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The Watch Aficionado
Voor de horlogeliefhebber
Welkom bij The Watch Aficionado
For most of us, watches are a tool. Specifically, watches are a tool
that tell us when its five minutes to happy hour, when its five minutes to
the end of happy hour and how long weve been in jail after violently insisting
that happy hour continue. But for many men, watches are regarded as the No.1
male accessory because they encapsulate coveted masculine attributes: namely
style, engineering and status.
And because this thinking-mans accessory shows no sign of being supplanted
by something less intricate -- like sweatbands -- a solid background in watches
is a necessity for any chap looking to elevate his profile.
Thankfully, Ive taken the time (pun unavoidable) to compose a primer of
everything a men's watch
novice needs to know in order to stay afloat in the sometimes cutthroat world
of watch aficionados. So read on and make sure that you never get stuck
trying to convince anyone that your calculator watch is a personal GPS.
If you have any questions for me about haute horlogerie, or what you think is haute horlogerie, please feel free to bother me via firstname.lastname@example.org (English or Dutch).
The watch making
process consist of various stages. Here you find an example of what a watch
goes trough at IWC. Like so many things, a philosophy is needed first in order
to create something beautiful.
very beginning, this unusual geographical location has fostered IWCs
philosophy, which is based on a passion for watchmaking, untiring enterprise
and perfect craftsmanship. As an international premium brand name, the company
has consciously chosen to specialise in innovative mechanical watches. The
individual who purchases an IWC watch expects not only precision, functional
design and a long service life but also the kind of advanced technical features
that only a few watch manufacturers worldwide are able to provide. The
reputation of the brand from Schaffhausen is founded not least on the fact that
its highly qualified employees master every step of the production processes
behind complications like the minute repeater, the power reserve, the
tourbillon and the perpetual calendar. Behind the claim to excellence, Probus
Scafusia, which was first formulated in 1903 and stands for good, solid
craftsmanship from Schaffhausen, lies the desire to manufacture precision
timepieces that will be a joy to use and will retain their value well into the
- IWCS Philosophy is based on a passion for watchmaking, untiring
enterprise and perfect CRAFTSMANSHIP
designers and construction specialists at IWC, this is not only an enormous
challenge but also the force that drives them on to greater things. Every IWC
watch is professionally finished by masters of their trade. For they are the
individuals whose trained eyes, nimble fingers and precision instruments put
together IWC watches from a collection of single parts: each a fascinating
example of meticulous workmanship, functionality and design, each an
outstanding piece of engineering excellence at its very best.
IWC starts developing a new model, one question needs to be asked. What,
exactly, do the designers and construction specialists wish to achieve? Should
the watch set new standards in complexity? Will its main strength be the power
reserve, or perhaps its water-resistance? In an initial step, the first
components are modelled using computer aided design. Here, IWC attaches
enormous importance to integrating the work of construction and design with
modern production technology. Working closely with the construction engineers,
the watch designers play a crucial role in determining how best to harmonize
form and function. The dial and the strap or bracelet, the positioning of the
displays, the choice of materials and colours or the surface finish are always
the logical outcome of constructive teamwork. Apart from the technological
achievement and an attractive design, other, more emotional, aspects such as
the way the watch actually feels in the hand also play an important role.
Thus, the feel of the edge of the case, the way a push-button is activated or
the sound of the crown as it engages are not left to chance. Often, the
construction engineers and designers will take their inspiration from old
drawings. Ultimately, it is respect for the watch making pioneers of the past
that guarantees continuity at the Schaffhausen based company.
- It is respect for the
watchmaking pioneers of the past that guarantees continuity
Thanks to a
sophisticated development and quality management system backed by an exacting inspection
and testing program, IWC is able to guarantee quality of the highest order. The
advanced scientific methods used include three-dimensional computer simulations,
X-ray-based materials analyses or tests designed to show how the watches behave
under extreme practical, everyday conditions. The use of high-speed cameras and
laser measuring instruments make even the tiniest movements visible, and
sophisticated computer programs calculate exactly what stresses a part will
such as seals, push-buttons, wheels, levers, shafts, tooth profiles or the
dimensions of springs are examined for possible sources of error from the
earliest phases of development. IWC calls this process error source analysis.
At the same time, the developers make the design reliable and service-friendly,
while ensuring that an IWC watch will continue to run and can be repaired for
many, many years.
Q. This term is used to describe a program of around thirty grueling tests
lasting several months which are designed for new watches at the prototype
phase or later as part of the approval process for the pilot series. These
tests simulate in condensed form just about everything that can happen to a
watch, under normal and extreme circumstances, during the course of its long
life. Only when several prototypes have passed stringent testing and a pilot
run has revealed no more problems is the company ready to go into series
manufacture, there by adding another fascinating chapter to the legend that is
impact testing, the watch is exposed to various rates of acceleration. Normal
acceleration, due to gravity, is 1 g = 9.81 m/s². If a force of 100 g is exerted
on a watch with a case weighing 100 grams, the watchs components are subjected
for a short time to forces equivalent to 10 kilograms. The Pilots Watches from
IWC have even withstood forces of 30 g for periods of several minutes in a centrifugal
accelerator. In a pendulum impact tester, the watch is accelerated to 5,000 g
in split seconds, which simulates the effect of a free fall onto a hard wooden
floor from a height of 1 meter. One of the most demanding tests of them all is
the chapuis extrême: here, the watch is shaken around inside a small
container for hours on end, subject to knocks and impacts from all sides
140,000 at a simulated 25 g, 94,000 at 100 g and 960 at 500 g.
