Holiday Catalog

dress watch

  • Why is a Swiss Made Watch a Better Watch?

    Why is a Swiss made watch a better watch?

    wacg0101_1I was waiting on a guest the other day when he told me he would like to get himself a nice dress watch for work.  I asked him what he did for a living and he told me he was an account executive for a large company.  I immediately thought a Movado watch would be a great fit.  It would look great with the suit he was wearing, show he had great style, and let his clients know he was successful.  I showed him my choice and he looked at me with a little shock.  The price on the watch was about $750 and he could not understand how a watch could cost that much.  He pointed to his current watch and noted it had cost around $200.  I explained that the watch on his wrist was not made like the Movado and was worth about $200......and the Movado was worth every penny of the $750.

    So what makes the $750 watch a better watch??


    Let's start with the actual metal the watch is made out of.  Swiss made watches are almost always made with 316L surgical steel.  This is done for a couple of reasons.  First, it makes the steel extremely hard.  This allows the metal to both take and retain a polish better than other, lower grade steel watches.  Simply put, the watch will look better for longer.  Second, this steel alloy is the most corrosion resistant of all steel alloys.  That means the watch is more resistant to rust than lower grade counterparts.  Lastly, because the steel is so hard, it can be re-polished to almost new condition anytime it gets scratched (with the exception of plated parts).



    wbug0110_1If you inspect a Swiss watch, you will notice it is usually rather heavy in comparison to non-Swiss watches.  This is due to the fact that all Swiss watches use solid steel links and cases.  Many non-Swiss watches use hollow links that can bend or distort under pressure.  Some, in fact, are made by rolling steel.  This makes a link which can be distorted rather easily, sometimes resulting in scratchy or "rough" spots against the wrist.  In many cases, non-Swiss watches are not even made out of steel.  They can be plastic or a mix of base metal.  If you have ever had a band corrode, you have owned a base metal watch.  Steel will not do this to you.


    The clear face of the watch, or the crystal is also different.  Most Swiss watches generally use a synthetic sapphire crystal.  They are used due to their extreme hardness (a 9 on the Mohs scale.) for scratch resistance.  If you have ever owned a Swiss watch, take a look at the crystal.  You will find it most likely looks as good as the day you first purchased it.  They are hard enough, in fact, that you can take a car or house key to them and they will not scratch.  Standard watches usually use a hardened mineral glass crystal.  These are not nearly as hard as the sapphire, nor ore they near the expense.  A sapphire crystal can start at $90 or more versus a hardened Mineral at about $25.

    Link pins

    The pins that join the links together and to each other in a Swiss watch are usually a pin and sleeve versus just a pin in non-Swiss watches.  This seems like a small detail until you understand that the links must rotate.  In a pin watch, the link rotates on the pin.  As we all know, metal on metal wears.  Where the pin is also the source of the tension, the wear makes the pin smaller and eventually allows the pin to slide out of the band.  On the pin and sleeve model, the band rotates on the sleeve while the pin retains the tension.  No wear on the pin means it takes much longer to wear out the pins in a Swiss watch.

    Band caps

    The band caps, or the connecting link that links the band to the case of the watch is solid on a Swiss watch.  Other makes are hollow.  Again, this seems rather minor until you break pin after pin.  The solid cap actually works to support a large percentage of the watch pin holding the band on.  Force against the pin is therefore distributed over the entire length of the pin.  Compare that to a non-Swiss.  The band cap is hollow and only contacts the pin in small areas.  When force is applied, it will tend to first distort and then break the pin because all the force is concentrated in those few small areas.


    The movement, or the mechanical works of the watch is the heart of the watch and can account for 1/3 to 1/2 the overall price of the watch.  In Swiss watches, these movements are hand assembled and made with metal gears.  that means a watchmaker actually is responsible for ensuring each watch is put together correctly.  Not so in non-Swiss.  Most others use plastic gears and assembly lines to make their watches.  There are certainly quality control checks, but not on every watch.  Like most manufacturing plants, they verify a select group in each production run.  In terms of longevity, the Swiss watch has the edge here as well.  Metal gears do not wear as quickly as the plastic ones.  Also, many plastic movements are sealed and must be replaced, whereas the Swiss movement can be serviced.....that means you can hand it down!

    The verdict


    wesl0199_1Swiss watches are much better made than their counterparts.  They are not made to be "throw away" watches, but instead are designed to give generations of wear.  When you consider a watch, ask yourself a simple question:  "How will I feel when this watch wears out?"  If you love it, what a sad day that will be......unless it is Swiss....then you can fix it.

    As to my guest - he did not buy the Movado, but understood the differences and the price.  In the end, he picked a $400 watch which offered some of the upgrades I mentioned above.  In the end, he was better able to choose a watch that fit his budget and expectations, that's the best anyone could want.

    About the Blogger:


    mark-poulin2-web20111Mark Poulin, Store Manager, 
    Auburn Day's Jewelers

    Originally from Michigan, Mark decided to settle in Maine because of the wonderful quality of life and because it is a beautiful and safe place to raise his children. Read more...


  • How Do I Know I'm Buying the Right Watch for Me?

