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If the only reason for a watch was to tell the time, any old watch will do. But watches have never been just functional. From the beginning, they've been a part of fashion and quickly became heirlooms handed from father to son.
Today's watches span from edgy to elegant and from bold to beautiful. Having choices isn't a problem. If anything, narrowing it down might be your biggest challenge. Let's look at the function, form, and fit to help you decide.
The primary job of a watch is to keep time, and they all do it a bit differently.
Mechanical: Mechanical watches are the ones you wind. Inside the watch is a spring almost a foot long. As you wind it, the spring tightens then slowly unwinds at a consistent rate. The second hand on mechanical watches has a smooth, quiet sweep around the dial. For watch aficionados, this is the top shelf. It's steeped in tradition and elegance. Some find the need to wind the watch tedious, and these timepieces are not the most accurate.
Automatic: Sometimes called "self-winding," automatic watches are closely related to mechanical. Instead of winding these watches, the watch winds itself as you move throughout the day through a series of internal weights and balances. These watches also have great appreciation because of the intricate craftsmanship that goes into them. Like mechanical watches, they are also susceptible to the environment and require regular maintenance to stay accurate.
Quartz: If it's not mechanical or automatic, your watch will likely be powered by a battery and keeping time thanks to a small quartz crystal inside. Quartz happens to vibrate at a very precise rate when a small amount of electricity is put through it. By measuring those vibrations, quartz watches keep very accurate time and are often more inexpensive than the other two options. Quartz watches come with the familiar "tick-tick-tick" of the second hand and don't have the allure of the craftsmanship of mechanical or automatic.
What you want your watch to do is your next consideration. In addition to telling time, watches can also tell you everything from the date to the phase of the moon. Diving watches are specially built to withstand the pressures deep underwater and are known for their extra clear face to view minutes and seconds. Dress watches are known for their elegant look as an accessory to business or formal attire. Sportier watches like driving/racing watches or field watches look great in many situations. Lately, even smartwatches have been embraced by higher-end watchmakers like Hublot, Louis Vuitton, and Tag Heuer.
Next, consider how you want the watch to fit on your wrist. Watch faces are measured in millimeters and range from around 36mm to 47mm. Those with smaller wrists typically choose smaller watch faces and vice-versa. Watches now come with a variety of bands from metal to leather to rubber, and some are designed to have the bands swapped out depending on how you're dressing that day. Here again, your wrist size can play an important part in the band you choose.
The good news is, whether you prefer subtle or bold, there's a watch that will match your style. You don't have to buy the first one you see, and you aren't limited to the ones that happen to be popular today. Many still love the vintage look, while others lean toward exotic and avant-garde shapes.
We invite you to stop into any of our stores in Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia, and speak with our helpful professionals to see all the great options for watches out there!