The very first watch I owned was quartz Flik Flak. Then I eventually got one or more Swatches before getting a Casio F91W. You know this one, don’t you? However, eventually I got into mechanical watches around the age of 26 when I inherited my dad’s Breitling Navitimer after he had passed away. I knew close to nothing about mechanical watches at the time and I made some pretty dumb mistakes with the Breitling (e.g., going swimming without screwing-down the crown.) However, as I started to read about mechanical watches and assembling my humble collection, I started to understand why I became so attracted to them.
So, in this article I will be discussing five reasons why I prefer analog mechanical watches over quartz and digital watches.
Reason 1: That’s How Timekeeping Started
Simply put, I prefer analog mechanical watches because the first portable watches were mechanical and had an analog display. I know, easy, right? Wearing this type of watch then makes me feel connected to a long history of timekeeping devices that have gone through many revolutions and innovations. Although time is not a precise measurement but more of a human-made concept, we do need and like to keep track of it because we know we have a finite amount of time to live. (And because we must stay organized.) Seeing the seconds hand of a mechanical watch sweep across the dial makes me think of the reasons why watchmakers started making watches in the first place. (See above.)
Reason 2: Mechanical Watches Are Works of Art
I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what goes into making a mechanical movement, but I can tell you I’m fascinated by the little I understand about them. I do know that they are made of hundreds of parts (on average, something between 150 and 250 of them) and each plays a very specific role in making the watch tick. What is the most impressive is the fact that many decades ago, most of these parts were made by hand and that watchmakers had to create specialized tools to fabricate them. And given the tiny scale watchmakers work with, I find that their work is quite outstanding. Especially the more complications are added to the movement, for example a perpetual calendar.
Reason 3: Analog Watch Displays Are More Organic
I know, what do I mean by that? Well, personally I feel that looking at an analog watch dial to tell time has an organic charm to it. I love everything analog and I wish that the world would slow down so that I could enjoy more analog stuff. I like the experience of seeing actual hands sweeping across the dial and lining up with hour and minute markers, seeing the texture of the dial and its three-dimensionality, and winding the crown and setting the time myself instead of pushing buttons and synchronizing my watch to a smartphone. Mechanical watches are amongst the last analog tools we have and hope they are here to stay.
Reason 4: We Love to Pass On Mechanical Watches
Have you seen a movie in which a character passes on an Apple Watch to another character? Or have you seen someone buy a Samsung smartwatch to commemorate their wedding? No, and you probably never will. And that’s because smartwatches, computers, and smartphones have no soul. They are pure gadgets that exist to help us live a simpler/better life. The digital has no soul but the mechanical and analog does. While I don’t have children to pass on my watches onto, I do gift watches to family members and my closest friends. And whether or not they keep them, at some point in its life, the watch has been passed on and that is something only an analog timepiece can do. .
Reason 5: Mechanical Watches Can Literally Last a Lifetime
Lastly, many would agree that a good mechanical watch can last a lifetime as long as it is being taken care of. A reliable movement that is serviced at regular intervals will tick for many decades and can last a lifetime. I love reading stories about someone who has had a Rolex for 50 years and passed it on to his son or daughter. I don’t think someone could do that with a $20 Casio though. And I love the idea of owning a good watch that I can keep for many years and get serviced just like someone services an old vintage car and keeps using it. We cannot do that with smartwatches just like we can’t do that with modern cars.(Don’t you have to just upgrade the software managing the car?)
What are the reasons you prefer mechanical or quartz or analog or quartz watches? I would like to hear from you in the comments below. By listing the 5 reasons why I prefer mechanical analog timepieces (I know, I’m being very specific about what it is I’m writing about,) I do not mean to say I don’t like quartz watches, because I do. But my heart ticks stronger for mechanical watches (do you like this pun?) and I continuously search for watches that could stay in my collection for many years to come and bring me infinite pleasure.