At Fraser Hart, we’re proud to be official stockists of many of the world’s leading luxury, designer and sports watch brands, and are delighted to combine our expertise and experience to bring you this useful watch buyer’s guide. From discovering the different watch movements that are available to unravelling the complications of functions, it will help you choose the watch that’s just right for you.
A watch movement (or calibre in watchspeak) is the engine of a watch. The internal mechanism that drives the hands around and powers any additional functions such as chronograph or date. There are different types of movements from battery operated to solar. Here is a detailed guide on the different movements to help you choose the right watch for you or your loved one. When choosing a watch movement consider accuracy, battery replacement and general maintenance when you’re thinking about your watch’s movement.Hand-wound mechanical movement
The original watch movement, the hand-wound mechanical consists of a coiled spring that, when wound through turning the crown, stores energy that is released through a series of gears in a regulated manner to keep time. Hand-wound mechanical watches are revered and extremely collectable.
Hand-wound and mechanical watches require servicing once every 3 to 5 years in order to maintain reliability. Full service details will usually be provided in the manual that accompanies your mechanical watch.
Developed in the 1970s by Seiko, quartz watches revolutionised the horological world, offering a watch movement that was low-cost but accurate. An electronic movement, quartz movement is the most common watch technology and features frequently in ranges by luxury and designer brands worldwide – from Gucci and Emporio Armani to Michael Kors and Hugo Boss. In a quartz movement, the springs and gear train are replaced by a quartz crystal and a battery. When an electric charge is applied to the crystal it vibrates at a specifically frequency to regulate the watch’s timekeeping.
Quartz watches will require battery replacements and we recommend that you don’t replace the battery yourself; it should always be done by a specialist who may have to re-seal your watch to retain its water resistance. Full details will be provided in the manual that accompanies your quartz watch.
Some of the world’s leading watch brands have developed their own watch movements. Pioneers in watchmaking, these brands produce watches that are prized for their craftsmanship and technological innovation.
Breitling stands out in the field of electronics with the development of the thermocompensated SuperQuartz™ movement that is ten times more accurate than standard quartz.
Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology harnesses the power of any natural or artificial light source and converts it into energy which is stored in a permanently rechargeable lithium cell. It recharges in any kind of light to run forever. An award winning movement, Eco-Drive watches never need battery and are therefore incredibly environmentally friendly.
When you’re choosing your watch, it’s easy to get bogged down with functions and features and, with technology constantly on the move, there’s an increasing array from which to choose. To help you choose the ones you need, here’s a handy guide to some of the most commonly found functions.
Water Resistance of your Watch
Before you wear your watch when you go scuba diving, it’s vital to understand the concept of water resistance in watches if you want to ensure your treasured timepiece will withstand the adventure.
Water resistance is the ability of a watch to withstand splashes of water. It is not the same thing as being waterproof and most water resistant watches are not designed for prolonged active use in water. It simply indicates how well a watch is sealed against the ingress of water. Water resistance is measured either in depth (metres) or pressure (ATM/atmosphere or BAR) and is the result of a static pressure test undertaken in a laboratory. Even though water resistant is often measured in metres, it is a measure of pressure and not depth. A 3ATM/BAR watch will withstand pressures equivalent to 30 metres.
Water resistance is displayed on watches as a mark either on the back of a case or on the dial. You can find the water resistance of watches that are purchasable on line on the product specification section of each product. If a watch is shown simply as water resistant, it is designed for accidental splashes, such as rain, only.
The chart below will help you choose a watch with the right level of water resistance for you.
Many watch brands manufacture watches up to 100m which are suitable for snorkelling and swimming. However, for activities such as high impact water sports, scuba diving and saturation diving, we would advice that you purchase a professional sports watch. Brands such as Oris, TAG Heuer, Breitling and Omega offer a stunning range of professional watches with high levels of water resistance.
Watches should be tested for water resistance every two years and gaskets and seals replaced as necessary. See watch care and servicing for more information on looking after a water resistant watch.
It’s everyone’s dream to own a luxury timepiece from a premium watch brand but why do they come with such a high price tag?
Firstly, you are paying for heritage, experience and prestige. Luxury watch brands such as Oris and IWC have over a hundred years of watchmaking tradition behind them and have a history steeped in the home of watchmaking, Switzerland.
