Friday, August 14, 2009

Watch Style Guide

1. DRESS WATCHESDress watches (often referred to as “Dressy”) are those timepieces with a more formal and conservative look. Dress watches are typically worn for occasions such as a black tie dinners or in a professional business setting such as the office of a bank manager or executive. Dress watches tend to have a simpler and cleaner look to them; this usually means a mechanical “time only” watch without complications. An example of an iconic dress watch would be the Patek Philippe Calatrava. The Calatrava has a round case and a simple white or silver dial with markers for the hours; indications are restricted solely to hours and minutes. The key to this conservative look is an easy to read and uncluttered dial and a case size normally in the 36-41mm range for men and much smaller for women. Dress watches are usually more expensive than sports watches as many of them are made from 18-karat yellow, white or rose gold, or platinum.
Examples of dress watches include the Patek Philippe Calatrava, the IWC Portuguese Chrono Automatic and the A. Lange and Sohne Lange 1.
2. SPORTS WATCHESSports watches are usually more durable, larger and less conservative looking than dress watches. Sports watches are divided into several categories including basic, dive, sailing, pilots, and driving models. A basic sports watch will typically have a round case, a rotating bezel and a rubber strap or metal bracelet. Many basic sport watches also feature a chronograph (stop watch) function. Basic sport watches often come with more casual dial colors such as blue, black, or even yellow or orange. Some examples of basic sport watches are the TAG Heuer Aquaracer, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra and the Bell & Ross Classic Diver Chronograph. Dive sport watches are a type of sport watch designed originally for scuba divers. These watches are typically round, and have a unidirectional bezel. Most dive watches have a larger case size than a typical sports watch (40mm +). The larger size combined with a dark colored dial (blue or black) with luminescent markers and hands make the timepiece more legible under water. Many dive watches come with a helium release valve which is designed to allow the case to safely vent helium that has built up during a dive. Examples of dive watches are the Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk II, the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 and the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Sailing sport watches are designed for sailboat racing, or regattas. Sailboat racers who wear sailing or “Yacht-timer” watches depend on the chronograph functions of these sailing watches to time the start of races. In addition to a basic chronograph function, sailing watches have a 10-minute countdown function on the dial to enable the wearer to easily mark off the warning which takes place at the beginning of an event. Sailing watches are usually made of stainless steel and come with rubber straps to withstand the rigors of the ocean. Examples of sailing watches are the Girard-Perregaux BMW Oracle Racing Laureato 98 watch, the Omega Seamaster 300M Racing Chronometer and the Corum Admiral's Cup watch. Driving sport watches feature a Tachymeter--a feature designed to measure rates of speed. The Tachymeter scale is located on the bezel or around the dial flange. It can be used to measure speed in miles per hour, or kilometers per hour, using the calibrated scale in conjunction with the central seconds hand. Most driving sport watches also feature a chronograph function. Examples of driving sport watches are the Tag Heuer Carerra, the Omega Speedmaster and the Chopard Mille Miglia. 3. DIAMOND WATCHESDiamond watches are typically dress-type timepieces; they are most commonly worn by women. However, in recent years, Swiss watch manufacturers such as Roger Dubuis, Franck Muller and others have begun to design stylish diamond watches for men. A diamond watch is designed to be worn in environments from daily casual wear, to dinner parties and formal events. A diamond watch can feature diamonds on the bezel, dial, the bracelet or on a combination of all three. Diamond watches are typically considerably more expensive due to the value of the precious stones. Examples of diamond watches are the Chopard Happy Sport for women, the Bedat and Co. No 3, and the Patek Philippe Twenty 4. 4. COMPLICATED WATCHESComplicated watches are those timepieces which contain more sophisticated functions (complications) than a basic time-only automatic or manually wound watch. Swiss watch experts group complicated watches into several categories. These include: tourbillon watches, perpetual calendar watches, minute repeater watches, and grand complication watches. Tourbillon watches are considered by many to be the pinnacle of the watchmaker's art. Invented at the turn of the 19th century by Breguet, the tourbillon with its escapement bearing rotating carriage ensures accurate timekeeping by compensating for the effects of gravity on the balance. A perpetual calendar watch has an intricate calendar function that displays the date, day, month (and often, the moon phase) and corrects itself automatically, even during leap years. A minute repeater watch incorporates an extremely complex chiming mechanism that signals the hours, quarter hours and minutes on finely tuned gongs, whenever the user triggers the mechanism. Watches with Grande Complication are marvels which unite the perpetual calendar, the minute repeater, and the split-seconds chronograph. Examples of tourbillon watches include the Girard-Perregaux Triple Bridge Tourbillon. An example of a perpetual calendar watch is the A. Lange & Sohne Langematik Perpetual Calendar. An example of a minute repeater watch is the Blancpain Villeret Minute Repeater. A great example of a grand complication watch is the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Grande Complication. 5. AVANT GARDE WATCHESThis is a relatively new watch style category that has developed over the last 10-15 years with the advent of more innovative watch designers. The Avant Garde watch style category was lead by the famous designer Franck Muller who broke many of the traditional Swiss watch design rules with his oversized tonneau shaped watches and innovative dials and complications. Other fashion forward designers include Gerald Genta, Frank Vila, Milus and Roger Dubuis.
Examples of Avant Garde watches are the Gerald Genta Octa, the Milus Herios TriRetrograde and the Zenith Zero-G Tourbillon.

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