For those considering buying a mechanical watch -1

Don't buy things that are too expensive by believing rumors without researching them or trusting dealers or sellers without any doubts.

Here, from a buyer's perspective, we will explain how to purchase a watch with confidence.

For beginners: How to compare major watch brands

1. Compare major watch brands

Among watch enthusiasts, there are often lively discussions about who has a direct connection to a particular watch or which brand is best to buy one from.
There's a lot of different information out there.

And even for buyers and owners for whom "best of" lists and detailed brand ratings are meaningless, the information that matters is different and varied.

Therefore, here we will explain the brands available to the beginner watch buyer, including a detailed explanation of the single brand that is widely recognized as a superior brand: Rolex.

Rolex watches are considered the finest brand and are used as a benchmark when talking about watches, even by non-experts.

While we may feature specific brands in individual categories, think of it as a general guide for beginners.

So keep in mind that it's not the most definitive representation of any particular brand.
With that understanding, you need to do more detailed research based on the characteristics of the watch and the brand in order to buy that special piece that is right for you.

2. Rolex is not the best watch brand in the world!

Rolex is arguably the most recognizable watch brand in the world.

Rolex has not only produced high-quality watches, but has also been a pioneer in creating new watch concepts and staying ahead of its time.

Rolex was the first to introduce concepts such as "chronometer", "waterproof" and "dustproof case".
In addition, the brand was also the first to create a wristwatch with an automatic date changing function, and the first to mass-produce luxury watches.

In the 1980s in America, a new generation of young people, known as yuppies, enjoying affluent lifestyles, emerged.

They purchased luxury watches as a symbol of their status, and so their existence became widely known in society.

As the existence of yuppies became widely known, the name Rolex quickly became known throughout the world.

As the watch gained popularity, prices also skyrocketed.

New in the United States in 1981 for around $ 900 , stainless steel Datejust models rose to $ 2,350 by 1991 .

This is despite the fact that very little improvement has been made to this model in that time.

Some models were even more expensive because they were made from higher quality metals.

So much so that Rolex owners have jokingly referred to the new model as a watch made from "unobtainium . "

There are a few other urban legends surrounding Rolex.

Myth #1: Every Rolex is made by hand. → False.

Most Rolex watches are mass-produced and manufactured in patented, advanced, and sophisticated factories that incorporate a wide range of technological advances.
We produce nearly one million watches a year.
Of course, some of our most premium models and limited editions are made by hand.

Myth #2: Rolex is the most accurate watch in the world -> This is completely false.

The accuracy is the same even with a 2,500 yen Casio watch.
Even if you spend a lot of money on a watch, the only other thing you get is expensive jewelry.
Just because it's more expensive doesn't mean it will keep more accurate time.

Myth #3: It takes a year to make a Rolex watch → This is something Rolex advertises in their advertisements, but they never provide any explanation as to the basis for this claim.

This advertisement is intended solely to create the impression that each product is carefully crafted by a craftsman over the course of a year in pursuit of perfection.
There seems to be an intention to obscure the fact that it is a mass-produced item.

  Myth #4: Rolexes are a good buy because they have resale value -- It's true that, more than any other brand, used Rolexes can be resold for more than new ones.

However, compared to other brands of watches, they are not necessarily a good investment or a safe purchase. You cannot necessarily make a profit by reselling any watch, not just Rolexes.

So, is Rolex the best watch? Values ​​vary from person to person.

Indeed, Rolex is one of the most well-known and recognised brands.

But that doesn't mean it's the best watch, a good investment, or the only brand to buy a luxury watch from.

There are many options available, from affordable, decent quality watches to incredibly expensive, precision-crafted timepieces.

So how do you choose the best watch for you?

The item you should choose from the wealth of information available is one that is comfortable to wear.
For some people, it just so happens to be a Rolex, while for others it is another luxury brand; everyone has different values.

