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SWISS MADE WATCHMAKING

Let’s take a look at what Swiss Made means and how they’re made, and why it has such an impact on why we purchase predominantly Swiss branded timepieces. Our aim is to give a clearer understanding of this type of buying, with so many options out there we can fill our plate and overwhelm ourselves with a choice.

“The Swiss have that image of producing quality at the highest level, as Germans have the image of producing the best cars in the world, and you cannot just copy this.”

Georges Kern

Geneva

Just like any company, there is a business model behind utilising this form of marketing. Watch brands that adhere to a strict form of watchmaking and assembly requirements can earn the legal right to brand their timepieces as Swiss Made. It isn’t just a badge or logo any company or watchmaker can use, there are laws surrounding its application. For a watch to be Swiss made it must adhere to these laws and therefore must earn the status and the quality to be called Swiss Made. If it does not, then it cannot adopt the two words synonymous with high quality, robustness and reliability.

When purchasing something like a watch and you budget an affordable amount, you want to know that what your spending your money on is worth it. Swiss made is that reassurance. It’s a bit like buying a car, you buy German. Or a guitar, you buy American, Leather shoes, Italian. You want to buy a watch, you buy Swiss. There’s more to it than this, but you get the idea.

Watch brands come from all around the world but there’s something different about a watch being Swiss. There’s historical, cultural and social value to it. Take Vacheron Constantin for example. A watchmaking company to have an uninterrupted history since 1755! That’s over 250 years of experience, innovation, creation, adaptation and perseverance. These are what is expected of a Swiss-made watch now. Unrivalled quality. To achieve this you need a clear goal in mind and to strive for this level of expertise, one must have a reachable target. To obtain the right to be labelled as Swiss Made is that initial step.

A Swiss-made watch is not just a temporary accessory, a fashion fad or a trend: it can last for generations.

Of course, brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger LeCoultre and Rolex have their history, their experience and innovations to back up their assurance of quality. However, nowadays micro-brands are increasing in popularity and to gain the privilege of being Swiss Made means having the opportunity to own an extremely well-made watch at a far more affordable price. And for anyone starting a new collection or adding to an existing, it’s refreshing to invest a little while getting a lot out of it.

It means a great deal to consumers to have a sense of security when making purchases, so for a brand trying to create something worth having, it needs a guideline to follow. What better way than to celebrate its quality and reliability than being branded as Swiss Made. It’s not like a logo, it’s branding, a mark to its high standard.

This isn’t to diminish the achievements of other watch brands it’s just to signify the meaning of what it means for a watch to be Swiss. Switzerland is the home of watchmaking, over time it has become a cultural and historical marvel in this kind of market. Without one, you won’t have the other. The most famous brands of now started then and have been paramount in building what the watch industry is today. The subjective opinion will always have some say, but you cannot deny the impact the standard of Swiss Made has on our watches and where the industry will go from here.

FiftyEightJournal,

T. G.

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Watch Straps | The Basics

Watch Straps | The Basics

Watch straps come in all kinds of styles, all kinds of materials and all kinds of purposes. A watch strap at its basic function is to hold the watch to your wrist. Yet over the course of wrist wearing history watch straps have played just as a vital role in aesthetics and function as much as the watch they accompany.

Leather Straps

Classics in their own right, they throw us back to the very distinct dress watches. Simple dials, refined hour markers, sharp hands and a brown or black leather strap to tie it all together. The materials used for making these straps are usually calfskin or crocodile/alligator. Nowadays you can find a wide variety of colours too, so they’re great for matching and customising. Although there are other exotic skin type options out there, they do tend to be priced higher.


Suede Straps

Another leather type worth mentioning is Suede. Suede is textured leather, popular for its vintage styling, durability and comfort.  Stunning combinations can be made between your watch and strap, when you’ve worn classic leather and opt for suede, you’ll be amazed at how much your watch changes!

The era of classic dress watches is written in history and brought back every time we wear a watch with that distinct underlying aesthetic. We feel as though the leather look will always reign as an essential, classic addition to an elegant timepiece.

Metal Bracelets

When looking at survival over time and wear, a metal bracelet, usually stainless steel, is the great option. You can find a wide variety from these too. Polished and brushed looks, different link shapes and styles. The common ‘H’ type links are an industry standard.  Favoured for their comfortable fit and the various finishes achieved with different metalwork techniques. Robust and reliable, metal bracelets are found across the board from dress style watches to serious divers too.

Milanese | Mesh Straps

Milanese straps are something a little different to your ubiquitous metal bracelet. Where metal bracelets can look casual in their presentation a Milanese is a stunning style strap. With a look not too dissimilar to chain mail they’re strong and elegant. Ready to be worn with your suit and comfortable in any environment. And, originating from Milan (hence the name) they are steeped in history. Most of us learn about Milanese straps much later in our quest for new timepieces, but they are definitely worth considering even for new watch enthusiasts.