Luxury watch brands invest heavily in technology and development to offer the most innovative and cutting-edge of timepieces – in terms of design, functionality and performance. Luxury watches are fitted with precision Swiss-made movements; many will have a painstakingly crafted automatic mechanical movement which comes at a higher price than your everyday quartz movement. Some prestige watch brands have developed their own ultra-precise in house movements. For example, Breitling has pioneered SuperQuartz movement, a movement that is ten times more accurate than standard quartz. Omega watches feature the revolutionary Omega Co-Axial calibres, the best series-produced mechanical watch movements in the world.
Finally, luxury watches are literally designed to last a lifetime. Unlike fashion watches, they tend to have timeless yet unique aesthetics that withstand fleeting trends. You can wear a luxury watch forever and it will never look outdated.
At Fraser Hart, we’re proud to be official stockists of some of the world’s leading luxury watch brands so here’s an overview of some of the most sought-after brands.
Breitling has a very special place among luxury watch brands, a pioneer of Swiss-made technical watches, mainly chronographs. A longstanding partner of aviation, an area where precision and reliability are vital, Breitling has always devoted utmost importance to the quality of its men’s and ladies’ watches which are designed to withstand intensive use in the most trying of conditions. Breitling is the one of the few brands to equip all its timepieces with chronometer-certified movements, the ultimate in precision time-keeping. Iconic Breitling watch collections include the Avenger, Colt, Chronomat and Navitimer.
Combining quality Italian design and Swiss watchmaking, Gucci watches are desired by lovers of luxurious timekeeping style worldwide. The brand is renowned for its use of distinct iconic symbols such as the horsebit and G logo which are incorporated beautifully into their collection of men’s and ladies’ watches. A more accessible brand of luxury watches, Gucci timepieces make a serious style statement.
Renowned for its devotion to sport, Longines sponsors some of the world’s most prestigious events including Royal Ascot and the Dubai World Cup. The brand brings a long-standing tradition of impeccable Swiss-made craftsmanship to its collection of men’s and ladies’ watches, combining the highest quality materials with exquisite design that’s always distinctly Longines. With collections such as the sporty Longines Conquest Collection, watches always remain faithful to the brand’s deep-rooted values of tradition, elegance, quality and accuracy.
As makers of premium Swiss-made men’s and ladies’ watches since 1848, Omega is synonymous with innovation. Indeed, the brand’s pioneering spirit has taken them to the moon and back: when astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon in 1969, he was sporting a Speedmaster Professional Chronograph, a timepiece now known as The Moonwatch and the first watch to be worn on the moon. Omega has conquered the depths of the ocean with and has kept time at some of the world’s most important sports events. From the legendary Speedmaster to the beautiful Constellation, owning an Omega watch is like owning a piece of history.
Founded in 1860 in Saint Immier, TAG Heuer is a legend in luxury watchmaking and has a relentless quest for performance and innovation. The brand has created some of the most accurate and desirable precision men’s and ladies’ watches in the world. With a commitment to the sports world, TAG Heuer’s constantly-evolving watch ranges include the Aquaracer, Carrera, Formula 1 and Link.
At Fraser Hart, we’re delighted to be official stockists of many of the world’s most popular fashion watch brands so here’s a quick overview of some of our favourites.
DKNY watches are New York City born and bred. Full of colour, energy and attitude, the brand’s collections are inspired by eclectic areas and landmarks of this vibrant city. DKNY fashion watches are for the confident woman who covets timepieces that are fresh, modern and street.
Emporio Armani blends exceptional quality, design and elegance to create fashion watches that are classically sophisticated. Men’s models with masculine styling; ladies’ models that exude feminine detailing . Luxurious yet accessible, Emporio Armani watches are a must-have for those with discerning sense of style.
Hugo Boss watches offers a sophisticated range of men’s and ladies’ fashion timepieces. Combining classic design with modern finishing touches, Hugo Boss uses only the highest quality materials and Swiss-made movements to ensure reliability and precision. More than just a timepiece, a watch by Hugo Boss is guaranteed to add a distinctive flair to its wearer’s style.
Distinct in their aesthetic, Marc Jacobs fashion watches combine humour and quality to create a collection of timepieces that range from the vintage-inspired to the modern. The collection features an assortment of jewel-bright colours, glamorous material and inspired reinventions of classic styles. Vibrant, fresh and full of style, Marc by Marc Jacobs fashion watches are for those men and women who desire a unique timepiece.
Leading American sportswear designer Michael Kors has brought the polished, sleek style for which they’re renowned into the brand’s collection of fashion watches. Combining luxury, quality and performance, Michael Kors watches have become a timekeeping essential for fashion-forward women and men. Always right on trend, there’s a Michael Kors watch for every style and every occasion.
