• December 31, 2021
  • Watch Gonzo
  • 0

Not going down the usual track                                                      

My earlier posts recommending what watches should be on your radar as your first pick included both ‘fashion watches’ and ‘real watches’, quartz and automatic alike. Oh yes, fashion could be automatic too; though not very often and real watches may very well house quartz movements, which is not at all a rare sight. It’s high time that you take note of it. I thought you already knew! Point is, today we’ll talk about whether your first watch should be a fashion watch or a real watch. While the final decision should always be yours, you must know a few things before making that decision. Silly as it may sound, fashion watches aren’t always that bad. And for that, they always don’t need a Swiss affiliation. They could easily be marked as real watches without it though the Swiss mark; definitely adds an extra dose of credibility. These are as good as them we usually mark as real watches. My venting so far has been towards fashion watches exhibiting a terrible quality and yet they are attempted being rammed down one’s throat; these are the fashion brands that absolutely deserve the condemnation! We’ll keep them out of today’s discussion and mention only those who are – at least – not trying to live under the camouflage of tradition or heritage to bewilder new, innocent customers.

Let’s analyze some common sayings                                             

A fashion watch will last about five years at the most.

The fun is: Fashion watches vary between $50 and $500, so quality varies greatly. And there are fashion watch makers who charge you extra just because their products look good on the shelves. This is why you must know how to judge between a good fashion watch and a bad fashion watch. A good way to do that is by comparing them to well known fashion watch makers whose products usually surpass that 5 years mark, looking and working as good as new. These are good fashion watches.

It’s made of cheaper materials.

Again, whether it’s cheap plastic or 18k gold plated, surgical-grade stainless steel depends upon the brand; even then, question arises upon the fit and the finish of components and materials. This sets apart a Chinese fashion watch brand from an Italian or an US fashion watch brand, the former known worldwide for their art and crafts and the latter, for their hardy, utilitarian designs.

It has a poorer build quality than luxury watches.

It’s natural for a $500 worth fashion watch to exhibit far lesser quality than a $5000-or-more worth real watch despite the fashion watch delivering everything – and sometimes a little more – those five hundred dollars can. That’s going over the threshold; however, the threshold can be crossed on the other side as well, although demanding the same price for it or more. The only way to avoid it initially is going by fashion watch makers who are well-known in their field.

A fashion watch is less accurate and unreliable.

Unless something drastically gets wrong, quartz movements are always more accurate and less prone to damages than mechanical movements. Most fashion watches run on quartz movements, so this statement is not a valid one. Accuracy issues and unreliability might be an issue if the rest of the watch is not made so well, allowing moisture to pass through and not insulating the movement against temperature fluctuations.

A fashion watch has zero resale value.

Well, it actually is. A fashion watch will have some resale value depending upon the material; if there’s a load or diamonds and gold surrounding a Chinese-made quartz movement, you’ll be reselling only those; not the watch. However, as an heirloom, there’s nothing to object about a good fashion watch.

  The ‘Real’ Factors: A Reality Check                                             

Are luxury watches the only real watches? That’s a question been bugging the novice and the seasoned alike, although at different intensities. So, here’s a basic explanation. A first and foremost identification for luxury watches is they will carry a high to insanely-high price tag. Well, almost inevitably; depending upon the level of special care and attention, exclusivity and quality of movements and materials. They vary according to the stages in luxury. There’s difference between entry level luxury and ultra-level luxury, the latter certainly not suitable to start with even with that kind of money to spare. You must know what you’re wearing and knowing just the brand and model name isn’t enough. That comes from appreciation. It’s not something attainable right away. You must build it right from the scratch; from the very basics. A real watch i.e. the kind that has some worth or uniqueness to it aesthetics aside and has earned its good name from horology experts worldwide for that particular aspect. It must not always be expensive. Or, every luxury watch is a real watch but not all real watches are luxury watches.

Clear Demarcations: Real vs. Fashion                                            

Table I

Real/Luxury Fashion
1. Built on authentic ideas or as enhancements to previous ideas. 1. Made to look good.
2. Receives special care and attention. 2. Focus is more upon being aesthetically pleasing.
3. Possesses high quality movements. 3. Often built around established ideas, matching visually but not in its entirety.
4. Uses high grade materials. 4.Just good aesthetics keeps the prices low.
5. Meticulous perfection noticed both in form and function. 5. Less emphasis on movements or features doesn’t make them suitable for harsh treatment.

