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The Watch Guide

Get to grips with the key watch complications, discover the history behind some of the most iconic watch styles and more by delving into our guide to all things horlogerie.

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The Style Fundamentals

  • The Aviation Watch

    Key to original aviation watch designs was reliability, precision and legibility, and for the watch to be worn on the wrist. Indeed, the first ever commercialised wristwatch – Cartier’s Santos – was based on a custom-made design created for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1904. Aviation watches have evolved in line with aviation itself, but the three key fundamentals remain the same.

  • The Diving Watch

    While it was Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf who invented the first water-resistant watch, the Oyster in 1926, depth became the watchmakers’ next challenge, with Panerai and Blancpain among the brands to make the first major advances. Digital dive computers might now be an essential piece of kit but the accuracy and durability of diving watches ensures they’re still valued on and off dry land.

  • The Dress Watch

    Evolving from the traditional pocket watch and characterised by more refined features than its sporting counterparts, a dress watch is the ultimate finishing touch to a shirt and jacket. Slim enough to sit under a cuff comfortably, proportion to the wrist is important, too, with simplicity in design – a day/date complication perhaps being the only one – ensuring it will complement formal looks perfectly.

  • The Driving Watch

    Relied on for timing laps, while wristwatches were adopted promptly by racing car drivers it was with TAG Heuer’s addition of the chronograph and tachymeter complications to its models in the 1960s that the driving watch was truly borne. High contrast in design, typically with a dashboard-like dial and multiple crowns and pushers, driving watches purvey an undeniably sporty aesthetic.

Key Complications

A watch complication is most easily defined as any function on a timepiece that does more than tell the time. From the relatively simple to the truly extraordinary, get to grips with six of the most popular horological talking points.

  

Watch Movements

Movement Explained

There are two types of watch movement, quartz and mechanical. Mechanical movements are either manual or automatic, based on whether the moving parts within the movement wind up manually or automatically. Quartz movements, meanwhile, rely on a battery to create an electric current that causes the quartz to pulsate with precise frequency. It is this pulsation that makes a quartz watch easy to distinguish from a mechanical watch.

Water Resistance

A watch’s water resistance is tested in static conditions, so while it might be marked water-resistant to 100m, that won’t have taken any changes in water pressure or temperature into account. Look to our explanatory table of common water resistance standards to work out the water resistance you require of your watch.

Activity 30m 50m 100m 150m 200m 1000m
Accidental Splashes O O O O O O
Swimming   O O O O O
Shallow Diving     O O O O
Diving          O O
Deep Sea Diving           O