purposes, some parts are manufactured as early as the design phase in order to
check the minimum requirements for those components subjected to unusually high
wear and tear. Take the Aquatimers rotating bezel, for instance, which
undergoes a fatigue test equivalent to four dives per day, guaranteeing a minimum
service life of 10 years.
climate tests, the entire spectrum of thermal conditions a watch owner can be
exposed to are systematically tested. Geographically speaking, this embraces
everything from Alaska to the Sahara and the Brazilian rainforest. Watches are
placed in a test chamber where, over a period of days and sometimes weeks, they
have to withstand temperature changes from 20 to +70 degrees Celsius and up to
95 percent relative humidity. The next item on the agenda after this ordeal is
long-term monitoring of the rate. This test makes use of an automatic
multilevel microphone to check the regularity of the beat.
test in a saline bath at 37 degrees Celsius ensures that only materials are
selected that will not corrode in daily use or even aggressive salt water. The
rotating bezels in IWC divers watches also have to prove their reliability in
dirty water. Glasses and dials are exposed to strong ultraviolet light for days
on end and must not show any change of colour. Test schedules carried out in
the laboratory, of course, cannot successfully simulate every situation likely
to be encountered in real life. This is the reason why all new models are given
to individuals both inside and outside the company who wear them normally under
everyday conditions. Effectively, and depending on the model in question, IWC
watches are put through their paces when the wearer is chopping wood, diving,
playing golf and mountain biking, or climbing at 3,000 meters.
course of components production, the various blanks are machined with the help
of CNC milling machines. After surface machining, the acceptable tolerance for
components, in general, is just +/ 0.02 millimeters, but in certain cases this
may be as low as +/ 0.002 millimetres. After machining, the parts are finished
by hand or proceed to an electric discharge machine. CNC wire electric
discharge machines are used primarily for parts in the movement. The surface
roughness can be controlled to a tolerance of 0.005 millimeters, but for
precision EDM work, it is as low as 0.001 millimetres.
assembly of a movement can be divided into four distinct stages: the winding
mechanism, the going train, the escapement and the actual timing. Depending on
the model in question, it will also involve the automatic winding and
chronograph mechanisms as well as the calendar and hour counter. The most
complex of these jobs is adjusting the escapement and aligning the balance
spring so that it runs true and flat: this is a high-precision manual task that
no machine could ever carry out to remotely the same high-quality standards.
Functions and precision adjustments are checked and corrected continuously at
every stage of the assembly process. After this, highly skilled watchmakers in
the special features department add on complications such as the perpetual
calendar, split-seconds mechanism and tourbillon to the basic movement. Those
movements with a minute repeater are assembled here from the bottom up.
- After the function controls,
precision craftsmanship brings the surfaces up to IWC standard
In terms of
the precision and effort involved, the manufacture of the case is in no way
inferior to the other stages in production. For platinum cases, two blanks are
cut from a 1-kilogramme block of the metal using an electric wire discharge
machine. For watches made of precious metal, the case parts are bought in as
cast components or, for stainless-steel and titanium cases, supplied in bar
form and then machined on CNC lathes and milling machines. The maximum
permissible circularity error of the parts must not exceed 0.03 millimetres.
Milling machines are used to cut the lugs for the strap or bracelet and the
apertures for the crown and push-buttons into the case middle and to create the
complex open surfaces, such as those of the Da Vinci Chronograph. After the
function controls, precision craftsmanship brings the surfaces up to IWC
standard. The edges are deburred and rounded off, facets are cut into the
necessary areas, all traces of turning, milling and processing are removed, and
the surfaces are fine-ground and polished, satin-finished and blasted.
Specialists now apply decorative surfaces such as circular graining to the case
or components. The case, consisting of up to sixty individual parts, is then
assembled. Finally, a series of complex tests such as water-resistance and
outward appearance rounds off the case production process.
departments, all processes are carried out by hand. Depending on the model in
question, specialists mount the dials on the fully timed and regulated movement
by hand or using special tools. The same applies to the hands, which need to be
set at exactly the right height and grip the pivot onto which they are firmly
mounted. With chronographs, the zero position of the hands must also be
absolutely exact. The movement is secured in position either to a casing ring
or directly to the case. If the movement is gripped by a casing ring, the
latter is held in position by a wave spring in the case back. The winding stems
are individually adjusted. A special adhesive secures crowns that are screwed
onto the winding stem.
period of 10 days, the automatic movements in self-winding watches are rotated
continuously, while those with manual winding are fully wound every other day.
Running-in gives the wheels and pinions a chance to adapt to each other
perfectly, while the lubricant penetrates into all the right places.
assurance process is brought to a close with extensive final inspections. A
watchs fitness for everyday use is tested one last time by fully winding the
movement, measuring its accuracy, checking the functions and appearance, and
confirming its resistance to air and water in a series of special tests. The quality
of any product that leaves the company on the Rhine is beyond all doubt. This
seamless quality assurance process guarantees every future owner of an IWC
watch that the company rigorously upholds its legendary quality standards.
from IWC is already a personality with characteristics of its own.
