Elegance, Function and Style: The Three Keys To Quality Men's and Women's Watches
Ladies have used bracelets to accessorize their wardrobes for centuries. Long ago, these pieces of fine jewelry were custom-crafted rather than mass-produced and could be found in gold or silver, sometimes set with gemstones. It only made sense that the traditional pocket watches (considered men's watches) would later follow in the footsteps of the bracelet and appear as ladies fashion items as well..
While pocket watches have been in existence since 1524, the wristwatch didn't come into being until centuries later. Invented by Patek Philippe at the end of the 19th century the original wristwatches were, in fact, women’s accessories. However, the wristwatch had its reputation transformed by Louis Cartier (French maker of fine jewelry) in the early 20th century when he created a leather-strapped man's version for a friend. The onset of the First World War launched the mass popularity of men's watches when battlefield officers in all branches of the military found it much more convenient to check the time with a watch on their wrists than a watch in their pockets.
During this time, men's and women's watches were considered pieces of fine jewelry that were out of the financial reach of most lower and working-class citizens. As materials became increasingly less expensive and as new technologies were developed, watches moved from their strict standing as elegant timepieces to affordable and trendy fashion items.
Fine Jewelry or Disposable Electronics?
Depending on your budget, watches can be purchased in virtually all price ranges. Rolex and Chopard are world-renowned watchmakers who specialize in creating beautiful timepieces that are viewed more as fine jewelry. However, a reputation for precision undoubtedly belongs to Hamilton Watches and The Illinois Watch Company.
Not everyone, however, is in the market for jewelry. Many are looking to follow current fashion trends or to sport watches that reflect their lifestyles. For instance, Casio is a discount watchmaker that features low-cost watches in traditional styles as well as vibrant colors with both digital and analog displays for only a few dollars/euros. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the Omega Speedmaster watch, costing thousands, which was selected for use by both the U.S. and Soviet space agencies.
According to U.S. and World News, high tech is the trend for watches with the most popular sellers incorporating calculators, slide rules and displays for multiple time zones. Other "in" watches include those that resemble higher-priced watches such as Rolex.
Mechanisms of Men's and Women's Watches
Regardless of the style, watches will use one of three types of mechanisms: mechanical, electronic or radio controlled. Watches with mechanical movements are viewed to be the most collectible as they are the most precisely engineered. Oddly enough, they are poor timekeepers. Mechanical watches are notorious for losing time and being prone to failure.
Watches with electronic movements have few (if any) moving parts. Making use of a tiny quartz crystal, these watches (often called quartz watches) are stable and highly accurate. Developed in Switzerland, the first quartz watches entered the marketplace under the brand name Seiko..
Radio controlled watches are able to synchronize themselves with an external source. Linking via radio waves with atomic clocks, GPS transmitters and others, these watches are considered the most accurate and reliable.
Celebrities and Watches
Oftentimes, watch manufacturers secure endorsements from celebrities in order to promote their watches. Charlize Theron is the face of Raymond Weil Watches. Kerry Washington (who played Ray Charles' wife Della in the movie Ray) and dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov are fronts for Movado while Gena Davis sported her Gevril Swiss timepiece on the hit show "Commander in Chief." You'll also find Brad Pitt and Uma Thurman both representing Tag Heuer.
At some point during the day, everyone will need to know what time it is. Whether digital or analog, mechanical or electronic, classic or trendy; men's and women's watches are more than jewelry accessories. Watches are symbols of our personalities and staples of life that have grown from luxuries to absolute necessities.