How Swiss Mechanical Watches Work & What To Look Out Before Buying
Traditional mechanical watches
were made with analogue dials (hands) and was based on the invention by
Peter Henlein (1480–1542). It is made up of about 130 parts. These
parts are assembled in the three main sections: the source of energy, the regulating parts, and the display.
What makes the
mechanical timepiece special is that the number of parts varies
depending on the function the watch has. Many collectors choose to buy
mechanical watch that can record the phases of the moon, keep a record
of the date, as well as record time on a daily basis. The Swiss say
that a watch is only finished when the movement (the coils, springs,
etc) has been fitted with a dial, hands, and case.
If you were to pull
a mechanical watch apart (which isn’t recommended unless you know how
to put it back together again!), you would see a finely balanced
internal working movement, complete with hairsprings, a gear train, and
a balance wheel. These are the parts that enable the watch to record
you are thinking of buying one, you should be aware that although all
the springs and gears are charming and beautiful, they will require
regular servicing. This can be quite costly, as you will normally have
to take it to a specialist watch repair shop.
You should also be aware when buying a Swiss mechanical watch that some watches that claim to be Swiss only have a swiss movement.
They are often built by other companies (e.g. Japanese companies). So
check carefully that the watch is a true Swiss watch before you buy it,
if you intend on collecting these watches.
A few Swiss watch movement making companies, including Valjoux and ETA
(ETA was the movement manufacturing division of Eterna until 1932 when
it split off and joined Ebauches S.A), make mechanisms that are found
in many popular brands.
However, the very best watchmakers, like Patek Philippe, Vacheron, and Jaeger LeCoultre,
make their own mechanisms. Traditional swiss mechanical timepiece
(which can take anything from nine months to two years to assemble) can
cost thousands of dollars or even hundred of thousands to buy.
Swiss companies such as Rolex, Tag Heuer, Omega, Cartier, and Jaeger LeCoultre
all sell traditional and modern mechanical watches that use a variety
of watchcases, including stainless steel, gold, silver, platinum, and
All of these case
types are hardwearing, with the exception of gold, which is quite a
soft metal. However, all of these case types (including gold) give a
nice elegant look to the finished watch.
You will pay more for most gold
and platinum watches than you will for the likes of stainless steel.
When choosing which brand to go with, ask to see the full range of
watches that are available, and make sure to compare details between
the individual watches.
The benefits of
Swiss mechanical watches are tenfold for a watch enthusiast, as there
is nothing quite like exploring and watching the movements inside of a
mechanical watch. They have been made through years of experience and
expert craftsmanship, and are a working piece of history and art!
If you are you ready to buy watches online, let us tell you where and how to buy.
Return from Mechanical Watches to Watch Buyers Guide