It's Blake here. I am co-founder and creative product designer of WÖLSCH Watches.
Choosing a watch may look simple to the naked eye, but I want to help guarantee you’ll find your best piece yet with an easy 5-Step process you can apply to any product you might have your eye on. In just 2 minutes you will be a proclaimed horologist! (watch expert).
What you will learn:
- The Industry Myth
- Which Glass to Choose (Important!)
- Your Movement (the engine)
- Not all Leather is Created Equal
- Devil is In the Detail(s) + Bonus Gift
Step 1 – The myth that price equals quality.
“You DON’T get what you pay for”
The watch industry has seen a significant boom over the last 5 years, with an influx of many new micro-brands trying to get in on a slice of the ridiculous mark ups people are willing to pay, making it hard to distinguish between a great quality product and a heavily marketed lemon.
- It’s simple to make a quartz watch for $10 with “the right materials” …
- Add marketing and mark-up 15-30x
- Sell at $150-$300!
Selling you a cheap watch, little to your knowledge that was made for the price of a BigMac Meal.
The Takeaway Tip 1:
EDUCATE YOURSELF! Understand which materials to look out for to get the most out of your DOLLAR! It can be hard; some companies will put a spin on their low-quality materials to make them sound great.
Now let’s dive into the materials.
Step 2 – Glass. Scars are cool, but not on your watch?
When looking at the glass used on watches, you will come across two types;
- Mineral Glass
- Sapphire Crystal
Mineral glass is shatter resistant, but scratches easily.
The main benefit of Sapphire Crystal glass is that it is the most scratch resistant watch glass on the market.
Your watch should be something you feel comfortable wearing for all occasions and withstand the light knocks and bumps everyday life throws at you. Your watch can quickly look sad and sorry with one subtle scratch when putting on your seatbelt or pulling some coins out of your pocket. Select your glass carefully.
The Takeaway Tip 2:
Look for Sapphire Crystal glass for an unblemished watch for years to come! Unless you plan to hit it with a hammer or run over with a car.
Next up your watches Engine!
Hardened Mineral Glass
Step 3 – The Movement, Your Engine.
All movements are not created equal. The movement is the motor behind the watch so to speak. The movement powers the watch and makes the hands, date or any other features a watch may have work. Obviously a fairly important component to a well-made watch.
You will commonly come across:
- Swiss Movement
- Japanese Movement and,
- Hopefully not Chinese Movement…
Typical Pricing, for a classic 3 hands plus date function quartz watch
- Chinese movement will cost less than $1,
- A Japanese Miyota around $7 and,
- Swiss Ronda around $20.
The Takeaway Tip 3:
As mentioned above, price does not always equal quality. Most importantly check where the movement was manufactured. We use Ronda which is a large and respected Swiss manufacturer since 1964, as is Miyota in Japan.
Swiss Ronda 515 – Used in our Versa 40 Range.
Step 4 – Check the leather
Full Grain, Top Grain, Genuine, Corrected Grain, Bonded Leather; it can all be confusing and massaged into sounding great.
Full grain reigns superior for durability, thickness and strength and comes with the natural imperfections and marks of the natural leather, then comes top grain. This is most common in high-end leather products due to its high quality and workability. And lastly genuine leather.
Below is a summary of each’s characteristics.
- Superior for durability
- Thickness and strength
- Natural imperfections and marks of natural leather
- Most common high-end products due to high quality and workability
- Receives a light sand to remove any imperfections, then
- Treated for desired finish
- More stain resistant, but less breathable than full grain.
Genuine Leather / Corrected Grain
- Popular amongst watch brands
- Bottom of the barrel leather
- Artificial layer applied and pressed into the surface
- Dye applied to give a natural appearance.
The Takeaway Tip 4:
We use an Italian Top Grain Leather across our range. This gives us both premium quality from and workability to offer a diverse range of leather options for any occasion.
The devil is in the detail.
Lastly here are some little extras to consider when looking for your next watch.
Step 5 – It’s the little things - BONUS
We have tried to offer a timeless timepiece that includes all you need and nothing you don’t.
Whether someone has asked you “what’s the date’? and you subtly raise a wrist, you’ll be surprised how many people respond with; “wow, does that watch have the date”? Or you want to time how quickly your pals can down a beer. Raise a wrist… use the second hand.
“We feel the second hand is the heartbeat to a watch, we had to include it.”
Look out for a few of the following which haven’t been mentioned:
Applied indexes - these are printed numbers or hour marks on your watch. They are a printed version of a metal piece to save costs or any mould fees when creating a custom logo or index.
Limited Warranties – Most watches should come with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. If not, abort.
Light Weight – Some watches will feel unexpectedly light. Cutting material costs.
UP Leather – This term means Fake or Synthetic leather.
The Finish – Look for any unexpected sharp edges on the watch case. This may be a sign of poor workmanship from the manufacturer.
The Takeaway Tip 5:
(Congratulations, you are now an Expert):
You need to like the look of your watch, absolutely. Use this guide to take a deeper look at your next time piece and you will thank us in 3 months, when your new watch hasn’t fallen apart or stopped working, and even better, in 10 years when your little classic is still ticking away, naturally aged leather and totally scratch free.
Thanks for your time fellow Horologists!