I’m perhaps chewing the old fat again. Blame it on the Ignoramus (or maybe someone posing as an Ignoramus) who mailed me yesterday whose idea about a Seiko is nothing different from a Casio digital (I never said Casio-s are bad; it’s just that some people fail to notice the difference between the types) and wanted to know how will he know if a watch he is looking at (of course, with the intent of buying) is a quality one. Not that he has not come across certain names (but it will be better if he is enlightened) but I’m certain stuff like the Hamilton or Tissot are Greek to him. But one thing is clear; this fellow has money. So without further ado, I led him towards certain examples many will watch with jealousy and save up bit by bit before grabbing one. FYI, this fellow is in his junior year at University, or so he claims. That certainly makes him someone who is not yet fit to admire a Rolex Speed King (unless for the name) and would pass it up as a cold and hefty piece of metal, overlooking the engineering marvel behind it. So let him start with the Jap stuff.
We can only hope he escapes the proliferation of cell phones and starts thinking watches are not just outdated novelties but a status symbol and accessories for occasions. Sure, he needs more time to think them as investments and probably a lifetime to declare his possession a legacy. Taking timepieces seriously is either in your blood or you need a great deal of time to acquire the taste and it starts with knowing the five sure-shot points that make a quality watch.
First is definitely the weight, though it’s not like you make the entire watch out of lead will cut through the barrier. Heaviness is definitely good and reliable (same with my other passion, guns) but it should come from the amount and quality of the pieces making it. To put it simply: Mechanical complexity is proportional to the weight.
The sweep comes next and it is opposite to the tick-tock. You don’t need to go to a Cartier (or a Chopard) for that, even this Orient Automatic Sun & Moon is a fine example. The seconds-hand must glide effortlessly, which shows the internal mechanism is both well-constructed and finely tuned to put up a flawless sweep.
The easy way out is definitely following the name (and the tradition that runs it) but that is more like being spoon-fed. That also takes care of the accuracy and reliability factors, so I thought it will be safer for this fellow. I suggested him the Grand Seiko Automatic, the Hamilton American Classic Jazzmaster and the Orient Star Automatic, let’s see what how the fellow responds.