They say time is the single greatest commodity and currency there ever is, and for watch lovers, this sentiment might be the most accurate of them all.
The art of watchmaking is, above all, a romantic pursuit of creativity. The thought of timekeepers being passed down from generations is nothing short of a love letter from the past and future from the artisans and collectors alike.
It is difficult, then, to reduce any watch to just a single of their parts. What makes a watch come to life rests in its very essence, the calibre, the beating “tick-tock” heart that we often take for granted when time pasts us by. This intricate design of horology is what takes watchmakers, artisans, and connoisseur’s almost decades to perfect.
In layman terms, a watch’s movement is what makes it “go” – what enables the hands to move together in sync with the rhythm of its mechanics. The nooks and crannies hosted within each mechanical watch is like a web, full of minuscule ins and huge outs. This is most often referred to as the ‘heart’ or ‘engine’ of the timepiece, where movements are calibrated into mechanical, automatic, or quartz.
Like how vinyl albums, film cameras and haute couture are getting a new lease on life today, mechanical watches have made a comeback as connoisseurs reminisce the sophistication and craftsmanship behind the clockwork.
Here are a few reasons for what makes them ‘tick’ – metaphorically and literally speaking.
Arguably the single most important point when it comes to mechanical watches is the sheer level of dedication it takes to craft them. At the core of every magnificent timepiece is really just the marvel of how it’s come to be, the fascination for the coming together of small parts to create a bigger sum. At its core, it’s really the craftsmanship of the watch that we’re fascinated by.
Mechanical watches are, in a way, the epitome of fine engineering. We’re talking about advanced mechanical movements made up of hundreds of parts, all meticulously and painstakingly joined together to create the various functions of a watch.
Watchmaking is an incredibly impressive art, and wearing a mechanical watch, therefore, means that you’re essentially carrying a piece of art and history with you every time you glance at your watch or check the time. The more expensive and rare you tend to go with your watches, the more advanced the mechanical movements tend to be, and thus the more fascinating the watch tends to become.
For comparison, mechanical watches tend to last longer than quartz watches. Mechanical watches, due to their relatively more complicated system, tend to continue ticking year after year. In turn, they only need occasional services for maintenance like replacement pieces for mechanical engineering.
When serviced, a mechanical watch can continue to tick century after century. This is something that quartz watches just can’t compete with. A quartz watch is a buy and throw object, but a good mechanical watch is something that you want to keep year after year as they make for perfect heirlooms.
Value over time
Due to its more high-maintenance upkeep, good mechanical watches also tend to lean on the more expensive side. That’s because, in addition to the equally expensive parts, many working hours have also gone into only assembling the movement by a skilled watchmaker.
It doesn’t stop there, of course, because there’s also the design process as well as years of development that goes into a single timepiece. It truly is like wearing a piece of history on your wrist.
Also because of this detailed process, things that have great craftsmanship tend to increase or at least hold their value quite well over the years. Generally speaking, mechanical watches – more so from reputable brands such as Rolex, Audemars Piguet, etc – will have their initial values skyrocketing over the years into almost triple the price you got it for.
Being that the watchmaking tradition is one that is long and rich, the fact that it is several centuries old makes each individual watch an interesting piece of history that adds to its novelty. Mechanical watches were initially not what they set out to be today, but through innovation and keeping up with the times, they have been refined into unparalleled investment pieces that pay homage to traditional watchmaking heritage.
The heritage of the watchmaking tradition and the brand that makes your watch, and then, more personally, the heritage and history of your watch that you can keep as an heirloom to future generations. Every watch has a story to tell, and it’s only through the passage of time and its long wear and tear, that you’ll be able to share it once the time comes.
Advanced mechanical watches tend to be far more beautiful to look at than their relatively more price-accessible counterpart, quartz. The process that goes into making even a single mechanical watch is tedious and demands long working hours, all to produce a result that both speaks true to its arduous process and meticulous planning.
Good mechanical watches are interesting to look at, seeing every component, and being fascinated by how all of those can make a mechanical piece of engineering that is 99% accurate most of the time.
There remain only a few watchmaking houses in the world able to truly replicate the age-old traditions of watchmaking, and so with every piece, these household names churn out, is well worth every penny you spend it for.
Life moves at an ever-faster pace than before. Keeping track and staying attuned with time has become drastically more important, so why not do it in style, with a literal piece of art and history on your wrist?