Synthetic sapphire crystal is an incredibly hard and highly scratch resistant material used on top range sports watches and high value dress watches, it is expensive to manufacture and increases the retail price of a watch.
Mineral glass is a less expensive, high quality glass that is used mainly on dress watches but is also occasionally found on some sports watches. It does not have the superior scratch resistance of sapphire crystal.
Plexiglass is a plastic material that is both light and inexpensive and is mainly used on kiddie's watches. Unfortunately plastic scratches easily.
This is the ability of a watch to resist penetration by water. On most watches you will find the water resistance level on the back of the watchcase listed in ATM, or atmospheres, bar or metres.
One ATM is equivalent to 33 feet or 10.33m. Most watches are water resistant, meaning that they resist but are not impenetrable by water.
Some watches are resistant to higher pressures experienced at underwater depths. Note that water resistance relates to the pressure measured in the equivalent of a static tank of water at a given depth and that the faster an object is moved in or against water, the greater pressure on the watch. If the case, glass or seal is damaged in any way the watch is no longer water resistant.
Water resistance is not a permanent condition. For example, the gaskets around the stem, caseback and glass deteriorate over time. For this reason water resistant watches used for swimming activities should be serviced from time to time.
Common water resistance features:
Stainless steel is used for superior corrosion resistance especially from salt water.
Screw on case (4 screws) or screw-down case back.
Usually more than one protective plastic or metal gasket protecting the mechanism, crown, push buttons and case back.
Sapphire crystal can withstand great pressures.
Screw-down or lock in crown:
The most vulnerable part to water pressure. It is important to ensure the crown is screwed down before the watch makes contact with water.
A movement powered by a manual activity such as being wound up by hand or by the movement of the watch.
A watch that needs no battery as the mechanism winds itself by the movement of the watch bearer.
A watch with time functions displayed in sub-dials on the face.
An ordinary watch that has passed extremely strict precision and reliability tests in an official lab and has met standards set down by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.
A function of a watch chronograph similar to a stop watch feature that can measure the rate of speed travelled over a measured distance in a particular length of time.
End of battery life Indicator (EOL): This indicates when it is time to replace the existing battery. Different manufacturers use different methods to indicate a low battery, i.e. if a second hand usually sweeps, when the battery is low it will begin to tick.
A quartz movement is a watch with a mechanism powered by a "quartz crystal". The crystal vibrates when placed in an electronic field, thus powering the watch. Quartz watches are more affordable and mostly battery operated.
Why does my watch have condensation under the glass?
Condensation can appear in any watch and is caused by a sudden change in temperature eg, when the wearer has been lying in the sun and then dives into a cool swimming pool, or vice versa. The air inside the case changes in density and condenses under the glass.
How long does a battery last?
Battery life varies but they can last up to 18 months.
Remember: the battery works constantly.
How long does gold plating last?
It is not possible to determine the exact life span of the plating.
The industry accepted norm is a wear rate under normal circumstances of 1 micron per year depending on how the watch is cared for. People with high skin acidity will find that the plating on their watch will wear off at a faster rate than people with low skin acidity. It is therefore recommended that people with this problem purchase a watch that is not gold plated.
What does Swiss Made mean?
This can only feature on a watch if at least 50% of the components are of Swiss manufacture, if it was assembled in Switzerland, it was started up and regulated by its manufacturer in Switzerland and the brand/style is continuously subject to technical inspection in Switzerland.