If you are planning to buy a watch, it is essential to begin with identifying the type of movement that suits your preference. Mechanical movements come in various types, and it is crucial to differentiate them from a quartz watch, which requires battery replacement every few years. Over time, technology has revolutionized watchmaking, allowing watchmakers to produce modern mechanical movements, challenging each other to create the most complicated ones. In this blog post we will cover everything you need to know about mechanical watches so you can better understand what all this fuss is about.
What Is A Mechanical Watch?
In order to keep time, a mechanical watch relies on a clockwork mechanism, while a quartz watch is powered by a battery. The mainspring of a mechanical watch is responsible for storing the energy that powers the balance wheel, which in turn is connected to the gear train. The gear train not only transmits this energy but also keeps track of the number of swings made by the balance wheel to calculate the time in seconds, minutes, and hours. The escapement is then responsible for releasing the wheels, causing the hands of the watch to move at a steady pace. This is what results in the ticking sound that is often heard in mechanical watches.
Mechanical watches are known for their smooth and continuous sweeping seconds hand, in contrast to quartz watches that exhibit individual ticks. Although some high-end mechanical watches are intentionally crafted to display this ticking movement, it is not a common feature in most mechanical watches. This serves as a testament to the intricate and precise craftsmanship involved in the creation of such timepieces.
Mechanical watches are often fitted with jewels, such as garnet, quartz, sapphire or ruby, and in modern watches, synthetic ones are commonly used. These jewels play a vital role in reducing friction within the watch movement, which ultimately leads to increased accuracy and longevity of the watch components. One can observe these jewels through exhibition case backs, where they are visibly scattered around the movement. This is a testament to the precision engineering that goes into creating mechanical watches, as every detail is taken into account to ensure optimal performance and durability.
How Long Do Mechanical Watches Last?
By utilizing these precious gems to minimize friction in the movement, coupled with proper handling that prevents hard impacts and water damage, a mechanical watch has the potential to endure for several lifetimes. With this in mind, Tufina is dedicated to producing a limited number of enduring timepieces, thus our watchmakers devote relentless effort to crafting watches that can withstand years and years of use.
Moreover, it is possible to restore and prolong the lifespan of a damaged watch through repair. To achieve this, watchmakers are trained by manufacturers to service watches regularly and replace easily accessible parts as necessary. Keep in mind that vintage watches may require harder-to-find original parts, particularly if they have many complications, which will require more meticulous maintenance.
The Difference Between Mechanical Movements
Mechanical watches are composed of either automatic or manual wind movements, both of which require regular winding of the mainspring. However, let’s look at some of their differences.
Winding the Movement
Automatic movements contain a component called a rotor, which is a weight that oscillates and is connected to the movement. Traditionally, the rotor's size is about half that of the exhibition caseback. However, in recent times, several watch brands have begun incorporating micro rotors into their watches. These micro rotors are positioned inside the movement instead of resting on top, resulting in a slimmer movement. Whatever the case, as the wearer wears the automatic watch, the rotor moves, allowing for the watch to automatically wind itself, hence the name.
When it comes to manual wind watches, the mainspring is wound by the wearer using the crown. These movements are considered the most traditional and are also known as hand-wound movements. It is worth mentioning that automatic watches can also be manually wound. If an automatic watch stops, it's suggested to wind it by about 20-40 times to kick-start the movement before wearing it again.
Power Reserve: Automatic vs. Manual Wind Watches
One notable contrast between automatic and manual wind watches lies in their power reserve. While an automatic watch usually has a power reserve of 36-42 hours when fully wound, a manual wind watch can last for days or 48 hours at the minimum. Therefore, manual wind watches offer a longer power reserve than their automatic counterparts.
Why are mechanical watches so expensive?
Most watch admirers know that mechanical watches are usually priced higher than quartz watches, even when they have similar features. Certain watch brands even provide the same watch with both mechanical and quartz movement options, with the mechanical option being more expensive. While some individuals attribute this price difference to the sophistication of mechanical movements, others point out that mechanical movements are costly as they are luxury items, while quartz movements are inexpensive everyday accessories. Nonetheless, the actual reasons for this price gap are as follows.