Swiss made watches
“Swiss made” is one of the most frequently used phrases and sought-after designations in the world of horology but how many people really know what it truly means?
Contrary to popular belief, a Swiss made watch doesn’t mean that the entire timepiece – case, bracelet/strap, dial and movement, etc. – has been constructed in Switzerland. For a watch to be labelled Swiss-made it has to meet the following criteria:
- It is powered by a Swiss movement that was originally made by a Swiss manufacturer. The movement has been cased up in Switzerland.
- The manufacturer has carried out the final inspection of watches in Switzerland.
As long as these criteria are met, a manufacturer can use a watch strap made of Italian leather and a case built in China. The watch will still be considered Swiss made.
The origin of Swiss-made watches can be traced back as early as the 15th century, starting with the well-esteemed watchmakers in Geneva. Desirable luxury watch brands such as Longines and IWC were founded in Switzerland well over a hundred years ago. The country has a rich heritage in watchmaking that just can’t be surpassed and, with this, comes a certain caché.
While luxury watch brands such as Omega, TAG Heuer, Cartier, Breitling and Gucci are renowned for their precision Swiss made timepieces, more accessible brands such as Rotary and Hugo Boss offer quality Swiss made watches.
Bell & Ross, Breitling, Cartier, Chopard, Ebel, Frederique Constant, Gucci, Hublot, Hugo Boss, IWC, Jean Pierre, Longines, Montblanc, NOMOS Glaschütte, Omega, Oris, Rado, Raymond Weil, Rolex, Rotary, TAG Heuer, Tissot, Tudor, Zenith.
Watch care and servicing
Periodically, your watch will require maintenance work to keep it in perfect working order, regardless of whether it is quartz (battery operated) or mechanical ( hand-wound or self-winding). Typically, this will be every other year for a battery change for a quartz watch, or approximately once every five years for a mechanical watch. During a service the following will take place:
- Complete disassembly of the watch
- Cleaning of all internal components
- Replacement of any worn or damaged components (additional charges may apply)
- Ultrasonic clean of case and metal bracelet
- Replacement of battery (for quartz watches only)
- Replacement of all gaskets
- Reassembly of the watch
- Water pressure test
- Timekeeping check
- Visual inspection and final quality control check
Some watch brands will also offer a full polish of the case and bracelet as part of their service, bringing your timepiece watch back in as close to new condition as possible. Fraser Hart can arrange to send your watch directly to the manufacturer, and we also offer servicing by our own highly-trained, skilled watch technicians. For quartz watches, we offer a battery and reseal service, which will involve replacing the battery and changing all the gaskets on the watch.
Before submerging your watch in water, make sure your winding crown is pushed all the way in and screwed down (if your watch operates in this way). Ensure any additional pushers are secured and refrain from using any stopwatch functions while submerged. Note that certain diving chronographs have a magnetic pusher construction to allow you to use the stopwatch functionality while underwater – please consult a Fraser Hart watch specialist if in doubt.
If you wear your watch in seawater, ensure it is thoroughly washed after use as salt is heavily corrosive and can damage your watch if exposed to it over extended periods of time.
Even if your watch is water resistant, we would advise against taking it into the shower. The combination of the water pressure from the shower head and high temperature can be enough to overcome the watch’s seals in certain cases.
If a watch’s timekeeping becomes erratic it can mean a number of things. It could simply need a service through wear and tear, it could have taken an impact or it could have been magnetised. In any of these cases, Fraser Hart can ensure the watch is looked at by the right people and we can get it performing within its tolerances again. We are happy to help with any queries, please contact a store directly or email our Customer Service Team.
Glossary of terms
Become your very own watch expert. We help you get to grips with some of the most frequently used watch jargon in our glossary of terms.
Acrylic crystal – A transparent, protective covering for the dial of a watch composed from a type of plastic. It is not as scratch-resistant as mineral glass or a sapphire crystal but is cheaper to produce.
Adjustable bracelet – A watch bracelet can be adjusted immediately by the wearer or a trusted jeweller by removing some of the links.
Alarm - A function which is available in digital, analogue and duo-display watches. An alarm gives an audible signal when a pre-set time has been reached.
Alpha-numeric - A watch display method that uses both letters and numbers for indicating time, day, date and other types of information.
Altimeter – a watch function that measures altitude.
Analogue - A timepiece with dial, hands and numbers or markers indicating the 12 hour time span.
Analogue quartz – An analogue watch that is regulated by a quartz crystal
Arabic numerals – The numbers written as 1,2,3,4,5, etc. used to indicate hour makers on the dial of a watch.