Nevertheless, there are still customers who want more, and ask us to give their
pocket or wristwatches a touch more individuality. Thanks to modern engraving
techniques, the range of options offered by IWC in this area is virtually
unlimited. Practically any request for specific changes to personalise a watch
can be executed to perfection. Engraving comes from the French word graver
and originally meant to plough a furrow. The carving of drawings, patterns,
ornamentation or writing on wood, stone, ivory and metal creates attractive
light and shade effects and is a means of immortalising very personal ideas. At
IWC today, this age-old skill has been preserved in its original form as far as
possible. In this way, miniature works of art, such as the engravings on the
back cover of the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Edition Kurt Klaus or the Grande
Complication, are created for posterity. An IWC watch may also be made unique
by the addition of engraved initials, a date, a family crest, a company logo or
a personal dedication.
department in Schaffhausen employs around fifty people who specialise
exclusively in maintaining and repairing watches from all over the world and
from every era since IWCs foundation back in 1868. To ensure that no single
detail is lost, IWC has maintained detailed records of every watch that has
left the factory since 1885. IWC occasionally receives models going back as far
as the first Jones calibre, and even experienced craftsmen are amazed by the
achievements of watchmakers of an earlier age. Old pocket watches accurate to
less than 3 seconds a day are no rarity.
heart of the repair department is the spare parts store. This accommodates
millions of meticulously ordered individual components. Needless to say,
original replacement parts for all the companys recent models will also be
available for years to come. As a rule of thumb, a quality mechanical watch
needs a full service after about 4 to 5 years. The decisive factor is the
stresses and strains to which the watch is exposed.
- As a rule of thumb, a quality mechanical watch needs a
full service after about 4 to 5 years -
IWC watch returns to Schaffhausen, it is treated with the greatest possible
care. As part of every service, the watch is demagnetised and the movement
completely dismantled. Worn parts, such as wheels, pinions, springs or
bearings, are replaced. The movement is then cleaned, reassembled, lubricated
and adjusted before being secured firmly in its case. All seals and, if
necessary, the crown too are replaced. Finally, the serviced watch is subjected
to a series of intensive final checks lasting five days. Only by going to these
lengths can IWC guarantee that the watch will run accurately and remain
water-resistant for years to come.
By observing a number of simple rules, any
owner can help to give his IWC watch a longer effective service life. These
include avoiding impacts, not operating any moving parts underwater (with the
exception of divers watches) and only allowing a specialist to open the case.
- The serviced watch is subjected to a series of
intensive final checks lasting five days -
Every watch that leaves IWC today is
registered for eternity. Since 1885, full details of the calibre, materials
used and the case number have been entered in the records. For more recent
models, these details also include the reference number. For a small fee, heirs
or subsequent buyers can obtain precise information about their IWC watch. So
far, this registration was entered into the records, which contain all the
details. From 1 July 2012, certificates will be provided for the first time. For
a certificate to be issued, the watch has to be sent to Schaffhausen, where it
is carefully and thoroughly examined by one of our experienced watchmakers. It
is not possible for a watch to be sent straight to Schaffhausen; it has to be
delivered to an authorized retailer or to an IWC boutique.
The only way to establish a watchs
authenticity is to have it examined by one of our specialists in Schaffhausen.
The information on the certificate mainly relates to the type, case and
movement. The certificate may also include information about the watchs
features. If the comprehensive examination is to reveal that a part of the
watch is not genuine, IWC reserves the right not to issue a certificate for the
watch. Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide information about the
collectors value of specific models, because this depends on factors such as
supply and demand as well as the condition of the movement and case. In the
event of a worst-case scenario involving loss or theft, it is advisable to
report the incident in writing to the police and IWC. The case number in
question is then entered in a special register, which ensures that if the watch
does turn up again, it will not go unnoticed.
- Heirs or subsequent buyers can obtain precise information
about their watches and the authorised retailer who purchased them
The Swatch Group Ltd. is the number one
manufacturer of finished watches in the world. The Group is active in the
manufacture of finished watches, jewelry, and watch movements and components.
It produces nearly all of the components necessary to manufacture the watches
sold under its 19 watch brands and the multi-brand Tourbillon retail label, as
well as the entire Swiss watchmaking industry. In addition, it operates its own
worldwide network of distribution organizations. The Swatch Group is also a key
player in the electronic systems sector. The Swatch Group takes its name from
the extraordinarily successful story of Swatch, one of the worlds most widely
recognized consumer brand names. Less than 30 years ago, the Swiss watchmaking
industry was battling a serious crisis. The first Swatch watches were released
in 1983. The years since then have seen the recovery of the Swiss watchmaking industry
as a whole, and the establishment of The Swatch Group as a strong, diversified
industrial holding. This solid foundation has allowed the Group to broaden its
reach and extend its range of brands. Today, the Swatch Group offers watches in
all price categories, and Swatch Group monobrands and the multibrand Tourbillon
retail mark hold leadership positions in all market segments.
Today, under the leadership of Board Chair,
Nayla Hayek, and CEO, Nick Hayek, Swatch Group continues to invest heavily
in research and development, driving the steady expansion of its leading
position in materials and process technologies and in product design and
manufacturing. In particular, the Swatch Group engages in significant
development activities in microelectronics and micromechanics. The Group is
also active in the field of telecommunications and in the automobile and
service sectors. Sports timing and measurement technologies, although not a
core business, play a key role in terms of brand and Group visibility. A strong
number of Swatch Group companies serve as official timekeepers at a variety of
international sports events, including the Olympic Games.
like: A. Lange and Söhne, Audemars Piguet,
Blancpain, Breguet, Fank Muller, Patek Phillipe, Ulysse Mardin, Vacheron
Price range:8.000-... no limit
look for in this region:
1. Precious Metal Construction
go without saying that a high end expensive watch should be constructed from
quality materials. This means the best possible materials and so forth, but it
is also a good idea to ensure that the metals involved are inherently valuable.
