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Watch shopping 101 by Perkal

"Shopping for watches on the Internet, while enjoyable can be difficult for a number of reasons. Two main reasons are that there are an overwhelming number of watches available and you don’t get to see them and feel them before you click that buy button. However, with some basic knowledge on wrist watches, you will be able to browse through more choices in less time and significantly increase your chance of finding the watch that you want.

Watches 101

Before you shop for your next watch, be it a Citizen watch or an Invicta watch or any watch for that matter, it is a good idea to know how watches are classified. Watches are generally classified as either quartz watches or mechanical watches. Mechanical watches are further broken down to automatic watches (automatic winding) and manual wind watches. Mechanical watches consist of all mechanical components and hence the name mechanical watches. Mechanical watches do not need battery. Quartz watches do need battery. Quartz watches gets their name from the quartz crystal that is in use in the movement.

There are inherent advantages and disadvantages with both quartz and mechanical watches. Quartz watches are more accurate and less expensive than similar mechanical watches. However, you do have to change the battery every few years, which will incur additional cost and inconvenience. Mechanical watches are less accurate. They are heavier and usually cost more than similar quartz watches. However, mechanical watches are view as more than just timepieces; they are pieces of art. They are canvases where watchmakers showcase their creativity and skills. Even a simple mechanical watch can have over 100 parts in them compare to just a few dozen in quartz watches. It is not difficult to see that it takes far more expertise to put a mechanical watch together. Knowing whether you want a quartz watch or a mechanical watch will help you filter out a significant number of choices.

Watches are further classified into smaller categories based on their functions or complications. Examples of popular complications are chronograph, perpetual calendar, and moon phase.

What is popular now?

Currently, chronograph watches, diamond watches, dive watches, and watches with large face are some of most popular watches available on the market. Chronograph watches are watches with a stop watch feature built in. Most people buy chronograph watches for the look, few actually use the function. Diamonds can really add some sparkles to watches. Diamond is one of the most popular precious stones, so it is no surprise that diamond watches are popular. Dive watches are popular because they are often rugged looking and convey a sense of durability, not to mention the fact that they have high water resistance. Large face watches are popular partly because many celebrities are wearing them and also because it is easier to tell time with them.

What to look for?

Once you determine whether you want a quartz watch or a mechanical watch and the kind of complications you want it to have, it is time to look at some materials.

Case materials:

Popular watch materials for watch cases are stainless steel and titanium. Stainless steel and titanium are good because and they are durable. Titanium is lighter than stainless steel, but much stronger. However, it has a duller look compares to stainless steel. Titanium tends to be a little more expensive than stainless steel.

Crystal materials:

Sapphire crystals and mineral crystals are recommended for most watches. Sapphire crystal is much harder than mineral crystal and is a lot more scratch resistant than mineral crystal. They are obviously more expensive than mineral crystals. Materials to avoid are glass and acrylic. They are found in many low end watches.

Watch band materials:

There are a wide variety of watch band materials ranging from stainless steel to eel skin. Which material works best for your watch is determined by your taste and your intended use for that watch. If you are active and will be getting the watch wet often, then you will want to go with either a metal bracelet of some sort or a rubber strap as they are easy to clean and maintain. It is not recommended for any type of leather strap to be submerged in water as it can deteriorate the quality of the band.

Tips to getting the right watch the first time!

If you are unsure whether a watch will be too big or too small for you, measure your wrist and know its approximate size. Remember you can always call the vendor and ask for additional help. It sure beats making an unnecessary trip to the post office.

Learn these basics about watches and you will soon discover that you can spend less time and browse through more watches, so you may find the one that best fits your taste and your style of life.


Perkal has a an extensive watch range with a selection of a few hundred, click here to see our range"

This article was published on Tuesday 16 May, 2006.

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