My new Swiss-influenced hobby: ogling mechanical watches

Ochs und Junior Date watch
Ochs und Junior Date watch shows the date through 31 perforations, arranged as a gentle spiral.

It’s happened: I am now interested in watches. Since Switzerland is the quality watchmaking capital of the world, I guess it was inevitable that I would start dreaming of a nice watch.

Xetum Tyndall watch
Xetum Tyndall

Luckily for my budget, for now I’m content to merely learn about watches and discover what my tastes are. As a graphic designer, it’s no surprise that I like watches with sleek, modern styling. I also like retro touches if they don’t interfere with clean lines. And I’ve also come to find that I love the idea of mechanical, not Quartz movements. I like the old-fashioned technology of mechanical watches, where the movement is winding a spring. Good-quality, modern mechanical movements are actually very reliable, especially Swiss-made ones. And while Switzerland is world-famous for amazing/crazy watches costing five figures, they also make movements used in watches priced as low as 500 dollars/Swiss francs.

A great blog I’ve discovered is Wrist Watch Review, a site for lovers of mechanical wristwatches of all kinds (plus some digital watches too). The editor is the well-known tech writer John Biggs, who says their goal is to:

open a forum of discussion about what William Gibson calls “the very finest fossils of the pre-digital age” and to bring our own experiences and intellect to bear on what, thus far, has been a closed cabal of high-end wristwatch manufacturers ($21,000 bling-bling anyone?) and, to some extent, high-end watch consumers who value flash over elegence and ultility. Why do I love wristwatches and where did my particular, and very recent, obsession begin to surface? Mechanical watches were the high tech of their age. The sheer complexity of involved in creating a small, perfectly functioning timepiece in a case the size of a few quarters stacked is amazing on many levels. To engineer, and eventually collect, a fine timepiece or even one that wouldn’t normally be considered a “quality” piece requires precision, intelligence, and a flair for the somewhat quixotic.

Some Swiss watchmakers I like are Ochs und Junior, a.b. art, Rado and Xetum.

The Ochs und Junior Due Ore watch
The Ochs und Junior Due Ore shows two time zones at a glance
a.b. art series MA watch
a.b. art series MA

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4 thoughts on “My new Swiss-influenced hobby: ogling mechanical watches”

  1. Very nice watches indeed! 🙂
    Just signed up on pinterest and didn’t find you there. :S
    You can find me under the username of gaelle_lo, I haven’t put anything online yet though. Hopefully I manage to change that soon! 🙂

  2. It was a matter of time, wasn’t it? 🙂
    I like simple lines best too – none of the overly-shiny, blingy stuff for me. I tend to prefer a classic stainless steel band and unisex watches, but, that last model you included, with the leather band, is really quite beautiful and it’s making me crave a watch with a classic leather band!

    1. Yeah, a hazard of living here. I’m in total agreement about no bling. I wish the styles would move towards smaller faces too. Not teeny, just not so darn big.

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