    The other day, I had a customer come in to shop for a watch and I asked him “What do you need it to do?"  Of course, that left me wide open for the response of, “tell time."  After we laughed about how I set him up for the punch line, I decided it might be best to be a little more specific.  I asked him the following questions:

    1.  Will the watch be exposed to water?

    2.  Is the watch for dress wear or active wear?

    3.  If the watch is exposed to water, what type of exposure?  Occasional?  Swimming?  Diving?

    4.  If you will be wearring it as an active wear watch, please tell me how you will use it.

    5.  What do you do for work?

    6.  Are you going to wear the watch for work, casual, or both?

    Why would I ask these questions?  That was his response as well.  It actually is a very simple answer.  Watches are machines, just like an automobile.  They are built for specific uses and like automobiles; they can be damaged when they are treated in a way outside of their design parameters.  For example:  Would you take a BMW out four wheeling?  Would you take your Hummer on a long trip if you were trying to save on fuel costs?  These seem like silly questions, yet people routinely treat their watches in a similar manner.  So, how do you know if it is the right watch for you?

    The answer is to look at the three basic watch types and which one best describes how you plan to use the watch.

    Watches generally fall into 3 broad categories; dress, sport, or sport dress.  Each of these categories has specific attributes which allow them to excel at what they are designed to do.  Let's take a look at what you can expect from each of these categories.

    Movado Dress Watch


    Dress Watch: This watch uses a smaller case and usually has a finer movement than its counterparts.  It will generally lack any water resistance over 30 meters, although there are exceptions.  The watch will emphasize style and fashion over being able to take extreme blows.  Nicer dress watches are composed of 316L surgical steel and use Sapphire mineral crystals.  Both of these features limit the scratching on the watch and the steel allows the watch to be refinished in most situations. This watch is ideal for anyone who wants a watch that speaks to fashion and will complement their dress attire.  An example of this type of watch would be MOVADO.

    Reactor Sport Watch



    Sport Watch: The movements in most cases are not as fine as those in a dress watch since they are crafted for durability. This watch also uses a much heavier case and band design in order to withstand heavy blows and regular punishment. The movements are also generally better protected in these watches.  Water resistance is at the highest in these models, starting at 100 meters and can go over 1000 meters.  They are meant to be able to survive water activity regularly.  They sacrifice some fashion in order to be able to provide the durability required in their use. This watch is ideal for the active outdoors person who does not want to worry about damaging their watch while they are out doing activities like rock climbing or surfing.  An example of this watch would be REACTOR.

    Citizen Sport Dress Watch



    Sport Dress Watch: As the name implies, this watch is at home in the office, but can also handle some moisture and some rougher wear. They generally have water resistance from 50-100 meters and have a mid-size casing. Although unable to take as much punishment as the sport models, it will prove an ideal watch for someone who wishes to be able to wear the watch almost anytime they choose.....and look good while wearing it.  Both Seiko and Citizen are very strong examples of this type of watch.

    By asking yourself the questions I posed above, you begin to figure out rather quickly which type of watch will be best for your use.  Once you have the type of watch, it becomes much easier to select a watch you can be proud to wear and will give you years of trouble free wear.

    Mark Poulin,
    Store Manager, Day's Jewelers Auburn

    mark-poulin2-web2011About the blogger: 

    Sixteen years ago, Mark joined the Day's Jewelers family. A manager from the start, Mark came to Day's from a management career at KB Toys. With a vast amount of retail experience, Mark has managed three Day's Jewelers locations – Auburn, Brunswick, South Portland and now he is back in Auburn. He has also worked as Service Manager and Customer Service Manager in Day's Waterville more.

    Questions or comments?



2 Item(s)


If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase within 30 days of receipt, you may return any merchandise that has not been altered, engraved or customized for a refund, credit or exchange. Merchandise returned must be in its original condition.


All orders are fully insured and require a signature at time of delivery. Each item is cleaned, polished and inspected before it is wrapped and shipped to you. For engravings and ring sizing, please add an additional 2-3 business days to your order. Special orders or customizations may take 3-4 weeks. Please click here for full shipping information.


Day's Jewelers requires suppliers to provide a written warranty, for every diamond purchased, that it was acquired from non-conflict sources. Furthermore, as a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, Day's is committed to supporting and promoting the highest level of social, ethical and environmental responsibility in our communities and in the areas of the world where our products are sourced. Learn more...


If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase within 30 days of receipt, you may return any merchandise that has not been altered, engraved or customized for a refund, credit or exchange. Merchandise returned must be in its original condition.


Your jewelry purchased from Day's Jewelers is warranted for a lifetime against defects in materials and craftsmanship. To be eligible for this warranty, your piece of jewelry must be inspected at any Day's store at least once every six months. If you should live in an area where there is no Day's store located, we would be happy to recommend a reputable jeweler to perform the required semi-annual inspections. Day's also offers a low cost extended care plan that covers normal wear and tear of items not deemed as defective.


Day's adheres to an everyday low price policy so you can always shop knowing you’re getting the best price possible from an authorized retailer.


Day's adheres to an everyday low price policy so you can always shop knowing you’re getting the best price possible from an authorized retailer.