Cost to Manufacture
When compared, luxury watches with high quality quartz movements are manufactured at a slightly lower cost than their mechanical counterparts, but the variance in price is not significant. However, it is important to note that the price of the movement is only a portion of the overall retail cost for most luxury watches.
The distribution of mechanical movement watches involves smaller quantities, leading to fewer economies of scale. Although mechanical watches are favored by collectors and enthusiasts, the majority of the population still opt for quartz watches. This preference results in slower inventory turnover for mechanical watches, which may cause manufacturers and dealers to experience a more gradual return on their investment when stocking them.
Extra charges apply to certain exceptional features often found in high-end mechanical timepieces. Materials such as precious metals and synthetic sapphire crystals, advanced timekeeping complications, and precious stones all come at a significant premium above their base cost.
What Is A Good Mechanical Watch?
When it comes to selecting a mechanical watch to add to your collection, there is no such thing as a poor choice. However, certain factors must be considered when choosing the perfect timepiece. These include the type of movement, such as automatic or manual winding, the brand, price point, case size and thickness, complications, and the intended use of the watch.
Mechanical watches are available at a wide range of prices, from less than $500 to over $600,000, depending on the brand and added features. In this article, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite mechanical watches priced under $5,000, featuring different models and complications.
Tufina Casablanca Theorema
Introducing Casablanca - the watch that's as sophisticated as it is stylish. This limited edition timepiece boasts a unique open front and back design, allowing you to admire the intricate in-house mechanical movement with 17 rubies, visible from both sides. The gold-plated 316L stainless steel case is both durable and elegant, while the sapphire-coated lens ensures maximum clarity and scratch resistance.
But Casablanca is not just a pretty face. The photoluminescent hands make it easy to read in any light condition, while the Roman numerals lend a classic touch to its design. The butterfly buckle ensures a secure and comfortable fit, and with 3 ATM water resistance, you can take it with you wherever you go. Whether you're dressing up for a special occasion or simply adding a touch of sophistication to your everyday style, Casablanca is the perfect timepiece for any occasion.
Tufina Lagos Theorema
Lagos blends classic style with modern sophistication. With its in-house mechanical movement featuring 17 rubies, Lagos boasts impressive accuracy and longevity, making it a timepiece to treasure for a lifetime. The luminous hands ensure that you can always read the time, whether it's day or night, while the open front and back provide an alluring view of the mechanism.
Limited in stock, Lagos is a truly exclusive piece, making it a coveted addition to any watch collection. Its size, approximately 44mm without the crown, gives it a bold and striking presence on your wrist. The sapphire-coated lens and 3 ATM water resistance ensure that Lagos is both durable and reliable. The Roman numerals on the face of the watch add a touch of old-world charm, while the black leather strap version comes with a unique fish skin pattern that sets it apart from other watches. With Lagos, you'll always be on time and in style.
Tufina San Francisco Theorema
Get ready to embark on a journey of culture and style with San Francisco! This masterpiece of mechanical engineering is not just a timepiece but a true work of art, perfect for anyone seeking to make a bold statement. Featuring an in-house mechanical movement with 20 rubies, this watch is crafted to deliver unbeatable accuracy. The luminous hands ensure you never miss a moment.
This unique skeleton timepiece pays homage to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a true symbol of strength and elegance. Its limited edition status makes it an exclusive and treasured addition to any collection. With a standard buckle and 3 ATM water resistance, this watch is not just stunning but practical too.
Tufina Lady Butterfly Theorema
Lady Butterfly is one of our most popular women’s luxury mechanical watches. Its full see-through skeletonized composition offers a unique aesthetic. The luminous hands not only add a practical touch, but also enhance the watch's beauty. Adorned with 11 Swarovski diamonds this timepiece showcases an unmistakable sense of glamor and luxury.
For the ultimate pairing, Lady Butterfly is perfectly complemented by the aforementioned San Francisco, with its bold and modern design. And for those looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, this gorgeous watch is also available in a Couples Bundle offer, which includes both San Francisco and Lady Butterfly. With their timeless elegance and outstanding quality, these gems are the perfect way to make a lasting impression.
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