. What watch styles do I need to know?
  3. What is the Seal of Geneva?
  4. What is a complication? (And why is it important?)
  5. How should I take care of a luxury watch?
  6. Which watch brands hold their value best?

 

1. What are the different types of watch movements?

Movements—also known as calibers—are the internal mechanisms that power watches. There are two main types:

  • Mechanical Movements: These are masterfully crafted movements that consist of small and intricate components working seamlessly together. They require precise engineering and receive energy from a wound spring within the movement.

Within this category, there are two types of mechanical watches: manual and automatic.

Manual watches must be wound by hand to build up energy in the watch’s mainspring. To do this, the watch’s crown must be turned multiple times so that the mainspring will slowly unwind and release energy. How often a watch must be wound depends on the power reserve capacity of the movement, which could range from 24 hours to several days.

Automatic watches, also referred to as self-winding, gather energy through the wearer’s movements. If worn regularly, automatic watches do not need to be wound. However, if you have not worn the watch for a long time, you will need to wind it a bit for the timepiece to gather energy.

  • Quartz Movement: These movements use a quartz battery as their power source. Quartz watches are very accurate and require minimal maintenance. As they have few mechanical parts and require far less labor than mechanical watches, quartz watches are cheaper than their mechanical counterparts. (Despite that, though, many watch enthusiasts are attracted to the intricate craftsmanship of mechanical watches.)

 

2. What watch styles do I need to know?

There are many different luxury watch styles, below are some of the most popular:

  • Dress Watches: These elegant watches perfectly complement formal or business attire. Dress watches must be thin enough to easily slip in and out of a shirt cuff. Many dress watches do not have complications (see below) in order to maintain a slim, sleek dial, although they often have a date window.
  • Diving Watch: These watches are specifically made to endure tough diving conditions. Diving watches are made with superior water resistance and corrosion-resistant metals because accurate timekeeping is critical for divers when they are hundreds of feet underwater with a limited supply of air. These watches typically feature large, easily readable dials as well as a unidirectional rotating bezel, which helps the diver know how long they have been under water.
  • Sports Watch: These watches are perfect for runners, cyclists, mountain climbers, and just about any adventure enthusiast. Sports watches are truly versatile as they are great for a day at the office as well as rugged activities. These watches must have strong cases and some water resistance. Sports watches can come with a wide array of complications such as a chronograph and tachymeter.

 

3. What Is the Seal of Geneva?

This official seal is awarded to watches that meet the exceptionally high standards of Genevan workmanship. This accolade guarantees that the watch will be remarkably reliable, accurate, and comparable to a work of art. The watch’s movement must also be made, cased, and adjusted in the Canton of Geneva. Timepieces with this seal have it stamped on their movement and case.

6 things to know about luxury watches

Of the 20 million watches crafted in Switzerland annually, only 24,000 possess the Seal of Geneva. Brands with pieces that hold this seal include Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Chopard, and Roger Dubuis. According to Roger Dubuis: “the Hallmark of Geneva is not an end in itself, but rather a starting point in its quest for excellence.”

 

4. What is a complication? (And why is it important?)

A complication is any function that exists on a watch in addition to telling time. Watches with multiple complications are more difficult to create, as more elements need to be added to the movement. The most widely used complications include:

Date: The simplest complication for the watch is the date. Watches can display the date, day of the week, or even feature a triple calendar which includes the month.

Chronograph: This complication functions as a stopwatch where the wearer can measure intervals of time without affecting the watch’s main time. Depending on the watch, the chronograph can time seconds, minutes, and/or hours. Within that category, there are various types of chronographs: for example, the flyback chronograph (which rapidly resets the timer function); and the rattrapante chronograph (which has an additional hand superimposed on the chronograph, allowing multiple events to be timed at once).

Power Reserve Indicator: This allows the wearer to see how much energy is left in the watch’s mainspring before it needs to be wound. The maximum amount of reserved energy will depend on the watch.

Moon Phase: This complication displays the current phase of the moon and indicates if it is a new, full, half, or quarter moon. Some watches beautifully display the moon phase cycle with an illustration of the moon as it completes a cycle.

World Time: This very complex feature displays 24 time zones simultaneously. Watches with this complication contain a rotating inner bezel with a 24-hour display as well as an outer bezel with the major cities in each time zone. The inner bezel makes a full revolution each day.

 

5. How should I take care of a luxury watch?

Luxury watches require proper care and maintenance to ensure that they last for future generations. Regardless of how careful you are with your timepiece, its components can wear over time. WP Diamonds’ watch expert Tom Pozsgay recommends that watches be serviced every four to five years. When your watch is professionally serviced the watchmaker will open the watch and conduct an in-depth inspection. During this procedure, the watchmaker will replace the gasket, change the oil, make any necessary adjustments and repairs, and clean the timepiece.

things to know about luxury watches

In addition to having your watch regularly serviced, there other maintenance practices that your watch requires so it can operate at its best:

  • Review your watch’s user manual for instructions on how to care for your specific watch.
  • Use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe the watch’s case and bracelet to prevent dirt from building up.
  • Understand your watch’s water resistance: non-water resistant models must be kept away from moisture at all times.
  • Avoid magnets because they can negatively affect your watch’s performance. Keep in mind that there are magnets in electronics like TVs, microwaves, and speakers.
  • If you have a quartz watch, be sure that you replace its battery before it dies or else the dead battery can leak and damage the movement.
  • When you are not wearing your watch, keep the timepiece in its box for safe storage.
  • Most importantly, never open the watch yourself; watches should only be opened by a certified watchmaker. If you open your watch, not only will you be exposing it to harm (even a speck of dirt can be detrimental) but you may also be breaking the warranty.

 

6. Which watch brands hold their value best?

While luxury watches come at hefty price points, not all brands retain the same amount of resale value. Rolex is one brand that has been successful in having their watches retain their value on the secondary market. Rolex has achieved this by creating watches of excellent quality, producing a limited number of pieces a year to increase demand, and having their collections become house-hold names such as the Submariner and Day Date.

If you have been holding onto a luxury watch that you are thinking about selling, WP Diamonds is here to help. We are international watch buyers with a team of expert horologists who can properly evaluate your watch on the secondary market. Our service is completely free, secure and at no risk to you. You can feel confident with our 100 percent trust guarantee, our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and our hundreds of positive customer reviews. In as little as 24 hours after completing our simple online form you can receive payment. We also offer a trade-in program where you can receive up to 20 percent more on your offer in the form of store credit with our partners. Click the button below to see how much your watch is worth.

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Bio: Written by one of our diamond, designer jewelry or luxury watch experts. With over 150 years of combined experience, our experts are able to comment on trends, share industry knowledge and provide diamond, designer jewelry and luxury watch education.

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