Do automatic watches stand the test of time?
Time is a consistent factor that influences everyone’s lives. In a busy and demanding world, we constantly need to be reminded of how much time we have left to complete a deadline or get to a meeting. For centuries, people on the move had to rely on their watches and the distinct chime of the town’s clock to guide their day. In the today’s electronic age, we have access to time on our mobile phones, our computer screens, and even ‘smart watches’ as of 2010. Thus, it is interesting to understand why the traditional automatic watch continues to be manufactured despite the powerful opposition.
The following article aims to provide insight into the mechanisms of automatic watches, as well as how to find a cheap automatic watch.
What makes an automatic watch tick?
A watch movement, or ‘calibre’ is the mechanism inside a watch that acts as a powerhouse. There are two main types of movement in 21st century watch making. The first being the battery operated quarts watches, and the second being, automatic watches which are self-winding.
The mainspring of an automatic watch is wound by the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. This unusual powerhouse of the automatic watch, when compared to the simple battery-operated mechanism of a quartz, is what makes automatic more desirable amongst consumers despite the quartz excellent accuracy. Another explanation for the automatic preference is the smooth sweep of the second hand as it travels around the face, while the hands of a quartz watch tick dismally at each passing second.
Nonetheless, automatic watches are not without flaw, as they will eventually stop when taken off the wearer’s wrist. Although, the duration at which they can continue to operate without having to be rewinded, depends on the individual timepiece, most tend to last for 2 days.
Are cheap automatic watches lacking in quality?
Most people will dismiss wrist-watches, in preference for their mobile’s digital clock, because of a limited budget. The price of a watch is determined by the materials it is made of, the manufacturing time as well as the heritage of the brand. For this reason, a cheap watch is usually a quartz timepiece.
Cheap automatic watches are not as common, as the frames that house them are made of more valuable materials and tend to be better designed. When looked at in terms of quality, automatic watches appear to be the more cost effective choice. Nonetheless, there are a range of cheap automatic watches available on the market. As mentioned earlier, the lineage of a brand can be responsible for the significant difference in price between what is considered a cheap automatic watch and a timepiece that costs over $10 000. Therefore, a cheap automatic watch, does not have to be inferior or of poor quality.
One respectable brand that is known for its range of cheap watches is Seiko. This brand launched an automatic timepiece in 1963 that became know as the best cheap automatic watch with a day/night window, and a water resistance of 3 bars. To this day, Seiko continues to make cheap automatic watches of high quality available on the market. Moreover, the fact that Seiko watches have been worn in four James Bond films highlights the brand’s visual appeal. Besides reminding Bond to stop the villain in a time frame of 2 hours, Seiko automatic watches are also known to be tough and long-lasting. This distinguished brand has a wide range of high-quality, cheap automatic watches, which shows that cheap watches are not necessarily inferior.
Many websites recommend an Orient timepiece as a first investment in the watch making industry. Unlike many affordable brands, Orient has been designing and making their own automatic movements for over 50 years. Even during the 1970's when most companies abandoned the automatic movement for the quartz movement, Orient continued to focus on making reliable and cheap automatic watches. Seiko owns a controlling interest in Orient, although Orient continues to manufacture and create their own mechanical movements.
There are even timepieces that are powered by the legendary Swiss movement, available for those on a limited budget. Although, Swiss-made automatic watches are difficult to associate with a price under $200, Swatch has created a cheap automatic watch, the Sistem51 watch line, by using an automated assembly line and only 51 parts. The automated assembly as well as the small amount of parts needed make it cheap automatic Swiss watch.
Another cheap automatic watch is the Invicta Men’s 9937 Pro Driver which is sold for under $300. It possesses an outstanding 600 feet water resistant feature, and being of Swiss innovation, promises accuracy and durability. The fact that one of the most distinguished watches of Invicta is under $300, further shows how cheap watches can be of good value.
To further establish that high quality watches are not reserved for millionaires, here are a few brands that manufacture cheap automatic watches below $200. These range from designer brands such as Calvin Klein, Guess, Hugo Boss, and Tommy Hilfiger to other popular watchmakers, for instance, Daniel Wellington, Mondaine, Seiko, and Skagen.
Why invest in a cheap automatic watch in the digital age ?
Some would say that in the modern era, like face-to-face communication and printed photographs, watches have lost their significance to the digital world. Why pay thousands for a timepiece when, you can simply check the time on your phone? Well, because a phone will eventually run out of battery life, whereas automatic watches rarely run out of time. Not only that, but a parent, let alone a work colleague, cannot mistake you for impolitely playing Pokémon Go whenever you check your watch at a meeting or at the dinner table.
Cheap automatic watches are also an ideal gift for a relative or a friend, as they offer excellent quality and design and are a practical gift. Furthermore, watches trump mobiles, for their ability to be an antique that can be passed down through generations, because time is constant, whereas iPhone versions are fleeting.