Watch Longevity

Archives October 17, 2002 admin

Watch Longevity

Timezone forum post:

Hi Justin,

Your post for a more comprehensive way to evaluate the quality of a watch is once again inspiring and challenging..all in all another great post.

The inherent problem lies in the fact that the ultimate test of a watch’s correct and fine tuned result is that the watch tells time…simple…but extremely complex to analyze.

I subscribe to MacUser magazine, and every month they put the new and latest Mac models through a bench test…easy to quantify and easy to weigh results. But in a watch the ultimate test, or benchmark, is does the watch tell time??? Well, as we all know a $35 mechanical watch could theoretically tell as good and reliable time as a $35,000 watch…this does present a problem in trying to make comparisons of value and reliability when the benchmark is such an easy hurdle to jump!!

I was always taught by the watchmakers I apprenticed under, that the true test of a watch’s workmanship and intrinsic value is “How long the watch will last…will it in fact be telling time within it’s tolerances 100 or 1000 years from now!”

We can only gauge this test from looking at antique and vintage watches and then compare the quality of engineering to today’s watches…I’ve seen watches from the 1800’s that are keeping time right within it’s tolerances. That’s why I believe that a watch like the Lange & Sohne, which looks like and has the same design and material qualities of a high grade pocket watch, will last 400 years. I also believe a Patek Philippe will last for many generations…conversely, I don’t believe we’ll be seeing our grandchildren’s children wearing great granddad’s Swatch.

I realize that this is very difficult for a novice watch nut to try and grasp…but it’s really the only true test…integrity of the movement and case 150 years from now.

Longevity…not vibrations per second, or how many jewels, or whether the crystal is sapphire or hardened mineral, or whether it’s discounted or not, or the color of the dial.

I submit, that the top 10, class “A” watches in the market will be telling time 200 years from today…or they’re not worth their salt.

best regards, Richard Paige, 4th generation watchmaker