Take for instance a luxury watch that is 18k gold versus titanium. Which one is
going to have more value in the abstract? Not only that, but it is a good idea
to investigate how much precious metals are used. Parts of the case? All of the
case? Are the hands and hour markers gold? When talking about watches at 15.000
and up, you should expect see a fair amount of precious metals being used in
the construction and execution of the watch. The most common metals are of
course the various colors of gold (yellow, rose, pink, red, white, etc...) as well
as platinum. Silver is rarely used for cases, and a bit more commonly used for
traditional looking watch dials. It also goes without saying that precious
stones also are a desirable component given the style and variety of the watch.
2. Natural, Quality Jewels
If there a
precious jewels in or on your watch, you want to take a close look at them. The
first thing to look at is the origin of the stones. The major options are
natural or manufactured. Natural stones are obtained the traditional manner. There
is an inherent romance to the concept that a stone was derived from the earth,
discovered, cut and polished, and then used on your luxury item? The other
alternative is the manufactured stones. These are not synthetic stones, but
real stones that have been grown in a lab. So real stones, not naturally made.
Probably the most popular synthetic stones in watches are sapphires, diamonds
to a degree. Of course the most valuable stones are the natural ones. Ask for
the total carat amount and ask where the stones came from.
3. Manufacture Made Movement
companies in the world do not make their own movements. They source movements
from various movement suppliers. The most well known European watch movement
maker is ETA, and is part of the large Swatch Group. Some companies purchase
movements and use them as they are, and other times they modify or add to
movements (modules) making them more unique and complex. This also involves
various types of decoration that a watch maker might include on a movement. The
best watch makers design and construct their own movements in house, even if
they dont make other components of the watches. Youll find that the top
houses such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piquet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, A. Lange
& Sohne, among others each make their own movements. Having an exclusive
movement made by the watch brand almost always ensures a high level of
decoration in a beautifully made and sometimes very complex watch movement.
4. Seal of Geneva
The seal is
a certification of quality and origin. The seal is applied directly on the
movements of specific watches that satisfy the stringent rules as applied by
Swiss law. The seal of Geneva is placed on certain watches that have movements
which are mostly created and assembled within the canton of Geneva in
Switzerland. The movements must also have various technical and decoration
requirements in addition to their place of origin. Only a handful of watch
makers have movements with the seal, and it is very hard to get. Just because a
watch does not have the Seal does not make it bad, but those that do enjoy the
Seal of Geneva are most always impressive high luxury timepieces.
include: Cartier, Chopard, Roger Dubuis, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe
5. Exotic Materials
few years have seen an impressive number of luxury timepieces being released
that make use of interesting materials in the case construction as well as the
movement. These materials range from unique allays exclusive to particular
watch makers, to exotic compounds youve never even heard of, as well as
innovative ways of using materials for watches that were not previously used
for watches. In an ongoing effort to differentiate themselves, watch makers
have gone to great lengths to use exotic materials for watch making. Sometimes
even improving a watch in doing so. For example, something called silicium is
being used in some watch movements by companies such as Patek Philippe and
Ulysse Nardin. The exotic material does not require lubrication and thus helps
the longevity and accuracy of a watch movement. On the outside you have
ceramics used that are very hard and much tougher than metal to scratch.
Besides these, you now have materials being used like, rubber, carbon fiber,
titanium, various leathers,...
6. Many Hours of Hand Construction and Assembly
you should always present to a watch retailer is, how long does it take to
make this watch? They should know the answer, and be proud of it, even if it
is a number of months. High-end watches are handmade and assembled by master
watch makers. Sometimes a team of people will be involved in making the watch,
other times a single watch maker toils for as long as a year or more on a
single watch. As each part needs to be fabricated, decorated, assembled and
tested. You can imagine that the process takes a long time. The longer it takes
to make a watch, the more refinement and decoration will be found in and on it.
There is no specific amount of time that you should look for, as it depends on
the company. Rolex for example uses complex robotics and departments to make
watches, even though their most expensive have jewelers who hand set the gems.
Rolex can take just a few days to make a watch, while a less industrialized
brand can take several months.
watches dont just have beautiful mechanical movements, they have complex
movements. A watch costing in excess of 15.000 should often do more than just
tell the time, or it should tell the time in a special way. Other complications
effect how accurate a watch is or how interesting the movement is to look at
while in operation (i.e. various types of tourbillon escapements). Other common
complications in high end watches are perpetual calendars, rattrapante
chronographs, sonneries, fuse and chains, moon phases and multiple time zones
along with world timers. Be cognizant of what complications the watch you are
looking at has. When looking at high end watches, you might want to ensure that
the complications you are interested in arent available at lower prices to
help secure the value of your purchase decision.
8. Highly Refined Designer Looks
A high end
watch should be beautiful. It should have a large amount of time and effort
invested in the design, meaning that the beauty of the watch should not wear
off like the novelty and relevance of a new computer. The best watch makers are
skilled in making unique designs, but ones that are instant classics. You
have to have a good eye to spot the best, but there are things you can do to
test this aside from recognizing that a watch has a famous designer. First,
look at the watch again after you saw and loved it the first time. Do you still
feel good about it the second time? Also, look at a series of other nice
watches. Is the watch you like still your favorite when you return to it after
seeing other nice watches? Next, and trust me on this one, if you have the
watch in front of you, then wear it, and also have someone else wear it. Seeing
it on your wrist is not nearly as good an indicator as seeing it on someone
elses wrist. The best designs will look good on anyone. Lastly, when looking
at a designer look, you want to make sure it has enough unique qualities to
justify the exclusive item you are thinking about buying.
