A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Watch Collection.

Have you ever dreamed of owning the world's finest watches? If so, watch collecting might be the perfect hobby for you. This beginner's guide will introduce you to the exciting world of watch collecting and provide helpful tips for selecting and maintaining a beautiful collection.

In today's email, let’s dive into the types of watches that are out there and some basic terminology that any watch enthusiast should know.

Starting a watch collection

Thinking about starting a watch collection but not sure where to start? Learn the basics of watch collecting with this beginner's guide.

Educate Yourself on Different Types of Watches.


Setting off on your watch collecting journey starts with educating yourself on the different types of watches available. It is important to learn about the features and functions of luxury watches, vintage watches, sports watches, dress watches, and more so you can begin to narrow in on what type of watch collection you would like to create. Researching the history behind each type of watch can also be quite illuminating and will help inform your decision-making process.

Here are the most common types of movement used in watches:

Mechanical Watches. These are the oldest type of watch and are powered by a spring. The spring is wound either manually or automatically, and then the watch is set in motion. The balance wheel and balance spring are the main components that regulate the watch’s speed. Mechanical watches are known for their accuracy and are often considered to be works of art. They are usually more expensive than other types of watches and require more maintenance.

Types of mechanical watches include automatic, manual-wind, and chronograph watches. Popular brands of mechanical watches include Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Patek Philippe, and Tag Heuer.

Quartz. These watches are powered by a battery that vibrates at a frequency regulated by the quartz crystal, which makes them more affordable and easier to maintain than mechanical watches. Quartz watches are also more accurate than mechanical watches, but they lack the craftsmanship and design of a mechanical watch. Types of quartz watches include digital, analog, and analog-digital watches. Popular brands of quartz watches include Seiko, Citizen, Timex, Casio, and Fossil.

The third type of watch is smartwatch. Smartwatches are powered by an intricate computer system and are designed to do more than just tell time. They can connect to your phone, track your fitness, and even make payments. Smartwatches come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, so you can find one that fits your lifestyle and budget. Popular brands of smartwatches include Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Garmin, and Fossil.

Watch Styles

Watch Styles

Additionally, there are different types of watch styles depending on your lifestyle, needs and different features available.

Sport watches are designed for outdoor activities and often feature rugged designs and water-resistance. Dress watches are typically more formal and feature classic designs. Dive watches are designed for underwater activities and are usually water-resistant. Chronograph watches feature multiple dials and are designed for measuring time intervals. 

Vintage watches feature designs from the past and often have a classic look. Aviator watches feature large faces and are designed for readability and navigation.

Different watch styles may have different features, such as, size, and design, that may be more suited to certain activities or situations. Knowing the different styles of watches can also help you find a watch that they like the look and feel of, as well as one that fits their budget.

Watch Terminology

Now, let’s talk about some of the basic terms that any watch enthusiast should know.

...basic watch terminology includes, but not limited to:

Case - the outermost part of the watch that houses the movement and other components.

Movement - the mechanism inside the watch that keeps time (e.g. mechanical, quartz).

Crown - the knob on the side of the watch used to adjust the time.

Dial - the face of the watch.

Hands - the markers on the dial that indicate the time.

Crystal - the cover of the watch that protects the dial.

Strap/Bracelet - the band that attaches the watch to the wearer’s wrist.

Bezel - the ring around the outside of the watch.

Lugs - the metal pieces that attach the strap/bracelet to the case.

Complications - features of the watch, such as a calendar, chronograph, or alarm.

Water Resistance - the watch’s ability to resist water and dust.

Automatic Movement - a type of mechanical movement that is powered by the wearer’s movement.

Manual-Wind Movement - a type of mechanical movement that is powered by winding a crown.

Quartz Movement - a type of movement that is powered by a battery and regulated by a quartz crystal.

Battery - the power source of a quartz watch.

Subdial - a smaller dial on the watch face that is used for additional features such as a chronograph or date display.

Perpetual Calendar - a calendar feature that automatically adjusts for months with different lengths.

Hacking - the ability to stop the watch movement to adjust the time more accurately.

Jewels - synthetic rubies that reduce friction in the movement.

Power Reserve - the amount of time a watch can run before needing to be wound or recharged.

We could talk about watch terminology all day, but we don't want to overwhelm you!

What else to improve my journey...

* Dedicate time to learning the watch language and discover the different types of movements, from manual wind versus automatic watch, power reserves, complications like calendar, jewelling and chronographs.

* Identify what criteria is needed to be certified pre-owned or new.

* Consider joining some of the leading watch collecting forums available today. These forums provide reliable resources, up-to-date on the latest releases, and discussions on all topics related to watch collecting – from armchair enthusiasts to professional diamond dealers.

* Additionally, there are collectible magazines and YouTube channels covering the newest watches released, technical reviews, and commentary.

We hope you found this introduction to watch terminology helpful and that you now have a better understanding of the different types of watches and the terminology associated with them. Feel free to explore further if you're interested in learning more!

Stay tuned for the next email in our series, which will cover "what is the story behind watch brands?".

Happy collecting!


Modern Watch Box

Impress your friendsNow you can impress your friends and family with your newfound knowledge - and don't forget to check the time every once in a while!

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