When suddenly what was once sleek and spotless fades to grey and matte. This is unfortunately a common occurrence for those who succumb to the appeal of fashion watches, all the while forgetting that you are essentially paying for a name and not for the watch itself. So-called fashion watches have been a trend for years. Beyond their core activities such as producing textile goods or leather accessories, a lot of major fashion brands also divulge into the world of watches. However, what many don’t know is that unlike established Swiss luxury watchmakers like Omega, Breitling or Rolex, whose watches are produced only to the highest of standards, the actual craftsmanship of most fashion watches does not match up to their more mesmeric appearance.
Of course there are some fashion labels who do make reasonable quality endeavors. There are even those who work together with Swiss manufacturers. However, it must be said that most watches from renowned fashion houses are produced in Asia, which ultimately presents a roadblock when it comes to guaranteeing certain quality standards. Most brands don’t put a substantial effort in quality control either. After all, they opted to produce in Asia for financial reasons in the first place. The quartz movements built in most fashion watches rarely exceed the 3-EURO mark. Sometimes, base metals are used instead of stainless steel and low quality crystals replace the sapphire found in high quality models. The outcome: signs of wear become visible after a much shorter period of time.
Quality watches, on the other hand, look just as good, if not even better, after 30 or 40 years time. Having two watches from different eras next to one another, it’s sometimes hard to tell what is fabric new and what is 50 years old, as the following picture illustrates (left: Vintage Heuer Carrera Valjoux 72 from the mid-60s, right: new TAG Heuer Carrera Cal.18).
The short lifespan of most fashion watches is another reason why the online marketplace is saturated in watch offers from brands that are more commonly associated with evening dresses, eau de toilettes or gold belt buckles than they are with watches. These watches are in turn offered for a fraction of the purchase price and nevertheless they don’t want to sell. In many cases the decision is made for or against the purchase of a new watch: As soon as the quartz movement breaks, the value of the watch is automatically nullified. Why? It makes no sense to replace a movement, when the costs incurred would exceed the market value of the watch itself. Aside from that, it is often not possible to find a suitable replacement movement, given that cheap movements are generally only produced for a short period of time – a Tamagotschi for the wrist so to speak.
Admitted. We are perhaps a bit biased, when we say that watches are not an ordinary everyday item. In this respect, we like to refer to tradition, symbolic character or timelessness of a watch. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether we are talking about a watch or a pen, a guitar or a pair of leather boots. The basic appreciation for commonplace objects is deeply rooted in knowing what resources were involved in the manufacturing and how. It is about finding longevity in a purchase, that will not need to be replaced by something newer at the earliest opportunity. Many quality watches, like the Eterna watch shown below, are about 100 years old and still look gorgeous.
Beyond a certain price bracket Swiss made watches are characterised less by objective quality features and more by soft factors like the brand’s know-how, depth of production or its history. But whether it’s about high-end luxury or more accessible brands – Swiss Made still means the watch is Swiss made. Mechanical watches from renowned manufacturers like Oris, Fortis, Tissot and many others start for less than 1,000 GBP, and the craftsmanship that goes into it provides the means for a lifespan of decades. Should you decide to buy yourself a wrist watch, be sure to stay true to yourself and don’t spend any more or less than what you deem a watch to be worth. Decide on something, which represents substance and class for yourself, something that will best represent you – not just today but also in 20 years’ time.