Included in this is also precious metal types. Most favourably, gold. Gold bracelets are found only on gold cased watches and are quite heavy. They’re a luxury commodity and will come with a luxury price tag. Sometimes paired with steel watches, the two-tone or bi-metal creates a timeless look.

Fabric & Rubber Straps

Nylon is a popular strap type, often called a NATO strap. These straps are longer than normal and are stylised with that in mind. A very tool-type watch strap. Worn for its rugged look and preparedness from the mundane to the extreme wearer, they have a distinct look because of the length and are favoured on most model types. They’re also a more affordable alternative to metal bracelets!

Rubber Straps

Another every day, ready to go strap type. Comfortable in the winter, comfortable in the summer. The basic all-rounder to many watch enthusiasts. A very affordable option, though it lacks elegance it makes up for it in durability.


One last thing to mention is clasp types

Briefly and without over complicating things, they’re worth being aware of. A pin buckle or belt buckle type is very typical on leather. Simply threading the strap through the buckle, much like a belt. This type is very common and easy to use. Also common on NATO and rubber straps.

Folding clasps are an improvement on the pin buckle. Set strap length and then fold over and clip into place. Great for leather as they will maintain the longevity of the strap without sacrificing the look. Butterfly clasps are locked into place and released with pushers either side of the strap/bracelet. Very common on metal bracelets. They’re very secure and are user-friendly.

And just like a watch, the more complicated and engineered. The more expensive. Sometimes simple elegance is the way to go. An understated look while maintaining ease in use.

Thanks for reading,

T. G.

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A Watch Brief Buying Guide.

Fifty eight watches

All watches are the same.

A sweeping statement, but stay with us. Whether it is a quartz, manual, automatic or something far more complex. They all tell the time. They’re instruments and tools and status symbols. Unique or common, everyday wearers or rare once in a while. Fun accessories or even heirlooms. Sentimental or a gimmick. The list goes on.

For those of us interested in these mechanical marvels, have found our passion and reason for wearing them in our own way. And whether we’re new to the world of watches or a veteran, buying a new watch should feel comfortable and informed. We’ll go through the very basics and keep it casual.

How does a watch work?

Good question. Another question worth asking would be why does that matter?

You more or less have three types to choose from. Quartz or commonly known as battery-powered watches and mechanical. Mechanical watches fall into two groups. Manual wind and automatic/self-winding. So that’s quartz, manual wind and automatic.

Quartz Movement

Powered by a battery without much need for upkeep and hands-on adjusting, battery watches are the most affordable option, first introduced in the late 1960s. They do maintain more accurate timekeeping too. A great option for someone not wanting to invest or have a watch that’s easily replaceable. Usually, with quartz watches, they are made to a far less rigorous specification and so often aren’t considered a ‘proper’ watch. They feel robotic and have no life in them when comparing to their mechanical counterparts.

Manual Wind Movement

A timepiece made entirely of mechanical invention. The original timekeepers have manually wound pocket watches, then being introduced to the wrist. They have been at the centre point of the most influential moments in watchmaking history, considered to collectors as the crème de la crème, although to many a hassle at times as they need regular winding to maintain working. Until that is, you enter into the world of power reserves. A term used to describe the period a watch will keep working, 3+ days is best (not to mention even longer power reserves!), and with that, the need to wind will feel less like the hassle and more of a ritual. The feeling of bringing your timepiece to life is peaceful and somewhat bonding.

Automatic/Self-Winding Movement

A mechanical feat first introduced in the early 1920s, manual wind by nature and now with a few innovative components, something more user friendly. Consequently, this form of a watch is the most popular due to this ease of use. An oscillating rotor revolving throughout the day while worn maintains the life and power within. As a result, this creates a certain sense of carefree and reassurance to wearing your timepiece. Knowing that taking it off overnight to find it ready when you are the next day is remarkably satisfying. And even automatic watches have power reserves, most often up to 42 hours, in some cases over many days too. They really are the most reliable, most intricate and most accessible in terms of mechanical artworks.

What types of watches are there to choose from?

Having a clearer idea of what kind of watch you’re interested in is a good start, next up, is the type or style. These break down, traditionally into; Dress, Sport, Dive and Pilot. Although nowadays these ranges blend together and although some models adhere to their intended use, many of us just buy and wear watches because we love doing so. Out of those ranges, dress, sport, dive and pilot we’ll outline what these terms mean for the watches made for them.

