How to Choose
An MTM Watch
An MTM Watch
Fine watchmaking really is a case of getting what you pay for. Not only is the way a mechanical watch is manufactured extraordinarily labour-intensive, demanding a level of craftsmanship seldom found beyond the valleys of the Swiss Jura Mountains, but just a little TLC will mean your wristwatch will tick for ever, potentially accrue in value, even. But what sort of design, heritage or make-up speaks to you, and what does it say about you? Why do watch nerds get so animated when discussing quartz versus automatic, and should you care, too? And what on Earth is a tourbillon? Read on…
To pass muster, a “proper” watch will be powered by a mechanical movement, and they’ll know because it will usually be displayed through a clear case back. A mechanical movement is a beguiling thing to behold and listen to, ticking away at 28,800 vibrations per hour. Its hundred-odd tiny parts are all machined laboriously and precisely from steel or brass, polished to varying degrees of shimmer and shine, then hand-assembled by one of the world’s most skilled workforces in light-drenched mountain-top ateliers.
But such precise micro-engineering comes at a price. If you can’t afford it, or simply don’t care for mechanics, have no fear. There’s no shame in a battery-powered quartz movement, despite what those snobs tell you. Quartz will only lose a minute a year and will never need to be wound up (until the battery runs out).
The entry-level purchase: the watch world is not quite as elitist as you may think. Just a few hundred pounds (or the equivalent) will get you a decent piece of wristwear, with all the aftersales support you'd expect from a watch 10 times the price. What’s more, this sector is increasingly populated by the big fashion brands, which means the designs are executed with a flair that's rare in the higher echelons.
Your first proper watch: this is the budget bracket you should be considering with your first company bonus, but this is also where it can get overwhelming. So many of Swiss watchmaking’s enduring classics fall into this category, and you’ll never go wrong purchasing one, whether it’s a Bell & Ross BR 01 or a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date Automatic.
$1500 and above
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It is an emotional investment that can speak volumes about you. As well as being a lifestyle choice, it needs to be fit for purpose when it comes to your actual lifestyle. Its ability to tell you whether you’re running early or late is still much valued, of course.
Indeed, horology is probably the only field of engineering where complicating something, rather than simplifying, is permissible – encouraged, even. And sure enough, tricksy mechanical gizmos such as tourbillons, chronographs and perpetual calendars are referred to as complications.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, though, and owning a watch with a complication can be a wonderful change from the time alone. It enlivens the dial and it enlivens a conversation. Here’s a quick guide to some of the complications you should be aware of.