Watches FAQ

Watch FAQ

What if my watch bracelet is too big for my wrist?
If you ordered a watch with a metal bracelet, you may need to have one or more links removed for the watch fit your wrist properly.
You can take your watch to a reputable jeweler or watch repair shop for sizing. Expect to pay a small fee for this service. If you choose to size your own watch, exercise extreme caution and ensure you have the correct tools for the kind of watch band links you’re removing. If sizing is done incorrectly, a watch can be scratched or damaged. Be aware that most retailers will not accept returns once a watch has been sized, so be sure you want to keep it before you size it.

Tip: Keep the removed links. Watch bracelets occasionally break, and it is a lot easier (and cheaper) to have the bracelet repaired with your own links rather than order new ones. You will also be able to adjust the watch with the extra links if you prefer to wear your watch looser in the future. The best place to keep them is in the watch box with your insertion manual.

What’s the difference between quartz and mechanical (or automatic) movements?
The movement, or inner workings, of the watch are what make up the main timekeeping mechanism. Most watches have either a quartz movement or a mechanical movement. The type of movement you choose depends mostly on one’s taste. Mechanical movements are a tribute to the watchmaker’s art and monitor the passage of time by a series of gear mechanisms.
A mechanical movement that does not have to be wound is known as an automatic movement. These self-winding movements are wound by the movement of your wrist (you don’t have to shake it to work – the normal, everyday movement of the watch on your wrist charges the winding reserve). When this type of watch is removed from your wrist, the movement winds down in 10 to 72 hours, depending on the size of its winding reserve.  Quartz movements, on the other hand, are powered by a battery and do not stop working once removed from your wrist. When activated by a battery or solar power, the thin sliver of crystal very predictably vibrates at an extremely high frequency (32,768 times per second), providing very accurate timekeeping. The battery in a quartz watch generally needs to be replaced every 1.5 years.

What’s a watch crystal?
The crystal is the clear cover over the watch face. Three types of crystals are commonly found in watches. Acrylic crystal is an inexpensive plastic that allows shallow scratches to be buffed out. Mineral crystal is composed of several elements that are heat-treated to create an unusual hardness that aids in resisting scratches. Sapphire crystal is the most expensive and durable, approximately three times harder than mineral crystals and 20 times harder than acrylic crystals. A non-reflective coating on some sport styles prevents glare.

Are watches really water-proof?
No. In fact, they aren’t. It is actually illegal to represent a watch as being water-proof. Watches, however, can be water-resistant. In fact, most watches have some sort of water-resistance. A watch marked as water-resistant without a depth indication is designed to withstand accidental splashes of water only. Do not submerge such a watch. Higher levels of water-resistance are indicated by increasingly higher acceptable depths, usually indicated in meters.  There are a variety of ways to make a watch water-resistant. All such watches use rubber gaskets or “O” rings to seal the case back. A watch with a back that screws onto the case provides a higher degree of water-resistance. Some crowns (the “winding stem”) actually screw into the case to further increase water-resistance.  We do not recommend swimming or diving with your watch unless it has a screw-down crown (also known as “screw-lock” or “screw-in” crown) and is water-resistant to at least 100 meters.

What is a dive watch?
Dive watches traditionally feature a graduated rotating bezel, a screw-down winding crown, and a case back. Dive watches must be water-resistant to at least 200 meters (660 feet).

How do I get the functions on my watch to work?
Because watches offer many different functions, the best way to learn what each function means and how each function works is to refer to the instruction manual that came with your watch.  The typical functions on an analog chronograph watch are a seconds hand, a 30 or 60 minute timer, and 1/10th of a second. These functions are controlled by the buttons above and below the crown.

What do the different movement types mean?
Automatic Movement (Automatic Winding or Self-Winding): Powered by the motion of the wearer’s arm rather than by turning the winding stem. In response to this motion, a rotor turns and winds the watch’s mainspring so that it keeps accurate time. Most automatic watches have up to 36 hours of power reserve. If an automatic watch is not worn for a day or two, it will need to be wound by hand to restart again.

Mechanical Movement: A watch’s mechanical movement is based on a mainspring which slowly unwinds in a steady motion to provide accurate timekeeping. As opposed to a manual mechanical watch, which needs to be wound on a consistent basis, an automatic mechanical watch requires no winding because its rotor winds the mainspring when the wearer moves their wrist. Read the section on automatic watch maintenance for more details.

Quartz:

Quartz is a caliber that uses the vibrations of a tiny crystal to maintain timing accuracy. The power comes from a battery that must be replaced about every 2-3 years. In recent years, new Quartz technology enables the watch to recharge itself without battery replacement. This power is generated via movement similar to an automatic mechanical watch, or powered by light through a solar cell (Kinetic and solar-tech).

What is a screw down crown?
A screw-down crown aids water-resistance by sealing the crown to the case of the watch. A seal is achieved when the case locks with the crown’s internal threads and gaskets fastening the crown in its place.

What does it mean if a watch is Swiss Made?
Swiss Made is a label used to indicate that a wrist watch was in Switzerland. A watch is considered completely Swiss Made if it contains a movement that is Swiss, if the movement itself is encased in Switzerland, and if any final quality control by the manufacturer occurs in Switzerland. This is current Swiss law, and changes may occur in the future.