3. If Rolex isn’t unique, why don’t we hear about other brands?

The sole definition of a "luxury item" is its "reputation."

In most cases, there are only a handful of brands that are widely recognized as the "best of the best."

Even if there was an equal or even better brand, it would not be as well known.

Ask any random person on the street about watches and you'll likely hear the same old answer: the watch market started with Timex and Casio, then moved on to Seiko and TAG, and finally to Rolex.

The choices of the average person and the hobbyist are often different.

Not only in watches, but also in wine, cigars, audio equipment, sports cars, and other fields, it is difficult for the average person to understand what enthusiasts prefer.

Great watch brands such as Alain Silberstein, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Chopard, Fortis, Franck Muller, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, and Ulysse Nardin are not well known to the general public, as are lesser known brands.

Well-known brands such as Bose, Montblanc, Sony and Rolex dominate the market due to their global recognition.

These brands may bring great products to the market, but they are not the only ones that are great. Their success stories will cause them to lose the innovation, competitiveness and uniqueness that are the foundations of a good reputation for their companies and products.

Also, the most effective way to impress the general public is to use a brand name that everyone knows. The brand name alone will be effective, even if you don't create an arrogant feeling of premium quality with prices, quality, and features that are below the pre-existing reputation.

However, connoisseurs and enthusiasts will purchase items that are truly appealing to them, even if the brand is not widely known to the general public.

4. Rank and price of luxury watches by brand

Based on the famous and representative models of each watch brand, we have grouped them into the following four categories to make it easy for beginners to understand. When grouped, we can see that there are many brands that sell limited edition, high-end models, and also some brands that sell models in a lower price range.

4-1 Top-class watches

If you have money to spend on a watch, you know the benefits of having a world-class, top-of-the-line watch. A watch that wows connoisseurs and is not available anywhere else. An elegant, bejeweled, special edition or limited edition timepiece is the king of watches.

A watch that is exceptionally well-known and requires a high reputation. It has a unique design and craftsmanship, and is produced in very small numbers. It can only be purchased through special dealers. It is the Rolls Royce of the wristwatch world.

・Major brands
A. Lange & Söhne, Alain Silberstein, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Franck Muller, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Parmigiani Fleurier, Patek Philippe, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin

・Market retail price
Steel model: from 5,000 USD
Models with genuine leather straps and gold body: 1 million yen and up
Models with gold straps and gold body: from 2 million yen
There is no limit to the prices when you look up, with some costing over 20 million yen.

They fall into two extremes: very distinctive or extremely conservative.

They are specially made, limited edition items, partly or wholly handcrafted.

Mechanical movements are developed and manufactured by hand, entirely in-house, or specially ordered from other companies for highly customized watches, with complex functions ranging from major ones like moon phases and power reserve indicators to minor ones like calendar adjustments.

・Purchase a new item
They are only available at the highest quality jewelry stores. They can usually be discounted a little, but it is rare to get a big discount. It may be possible to do so at a store in the gray area, but it is better to buy these high quality items at a proper store.

・Purchase second-hand items
Due to the high original price and the fact that it is a limited edition, there is demand even for second-hand items, and the prices are reasonable.

・Purchase vintage items
They are expensive because there are always collectors.

4-2 Luxury watches

This is the most widely known class of watch as a "luxury item." The brands that manufacture them also provide "luxury" products at a reasonable price, so it's worth buying. Even without considering the price of the highest-end brands, the price is usually not too high. In addition, they are durable and have a stable price, so they are cost-effective. They are worth owning even more than the price.

Definition: An elegant, stylish, valuable, top-notch watch that will last a long time. Its quality and durability will allow it to be passed down to future generations. If it is properly maintained, it can be sold whether it is 6 months or 30 years old.

