Horologio Blog

Horologio Blog
2016-08-25

We often get questions about which type of watch strap is the best. The truth of the matter is that first and foremost, this is a personal choice. However, the longevity of your strap has a lot to do with outside influences that include activity, use, climate and temperature. Here, we give you a simple guide to determining whether you want rubber, leather, fabric or metal on your wrist.

curvedendtop

Rubber
If you are a water person who indulges frequently in swimming a rubber strap may be the best choice. Rubber weathers the elements beautifully. It dries quickly after getting out of the water and does not stick to the wrist. Additionally, rubber does not fade or lose its luster or hue. Many of today’s vulcanized rubber straps are blends of polycarbonate and other materials to keep them at top performance levels without getting dry or brittle.

leather-straps

Leather
If you are thinking about a watch for the office, where the air is conditioned, a leather strap is a good choice. Leather straps are comfortable to wear and give a great choice in hides, textures and color. Leather choices range from calfskin and ostrich to stingray, crocodile, alligator, snake and more. Leather is relatively easy to take care of in the right temperatures, but – in heat and humidity – these straps tend to get a bit sticky on the wrist.

nato1

Fabric/NATO
Fabric straps come in all types. For women, a fabric strap is typically reserved for dress watches and is made of shimmering materials such as silk, satin, even lace. These materials can stain, although most brands protect their fabric with a special treatment. For men, the fabric watch strap predominantly comes in the form of a NATO strap. Easily one of the hottest trends on the market today, NATO straps convert any watch from serious to sporty with ease. Sometimes referred to as military straps, NATO straps have roots dating back to the early 1970s when British soldiers used nylon straps that were highly durable, could be easily cleaned and were not expensive to buy. NATO straps are easy to change and usually slip through the top lugs, pass over the case back and though the bottom lugs. The system acts as double security, too, because one need not worry about spring bars breaking or popping as with typical straps. They are very durable and highly functional, as they dry quickly, don’t stick to the wrist and are designed for extreme wear.

Various Styles of Metal Watch Bracelets

Metal
Another material good for water sports and sticky temperatures, metal bracelets are typically extremely sturdy. Of course, we are not talking about gold bracelets (those can scratch easily and are designed mostly for office and dress wear). Bracelets made of stainless steel, titanium and other alloys are strong and hold up well in outdoor terrains and activities. Titanium is very lightweight, and many people in warm climates prefer this feel on the wrist. With today’s technology, steel and titanium can also be found in a host of colors thanks to PVD and other coating treatments. One of the nice things about bracelet watches is that they are easy to care for — they can be rinsed and cleaned with a soft cloth. The downside: depending on the material, they can scratch.

In the end, the choice of material for your watch strap comes down to your lifestyle and your own personal taste.

2016-08-23
image003

History buffs and watch lovers alike will be intrigued by a very special pocket watch coming up for sale this week that was purchased in 1841 by Abraham Lincoln as a wedding gift for Mary Todd. While Todd never received the watch, you can — if you go to the Baltimore Art & Antiques Show (August 25-28) where it is being put up for sale for $175,000.

The 18-karat gold and blue enamel pocket watch is studded with diamonds and is a solid example of mid-19th century matchmaking. Currently owned by Gotta Have It! Collectibles Inc., the watch has had several owners over the years and is being sold with documentation showing its provenance, as well as a gift letter, original box and key.

image004

When Lincoln and Mary Todd were to be married, he purchased the watch as a gift for her and had the inside back cover engraved with the words: “To Miss Mary Todd from A.L. 1841.” However, their original engagement was broken and he later gave the watch to a friend, Mary Curtis, in an impromptu gesture.

Curtis took the watch home thinking Lincoln bought it for her and then saw the inscription. The recounting of the events note that Curtis was heartbroken and put the watch in a trunk, where it remained for 30 years. Near death, she gifted it to a friend in 1872. The watch has sold several times since, each time rising in the price paid. It is a grand example of how timepieces with provenance hold and increase their value.