9. Limited Production
luxury things in life come in small quantities and are made in limited
productions by dedicated people. Besides, having too much of anything cuts the
value and the intrigue. So look for limited edition or highly limited
production watches. Ask how many of a particular model have been made and
whether or not there are a 1.000 or 100.000 of them out there. The more limited
a watch is, the more exclusive it is, which is a major component of true luxury
10. Investment Grade Acquisition
high end luxury watch buyer will be able to afford a timepiece that has the
potential to increase in value. On the one hand there are certain brands that
commonly have their most exclusive models increase in value (such as Patek
Philippe and Rolex), but certain other watch models or brands may have this
same quality. It is very difficult to gauge whether a watch will increase in
value, but do your best to follow the above guidelines and your might first
yourself with an investment grade timepiece. In the end, you arent buying a
watch for its value alone, but it would be at least nice to know your
acquisition retains its value.
Categorie:Luxury Watch Brands: The Buyers' Guide Tags:High End Luxury watches
Congratulations! As the proud owner of a
fine Swiss timepiece, you are now responsible for the care of a piece of
history. Think about it even if you are purchasing a brand new timepiece, the
actual concept and design of the movement inside the beautiful case has been
many decades and in some cases centuries in the making. An item of this
prestige deserves to be cared for appropriately.
One thing to keep in mind when you initially receive your timepiece is if you
need to reset your date or time on your new timepiece: never use the quick set
for setting the date between the hours of 9:00PM and 3:00AM. This could cause
serious damage to your timepiece. To determine whether your watch is in AM or
PM, pull the crown out fully and rotate the hands in clockwise direction. As
you turn the hands watch for when the date changes. This will indicate when
your timepiece is at midnight. From this point advance the hands past 3:00AM,
adjust the crown to the position indicated by your instruction manual to now
safely adjust your date. With complicated calendar timepieces this becomes
increasingly important. It is also important to note that
Two points to consider as you wear your new timepiece are what activities you
will be doing while wearing your watch and what the environment is like. If you
have an automatic winding or manual winding timepiece it is not recommended to
wear them while golfing or playing tennis as the impact can jar the movement.
Most (but not all) timepieces are water resistant to at least 30 meters so hand
washing should not affect your timepiece. Keep in mind though that prolonged
exposure to hotter water such as from a shower or a hot tub can cause the
gaskets to expand and contract which may lead to water entering the case.
Chronograph timepieces should never be operated under water with only a few
For basic appearance a soft cloth is ideal
for cleaning smudges and fingerprints off of the case and crystal. Although,
there will come a time that through daily wear scratches may appear. Not to
worry, most cases and bracelets can be refinished to appear as new. Depending
on the textures and finishes, this will cost anywhere from $100.00 to $300.00.
Metal bracelets can be removed periodically and cleaned as lotions and
environmental elements can find their way in between the links. Animal leather
straps will darken with time and care should be taken not to get them wet.
Rubber straps are extremely durable and can be cleaned and rinsed with a mild
soap and water.
Servicing of the movement of you timepiece should always be done through an
authorized retailer or service center of the manufacturer. When battery changes
are done on quartz movements, make certain the gaskets are inspected for
With proper care your timepiece will become a family heirloom that will last
generations. If you have any questions about the care of your new timepiece,
please consult your Morays expert.
Timepiece Repair Basics: What you need
A timepiece is something most people have
and wear every day.... to the office, to scuba dive or to the opera. A watch is
one of the few devices that we most rely on in our daily lives. But the inner
workings of a mechanical watch are more intricate than most people think and as
such require some care and maintenance.
Its important to understand the purpose
and limitations of your timepiece. A knowledgeable sales person at an
authorized retailer is most suitable to answer all of your questions. Please
note that buying your timepiece from an authorized retailer is the only way to
ensure that you will get the proper manufacturers warranty. If you choose to
buy your watch from a non-authorized source, you will likely be promised a
"warranty" provided by the retailer themselves and sent to a local
watchmaker as opposed to proper factory service. Service on timepieces can be
expensive so having a proper warranty can usually outweigh the savings you
think youre getting from buying from a "non-authorized" source.
Servicing on your timepiece can be a lengthy and expensive, sometimes 3-4
months and be in the range of 300 - 400.
Watch Preventative Care Guidelines
·Timepieces with water
resistance under 100 meters, shouldn't be considered for regular water
·If you have a screw down crown,
always check that it is completely screwed down before getting the timepiece
wet. If you get your watch wet regularly, make sure the seals are tested when
serviced and a pressure test is performed.
·Never press any buttons or
adjust the crown when the watch is wet or underwater.
·Realize that if you wear a
timepiece with a leather strap in hot weather, perspiration will require you to
replace it more frequently.
·If you have a chronograph
(stopwatch), NEVER, push both buttons at the same time.
·Most automatic watches have a
40-44 hour power reserve, when fully wound, if you don't wear your watch for a
day or two, make sure you wind it 20-30 times before wearing it.