・Major brands: Breitling, Cartier, Ebel, Omega, Rolex, Tag Heuer

・Retail price range Steel model: 100,000-400,000 yen Model with genuine leather strap and gold body: 250,000-800,000 yen Model with gold strap and gold body: 500,000-2,000,000 yen If you buy it from a store designated by the brand, you may be able to get a small discount. You may be able to get a larger discount from a store that does not designate the brand, but it is a gray area.

・Design/Style: They vary from classic to original models. Most brands have one or two distinctive models.

- The outer case and bracelet are mass-produced, but they are decorated with jewels and are of the highest quality.
The gold is 18 carat, and sometimes even 14 carat, and the surface is made of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

・Functions Regardless of whether it is made in-house or by another company, the movement is the highest quality even for mass-produced products. If it is made by another company, it is customized. High-quality quartz and precise mechanisms are used, and digital quartz in particular is a quality that is hard to find except for special watches used in outer space.

- New purchases: These are mainly sold at high-end jewelry stores. There are also stores that are not authorized by the brand. In order to maintain the brand's image, stores designated by the brand will not offer large discounts.

- There is a demand for second-hand goods, so the market is large. However, because the original prices are high, buyers are eager to find better second-hand goods within their budget.

- Purchasing vintage items: Just like second-hand items, there is a large market for them. Watches themselves last for decades, so they can be purchased from a number of specialized dealers.

4-3 Semi-luxury watches

These are watches you can buy when you want a luxury watch but don't want to spend too much money. Even if the brand is ranked differently, some products fall into this category. These include mass-produced luxury brand watches and watches that are not luxury brands but are of high quality. Although the luxury feel is somewhat diluted, they are still somewhat expensive. They are also less durable and less valuable in the long run than slightly more expensive luxury watches. It is better to buy second-hand products from a reputable dealer.

Definition: An elegant, stylish and reasonably durable watch.

・Major brands: Baume & Mercier, Raymond Weil

・Average retail price: Steel models: 50,000 to 200,000 yen; Gold models: 75,000 to 400,000 yen. Significant discounts are available at various stores.

-Design/Style: The design follows trends rather than leading them.

Although they are mass-produced in appearance, they are of good quality and comfortable to wear. They are made of steel or gold-plated. The crystal can be mineral glass, acrylic, or imitation sapphire.

Functions: These are mass-produced products. In most cases, quartz watches are analog and do not come with chronometer-level functions. In most cases, the emphasis is on appearance rather than function or stability.

If you buy it new, it will be considered a "high-end" brand in department stores or shopping mall watch shops, but it will be sold as a lower-priced brand in high-end jewelry stores.

The market for second-hand goods is limited. Even though they are priced closer to the "luxury" category, once the trend has passed, they are more likely to be discounted and their value drops rapidly due to their lack of durability.

-Purchasing vintage items It seems that brands in this category have few watches that can be passed down as vintage items.

4-4 Standard wristwatch

When you want a watch that is reasonably better than a regular watch and falls into the "luxury" category. Although there is a wide range, brands that fit this category are excellent in terms of price. There are various brands that focus on "fashion" and brands that focus on providing authentic products at low prices. If you don't value durability and don't spend money on it, the price is low and there is no risk in purchasing it.

Definition: Elegant, stylish and durable for years to come.

・Major brands: Epos, Fortis, Movado, Oris

Average retail price: Steel models: under 100,000 yen. Gold models: under 200,000 yen. Significant discounts are available at various stores.

Design/Style: Classic or trendy design. Some brands boast unique styles.

They are mass-produced and look and feel good. They are made of steel or gold-plated materials. They use cheaper materials such as mineral glass or acrylic resin instead of crystal.

Functions: They are mass-produced. Quartz watches are analog and do not have a chronometer function. However, while they are inexpensive, there are also brands that compete with unique features, just like in the luxury watch market.

- Buying a new watch You can buy a new watch at the watch counter of a department store or shopping mall. Some brands have unique features and can only be purchased at watch specialty stores. They are sometimes sold as the "cheapest" brand at jewelry stores.