2016-08-18
10pcs-sapphire-watch-crystal-36mm-for-rolex-16013-16014-16233-16200-1601-18038-534a54c4693e28ca8dd6a178e858b579

Summer activities, especially water sports, can be hard on the wristwatch — and its crystal. The crystal is the clear cover that goes over the dial and protects it. Depending on what that crystal is made of, it can get scratched or even broken if hit too hard. It is a good idea to know what sort of crystal your watch, or the watch you are thinking of buying, is equipped with.

There are typically three main types of crystals used in watches: sapphire crystal, mineral crystal and hesalite crystal. The one your watch features is often reflected in the retail price of the watch.  Here, we take a look at each material individually.

Sapphire crystals:
Sapphire crystals are the preferred choice in luxury watches because they are extremely strong and scratch resistant. They are also the more expensive of the three crystal choices. While this crystal is called sapphire, it should be noted that it is not made from naturally mined sapphire. Instead, the crystals are created as a synthetic compound — and hold the same properties as its natural counterpart.

The process of producing sapphires synthetically was invented in 1893 by French chemist Auguste Victor Louis Verneuil, and shared with the world in 1902. It's formal name is the Verneuil Process, but is more commonly referred to as flame fusion. Essentially, a long column of synthetic sapphire is manufactured in a special furnace using powdered aluminum oxide particles. When they reach temperatures over 2000 degrees Celsius, they melt and then fuse with one another to re-crystallize in a new column form.

The column  is then sliced (with diamond-tipped cutters) to a specific millimeter of thickness and polished to become a watch crystal. Sapphire crystals, as mentioned, are more able to resist scratching and breakage. Anti-reflective coatings can be added to both sides of the crystal without any hazing.

watch_flat_domed_mineral_crystal

Mineral Glass Crystals:
Generally a mineral crystal is an ordinary glass crystal that has been heat treated or chemically treated to withstand scratches. However, it is not as scratch-resistant as sapphire and is, therefore, typically used in mid-priced watches where cost is a factor (as mineral glass is less expensive to use than sapphire crystal). Under extreme hot or cold conditions – if the glass is bluntly hit on a certain angle – the glass can crack or shatter. The main benefit to mineral glass crystal lies in its price.

Hesalite Crystals:
Also referred to as plastic crystals, Plexiglas, or acrylic crystals, these are the least expensive option and are most commonly found on lower-priced wristwatches. Plastic will not shatter or crack, but it scratches very easily.

round-flat-crystal
2016-08-15
phelps_large_1600x900

Entering the Rio games as the most decorated Olympian, swimmer and Omega brand ambassador Michael Phelps made an incredible impression this past week. Not only did he win five gold medals and one silver medal, the “old” swimmer has now accumulated a record 23 Olympic gold medals and 28 in total.

Rio_Ambassadeurs_Michael_Phelps

The 31-year-old swimmer competed against much younger athletes and still turned in star performances, showing the world that if you put your mind to it, you can do it. This is his last hurrah, as he announced that he is ending his Olympic career.

21530465101001

Phelps’ Olympic record:

  • Athens 2004: six gold, two bronze
  • Beijing 2008: eight gold
  • London 2012: four gold, two silver
  • Rio 2016: five gold, one silver

Phelps is an Omega brand ambassador and wears the Omega Seamaster and the Planet Ocean watches. Omega is also the Official Timekeeper of Rio 2016, and is a brand we are proud to carry.

swimming_intro_Large_1600x900
2016-08-10
sndd63p1_2_2_1

As any true watch lover knows, the finest sport chronograph watches typically have a host of added functions that offer useful information. Most of them come in the form of meters – not to be confused with depth. Here, we bring you a look at some of those added instruments that could make your summer watch purchase even more fun.

Tachymeter
Much like a car’s speedometer, a tachymeter measures speed, as averaged over a certain distance. Generally, the tachymeter is indicated on the watch via an outside bezel (or sometimes via an outer ring on the dial) that is divided into equal increments. The wearer uses the chronograph to start/stop the event being measured, and then reads the chronograph seconds hand to determine the average speed.