Table II

Real/Luxury Fashion
Build Quality, materials & Movements
  1. 316L Stainless steel is minimum you’ll find! Or, as in the case of Rolex watches, 904L stainless steel. Additionally, titanium, gold, platinum, silicon, ceramics and genuine precious stones are also standard materials used in real/luxury watches besides the standard sapphire/mineral glass.
  2. These watches exhibit a greater degree of water/humidity/dust/shock/magnetic resistance than the average watch, especially when it comes to divers. However, a luxury watch may or may not be as shock resistant as a proper tool watch built for field use, but they usually are.
  3. Movements that power luxury watches implement higher levels of technology, even if they show just date and time. Often, they have added complications, which require meticulous attention to details and are fine tuned to maintain accuracy more than standard quartz movements. And a large number of them are built in-house (completely or modified stock movements), which makes them exclusive for that particular brand.
  1. The highest grade steel you’ll find is 316L or it could be cheaper combinations of metal alloys for the case and bracelets; polymer composites or rubber. The glass could be mineral crystal but could also be glass or acrylic.
  2. Of an average to mediocre build, water resistance in fashion watches rarely exceeds 100 meters and that too doesn’t guarantee its suitability for swimming, diving or any other type of aquatic activity. Same with humidity/dust/shock/magnetic resistance.
  3. Mostly, they are Chinese quartz movements. For fashion watches that are better of the lot, Japanese quartz sets the standard. These movements are cheap and easy to produce.
Design & Styling
  1. Real/luxury watches take a more modest approach to their overall design and styles. There are definitely over the top, experimental time pieces; but that’s just an exception rather than the norm.
  2. Luxury/Real watches represent status, achievement, power, success. For that reason, luxury watch styles focus on high quality sophisticated looks.
  1. Fashion watches exhibit a huge range of styles, varying by culture and current trends. Sometimes, they also set trends with their more flamboyant styles that are centered on current fashions.
  2. They cater to younger/casual consumers for their low prices.
  1. Timeless pieces of art that never go out of style.
  2. A sign of prestige and success
  3. More than telling the time, it lets you make a statement.
  4. Sophisticated and restrained in design.
  1. They’re freely available, just about anywhere.
  2. They look good.
  3. A sign that you follow trends.
  4. They’re affordable yet sometime, look very expensive. Thee are mostlt from the well known Italian and US fashion and sports brands.
  5. You don’t care about damaging them for the low prices.
  6. Make great gifts to teens and young adults for which, you don’t need you to spend a lump sum.
  1. They are slightly to greatly more expensive than fashion watches.
  2. You can’t put them to rough use knowingly.
  3. Fetches good resale.
  4. Servicing is affordable to expensive.
  5. Wearing one might send a wrong message about your affluence, holding it many times greater than it actually is.
  6. Fakes/counterfeits can easily be pointed out.
  1. Snazzy.
  2. Often come as homage/replica to popular real/luxury watches.
  3. They’re ultra-chic at times, to the point of being weird.
  4. Life of the watch mostly ends after a couple of battery changes, unless from a renowned fashion brand.

Which one should you pick as your first?                                      

So to say, you can’t set any real definition for luxury. Fashion is still something perceivable; you see it around almost everywhere. But luxury; what is to me might not be to you. And you got to keep in mind – There’s always someone to elevate the existing one further. Then, once absolute luxury is no more the ultimate! What you should consider instead is a good watch with a good amount of good work and good substance going into it. Semi-/Digital, quartz analog or mechanical – whatever you might choose! Make your every moment in this fairly relative, mysterious and elusive realm of horology count. Your pick, by essence, should revolve around subjective criteria in the mind, creating a mood that’d further shape your lifestyle. Amidst all kinds of temptations prevailing in the watch market, it is very tough – unless you are already seasoned – to pick the right timepiece (or pieces) to address your needs; pander your whims…whatever. While for the most elite it is absolutely not a problem – money can buy everything material – for us, the commoners, it becomes a big problem choosing one over another. That’s primarily due to the reason that there are so many swarming in a pool we prefer to fish from; it’s always wise to work with manufacturers well known for their craftsmanship. A watch from Seiko or Citizen will obviously bear greater quality than a fashion watch but that’s not applicable to some. Despite bearing the fashion tag, they offer quality for their parts and in their assemblage. These make you think if fashion watches should really sound as derogatory? These timepieces look good and offer fairly decent (quartz) movements that will run well for years if properly fed. They also endure up to quite a bit.

silver and white analog watchConclusion                                      

Both real and fashion watches make great gifts and fabulous purchases alike if they are pleasant and elaborate in their compositions. Expensive watches are about making a statement. But if you could make that statement with frugality on your side, it would be meaningful. However, a man or a woman, in today’s world, must stay prepared for multiple situations in a normal, urban lifestyle and hence, three watches are a prerequisite: One for work, one for play and one for party. To cut the long story short: For work, choose a real watch; for play, choose a real watch while for party, go for the fashion! They’ll show the world your hard work has paid off in the form of an impressive accessory. Still an easier way to decide your first pick, answer the questions below and go according to that.
  • Is the product manufactured in artificially limited quantities? – This determines the rarity factor of the watch you’re eyeing. Yes, even among fashion watches. For example, this Casio G-Shock Limited Edition. It’s a fashion watch in its appearance, but highly useful and extremely sturdy in its build. Plus, its manufacturer is a reputed one.
  • Does the firm have a story to tell and are the portraying a unique lifestyle? :  History & pedigree are determining factors; however, as you first pick, it can be relaxed to any connection to anything worthwhile. For example, Ferrari Scuderia watches.
  • Is craftsmanship the hallmark? : For the typical fashion watch, it never is.
  • Does the brand offer authenticity? This you can find out by the name alone.
Keep dropping in to leave your replies below. State which one from the above mentioned you’d like to go for the most along with the reasons.