- The market for second-hand goods is limited. The only place to sell them is through a pawn shop.

- Purchasing vintage items Even if a watch of this level is old enough to be called "vintage," unless it is unused, there is unlikely to be any new demand for it due to its style or condition.

How to become a good watch buyer

1. Why invest so much in a watch?

Luxury watches, which use expensive metals and jewels, have always been associated with elegance and prestige.

Originally, sophisticated and accurate mechanical watches were used to measure time accurately during medium to long distance travel and communication tasks.

However, technology has now advanced to the point where even the free toy clocks that come with children's meals at fast food restaurants keep accurate time.

However, functional luxury watches have not lost their original meaning.
There are many people who find value in owning and wearing luxury items.

To summarize, this is what I mean. A watch that costs more than 20,000 yen is more like a piece of jewelry than a watch.

So stop judging a luxury watch by the cost of its components, calculating the value of the rare metals it contains, or speculating about what special value is hidden within its machinery.

If you take it too far, you risk joining the ranks of annoying people who only talk about technical matters without really understanding them.

It would be a mistake to think that such a person's talk of little-to-nothing or superficial mechanics and theories enables him to intelligently judge the value of a watch.

If an inexpensive quartz watch doesn't look like one and keeps good time, the functionality of the watch isn't worth paying more than that price.

But there are also watches made of rare metals, with famous brand markings, detailed exteriors, more complicated older mechanical technology that still function the same, or special quartz technology that makes them just a little more sophisticated than their predecessors. Or there are watches that bring personal and intellectual pleasure and are worth everything.

The truth is that the value of jewellery is entirely driven by people's emotions.

Spending more than 20,000 yen on a watch is just about the value of the piece of jewelry and the satisfaction of owning something special, nothing more.

2. Why choose a mechanical/automatic watch when quartz is more accurate?

Simple, quartz is obviously superior in terms of accuracy.

But accuracy alone is not the deciding factor when choosing a watch: owning a watch also brings many benefits and pleasures that go far beyond what most people would imagine.

Frankly, having a quartz watch or a watch using some other technology is not going to make your life any more revolutionary. A quartz watch is not going to be considered more punctual than someone with a mechanical watch.

It's similar to how you can get to your destination in either a manual or automatic car. Even though CD players have better sound quality than cassette tapes or LPs, the act of enjoying music itself remains the same.

Also, just because a medium is electronic rather than paper does not necessarily mean it will produce better ideas.

New technology brings efficiency, but at the same time it also brings about "boringness."

In many cases, traditional methods and technologies are perfectly satisfactory, and the good qualities, characteristics and variety of the old are being gradually corrected by new technologies.

In addition, older technology is useful for learning more detailed structures, and by tracing the origins of an object over time, we can gain a better understanding of that object.

There are many people in the world who like such cumbersome technologies and systems.

Nowadays, we all know that quartz watches keep accurate time.

Just as an automatic car can be put into low gear, a CD always delivers consistent sound quality, and a computer always corrects typos and spelling mistakes.

Mechanical watch enthusiasts are constantly comparing movements, finishes, levels of regulation, certifications, performance under different conditions and other arcane criteria.

On the other hand, for quartz watch enthusiasts, the main thing they compare is time accuracy.

If efficiency is your number one priority, a quartz watch is the right choice for you.

However, if you are tired of pursuing efficiency or are looking for other values, why not choose a mechanical watch?

3. Why are mechanical watches more expensive than the same watch?

Mechanical or automatic watches are much more expensive than the same model quartz watch.

Some manufacturers offer the choice of mechanical or quartz for the same model.

In this case, the mechanical version is more expensive.

One explanation is that this is because mechanical movements are so intricately made, but it could also be that mechanical movements are more expensive than quartz.
This may seem like an exaggeration or a silly idea, but here's the real reason:

  • Cost of production : The better quality quartz movements found in more expensive watches are only slightly cheaper than their mechanical counterparts, although the difference is not as great: even in the finest watches, the movement cost is often less than 5% of the final retail price.