·If you put your watch on a
winder, keep in mind that some watches need a more aggressive winder regimen to
keep them wound. Also, some watches have rotors that only wind in one
direction, if the winder isn't keeping the watch wound, it may be the winder
and not the watch.
·Numerous watch companies have a
close marketing affiliation with the sport of golf. Golfing while wearing a
mechanical watch and the shock that occurs can often cause the watches to
become very inaccurate. Take your watch off for golf or wear your Timex
Preventative Care For Complicated
·These watches by definition are
more delicate and deserve special care. As a rule, do not subject these
timepieces to any aggressive activity.
·With very few exceptions, NEVER
wind the hands of a perpetual calendar watch backwards, advance the hands
·If you are setting a perpetual
calendar, check the instructions, but as a rule, make sure the hour hand is in
the bottom hemisphere of the dial before using quick-set features
·Avoid exposing Minute Repeaters
(or any mechanical chiming watch) to any shock. Also when engaging the Chiming
function, pull the lever completely and do not repeat more often than every 30
timepiece! If properly cared for, it should provide you, and perhaps your
children, with years of enjoyment.
Richemont is an
industrial holding company, which owns several of the worlds leading luxury
goods companies. Each of the Groups Maisons represents a proud tradition of
style, quality and craftsmanship which Richemont is committed to preserving.
The individual heritage and identity of each Maison is rigorously guarded, the
designers and craftsmen being constantly challenged to keep the heritage alive
through a continuous process of reinvention and innovation.
The company was
created in 1988 by the spin-off of international assets owned by Rembrandt
Group Limited of South Africa (now known as Remgro Limited). Established by Dr
Anton Rupert in the 1940s, Rembrandt Group owned significant interests in the
tobacco, financial services, wines and spirits, gold and diamond mining
industries at that time as well as the luxury goods investments that, along
with the investment in Rothmans International, would form Richemont.
businesses operate in five key areas: jewellery, watches, writing instruments,
leather and accessories, and other businesses. The Group is managed with the
objective of growing value for shareholders over the long-term, recognising
that the most important assets of the Group its Maisons have almost all
been in existence for over a century. Each of the Maisons has its own
distinct identity that stems from its heritage and culture and it is critical
that each Maison has the correct strategies and resources to be able to enhance
that identity. The independence of the Maisons within the Group is fundamental
to the Groups strategy for future growth.
Founded in 1973 in its current structure, the COSC is a
not-for-profit association. It was created by five watch making cantons (Bern,
Geneva, Neuchâtel, Solothurn and Vaud) as well as the Federation of the Swiss
Watch Industry. It encompasses the laboratories that had been established
independently of each other from the late 19th century onwards.
Its goal is to:
Measure and test the precision of watch
and clocks movements in order to grant them official chronometer status.
Promote the chronometer and undertake any legal action aimed at defending and
protecting this title internationally.
The COSC does not manufacture chronometers; it merely certifies that the
watchmakers have provided this high value added for their products and attests
that they may justifiably claim this prestigious title. The BOs (short for
"Bureaux Officiels de Contrôle de la marche des montres" - meaning
Official Watch Rating Centres) currently constitute the three laboratories
within the COSC.
Located in Bienne, Geneva and Le Locle, their mission is to test the movements
submitted by manufacturers. They have each earned individual accreditation as SCS (Swiss
Calibration Service) laboratories from SAS (Swiss Accreditation Service).
three BOs work with state-of-the-art equipment developed in-house by the COSC
engineers. The specific requirements are such that all the BO instruments have
had to be custom-made, since nothing equivalent exists on the instrument
market. The COSC management, based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, coordinates the
operation of the BOs and provides them with the measurement and result
management equipment, as well as ensuring maintenance. It establishes the
testing prescriptions applicable to the various types of movement submitted, it
develops the equipment and measurement methods for the BOs and undertakes any
necessary action in matters relating to marketing, communication and defense of
the chronometer in the broadest sense of the term.
The future of the COSC is closely entwined
with that of the submitting producers and the evolution of their needs. While
the responsibility of the COSC is to tirelessly improve its productivity and
above all the precision of its testing methods, it must also play a determining
role in watchmakers ongoing quest to develop ever more efficient products. It thereby ensures that the precision one must
expect from a modern chronometer is consistent with the state of the art in
terms of high-end watch production.
The COSC must maintain constant contact with
its partners. Thanks to its rigorous standards, objectiveness and neutrality,
it serves as the guarantor of the voluntary determination to achieve precision
and excellence stemming directly from the producers themselves.
The term chronometer is often wrongly
applied to timekeeping instruments fitted with an additional mechanism that may
be set in motion by pushbuttons to enable measurement of the duration of an
event. Such an instrument is in fact a chronograph or chronoscope. It may of
course be chronometer-certified, provided it meets the criteria set for the
standard. In its technical regulations, the COSC has included an additional
condition, namely the permanent display of the seconds.
So a chronometer is in fact high-precision
watch capable of displaying the seconds and housing a movement that has been
tested over several days, in different positions and at different temperatures,
by an official neutral body (COSC). Each
chronometer is unique, identified by a number engraved on its movement and a
certification number given by the COSC. Each movement is individually tested
for several consecutive days, in 5 positions and at 3 temperatures. Each
movement is individually measured. Any watch with the denomination
"chronometer" is provided with a certified movement.
test for mechanical watches
ISO 3159 provides the definition of a
wrist-chronometer with spring balance oscillator. Only movements which meet the
precision criteria established under ISO 3159 are granted an official
chronometer certificate. Movements are tested for 16 consecutive days according
to a tests panel.
