Horologio Blog

Horologio Blog
2018-08-15

Often we get questions from customers about mechanical watches. Generally, they'd like to understand the difference between mechanical self-winding watches and hand-winding watches. Here, we explain the difference in simple terms...

A mechanical watch is made of hundreds of tiny parts that work together without using batteries (as in quartz watches) or without use of solar power. The mechanical components power the watch and track the time (and often a lot more than just the time).

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Hand-Winding Mechanicals

Essentially, a hand-wound — also sometimes referred to as a manual-wind watch — is a timepiece that has an inner movement that must be wound by the wearer on a regular basis. The watch is generally wound via the crown in a singular direction to wind the inner spring and power the watch. As the crown is turned, it sets a small dance into motion thanks to a complicated system of gears that slowly transmit the energy from the crown to a main spring that is coiled inside a barrel. When the crown won't turn any longer, the spring is fully wound. It then slowly starts to unwind, releasing power to the watch via another series of gears and wheels, including a main balance wheel that helps to regulate the release of energy for consistent timekeeping. If the wearer forgets to wind the watch, the energy runs out and the watch stops working until it is set and wound again.

Automatic/Self-Winding Mechanicals

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In an automatic watch — also referred to as a self-winding watch — the movement is built differently than that of a hand-wound watch. It consists of a "rotor" or "oscillator" that is powered by the movement of the wearer's wrist. As the wrist moves, it automatically moves the rotor, which, as it swings, winds the mainspring inside its barrel. The power lasts for a specified amount of time (referred to as power reserve) if the watch is not being worn, but as long as the watch is worn, it will continually wind itself. Stop in any time to check out our wonderful array of mechanical watches.

2018-08-08

As more and more watch brands delve into the realm of high-tech materials for watch cases and bracelets, we are witnessing a host of wonderful new ceramic watches emerge on the market. However, not all ceramics are the same. High-tech engineered ceramic is one of the hardest and most scratch-resistant materials for watches. The cases and bracelets — as long as the watch is water resistant — can get wet without any impact, as the material is durable. As such, this is a great material for summertime watches because they can weather the elements and go the distance.

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Additionally, ceramic is a very lightweight material, so the watch doesn't feel heavy on the wrist. It also is temperature resistant and won't stick to the wrist in humid climates the way a leather strap would.

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Properly engineered ceramic is typically a blend of oxides, carbides, nitrates and zirconium that are mixed, compressed and heated to offer a great polished look that disguises its rugged factors. Because of the luster of ceramic, it also looks great on the wrist so a sporty watch can take on a more urban chic elegant tone, as well.

The first engineered ceramic watches were introduced in the mid-1980s by Swiss watch brand Rado. It took some time before other brands made their foray into ceramic, but in the past years, it has become all the rage. Typically, ceramic for watches is white or black, but some brands are finally experimenting with adding color for gray, brown or even bold red.

2018-07-25

Just like your car needs regular maintenance, so, too, does your fine mechanical watch. Let's face it, it is comprised of hundreds of tiny mechanical parts, as well as lubricants that — if they get old, dry or sticky — can affect the way your watch performs.

How often a watch should be serviced is the real question... and the answer varies depending on the age of the watch, the brand and the movement inside. Today's mechanical watches do not necessarily need servicing as often as older watches because today's haute horology watches often have silicon parts inside, or ceramic ball bearings or other components that reduce friction and wear and tear. Generally, we suggest that new watches be serviced at least every five to seven years.

Similarly, if you have a watch you bought more than a decade ago, it should also be serviced every five years at minimum to keep it running smoothly. Other vintage watches (generally watches made before 1985) need more frequent servicing. Our suggestion is once every three or four years.

Essentially, full servicing of a watch entails removing the case back, disassembling the movement, cleaning of the components and then a reassembling of the movement with all new lubricants. All new gaskets are also added to the watch and a final testing is done to ensure it is fully water resistant and in prefect running order.  Because full servicing can be time consuming, we do ask our customers to be patient, but we will keep you apprised every step of the way. If you are unsure if your watch needs to be serviced or not, stop in any time to discuss it with us.

2018-07-16

We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This article first appeared there.

Jaquet Droz $367,500 Signing Machine automaton.

Four years in the making, the incredible Jaquet Droz Signing Machine — an automata unveiled initially four years ago and then officially at Baselworld 2018 in honor of the brand’s 280th anniversary — is ready for delivery. The incredible mechanical machine will sign your name for you — in case you can’t or don’t want to. Retailing for $367,500, the Jaquet Droz Signing Machine is definitely for the person who has everything.

Jaquet Droz is famed for its work with automatons — and several of Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s 18th century life-size automata dolls are on display in the Neufchatel Museum of Art and History in Switzerland. Still, it is an art that the master craftsmen at Jaquet Droz today perpetuate.

“The Signing Machine” has two patents pending. The automaton movement has been totally reworked for this piece to offer exceptional fluidity in order to execute consistent signatures.The machine’s power reserve enables it to complete two full signatures before needing to be wound by a lever located on the side of the machine.

