Four factors to consider when buying an everyday mechanical watch

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Buying an everyday luxury mechanical watch is more complex than before. While technology got better over the years, most watches are still ready to be exposed to harsher conditions such as extreme or sudden shock or magnetism. Not only can this cause permanent damage to your watch, but it also voids the warranty.

Watch companies are now releasing more watches with newer technologies to counter the factors that could affect timekeeping. This research can range from experimenting with different materials to designing a whole new movement. Below are four things to consider when choosing an everyday luxury mechanical watch.

Magnetic resistance

This factor is my number one priority in choosing an everyday watch. Magnetism is in our everyday life; however, as more things utilise magnets, our watches become more exposed than ever. Though the magnet and the watch have to be in very close proximity, the risk always exists. One such example is the new iPhones, where there’s a magnetic coil at the back. Hairsprings are affected as they stick together, and the balance’s oscillation will be unstable. Most of the time, the watch will run fast at +20-30 seconds per day and even as fast as two minutes per day. This change doesn’t even only affect watches, but also other products such as pacemakers. For example, people who have pacemakers and the habit of putting the phone in their breast pocket have reported affecting their pacemakers.

Different companies have different ways of solving this issue. The most common solution is converting the hairspring to silicon. Not only is silicon antimagnetic, but it also has better corrosion resistance. Other solutions also include adding a soft iron cage to protect the movement.

Source: Rolex

Watches that utilises silicon hairspring includes any modern Rolex watch, such as the new Rolex 41mm Submariners and OMEGA watches that use the Co-axial Master Chronometer movements. OMEGA can even advertise that most of their watches are protected up to 15,000 gauss. For comparison, a standard mechanical watch is most of the time only protected to 60 gauss.

Source: Omega

Shock resistance

There will be moments where your watch might be exposed to more shock than intended. Shocks can come from playing golf, consecutive strong vibrations, or dropping to the floor. The impact can affect the pivots and more specifically, the balance-jewel, and there needs to be a way to absorb it.

Watchmakers have already found a solution for years. The most common answer would be either from KIF and Incabloc. Recently, other companies like Rolex implemented their shock-absorbing system known as Paraflex, offering up to 50% better resistance. Regardless of numbers, a drop on the floor would still damage your watch on other areas such as bezels or the crystal.

Source: Rolex

OMEGA watches are advertised to survive 5000g and even as far as being able to play golf. However, while OMEGA watches can survive 18 rounds of golf, some tests are being done in a more controlled environment.

Water Resistance

One of the most dangerous elements that can get into your watch is water. Not only will your watch stop working, but it also promotes rust development. Watchmakers would often recommend a water pressure test every year to ensure the seal’s integrity. Testing is more important for diving watches that get exposed to water more often than not.

Seiko has a guide on where you can expose your watch depending on its water resistance. The guide can be found via this link.

Generally, I would recommend starting with 50m as an absolute minimum to somebody where the most contact the watch will have on the water is from washing hands and take care of their watches. For others, I would recommend starting at 100m.

Source: Blancpain

Power Reserve (Optional)

Last but not least, a longer power reserve. The standard power reserve is between 38 hours and 48 hours. If you only have one watch that you wear every day, this is not a problem as the watch will always be fully wound the next day. However, if you have another weekend watch, your main watch will stop running before it hits Monday.

I would recommend considering watches that have at least 70 hours (close to 3 days) of power reserve for this scenario.

Another alternative is opting to use a watch winder, but whether it’s worth the added cost or not would depend on the user.

Source: Grand Seiko

Final Thoughts

There’s plenty of factors to consider when choosing an everyday watch. However, these four is what I would recommend adding as part of your consideration when choosing an everyday watch.

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