4. There is tremendous variety in wrist watches. Just look at the few pictures above, a very small representation. The wrist watch, in some form or another, has been around for a few centuries, maybe four hundred years or so. But for most of this history, pieces were occasional and anecdotal. Wristwatches have only been making much news for about a hundred years, and really didn't 'take off' until the 1920s and 1930s. During this time, many watches have come and gone. Fortunately, many of them are still around. There are many 'variables' which go into the making of a watch, and the combination of these variables makes for an exceedingly good variety to choose from, should you be insane enough in the membrane to want to 'collect' them.
These variables include:
a. Era / time period
b. Case shape and size (round, rect., square, 'cushion,' tonneau, asymmetric...)
c. Case constituency (brass, gold, silver, steel, titanium, plated, other)
d. Power supply
- Conventional mechanical / wind up
- Automatic mechanical (many types within this category)
- Mechanical balance wheel, electric and electronic
- Electronic tuning fork
- Electronic quartz
- 'Kinetic' quartz or 'autoquartz,' solar, other quartz variations, quartz winder.
e. Special Functions or properties
- Chrongraphs (sub-variations on number of registers, buttons, etc.)
- Alarm (older mechanical hammer or modern electronic alarm)
- Moonphase indication
- Perpetual timekeeping
- Repeater function (chimes/sounds at designated intervals)
- Date indications (date alone most common, day, month; year also.)
- Dual time zone, dual movements
- Rotating bezels: world time indication, diver, navigational.
- True 24 hour movements
- Power reserve indicator
- Braille dials
- 'Mega watch' functions (calculator, pulse, athelete functions, etc.)
- Satellite time synchronization
- Television, digital camera, internet, beeper, other forms of communication
f. Time indication mode
- Analog hands: classic watch dial.
- Digital (mechanical wheels vs. electronic LED/LCD)
- (Aural: chime/repeater, spoken voice.)
- (Tactile: at least one watch had a pin which poked your skin as a silent 'repeater.')
g. Dial features, appearance : Here the variability is very great.
- Constituency: enameled, laquered, painted, guilloche, paper, glass/skeleton, more
- Color (monochromatic dial, dual/triple color, complex colors)
- Hours indication: numbers (Arabic or Roman, rarely both), markers, raised/relief, none.
- Chapters, rings: 13-24 hr. markings, seconds chapter, telemeter, timing chapters.
- Seconds hand: subsidiary, central, none.
- Luminous vs. non-luminous hands, hour indices.
- Company and advertisement logos (some people collect these with a passion bordering on a kind of low-level mania)
- Scales for timing: telemetre, tachymetre, others, slide rule geekwatches.
- Subsidiary dials: chrograph registers
- Date features
- Mystery dial features
- Much more...
h. 'Occupation / Specialty Watches'
- Pilot / Astronaut
- Military - many subdivisions, with their specifically designed watches.
- Doctor / Nurse / Engineer / Rocket Scientist
- Divers/SAR rescue, Firefighters, Police
- Track and Sport
- Driver / Chauffeur
- Braille watch
i. Character Watches: cartoon animals and crazy logos, Richard Nixon, etc.
j. Others variations, I am sure I have left a lot out...
5. 'Watches connect us to our past.' This is where it starts to get a bit hokey. In the right context, they can give a link to history. Just the fact that this mechanism worked for someone in 1940, and still, 60 years later it is working for you, providing the same function it did back then - just this realization, doesen't this somehow on some level keep a connection, even if only symbolic, with the past? Maybe, maybe not, but that's what some will argue. Maybe it is kind of crazy to think like this after all it is just a watch.
There also are some very important watches, both as indivual pieces, and as models in general. They are known mainly for what they permitted the wearers to achieve, including walking the surface of the Moon, crossing the Atlantic by air, and summiting the tallest peak on Earth. And for the ordinary frenzied salaryman just trying to get a job, it helps him make the morning train and get to his cubicle on time. Watches are important.
6. If you don't collect watches, you might end up collecting something else, which might be far worse than watches.