A total of 585 parts comprise the complex mechanism that is entirely assembled and finished by hand. The mechanical programming of the owner’s signature (imprinted on three cams) is also done by hand. Each signature reproduced by the Machine is unique and personal. In order to use the signing machine, the owner activates it by using his own four-digit code. We were treated to a private viewing of the Jaquet Droz Signing Machine, retailing for $367,500. Here, we share our video with our readers.

2018-07-11

One of the key questions we get from novice collectors when they read about watches and the technical specifications of the movement is, "Are the rubies inside the watch real?"

In fact, unless a new watch utilizes high-tech ceramic ball bearings in certain parts of a watch movement, all mechanical movements utilize synthetic gemstones as bearings instead of metal bearings that need oiling.

The synthetic gems — typically rubies, but sometimes sapphires — eliminate the need for oiling and significantly reduce friction and wear and tear on the movement parts,  enhancing the life of the movement. Sometimes, those rubies are visible via a transparent sapphire caseback, or via a skeleton movement where so much of the metal is pared away to allow viewing of the superb mechanisms.

Rubies have other added benefits to watchmakers, as well. Because they can withstand temperature changes without any reaction (unlike metal bearings) they offer higher stability. Synthetic rubies are generally created using aluminum and chromium oxide that are heated, fused and crystalized. They are not as valuable as genuine rubies, making them more affordable to use. This is especially important because a watch can have anywhere from a few rubies to dozens inside the movement.

Setting these minuscule jewels into their designated spots is no easy feat and watchmakers use microscopes and tweezers to accomplish the job.  In the end, the look is beautiful and the purpose is practical.

2018-07-04

This year, with the Fourth of July falling smack in the middle of the week, American's are celebrating Independence Day on both weekends flanking the holiday. The Fourth of July is the time to pull out the red, white and blue clothing and accessories to honor our freedom. Some people also celebrate America and patriotism every day of the year. For them, there is the stunning new Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon Stars & Stripes watch.

Made exclusively for the U.S. market, the watch features a miniature hand-painted movement that reflects the American flag, with 13 red and white stripes and 50 white stars on a rich blue background — painted with a single-hair brush.  It's a little known fact that Ulysse Nardin was  a supplier of marine chronometers to the US Navy — dating all the way back to 1902. So this American watch celebrates that relationship, as well.

In typical Ulysse Nardin style, the watch is made according to the strictest standards of quality and precision. It houses the Manufacture made UN-171 mechanical movement with tourbillon escapement and seven days of power reserve. The skeletonize caliber reveals the intricate  finishing of the components. Crafted in titanium, the 45mm watch is ultra-lightweight and pays further homage to America thanks to its blue ceramic bezel, blue crown and blue carbon like leather strap. It is water resistant to 30 meters. Just 50 pieces will be made.

2018-06-27

It is official: summer is here, and with it comes short sleeves, more casual attire and a host of wonderful outdoor activities — many including water. As such, this is a good time to offer a little insight into the right watch strap to wear during the summer, as we often get questions about rubber straps, bracelets and leather.  If you are thinking of switching a strap, or even buying a new watch for summer, here are a few pros and cons to know about the variety of straps on the market for both men and women.

Rubber Straps

Pros: Rubber straps generally offer a sporty look and can withstand many of the outdoor elements, including sun, rain, water and rough activities. The fact that rubber can weather the elements makes this material great for water sports, kayaking, boating, swimming and more. Generally, it dries quickly, as well, and it shouldn't lose its color or fade.

Cons: Perhaps the only drawback to a rubber strap is that if you live in a hot climate, and are not indulging in water sports, the inside of the strap could get a little sticky in humid weather.

Leather Straps

Pros: Very comfortable, leather straps come in innumerable colors, leather types and textures. From calfskin to exotics, such as snake, stingray, iguana, alligator and more, leather straps can be thin or thick and can look brand new or have a distressed, vintage appeal. Variety is a great plus here, because you can pretty much find the look you want with no problem at all. Because leather straps are relatively easy to take care of, and can be cleaned with just a wipe of a damp cloth and dish detergent, they are a good choice for anytime wear. The look is not as casual as a rubber strap, and can easily go from  weekend to work.

Cons: However, like rubber straps. In severe heat and humidity, certain leather straps also tend to get a bit sticky on the wrist.

Fabric Straps

Pros: Fabric straps are a great alternative for summer. Also available in a variety of types, fabrics and colors, the most prevalent fabric is canvas or nylon because they are rugged and durable. Fabric straps do not get sticky with heat or humidity and dry quickly once out of the water.  Many people prefer a fabric NATO-style strap because the system of attaching the strap acts as extra security, because there are no spring bars.

Cons: Sometimes NATO straps can be a bit confusing to change. The strap usually slips through the top lugs, passes over the case back and then loops though the bottom lugs. However, until you have changed them a few times, it can be tricky.

Metal or Ceramic Bracelets

Pros: These bracelets can go the distance with you, especially if the they are made of titanium, high-tech ceramic or stainless steel.

Cons: Gold bracelets generally scratch easily, so we don't recommend taking the gold watch bracelet mountain climbing with you. Additionally, the heavier material will feel heavier on the wrist and could induce perspiration.

