Watches tell you what time it is, but what does time mean to you? Maybe it means time spent with your family, a favorite childhood memory, or a new personal record you set on your run yesterday. Whatever time means to you, be sure to choose a watch with the features and look to fit your lifestyle.
- Leather - The classic leather watch brands are always a popular option because they are very simple, comfortable, and stylish.
- Stainless Steel Bracelets - Considered durable and long lasting, stainless steel watch bands are popular with both men and women. Easy to wear and take off, they offer flexibility by matching formal and informal attires, much like other forms of jewelry.
- Military - Crafted from a variety of materials, military watch bands can offer both a casual and sophisticated look.
- Titanium - Titanium is commonly used these days as watch bands or bracelets for sports watches. Light and durable, these bands are an obvious choice for many divers' watches.
- LCD Display - Liquid-crystal Display - A digital display where the numbers are formed in a liquid layer enclosed between a pair of clear crystals.
- Analog - traditional watch display with hour and minute hands
- Digital - numeric watch display
- Ana-Dig - A watch that has both an analog (hour and minute hands) and digital (numeric) display
The "movement" refers to the interior mechanism of the watch that drives the timekeeping functions.
A quartz movement is powered by a battery. In this design, a vibrating quartz crystal drives a step motor to move the hands at a constant rate. Passing an electric current through the crystal keeps it oscillating at over 32,000 vibrations per second, which makes the movement extremely reliable. Quartz movements are also cost effective designs for the manufacturer, and the most affordable watches usually have this feature. Swiss quartz combines the movement with the chassis and jewels of a mechanical watch to form the most accurate and most durable quartz watches. On average, the battery needs to be changed every 1.5 years; however, a few quartz watches have solar-powered rechargeable batteries or kinetic technology.
A mechanical movement uses a spring that must be wound by hand using the crown. The spring slowly unwinds to release the energy that powers the timekeeping functions. Consumers who appreciate the skill of gifted watchmakers choose these fine watches for their intricate composite of gears and other parts. Well-built mechanical watches can last for generations.
Automatic watches have mechanical movements that harness the energy produced by the wearer's arm to wind the spring. Thus, the wearer does not need to manually wind the watch every day; however, it is recommended that you manually wind the movement every two weeks or use a watch winder. Also, adjust the time once a month as automatic and mechanical movements can gain or lose a few minutes per month.
- Chronograph - The ability to function as a stop-watch.
- Moon phase - Displays the lunar phase
- Tourbillon - A device used to counter the affect of gravity, said to improve accuracy.
- Perpetual calendar - A continual calendar that needs no adjustment
Waterproof vs. Water-resistant
Water resistance is an indication of the degree to which a watch can withstand exposure to water. A static pressure test is used to assess leakage and the result is then expressed in bars, atmospheres or meters. Since this test is performed only once on newly manufactured watches, a watch's ability to withstand water can be expected to degrade over time.
Technically, no watch is truly "waterproof". Even divers watches which are held to an extremely high water-resistant standard are still not officially referred to as waterproof.
Watch Care and Maintenance
Clean a watch regularly with a soft cloth to remove dirt and oils and use a mild soap and water solution to clean metal bracelets. Avoid exposing your watch to extreme hot or cold temperatures. Even water-resistant timepieces should not be worn in a hot tub or shower. Chlorine, perfumes and other chemicals may damage watch finishes and sealants. Always rinse a water-resistant watch in fresh water after swimming or snorkeling. Finally, keep the watch case away from magnets; they can damage the movement of quartz watches.