  • Warranty service : Since there is no problem with the function of the quartz itself, the warranty is not that comprehensive. On the other hand, mechanical movements can be serviced within the warranty period, so the cost is added to the price.

  • Distribution and sales : Mechanical watches are sold in smaller quantities and therefore have a smaller economic impact on the distribution system. While collectors and enthusiasts prefer mechanical watches, the majority of the general public overwhelmingly buys quartz. As a result, mechanical watches do not turn over as quickly as quartz watches, meaning that manufacturers and dealers have to hold onto them as an investment and it will be a long time before they can recoup their investment.

  • Exclusivity : Don't say that all watches over 20,000 yen are jewelry. It's like paying insurance for anything above average price. Rare metals, synthetic sapphires, mechanical movements, superior features, rare gemstones, all of these are important insurance for high price that goes beyond the concept of mere price.

4. What watches are worth collecting?


It's easy to assume that special watches (although not necessarily the only ones) are collectible, but that's a mistake.

The mystical sound of so-called "collectible" watches makes people think like mice.

We blindly believe it, so when we hear such rumors, we immediately run out and spend our money.

There is a widespread perception that anything considered "collectible" is a worthwhile investment, but in most cases, the reality is far from it.

Let me explain with a good example: stuffed animals.

Even with this small toy, which costs less than 100 yen, some people are compelled to pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of yen in order to complete their collection.

If you want to recoup your "investment" money, you'll need to find someone who's even more into collecting than just selling.

This form of collecting mania began around the 1970s.

Suddenly, what I had been personally collecting for years was attracting the attention of these kinds of buyers.

Even old items buried in basements and attics began to be considered worth a lot of money, and a "gold rush" mentality was born.

First editions of comics, early works by artists who later became famous, and other rare items from the past have fetched large amounts of money, skyrocketing in value compared to their original prices.

You may rummage through your house searching for hidden treasures, but you'll never be satisfied.

Because most of the treasure is worthless junk.

So they start buying things in the hopes that the prices will go up dramatically, so they can sell things that collectors want and get rich.

Thus, people emerged who could write unbelievable amounts of money on these things, old or new, dreaming of making money in the future, just like winning the lottery.

You should not choose to buy collectibles simply because someone else has told you that they are collectible.

It doesn't matter whether other people collect them or not, just buy what you truly value.

"Collectible" has become a cheap label that sellers can slap on anything, making people believe it will be valuable in the future without anybody questioning its validity.

But remember, truly "rare" and "hard to find" are used in a positive sense, giving a special value to a collection.

In comparison, the term "collectible" is often tossed around lightly and is completely meaningless.

You need to think without distraction about what is meaningful and valuable to you.

If someone starts collecting because they want to, then whatever it is can be said to be collectible to them. That's a fact.

The most valuable collections are those that you never expected to have future value at the time. If your goal is to make money, you'll probably have a better chance of success with some quiet investment than with a "treasure hunt."

5. What's important and what's not important when buying a "new" watch

When you are looking to buy a new watch, you may have had to choose between two or more options. How do you decide what is most important and what is not important when buying a watch?

Brand reputation matters: It's a good idea to know what kind of reputation the watch manufacturer has. There's no point in asking a salesperson at a watch store about it.

They are sometimes shockingly ignorant about watches, and what they say is a mixture of authoritative-sounding nonsense and half-truths that are blatantly wrong.

Instead, ask other people who already own watches from the brand you're thinking of buying from, or post your question on an online message board that specializes in watches.

Resale value matters, but only if you understand it: Perhaps people have a misinterpretation of the term "high resale value," but many are spending a lot of money on watches.

This is usually because people are placing the wrong emphasis on how much they will get back from their investment when they resell, rather than how much money they will make or lose when they trade.

Choosing a dealer is important: Who is the authorized distributor of the brand?

