Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Much Swissness is Swiss Made?

Apparently it is now 60%. That doesn't sound like much but previously it was 50%...The Swiss parliament passed a law that "...sets at 60% the minimum rate of Swiss value for industrial products."


This is how so many watches can claim to be Swiss Made but really aren't that Swiss. They are like swiss cheese but with only half the holes (well maybe not) but you get the point. This is how companies like Fossil can use Swiss movements and a few more parts, and call it a Swiss watch. It's the same with hundreds of other brands. They need the "Swiss" brand name to give their products some legitimacy. These are perfectly fine watches but then they would not be able to charge a premium (the Fossil Swiss line watches retail for upwards of $900)  if they used Chinese or Japanese movements (again these are not bad, they just don't have the "name").

That's why when you make an investment in a Swiss watch (or any watch for that matter), make sure you research it and find out where it's made and if it's actually a Swiss-based company. Good sources are the forums at Watchuseek and TimeZone. Just ask away. I got a lot of good help and advice on these sites.

How Watches Are Made

Well, how Breitlings are made. This was forwarded to me by a Breitling owner. He has the first Chronomat with the in-house Caliber B01 movement.

Brietling Caliber B01

I think since Swatch announced it would not provide movements carte blanche anymore outside the Swatch Group, it has made many companies rediscover watchmaking. And that is a good thing, especially for a company like Breitling which makes expensive timepieces and touts it's aviation watch instrument history.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

How Many Watches Do You Wear?

Have you ever seen pitctures of guys wearing a watch on each wrist, or more? I always thought it was an odd way of showing off your watches. Plus it looks goofy. But to each his own.

I was talking with a co-worker recently about watches and what might make a goo Father's Day gift. I recommended a few brands based on the father's likes, etc. and offered to bring a few into work so they could get a feel for what these brands were like.

I don;t like carrying watches in bags or anything for a perverse fear of them being destroyed - like in a magic trick gone horribly wrong. So I decided to wear one on each wrist and and made sure they were comfortably under my dress shirt sleeves to avoid being "seen". 

It was an odd feeling having one strapped to my right wrist. It was easy to tell the time but it would have been funny to see my try to wind it, much less change the time and date. As a transport method, this was probably the best way to move them and we were able to review the watches. But I would never do this with a short-sleeved shirt. Maybe.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kids and Watches

Watches are something that can be collected, shared with, and passed down to your children - if they are interested. But you have to get them interested first. I am working on this with my son, getting him interested in my watches. A little while back I thought he was about ready for a "nice" watch - I was looking for a mechanical watch, and found a Seiko automatic and an Armitron automatic for under $50.

I was going to go for the Seiko because of their quality and reputation when he received a gift from family overseas - a Russian-made Vostok Commander manual watch. This was perfect. It is a nicely made watch, unique and is not quartz (Note: I do like and have quartz sports watches, but prefer mechanical for dress watches). It does not have a transparent rear case so he can't see the movement but he loves it nonetheless. I let him play with my automatic watches and see how they work for this. He winds it everyday before going to school and has so far been taking good care of it.

Unfortunately this is about the only way to get your kids into watches unless they fall into it on their own later in life (like I did). I read an article over at Watches by SJX that local school children visited the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture in Switzerland to learn about watchmaking and participate in some of the process. What a great field trip! It's too bad that the watch industry is practically non-existent in the US - I think this would be a great visit for anyone. Until then, get your kids involved in a great activity.

Jaeger Lecoultre Manufacture
Taken from The Telegraph: Watchmaking in the 21st century


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