You’ve finally made the decision to develop a passion for watches, huh? Breathe deeply. We have all experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed. There is a lot to sort through when it comes to the plethora of brands, both beloved and despised.
A timepiece is… for you, so keep that in mind before we go into the finer details of which watch is best for you. A digital watch may come under fire from horological cults who claim it isn’t a real timepiece.
The romantics of our preoccupation with maintaining time actually exist outside of the exclusive realms of social convention. The memories from your life will be infused into whatever ends up on your wrist if you trust the process, and that will be inestimably valuable.
But let’s get back to brass tax. We’ll divide the entire horological discipline into two categories for the purposes of this breakdown: digital and analogue.
ANALOG: MOVEMENT DRIVEN
Okay, so in order to define the analog, we must acknowledge that the word derives from the nature of movement, the process by which time is created. Additionally, we’ll need to face the dial directly.
Let’s examine the internal structure of the iconic Rolex Oyster Perpetual for comparison. A few hour markers, several hands, and a face with an elliptically patterned surface are visible behind the domed glass. There are no electrically operated buttons or interfaces on the face itself to suggest that a digital display is present.
It seems pretty simple, right? We reach the movement if we delve even down below the face. Let’s go over the many movements you may anticipate from the Oyster Perpetual before discussing its internal workings. We got:
Though it could begin to resemble a game of shells, don’t worry; it’s not that challenging. Forget quartz for a moment; both manually wound and automatic watches are powered entirely by mechanical mechanisms. Mechanical watches create and keep track of time primarily using four principles.
- Power Source: a mainspring
- Transmission: an assortment of gears
- Distribution: the transfer of energy
- Regulation: the maintaining of energy
Simply put, as the mainspring is wound tighter, it releases a burst of mechanical energy that travels through a number of gears and is controlled by an escapement wheel and balancing wheel to prevent the energy from vanishing too quickly. The method of winding determines whether a watch is automatic or manual.
To wind the spring on a manual watch, you must move the crown back and forth. The self-winding rotor in the Oyster Perpetual’s automated movement moves around the mechanism when you move your arms or shake your wrist, using the motion’s inertia to wind the spring without you having to.
Quartz watches, often known as battery-powered timepieces, are a little bit different. Conceptually, they resemble a digital watch’s operation—not just because of the battery, but also due to its elemental source. Let’s examine the three concepts for producing time in a battery-operated watch in detail. You got;
- Power Unit: usually a disc-shaped battery
- Integrated Circuit Unit: a guide for electrical current
- The Quartz: a literal quartz crystal that vibrates when shocked
So once more, the battery is the source of energy that jolts electricity into the quartz crystal via a circuit. When shocked, the quartz crystal vibrates, sending enough energy back via the circuit to pulse the hands on the surface once every second.
The vibrating frequency of quartz, 32,768 Hz, is what makes it special. It’s the ideal budget substitute for the more expensive movements since it’s pitched just high enough to reverberate beyond hearing range and is affordable enough to deliver regular pulses to reasonably inexpensive counters.
DIGITAL: MORE THAN AN APPLE WATCH
You could be excused for thinking that a rechargeable Apple watch is related to digital watches in some way. Although the term “digital watch” may suggest otherwise, quartz movements, not fully-fledged smartwatch batteries, power digital timepieces.
With the exception of communicating time information through a screen rather than a set of hands, the function operates nearly identically to its analog predecessors. These watches typically don’t need to be charged, have low-energy screens, and perform tasks that an analog watch cannot.
Speaking about screens, the digital watch is a part of a variety of displays, from older MIP screens for increased visibility to more modern negative LCDs. With the exception of being significantly more power-efficient and readable, most screens that aren’t touch-sensitive are essentially same.
DIGITAL VS ANALOG WATCHES: WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE
So, now that we are aware of the variations in their physical characteristics, we can begin to focus on which watch is best for you. Let’s have a look at some of the aspects that influence how you should choose, which are frequently taken into account in combination.
Digital watches struggle to compete in price with the complexity of an analog watch, easily the biggest difference between the two. The most complex analog watches, especially those with manually wound or automatic movements, are like Rube Goldberg contraptions since they were created to produce something that is today quite easy.
Mechanical timepieces of substance are typically handmade, with the exception of fashion firms and microbrands, which primarily use automated automatic movements. It’s not all that common to find watches in the digital world that cost more than four figures.
Let’s disregard manual winding if we’re discussing daily use. Even though they are stunning, most manual watches are incredibly difficult to use on a daily basis since their power reserves are usually just two days or less, and because it takes a delicate touch to wind the tension just so without breaking the spring.
Automatics perform far better when using self-winding technology, which, as previously said, only calls for active wrist movement throughout the day and eventually relies on a power reserve if left for a few days. Here, quartz reigns supreme, with an average lifespan of one year.
A quality watch can be found between the two sorts if we define quality in terms of what a watch is attempting to do. If quality is a gauge of luxury, an analogue watch is more frequently seen firmly wrapped in priceless metal and time-consuming texture than in the digital world.
In the automatic category of timepieces, knurled crowns and fluted bezels are frequently found since no one wants to spend several thousands of dollars on a watch with a partially mechanical heart.
3 EXCELLENT DIGITAL WATCHES AT THREE DIFFERENT PRICE POINTS
CASIO G-SHOCK GWM5610-1
Casio’s G-Shock is the benchmark for what you should expect from a tough daily driver, making it more than just a first watch for the newly walking. The G-Shock GWM5610-1 is almost unbreakable and packed to the gills with features, including 31 timezones, solar-powered recharging, and an easily readable positive LCD screen.
In contrast to the AW700 series, which comes on a metal band, the GWM has a softer rubber strap that is ergonomically made to be worn with ease. You really can’t go wrong with a G-Shock as your daily watch considering its reasonable price of $150; in fact, its creator, Kikuo Ibe, even wears it with his three-piece suits!
HAMILTON AMERICAN CLASSIC PSR DIGITAL QUARTZ
The PSR Digital Quartz has the appearance of an astronaut’s helmet with the visor peeled off and buried in a piece of metallic space rock while wearing a chic bracelet. Although it’s not far off, the units on the display are akin to the microwave timer’s pixels.
The H52414130 reference honours Hamilton’s invention from the 1970s, the Pulsar, the first digital timepiece with a red pixelated font. The PSR, which costs comfortably under $1,000, takes classic style into the twenty-first century.
GIRARD-PERREGAUX CASQUETTE 2.0
We move up a few pricing tiers and arrive at the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0. Although topside up it appears to be a police radar connected to a bracelet, this mysterious side-view watch is a development of Girard-Perregaux’s unconventional seventies original.
It looks identical to its predecessor except for the titanium accents on the pusher, case back, and embossed logo. However, the new calibre GP3980 quartz movement, which adds a second timezone and chronograph, among other features, has a tonne of functions. With the hidden date option, you can effectively “bake” a certain date to read at a specific time, which can be a subtle touch on your anniversary.