Every day, including Saturdays and
Sundays, movements are measured and rewound.
Based on these measurements, 7 eliminatory criteria are calculated.
If and only if all these criteria are met, the movement is duly
test for quartz watches
No international standard has so far been
issued regarding electronic quartz watches. Based on ISO 3159, the COSC has
drawn up a set of testing prescriptions applicable to quartz chronometers which
govern their performances in the same way as for mechanical chronometers. Taking
account of the specific technological characteristics of these products, the
COSC has adapted the tests and precision requirements. This called for the
development of special quartz movements in order to meet these new
requirements. It has become compulsory for them to be equipped with an
electronic system compensating for the variation in the frequency of the quartz
according to changes in temperature.
A new-generation quartz chronometer is
therefore 10 times more accurate than a conventional quartz watch. Moreover it
is a very exclusive product manufactured on a low scale. Each quartz
chronometer is tested for 11 days, in one position and at 3 temperatures.
became one of American cinemas great legends, Steve McQueens early years
showed little promise. The man who said, If I hadnt made it as an actor, I
might have wound up a hood was a tough, self-reliant kid who chafed against
authority. As a teen, he found himself in the California Junior Boys Republic
a home for wayward boys. Although at the time he tried to run away, McQueen
later credited the Boys Republic for setting him on the straight and narrow,
and was a longtime supporter of the organisation. After an eventful stint in
the Marines, he chanced into acting. McQueen worked hard at his craft, later
going on to work with the most respected directors of his generation, among
them Sam Peckinpah, Norman Jewison, and John Sturges.His film roles in Bullitt, The Great Escape,
The Thomas Crown Affair, and Le Mans have often been imitated, but no one ever
comes close to reproducing Steves charismatic brand of easy masculinity. A
lifelong passion for motor racing was fostered early on. McQueen once said,
Im not sure if Im an actor who races, or a racer who acts. He found a way
to combine the two interests in the 1971 cult film, Le Mans. McQueen plays
driver Michael Delaney, racing his Porsche 917 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
endurance race. To prepare for his role, McQueen moved into a drivers trailer
next to the track so he could eat, sleep, live and breathe motor racing. While
shadowing professional driver Jo Siffert, Steve noticed that Siffert wore a
Monaco. Wanting to appear as authentic as possible, he wasted no time ordering
one for himself. In the film, his TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 chronograph
clearly visible, McQueen displays the ice-cool presence which has helped the
Monaco to its current iconic status. Steve McQueen saw his career as a constant
challenge: an opportunity to push himself ever further. This same spirit lives
on in professional racing, and in the TAG Heuer ethos of constant evolution.
Heuer Ambassadors include:
Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Maria Sharapova, Jenson Button, Juan Manuel Fangio,
Alain Prost, Romain Grosjean, ...
limited circumstances, if you are buying a mens watch for over 2.500 it will
most likely have a mechanical movement. If it does not, youll want to make
sure it is a pretty special type of quartz movement such as Superquartz (such
Breitlings thermoline quartz movement that is accurate to 5 seconds a year).
Otherwise, the name of the luxury watch game is having the best possible
mechanical movement. Why? This is not an easy answer to be honest because
quartz watches are actually more reliable and accurate for the most part.
Still, a mechanical watch movement never needs a battery, represents the
classic way of making watches, and offers a certain emotion value that the
tick, tick, ticking of a quartz watch simply cannot offer.
2. Anti Reflective Coating
combatant here is glare, and you want as little as possible when trying to
read the face of a watch. Compare the dial of a higher-end versus a less
expensive watch in the light and youll see what I mean. Similar to the anti
reflective coating on glasses, on watch crystals the coating really can improve
legibility dramatically. There are two places that AR coating is applied. It
being on the front and the rear of the crystal. Preferably you want the coating
on both sides, but you should at least want to have it on the bottom. One issue
with AR coating is that it can wear or scratch off and may need to be
reapplied. Lastly, the more curved a sapphire crystal is, the more likely you
are going to want full AR coating on it, which is often referred to as double
anti reflective coating.
3. Screwed Links in Bracelet
This is a
pretty simple concept. Metal bracelets are made of links that are connected
together. The two types of items used to hold the links together are screw bars
or pins. Pins are small rods that come in various styles and qualities. They
are pressure applied using a small hammer or device that inserts them in the
bracelet. To adjust the bracelet a small pressure tool must be used to remove
the pins and then reinsert them. Alternatively you have small screw bars that
go into a bracelet using a tiny screw driver. These are considered better
because they are of higher quality, look nicer and will last longer. Both types
of link bars can be adjusted by you if you have the right tools.
4. Chronometer Certification
something that not all mid range (or high range) luxury watches have by any
means, but can add value and reliability to your watch. In fact, only a very
small percentage of Swiss watches are COSC Chronometer certified. Chronometer
certification is a process where a watch movement is sent to the COSC and
tested over a period a days. The movement is running and tested in various
different positions. This testing is specific to each movement, so it is more
than simply a test of the movement design. During the testing, a watchs rate results
are observed to determine overall how accurate it is. For a watch to be
Chronometer certified, it must be within the -4/+6 seconds a day accuracy on
average between all positions. Meaning a movement cannot lose more than 4
seconds or gain more than 6 seconds a day. Just because a watch is not COSC
certified, does not mean it would fail the test, but rather that the movement
hasnt been sent to the COSC for testing. Having a movement that has been
Chronometer certified helps you appreciate the reliable nature of the movement
and add an additional part of the watchs life story. Quartz watches can also
be Chronometer certified, but have a different set of accuracy criteria.
