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Buying Guides Qualities In Your First Mechanical Watch

Why A Mechanical Watch?

I firmly believe that purchasing a mechanical watch for the first time can be an enriching experience. Buying a watch should always be a fun experience, especially your first purchase. It ought to be something that makes you proud to wear and excites you each day you put it on.  Mechanical watches date back over 400 years where they evolved from spring-powered clocks.  They are special because they use neither electric nor battery powered.  There is no need to change batteries and many watches run for around 40 hours on a full wind.  Mechanical watches provide a high quality and precision timing with proper servicing.

Manual wind universal geneve tri compax

Automatic Vs. Manual Wind

While automatic watches are part of the mechanical watch family, they are wound differently.  A full mechanical watch must be wound manually.  Automatic watches are self-winding and the rotor inside winds the mainspring when you move.  When the power reserve runs out of an automatic watch, it can be wound manually.  Mechanical watches will need some winding to keep the power reserve from running out.  Many styles of mechanical watches offer a power reserve indicator to help keep track of the wind.

What to Look For

Well, where does one start? If you’re in the market for your first mechanical watch, you should keep in mind this simple rule: you should buy it because you like it and it makes you happy. Don’t worry about buying a watch based on what anyone else says. That’s where it starts and, frankly, not much more matters. Each prospective buyer has their own personal set of qualities they look for in a watch. The brand name, for example, could be more important than the case size or dial color to some people. For others, maybe the movement quality or complication trumps the name on the dial. As long as the watch puts a smile on your face, you’re on the right path!

Buying Process

Man wearing a Panerai LuminorNow, I would like to offer some helpful tips in the buying process. First, do your homework. Find out what you can about the watch (or watches) you like before making a decision. See what others are saying about that watch. Find out what industry insiders have to say about it as well. There are great resources all over the internet that review watches daily. When you’re settling in on a piece, visit your local authorized dealer and try the watch on. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “It looks better/different/worse than it does in the pictures online.” You can also determine how you feel about the size of a watch. Believe me, there’s a tremendous difference in wrist presence between a 40mm case and a 43mm case.

Seeing The Watch In Person

Find out how the watch operates. Have a salesperson explain to you how to set it and operate any functions or complications it may have. Watches can last for centuries if properly maintained. Therefore understanding how to set, operate and service your watch is critical in keeping it running for as long as you own it. Also check with your salesperson how long the manufacturer’s warranty is. Some companies offer a single year, most companies are two-year warranties, and others are longer. You can only receive the manufacturer’s international warranty if you purchase the watch new from an authorized dealer of that brand.

Making your first mechanical watch purchase can be an exciting endeavor. That first mechanical watch is something you will remember — and perhaps own — forever.

About Jon Callahan
Father, husband and watch enthusiast. After getting his start as a stock boy in a jewelry store and watching them expand to carry Swiss watch brands including: Ulysse Nardin, Oris and Roger Dubuis, he was hooked. His first watch is an Oris XXL Chronograph which he still owns. He has also owned a Graham Chronofighter Oversized, a Panerai PAM 251 Daylight and an Oris Pro Driver. His ultimate grail watch is the ultra rare Kari Voutilainen Monopoussoir Chronograph. Find Jon at the Philadelphia location of Govberg Jewelers.
  • Jill Troughton

    I love to wear the mechanical watches….It looks very professional and classy…So I wear these watches officially..Last week, I purchased Junkers Watches for myself and it has an amazing, useful and advanced features. I always prefer watchpartners to buy my watches…A very fantastic and trustworthy website for watches.