DAVOSA Vintage Rally Pilot Chronograph 7

Telemeter
Working similarly to the tachymeter, the telemeter feature of a chronograph measures distance. This measurement is usually used to calculate the approximate distance between the user and an event that can be seen and heard (such as a lightning or thunder). It does this by using the speed of sound. Essentially, the wearer starts the chronograph when the event is seen and stops it when its sound is heard. The seconds hand is then pointing to the telemeter scale value that approximates the distance from the wearer and the event.

99955232_v_1423933629

Pulsometer
Perhaps best loved by doctors and medical personnel, the pulsometer does exactly what it sounds like. It measures the heartbeat. It is an easy tool to use. Generally the wearer starts the watch at the sound, or feel, of the pulse. He or she then counts a short number of pulsations or beats (generally 15 or 30) and then stops the chronograph. The number that the seconds hand points to on the pulsometer scale reflects the corresponding number of heart beast per minute. Essentially, using the watch just takes the multiplication out of normal calculations and does it for you.

Stop in any time to see our wide assortment of chronographs with added meter functions. They can be addicting.

2016-08-04
Rio-2016-banner

Friday, August 5, 2016, marks the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics, which take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with events happening all the way through Sunday, August 21. Whether or not you are a sports enthusiast, the Olympics have universal appeal and most of us will be rooting for a favorite athlete or team. Interestingly enough, many of the top athletes are also watch brand ambassadors. Additionally, Omega Watches — a brand we are proud to carry — acts as the Official Timekeeper of the Olympics, a role it has held for years. The company served as the Official Timekeeper for the Los Angeles Games in 1932. This year marks its 28th year in this official role.

OMEGA_New Myria_camera_2

Omega strives to continually improve the timing equipment to be as precise as possible. This year, Omega unveils new technology that takes 10,000 images per second at the finish line of track and field races — just to ensure that there is no question whatsoever about the winner. It also has a new "False Start" detection system, and a new archery targeting system.

Omega_Seamaster_Bullhead_Rio-2016-1200x1661

The technology involved in timing is vast, with hundreds of cameras, thousands of sensors and timing that counts to 1/10,000th of a second – which, in some instances is crucially needed. Omega brings in more than a thousand professionals who not only run miles of cable and fiber optics, but also who operate the hundreds of tons of equipment, including hundreds of scoreboards. The Omega timing equipment is a precise science that delivers immediate information from the event venue and delivers it within three seconds to the public.

Omega_Seamaster_Diver_Rio_522.30.41.20.01.001-1200x1800

Naturally, to celebrate its role in timing the Olympics, Omega not only has brand ambassadors, but also has even created watches in honor of the big event. This year, the brand has three watches celebrating Rio 2016. Stop in any time to see our selection of some of the most iconic Omega watches.

2016-08-02
Wristwatches cover

With the dog days of August upon us, it's a great time to catch up on a little reading. There are some really good books out there on watches and time. One such book — just being released later this month — is a must-read for watch lovers. Authored by Ryan Schmidt, The Wristwatch Handbook offers a complete look at the anatomy of a mechanical wristwatch.

Chock-full of images, arrows, pointers and more, the book is geared for the novice watch lover who wants a reference and educational book. The Wristwatch Handbook takes a detailed look at mechanical wristwatch complications (functions) and leaves no stone unturned. It also looks at subjects, such as dial making, mounting hands and building watch crystals.

The book starts with an introduction to the core mechanisms, covers the functions and forms in the main body and concludes by zooming out to take a  broader look at the watch industry, the manufacturing process, key brands, conglomerates and independent manufacturers. The book is nicely illustrated, which helps when you are browsing through a nearly 400-page behemoth.

2016-07-28
7832-e870c29b2d9ed908ba28986ef507b010

The wearable technology category continues to grow by leaps and bounds. In fact, according to a recent Wearable Technology report conducted by IDTechEx Research, the segment accounts for about $30 billion, with $11 billion of that coming from smart watches and fitness trackers.

B55 Connected

While many watch pundits feared the coming of Smart watches — thinking they would steal growth from the traditional watch category — they have actually fueled interest in what people are wearing on the wrists.