Dress Watches

A dress watch is quite often simple but elegant, speaking in a classical sense, they tend to be time only pieces or, time and date. Leather strap, usually matching belt and shoes, is always a great way to style the look alongside the watch. A slim profile timepiece not ostentatious or flashy, instead, respectful and stylistic.

Sport Watches

Quite simply put, a sport watch is your casual everyday wearer. Well built and functional, whether that’s a time and date piece or time, date and chronograph. A fit for anything and ready when you are, suiting metal, rubber and fabric straps.

Dive Watches

Here we have a watch built for a purpose. A timepiece relied upon in extreme environments, the depths of our oceans. Able to withstand extreme pressures that come with diving in the deep and with clear faces to read during a dive or just day and nightwear. Case construction on these watches is robust and sturdy.

Pilot Watches

A tool watch in many ways. The Pilot’s watch is durable, well constructed and famous for its legible dial. Beautifully clear hour markers/Arabic numerals and larger faces. Something pilots needed when navigating their journeys. These watches are classic in style, useful in their nature and make for a great smart casual wearer.

Remarks

It’s great to have a further understanding of these timepieces and where their design differences stem from. Although most wear them for different reasons, knowing what their original use brought a romance to them, a reflection of history standing the test of time. Timekeeping is in all of us and our timepieces are symbolic of our past, our present and our future.

Thanks for reading,

T. G.

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Watch MicroBrand World


When most people think of a wristwatch, they think of large and well-known brands. A microbrand is by definition, a small independent watch brand.

A veritable alternative to big watch names are microbrands. These independent brands offer modern trends and in many cases, the entire process is often managed by a single person or a small team. From the design to the sourcing of manufacturing to the marketing, sales, quality control, fulfilment, shipping, customer service, and after-sales service, a small team of watch enthusiasts are operating the engine.


Microbrands manufacture and ships their watches directly to buyers without relying on distributors, wholesalers, and retails stores, connecting the founder directly with the final customer.

The growth of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter has made it possible for small teams to get their watch design or brand funded. Most microbrands offer very good quality watches for a very attractive price, this is a fantastic opportunity for the watch market to grow and embrace new ideas for watch enthusiasts.

Microbrands are changing how people buy luxury watches. As far as most watch owners and enthusiasts are concerned, the rise of microbrands has changed and improved the premium watches landscape.

The largely underserved watch enthusiast community will finally buy high-quality, limited edition Swiss Made timepieces at prices they can afford.

Watches inspired by watch enthusiasts, design based purely on their own philosophy of how a watch should look like.

Incredible VALUE FOR MONEY.

Thanks for reading,

T. G.

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Vintage & Modern Watches

FIFTY EIGHT Watches

Vintage and modern watches are years and innovations apart, yet they share a blurred line when it comes to their appeal. We buy for many reasons, sometimes we love contemporary designs with fresh looks and other times, classic and historic.

Modern is more about shiny and new. The attraction to new models and ranges is the excitement to their release, to be the first to own one, the first in the know or the most up to date with the trends. You’ll also find how different watches from 50+years ago are to pieces made now.




Their shapes, their construction and even how we read the time! With modern watches you gain material innovation too for example; sapphire crystal glass, ceramic, titanium and even carbon, which leads to better quality movement parts and generally speaking, a better-made watch. It’s not wrong to expect a brand-new Rolex Submariner to outperform the original. But we don’t buy vintage for their level of innovation and build quality.



When it comes to vintage watches, those of us who buy them do so knowing there’s a chance they will break, or they will look heavily worn even after servicing and polishing. But the fascination in a watch that has lived for decades and has been damaged and showing clear signs of wear comes down to unique aesthetics that change over time. Think of it as listening to a vinyl record compared to an iPod or an MP3 player.



The listening experience feels different, much like wearing a vintage watch compared to a modern one does. You can shape your style to these pieces, creating a broader image of your self-expression. Which is what we love to do, find a piece of ourselves in our timepieces. The authenticity of the watch comes into it too. Whether that be from certification or a true reflection of the original design. Unfortunately, some variations are hard to get, new or vintage!



Thankfully, Brands do celebrate their past and release updated/reeditions of their much older pieces too, which is a great way to own that relic look with an innovated and updated movement. Vintage pieces, because of their age, tend to be less durable so buying a contemporary watch made vintage isn’t so bad. These particular pieces are the manifestation of this blurred line, combining innovation with an original design. A strong appeal to many.


Personally, it’s refreshing to see a vintage watch with modern twists to it. If you aren’t keen on old frail pieces, or the flashy new one, an emblem of the two is a great option to go for! Something timeless yet durable. At the end of the day, it’s best to love what you buy and buy what you love.

Thanks for reading,

T. G.