2018-06-20

Ever wish you could start your own watch collection? Maybe join one of those watch groups out there? You can. Many people, both men and women, enjoy buying, wearing and collecting watches. There are just a few things to keep in mind as you start building a watch wardrobe.

Number of watches

There is no set number as to how many watches constitutes a collection. But if you can’t count the watches you own on more than one hand, then you probably aren’t there yet.

Types of watches

Generally, your basic watch collection should include the following:
• One everyday watch for work (Women, remember that a watch with discreet diamonds on the dial or bezel can do double duty for work and evening.);
• One bracelet watch in either white metal, or the much more versatile two-tones that are currently enjoying a renaissance. If you have the budget for gold – go for it. Gold on a brown, black, or neutral colored strap can also do double duty for work or evening. Additionally, rose gold looks great on both men and women and on all skin tones.
• One sporty, comfortable weekend watch that can reflect your hobbies or interests (chronographs, divers, and the like);

• One cool watch that offers either bold and daring design or some color to infuse your style with a little fun;
• One dress watch for elegant evening wear if you are the type that enjoys socializing;
• One complicated watch. It doesn’t have to be a high complication like a tourbillon or perpetual calendar (unless your budget permits), but a simple moon phase or dual time zone can go a long way.

Budgets

We always advise our customers starting a collection to have a budget in mind for every watch purchase. Sure, we know that sometimes you will go over budget for the right watch, but having a budget in mind helps keep the wallet in check. This is important because we also know that once you start your watch collection, you will get hooked on watches and they will become a passion.

Stop in anytime to talk with us about the benefits of building a watch wardrobe and how we can help.

2018-06-13

Still searching for the perfect Father's Day gift? Ditch those shirts, stop searching and visit us. With life being so busy, and there never being enough time, we suggest you give dad, or the father of your children, the gift of time — in the form of a wristwatch. Don't stop reading here because you think this is going to break the bank. It isn't. There is a watch out there for every budget. There's still time to stop in and take a look at our vast selection of watches for the dad in your life.

Sport watches make a great gift because they are versatile and can be a great weekender or an everyday watch. In fact, one of the hottest trends in the watch world right now is the sport watch with a car-inspired design. Often these have bold looks with a masculine overtone. Also important are sport watches equipped with functions. There are dive watches, pilot watches, watches with altimeters, chronographs and even a compass — in case dad gets lost easily.

Another important trend for men this year is the shift to colorful watches. No longer does the watch on his wrist need to be basic black or brown. This year, watch brands have introduced a host of great watches in both sporty and classic designs, but with bold colors including green, burgundy, rich royal blue and slate gray. Color is a great way to add a pop of fun and fashion into dad's life.

For those living in warm climates, you may want to get dad a bracelet watch, and this year many of the brands are stepping up the design of their watch bracelets. Easily one of the more classic looks is the Milanese mesh bracelet, which also takes on a sporty look when done in stainless steel. Two-tone bracelets are also making strong headway, as they offer more versatility and hit a more popular price point than solid gold. This is a great year to buy a bracelet watch because watch brands are not only focusing on aesthetics, but also on comfort, offering more supple links that won't tug on the hairs of the wrist.

This is the year to give dad the gift of time. It is a gift that will have him remembering you every time he glances at his wrist.

2018-06-06
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Many of you will be participating in wonderful water activities this summer. But, before you jump in, please make sure that the watch you are wearing is water resistant enough to keep up with you.

You can see the water resistance rating of your watch by taking a look at the dial or case back. If your watch is water resistant, it will be stamped water resistant to a certain depth. Beware, if it doesn't say "water resistant" somewhere on the watch, don't take that timepiece in the shower let alone swimming.

Additionally, if the watch says it is water resistant it helps to know the most commonly used depth measures: Meters, Bars and ATMs.

Depth Guide:
1 Meter = 3 feet rounded (actual is 3.28 feet)
1 Bar = 33 feet rounded (33.455 feet)
1 ATM = 1 Bar or 33 feet rounded

If a watch is water resistant, it will most likely be rated to 30 meters or more.

Be cautioned that even if a watch stamped with a water resistance of 30 meters it may not be suited for ocean activities for a host of reasons, including exposing the watch to different angles of water spray. Generally, experts suggest that if a watch isn't water resistant to at least 50 feet it shouldn't go into the water, as it most likely is not equipped with the proper gaskets, screw-in crowns and more, and water could get inside, leading to condensation under the crystal and even corrosion.

If the watch says it's water resistant to 50 meters, it is most likely properly equipped to take a dive in the pool or a swim in the ocean. If you are planning a snorkel trip, though, you may want to look for a watch that is water resistant to 100 meters for better protection.

If you are diving, we suggest a watch that is water resistant to 200 or 300 meters, even if you are not going that deep. This is because watches with deeper dive water resistance are equipped with a host of extra protection that runs the gamut from screw-in crowns, screw-down case backs, extra gaskets and lock protection. The very best even have helium escape valves. Planning a water trip? Stop in any time to find the right wrist companion.

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