Auto repeat timer - A feature that allows for the continuous operation of a countdown timer. If timer function is set at one hour and started, it will countdown to zero, beep with a warning signal and immediately return to the preset time and start the countdown again. This will continue until the stop button is pushed.
Automatic - A mechanical watch movement in which the mainspring is wound as a result of the wearer's arm motion.
Back light - A light used to highlight the display on digital watches to allow the display to be read in the dark.
Band - An attachment (strap or bracelet) fitted to the watch case, allowing it be worn on the wrist.
Baton markers – Slender, rectangular hour markers on the dial of a watch.
Battery life - The minimum period of time that a battery will continue to provide power to run the watch. Battery life starts at the point of manufacture when the battery is installed.
Bezel - The ring around the dial of a watch which holds the crystal in place.
Bracelet - A metal band that holds the watch to the wearer's wrist.
Buckle - A fastening mechanism used to secure a watch strap to the wearer's wrist.
Cabochon crown – A watch crown (winding stem) set with a small cabochon to decorate its tip. The cabochon is either a rounded semi-precious stone or synthetic material that’s usually black.
Calendar – A watch feature that shows the date and sometimes the day of the week and the month. It can be displayed through a cut-out window in the dial, as a sub-dial with small hands indicating the date or by digital readout. In an analogue watch this will normally be shown in a window at either the 3 o'clock or 6 o’clock position.
Calibre – Also known as a movement, the calibre of a watch is the mechanism which powers its timekeeping and functions. Calibres have different names or numbers to differentiate the particular movement.
Case – The body of the watch to which the strap or bracelet is attached, designed as a protective covering to surround a watch movement.
Case back - The back of the watch’s case.
Chronograph - A watch with two independent systems: one provides the time and one that measures intervals of time against an action such as running. It is really a fancy word for a stopwatch.
Chronometer - A chronometer is an automatic mechanical watch whose movement has obtained an official rate certificate from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) after passing rigorous precision tests in different positions and temperatures over a 15 day period. Displaying the highest standards of precision and accuracy at all times, chronometer watches therefore carry a premium price over non-chronometers.
Clasp - A fastening mechanism attached to a watch’s bracelet and, sometimes strap, to connect the two ends.
Countdown timer – A watch function that measures remaining time from a preset period of time.
Complication – Another word for a watch function, such as chronograph and tachymeter.
Crown - A small knob situated on the outside of an analogue watch case, normally positioned at 3 o'clock. The crown is used to set the hands and the day/date window if the watch has one. In a mechanical watch the crown is called a "winder".
Crystal – The transparent glass-like mineral or synthetic covering over the watch dial to protect the dial, hands and movement.
Day/Date – A function on a watch showing the day of the week and date of the month.
Deployment clasp/buckle - The portion of the watch band designed to fasten and unfasten a buckle watch. Also known as a hidden clasp.
Dial - The face of the watch.
Digital - A timepiece that shows the time in numbers, rather than by hands on a dial.
Diver's watch – A watch designed and manufactured to meet ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) regulations to ensure reliability.
Dual time – The display of time in two different time zones.
Duo display - A watch with duo-display has analogue hands and a digital display which can be used to show the chronograph and alarm functions and a different time zone.
Eco-Drive – An award-winning eco-friendly movement developed by Citizen that harnesses the power of any natural or artificial light source and converts it into energy which is stored in a permanently rechargeable lithium cell. Eco-Drive watches therefore never need a battery.
Electro luminescent display - A bright blue-green panel lit by the current from the battery at the press of a button which stays illuminated for three seconds to provide easy reading of the watch underwater or in dark conditions.
Expander/expanding bracelet - A bracelet that can be stretched over the wearer's hand and then fit comfortably on the wrist
Face – Another word for dial that is more commonly used to describe the dial of a clock than the dial of a watch.
Frequency - The measurement of oscillations per second. The oscillation rate of the quartz crystal depends on the shape and the way it is cut.
Function – This refers to the features of the watch other than the telling of time, such as chronograph and tachymeter. Also known as a complication.
Generating rotor - A permanent rotating magnet capable of achieving an instantaneous speed equivalent to 100,000 revolutions per minute.
Glass – The transparent crystal over the watch dial to protect the dial, hands and movement.
Hands – An analogue watch has an hour and a minute hand. Some may also have a seconds hand and hands in sub-dials, indicating a different function such as a stopwatch.
Integrated circuit - A miniature electronic contained within a silicon chip that converts the regular oscillations of the quartz into timekeeping units. These are then passed on to the hands of an analogue watch or through the step motor to the display panel of a digital watch.