If you're planning on spending a lot of money on a watch, it's best to avoid regular department stores or jewelry stores that sell low- to mid-range items.

It's also a good idea to visit some higher end jewelry stores to get a better understanding of the range of watches you can afford. Just because the "best" brand is sold at a department store doesn't mean it's the best choice or the best value for your money.

Also, make sure the dealer you are considering buying from is an authorized dealer of that brand first, and if they aren't, be aware of the potential problems that may result.

It's all about what you want and need: When it comes to choosing a watch, if you know what you want and what is truly important to you, you will be able to make the best choice.

Many people get too hung up on the details, which ends up getting in the way and preventing them from enjoying the process of choosing a watch.

Really think about what you want.

There are many points to consider: a watch that attracts others, a watch that is attractive to you, a stylish watch, a watch that you can show off your knowledge about, a watch that is special only to you, a watch with unique features, etc.

Or maybe the material is rare metal, or it can be used for formal occasions, casual occasions, leisure time, sports, etc. The list goes on and on.

But once you have a direction in mind, choosing the right watch becomes much easier.

Knowing what you buy is more important than buying what you know: Often times, the best luxury brands in terms of quality and value are the ones that even the "average person" has rarely heard of.

Names like Rolex and TAG Heuer are well-known luxury watch brands across the board, but name recognition alone is no guarantee that the watch is of superior quality, a great value, or the best choice.

It will ultimately be to your benefit to research all possible options rather than blindly choosing a “familiar” brand.

Brand history matters a bit too: Many brands have been around for over 100 years.

Consider the usefulness of this information: is the watch you are considering buying an incredible watch with a proven track record backed by a long history, or is it simply boasting past success or a brand name acquired long ago?

Many of today's famous brand names were worthless just a few decades ago. Look for new models on used dealer sites or internet auction sites and compare them to older models.

Are watches from this brand that are 5 years old worth anything? Are there any older models that are worth more than newer models?
These things may be a sign of a dramatic change in quality on the manufacturing side.

A few important things about the movement: Unless you're an expert, connoisseur, or collector, there's no need to worry about the details of the movement inside a watch, such as the quality of its quartz movement, certified functions such as chronometers, or non-certified functions.

Frankly, most luxury brand watches will keep accurate time for decades if properly maintained. The technical details of the mechanical "movement" (the actual workings inside the watch) are not particularly important unless the watch is over $10,000 or has other unique features. Over 98% of mechanical watches have the primary functions of time, date, and (if they're good) a chronograph. All the basic functions of a mechanical watch use technology that is over 75 years old and has barely evolved to this day.

So, don't waste your time making the mistaken assumption that the mechanisms of these machines must be significantly different when comparing them just because they are different prices.

Price is not important: You might be wondering "what are you talking about?" but that's it.

Price doesn't matter! Price is just a measure of value.

Even if you can buy it cheaply, what if the retailer provides poor service or you can't contact the manufacturer because they are not an authorized retailer?

Even if you were able to buy an expensive watch for a few percent less than the original price, what if the product never arrives, is a fake that looks just like the real thing, or has a poor warranty?

Would you rather buy cheap and waste your money, or would you rather pay a higher price up front to get something that will last a long time?
Yes, it is important to choose a watch that is more than worth the money you pay, and you shouldn't choose based on the cheapest one that is close to the design you want.

The number of jewels in a watch is not important: The number of jewels in a movement is often talked about as if it means something, but in reality it is a misleading piece of information.

Those kinds of gems have no value.

This is because the watch mechanism uses synthetic ruby ​​as a component, which acts as an extremely low-friction pivot.

Its value is only a few hundred yen and does not increase the value of the watch.

The number is determined by the design of the watch and the functions of the movement.

It is quite common for two watches with the same functions and performance to have different types and numbers of jewels in their movements.

A standard mechanical movement has a minimum of 17 jewels - more is not necessarily better.