Types of Watches

Whether you are a new watch owner or a multi-decade watch collector, there is always more to learn about the incredible timepieces that have shaped our society so intensely. The invention of clocks re-defined time, taking it from an abstract idea to a concrete, measurable commodity. Human interaction, personal accountability, and the way we participate in daily life changed with the invention of the clock. 

The introduction of the watch movement brought about an even bigger change, making time a personal commodity instead of just a shared social construct. The watch is one of the most significant social advancements in human history, and in the modern era, there are more options to keep and tell time than there have ever been. 

The biggest modern argument against the watch is that every cell phone tells the time. The problem with looking at your phone instead of a watch is that it encourages you to disconnect from the analog world. A watch not only uses a far more accurate and intricate method of keeping time, but it also keeps you connected to the world around you, reminding watch users everywhere that while time is deeply personal, it is also a shared commodity. 

This complete guide to watches will walk you through some of the most common types of modern watches, the mechanisms that move them, and why each one deserves a place on your wrist. In no time at all, you will be a watch aficionado, ready to use the information learned in this guide to purchase your new favorite watch! 

Luxury Watches

Luxury watches are defined by three distinguishing factors. First, luxury watches are aesthetically stunning, using only the finest jewels, ornate precious metals, and delicate design intricacies. The combination of design with master craftsmanship and exclusive materials makes luxury watches just as much a fine piece of jewelry as they are a perfectly engineered machine. Notably, Swiss watches, like those available at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutique in La Jolla, CA, stand out in this category, often exemplifying the pinnacle of both beauty and precision, given Switzerland's rich legacy in watchmaking.

Second, luxury watches are defined by their incredible internal intricacies. In watchmaking, the individual mechanisms of the watch are called complications. Examples of complications in a luxury watch include a secondhand, date, chronometers, perpetual calendar, etc. The more complications a watch has, the more impressive it is.  

Finally, luxury watches are defined by their accuracy. While it may seem intuitive that a watch is accurate, the battle with precision and accuracy is ongoing for watchmakers, and while some have come close, no one has ever perfected precision. Luxury watches are defined by how long they can be perfect before needing an internal adjustment. 

Timeless design and superior craftsmanship. Shop watches!

Dress Watches

Typically a dress watch is categorized by a combination of the brand, materials, and design, all of which create a certain aesthetic. While not all luxury watches are dress watches, dress watches often tend to be made by a luxury watch brand.  

While more expensive, these watches perfectly blend functionality and style to create an elegant combination of fashion and simplicity.

Simplicity is key to a dress watch as it is made to be striking without drawing too much attention to itself. Often dress watches feature elements that might be considered more jewelry than watches, but a situation that requires a dress watch yields itself to a design that is simple and elegant rather than complex and technical.

Field and Racing Watches

Field watches are the basis of most modern watches. These watches are defined by their rugged exterior, simple design, and above all else, their incredible ability to keep ticking! The original easy to read face of field watches inspired the bolder numerals of the aviator watch, commonly found in most IWC watches. In contrast, the first field watches' rugged leather strap and fabric bands inspired the corrosion-proof bands used in modern dive watches. 

The first field watches were rugged and seemingly indestructible and from these roots blossomed a wealth of watch options.

The modern antithesis of the field watch could never have come about if not for the field watch itself. The modern racing watch is one of the world’s most technical watches that includes many bells and whistles other specialty watches do not. Two such distinguishing accouterments include a chronograph and a tachymeter. 

These two instruments help calculate distance and time and how they relate to one another, which is important for determining how fast someone or something is. Without a chronograph and a tachymeter, it wouldn’t really be a racing watch. 

Dive and Aviator Watches

Much like racing watches, which are meticulously crafted to meet the demands of high-speed sports with precision timing, both dive and aviator watches are an evolution of the field watch. Each watch style is designed with intricacies that serve the task they are named for.

A diving watch is made for withstanding intense pressure at critical depths while underwater. As the name would imply, these watches are used by divers as the need to monitor time is critical for coming back to the surface on time. 

Similarly, aviator watches employ the use of specificities that are invaluable to pilots while flying. Intricacies like chronometers for longitude and latitude, stoppable second hands for accurate timing, and bold numerals that can be seen in the dark are all indicative of an aviator watch.

Mechanical, Quartz, and Automatic Watches 

Quartz watches use a battery to create the power and energy to fuel the watch. These vibrations cause the watch's dials to turn, which keeps a quartz watch running. 

Automatic watches use the human body's kinetic movement to keep the watch wound, winding the oscillating weight inside of the watch to give the watch power. 

The difference between a mechanical watch and an automatic watch is that a mechanical watch needs to be wound from time to time, different watches have different power reserves. 

By no means are automatic watches inferior to mechanical watches; they are simply a different kind of watch. 

Your Next Watch

With so many types of watches available, your personal preference will play a large role in selecting your next watch especially if you’re learning how to wear a watch itself. You’ll run into questions like how tight should a watch be? Is my watch too loose? For these reasons, you should always go to an authorized dealer when seeking out high end watches for sale or a trusted pre-owned watch dealer.

In watchmaking, craftsmanship and the littlest of details make all of the difference and that is why the dedication of classic watch brands to their craft's intricacies has created a reputation for excellence that is constantly looked toward as the gold standard. While much has changed since the inception of the wristwatch, the demand for precision, craftsmanship, and design remains at the forefront of consumer demands. Whether you are interested in beginning a collection of luxury watches or purchasing a new dress watch for your next night out, the world of watches offers a timepiece for every purpose and function you could possibly imagine. Visit CJ Charles to find your dream timepiece or receive trusted watch repair today!

We have a wide selection of new and pre-owned watches from brands like Cartier, Rolex, Patek Philippe, used Breitling watches, and pre-owned iwc watches. Visit our website to learn more about our products and services today!



Watch Ranker. 27 Types Of Watches To Know About (Before You Buy Your Next Watch). https://watchranker.com/types-of-watches/

Fashion Beans. Types of Watches: Which One Is Right For You? https://www.fashionbeans.com/article/types-of-watch/

Watch Guide. 5 Different Types of Watches. https://www.watchshopping.com/watch-guide/5-different-types-of-watches/

Automatic Watches for Men. 20 Types Of Watches You Should Know: The Ultimate Guide To Modern Watches. https://automaticwatchesformen.com/20-types-of-watches

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