Kinetic – A movement developed by Seiko that uses the motion of the wearer’s wrist to create electricity to run the watch. The energy is stored in a rechargeable battery.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) – A type of display used in digital watches, showing dark digits on a light background. The numbers either appear in LCD (liquid crystal display) which shows a continuous reading or in LED (light emitting diode) which shows time at the push of a button.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) – A type of liquid crystal display used in digital watches.
Logo - The trade name identifying the manufacturer of a brand of a watch, usually found on the watch’s dial.
Lumibrite™ – Developed by Seiko, this is a luminous, non radioactive substance used on watch dials, hour markers and hands to allow reading in the dark.
Luminous – Self-illuminating paint used on a watch’s hands and markers to enable them to be read in the dark.
Mainspring - A spiral torsion spring of metal ribbon used as a power source in mechanical watches.
Mechanical – A type of watch movement that consists of a coiled spring (a mainspring) that, when wound, stores energy that is released through a series of gears in a regulated manner to keep time. A mechanical movement can be hand-wound or automatic.
Mineral glass – A type of transparent, protective covering for a watch dial composed of several elements that aid in resisting scratches. Although it’s not as durable as a sapphire crystal, it’s extremely hardwearing and more affordable.
Mode - The switch or button of a watch which controls or selects the function to be used.
Moon phase - A wheel on a watch partially showing through a cut-out window indicating the lunar (moon) phases.
Movement – The inner working of a watch that powers its timekeeping mechanism and functions, the engine of a watch. Movements are either quartz or mechanical.
Oscillator - A counter weight used to generate power in a mechanical or Kinetic watch.
Perpetual calendar – A watch function that automatically adjust for months of different lengths and leap years for 100 years so the wearer never has to reset the date..
Power cell - A small coin-sized metal container found in watches with metal salts and chemicals inside which react with each other which generates a voltage. This furnishes the electrical power to run the watch.
Power reserve indicator – A function found in some watches that is designed to indicate the amount of remaining energy stored.
Pressure test - A method of testing the water resistance of watch cases by air/water pressure.
Push button release- The buttons which are situated on either side of the bracelet clasp of a watch which, when pressed, opens the clasp.
Quartz movement – A movement used in electric watches. When activated by a battery of solar power, a quartz crystal vibrates at an extremely high frequency, providing very accurate timekeeping.
Rotor - A permanent rotating magnet that makes up one of the pieces of a watch’s step motor.
Sapphire crystal – A type of transparent, protective covering for a watch dial that’s also sometimes used to cover transparent case backs. The most durable type of watch crystal, it is a synthetic glass with a similar construction to the sapphire gemstone that’s highly resistant to knocks and scratches.
Screw down crown - A crown which is sealed around the case to aid water resistance.
Seals - Rubber or plastic gaskets used to protect a watch’s movement against the entry of moisture or foreign material into the case.
Shock- resistant - A level of resistance to damage from shock that is equal to being dropped from a height of one metre onto a hardwood surface
Split time measurement – A feature of a chronograph that measures the elapsed time of a certain moment during an event.
Stainless steel - An alloy of iron, chromium and other metals which make a product highly resistant to rust and corrosion. Often used for the case, bezel, bracelet and clasp/buckle of a watch.
Stem - A thin round metal pin or rod located inside a watch movement and threaded outside of the case into the crown. It is used to wind mechanical watches, or pulled out and rotated to set the time or other functions on a non-mechanical watch.
Step motor - The combination of a coil, rotor and stator used to create movement through the gear train to the watch hands to form the impulse signal given out of the integrated circuit.
Stopwatch - A watch used specifically to record elapsed time. Also known as a chronograph.
Strap - A watch band made of leather, plastic or fabric.
SuperQuartz ™ - A quartz movement developed by Breitling that’s ten times more accurate than a standard quartz movement.
Tachymeter - A tachymeter is a watch function that’s used in conjunction with a stopwatch to measure speed between two given points. A tachymeter scale is usually found on a watch’s bezel or on the inside of a dial.
Three-fold clasp – A fastening mechanism on watch bracelets with three sections that fold together and are secured by pushing the clasp.
Titanium – A white metal that is stronger and lighter than steel. It is nickel-free, non-allergenic, extremely resistant to salt water and other forms of corrosion, and able to withstand extreme temperatures. Used for watch bracelets, cases, bezels, clasps and buckles.
Water resistance – The ability of a watch to withstand splashes of water. Water resistance is measured in ATM (atmospheres) or metres.