5. Quality Case Finishes and Polishes
It is that
super mirror polish on steel that is very hard to achieve and needed to be
constantly polished. At some point fake chrome was invented. The memories of
fake chrome were from the 80s when youd see it peeling and flaking off of
cars. That was not real chrome, it was some cheap coating or surface over
cheaper sheet metal. Take this concept and apply it to watches. Not all nice
look watch surfaces are real or well done. At the highest level you have milled
steel blocks that are precision cut and then polished by hand. On the cheapest end
you have stamped or injection molded metal that is not as nice or durable. The
better the metal underneath, the better the polish and finish can be on the
surface. Some of the best cases have different types of polish on them. And not
all polishes result in the same look. Say the sides of the case are polished
but the top is in a brushed metal finish. A lot of this comes into place on
higher end watches, but in a mid range luxury watch you want to closely inspect
the metal to see how well done the edges are. Overall a good polish will
preserve its look for a long time, while a cheaper polish will fade fast.
6. SuperLumiNova Luminant
Just because a watch has a luminant compound
applied to the hands or face, does not mean it will glow well in the dark. One of
the best luminants is SuperLumiNova. It is certainly the most popular quality
luminant, but not the only one. Thus, if there is a luminant that is knows to
work well, but has a different name, it will probably be ok. Having a good
luminant compound is just step one. A watch should also have enough layers of
the luminant and it should be on a large surface area. Testing a luminant is
easy. It should not require bright lights to charge in, and simply cupping your
hands over the watch should be enough to have the shine of the luminant pop
out. Make sure you get a watch with a good luminant compound.
7. Brand Pedigree
This is a
bit of a though to explain topic, because you have all of these mainstream
brands that people are familiar with, and then you have many less knows brands
that are sometimes much better than the mainstream brands. Because there are
100s of watch companies out there, you cant rely on name recognition alone to
identify whether a brand is worth getting. Instead, if you arent familiar with
a brand, see that it has at least some story behind it and perhaps has a story
behind the designs as well. You may be thinking, Well if the price is right
and the watch looks good, who cares? Youd be surprised how important the
story of a watch and its brand are. Just ask any collector about the brand of
their favourite watches. So what I mean by brand pedigree is to look for either
well-known brands familiarized for making good watches or iconic designs, or a
brand with a special story or interesting founder. If you arent familiar with
a brand, and unsure about them. Ask someone who knows.
8. Observable Dial and Movement Decoration
luxury watches should all have at least some manner of decoration, even if it
is hidden on or in the movement and you cannot see it. This can be as simple as
a special polished finish on an automatic movement rotor, or a textured dial on
the face of the watch, just perhaps just in the chronograph sub dials (if there
are any). These little features help make the watch feel more valuable, and are
proof that effort went into the little touches. Think about certain hotels and
their attention to detail. Thus, look for things such as machine engravings on
the dial, as well as a variety of potential polishes on the movement. Sometimes
youll even have decorations on the case of the watch. Even your basic Rolex
Submariner has some decorations on the movement rotor even though you wouldnt
know it from just seeing the watch on the outside (see figure below). These
features will make a watch more memorable to you.
9. Unique Design
essentially three types of overall watch designs looking above the mere genre.
First are totally original designs that arent based on any specific watches
from the past. These types of designs are often a mix between classic watch
genres and the designers own interpretations of watch making. Then you have
homage watches that attempt to strictly replicate an iconic, emblematic or
specific watch (e.g. all the Rolex Submariner homage watches or aviator style
watches). Then you have a mix between the two, where a designer takes one or
more well-known looks or styles and adds their own twist or two to the design
execution. Pretty every watch out there falls in one of these three types.
While there are plenty of homage watches in the entry-level luxury watch range,
at the mid-level range you want to see as much originality in the design as
possible. Above that, every watch should be almost totally original. You dont
want people to mistake your 4.000 watch for a 400 watch because both homages
are of the same style. Make sure the design is original. If you dont know, either
ask around or use your gut and decide whether or not the watch looks unique
enough for your taste.
10. Value Retention
principle will really only apply to a few key brands, but you can do a lot to
ensure your watch holds as much value as possible. The key factor in value
retention other than having a watch from one of the major collectors brands,
Rolex, Breitling, Omega, etc... is to have a watch that satisfies as much as
the previously mentioned items to look for in a luxury watch. Having a good
movement, attractive and original design, and high level of craftsmanship using
quality materials, will all keep demand for a watch healthy. Most of the time
you are not going to be able and sell a watch for more than you purchased it,
especially at this range, but you dont want to be insulted at what the market
will offer you if you plan to sell your watch at some point. Then again, if you
are the type of person who will die with his or her watch collection, none of
this value nonsense is at all important.
Story: In 1969, Tag Heuer shook up watch
making tradition by creating the first ever square water-resistant case. Driven
by the celebrated Chronomatic Calibre 11, the Monaco was also the worlds first
square automatic chronograph. It was only one year old when Steven McQueen
chose to wear it in Le Mans, the famous car racing film, and on the wrist of
this major movie star, it soon became an icon. Forty years later, the Monaco
series is a truly exceptional collection, a symbol of daring and excellence.
Today, TAG Heuer continues to break all the rules with the revolutionary Monaco
V4, the worlds first timepiece with a belt-driven transmission.