As watches get smarter, and our lives more complicated, there is a movement embracing the slow-living counter culture, going back to the simple things, celebrating tradition.
So as Apple, Samsung and LG fight it out over the smartest watch, we thought we’d look at the 5 reasons why you should own the most traditional of all watches, a hand-wound timepiece.
1. The connection
The connection you have with your watch will vary depending on what type of watch it is. If you have a classic digital Casio calculator watch you might use it to help split the bill at dinner. If you have a Quartz fashion watch you may simply glance at it half-a-dozen times a day to check you’re on schedule. But with a hand-wound watch comes something greater - a daily ritual of connecting with your timepiece, truly appreciating it’s mechanics by winding the mainspring via the crown, which powers the mechanism for the rest of the day. And puts you in control of your time.
2. Wear a watch that moves
The internal engine of a watch is usually referred to as the movement, and in the majority of modern watches these movements don’t actually… move. The mechanism to power the rotation of the hands is a vibrating piece of stone and a battery, not the complex and highly engineered layers of gears all perfectly tuned, as you would find in automatic and manual movements. The foremost being powered by motion or by winding the crown, whereas the latter, the hand-wound, the most traditional and fundamental of all watch movements, obtains its power solely from your touch. The feel of a tightening mainspring under the guidance of your thumb and forefinger is a connection like not other. Not to mention the pleasure of feeling the mainspring unwind and release its energy throughout the day, turning the hands to keep you on time.
3. Invest in the future
If care is taken and your hand-wound watch is regularly serviced, it can keep ticking for generations. If you’ve heard of a timepiece being handed down from one generation to another, or have been lucky enough to receive one yourself, chances are there’s a hand-wound movement powering that heirloom. Perhaps one day you’ll pass on a watch to your grandson or granddaughter, and if you do, you’ll want to make sure its a hand-wound timepiece to make it that little bit more special.
4. Tell the world who you are
A watch can tell the world who you are. Your style. Your attitude. By sporting a manual timepiece you’re making a statement - you appreciate function, form and traditional engineering - cogs turn on your wrist. You’re choosing to wear something other than the ordinary, something that requires that extra bit of care, and you’re proud of it.
5. Because they’re unnecessary
Its true. A smart, digital or Quartz watch will keep better time than hand-wound alternatives (by approx. 30 seconds per day). But where’s the romance, the connection, the meticulous craftsmanship to keep time. Manual timepieces are joyfully unnecessary yet curiously cherished. They only function when tended to and they respond to your touch. Purchasing a Quartz watch over a hand-wound is like purchasing a Nissan Leaf over an Aston Martin DB5, and who in their right mind would do that.
As futurist author William Gibson puts it, “Each one is a miniature world unto itself, a tiny functioning mechanism, a congeries of minute and mysterious moving parts. Moving parts! And consequently these watches are, in a sense, alive. They have heartbeats”.