Additionally, some of today's top watch brands are delving into the category and offering a deft blend of traditional watchmaking and smart technology. Among them are TAG Heuer, Frederique Constant, Breitling, Alpina, Tissot and others.

mmt-frederique-constant-smart-watch-iphone
2016-07-26
IMG_4528

Over the past week or so we have talked a lot about active watches for summer — covering pilots and aviation watches, dive watches and water resistance. Another very important thing to consider during the summer months is how to care for your mechanical or quartz watch.

Clean It: Because watches generally take a bit more of a beating in summer when we indulge in a more active lifestyle, it is important to regularly clean it. If you take a watch worn regularly off your wrist and turn it over, there is most likely some ugly dirt buildup on the case, caseback and lugs. This is not good for a watch because if the seals or gaskets are loose, dirt can get inside and damage the movement. Additionally, it wears down the strap faster.

We suggest a gentle cleaning with a soft cloth (such as a non-abrasive towel or cotton tee-shirt). You may need to put a little elbow grease into it, but do not use water. You can also use the same soft cloth on the watch crystal.

On the inside of the strap, you can use a damp towel with a little soap to clean the strap and then dry it carefully. Even if you have a water-resistant watch, it's best to clean it after swimming, as chlorine and salt can be abrasive. Also, always be sure the crown (stem) is pushed in tightly, and if you have a screw-down crown, once it is pushed in, you need to screw it into the locked position.

IMG_4522

Avoid Rigorous Activity: While many watches today are shock resistant, they should not be subjected to rigorous activity unless proven to be able to withstand intense treatment (such as a COSC-certified chronometer). Be careful to avoid holding your watch over a hardwood floor or cement pool patio while putting it on. Sometimes we are in a rush and the watch drops, which can cause damage. We have seen this sort of thing all too often.

Replace Cracked Crystals: If your watch crystal is scratched or has a hairline fracture, get it replaced fast — before dust or moisture seeps inside. This can do even greater harm.

Keep Batteries Running: For quartz watches, if your battery dies, get it fixed. Do not leave a dead battery inside a watch or it can eventually corrode, leak and ruin the timepiece. Always take your watch to an authorized retailer or a retailer with a properly equipped service department to have the battery replaced.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Have it Serviced: This is especially important for mechanical watches, which — much like a fine car — need an oil change and maintenance every so often. Even quartz watches — if worn in the water — should be checked annually just to ensure it remains water resistant and the gaskets are still intact.

Check Water Resistance: Don’t assume your watch is ready to join you for a dive into the ocean or pool just because it says water-resistant. We wrote about water resistance here a few weeks ago, and we suggest you scroll back and see what your watch can or can't do, depending on its depth of water resistance.

Other than that, stop in our store anytime to check out our newest watches, or to talk about watch care.

2016-07-21
Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 1.51.45 PM

It was 47 years ago today, on July 21,1969, that American astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon's surface at 2:56:15 AM (GMT).

Armstrong was commander of the US Apollo 11 Moon mission, and during a landmark broadcast, people around the world marveled at the first man to walk on the moon. He stepped down and said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Over the years, many different watch brands got involved in space exploration, equipping astronauts or cosmonauts with timepieces that could go the distance.

P5170037-768x576

Breitling is one such brand. In fact, on May 24, 1962, Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times aboard the Aurora 7 capsule. On his wrist was a Navitimer with a 24-hour time indicator. Even today, the brand equips astronauts and has several on board as brand ambassadors. Among them are astronaut brothers Mark and Scott Kelly. In fact, Scott, the younger of the Kelly twins, now holds the record for the most consecutive days spent in space: 382. He took four personal items with him for his time spent in the space station: his eyeglasses and three Breitling watches.

Additionally, Breitling sponsors the famed Breitling Jet Team, and has a host of pilot instrument watches in its line-up. Even actor John Travolta — a seasoned pilot — is on the brand's ambassador roster. Stop in any time to see our collection of Breitling watches.

(Pictured below: Twin astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly, and John Travolta)

Mark-Kelly-John-Travolta-Scott-Kelly
Page links: Next