When it comes to wristwatches, these are personal items. One purchases a wristwatch based on their personal taste, style, and preference. This simply means that, where some people would prefer leather-strapped wristwatches, some others, would very much prefer stainless steel strapped wrist watches. One can not categorically say what a good wristwatch is, and what a bad wristwatch is. It is because of this that, despite the obvious difference in every individual’s choice of a wristwatch; we can, however, distinguish good quality wristwatches, from lesser quality wristwatches.
When it comes to wristwatch quality, this has nothing to do with the personal style, taste or preference of the individual who purchases and wears it. In making wristwatches, and even jewelry in general, the choice and the quality of materials used matters a lot. This is so because, with jewelry, especially wristwatches, they come in direct contact with the human skin. This, therefore, means that if the quality of the material used in making the wristwatch is not good, it is very likely to cause any manner of skin irritations ranging from rashes to blisters and, even in some cases, burns.
With all that has been said, what exactly are the popular materials for making wristwatches and, of what qualities are they?
For starters, most cheap and low-quality wristwatch casings, are made with zinc alloys, while many of the popular wristwatches, which are of good quality, are made with stainless steel casings. I am sure you are wondering what the differences between these 2 materials are; well, this is it:
- The stainless steel material is actually heavier and, has a more luxurious look to it than its zinc alloy counterpart
- The stainless steel material is stronger and therefore, can hold for longer than its zinc alloy counterpart
- Whether it gets plated or not, the stainless steel material does not oxidize easily, unlike zinc alloy
- Due to the fact that stainless steel is a stronger metal, its scratch-resistance is higher than that of the zinc alloy.
- Wristwatches with stainless steel casings have a higher level of water resistance than those with zinc alloy casings
- Stainless steel materials are a lot less likely to cause skin irritations than zinc alloy and nickel materials.
In order to know the difference between a zinc alloy wristwatch and a stainless steel wristwatch, there are certain tell-tale signs
- The weight of the watch: Because of the fact that stainless steel is not an alloy like zinc alloy, you would find that it is considerably heavier.
- The finish of the watch: Wristwatches made with stainless steel materials, give you a sort of finishing that is simply classy to look at
- Scratches: Any wristwatch which has a lot of scratches, or scratches easily may not be stainless steel.
- Price of the watch: Due to the higher quality of stainless steel, many of the wristwatches made with this material would actually be higher in price than those made with zinc alloy.
Stainless steel materials are quite popularly used in making quality wristwatches because of all the benefits that it has over materials of a lesser grade. Even though these stainless steel wristwatches may not be as cheap as those made with zinc alloy, you should ask yourself, what is the price you are willing to pay for a good quality wristwatch, which would leave you looking classy, and irritation free?
Another aspect of quality wristwatches is the type of crystal (glass) used in its manufacturing. The quality of the crystal used in a wristwatch is also a distinguishing factor. This is because not all crystals are made equally strong and scratch resistant; not all would remain clear even after a long period of constant use. This is why, for a proper quality wristwatch, the crystal recommended for use is, the sapphire crystal glass.
Typically, there are 3 types of materials used in making the glass of a wristwatch. These are sapphire crystal, mineral glass, and Plexiglas. Plexiglas is more or less plastic and, for the sake of this conversation we would not be discussing that. Rather, we would be comparing the other 2 higher qualities of crystal glasses.
Obviously, sapphire crystal glass is of a higher quality than mineral glass, but, here is how:
- Sapphire crystal glass is stronger than mineral glass and so, is less likely to break, shatter or crack easily as opposed to mineral glass.
- Sapphire crystal glass is more resistant to scratches than mineral glass. This means that in the long run, sapphire crystal glasses are less likely to obtain scratches on them than mineral glass.
- In terms of hardness, sapphire crystal glass is ranking just after diamond (10/10) at 9/10 while mineral glass is ranking at 5/10 on the MOHS hardness scale.
Also here is how you can easily differentiate between mineral glass and sapphire crystal glass on a wristwatch piece.
- Color difference: The mineral glass, most times, has a blue tint color to it whereas sapphire crystal glass has a milky white color, or sometimes, even a little punk hue.
- The water test: This is a very easy test. You simply let a drop of water fall on the surface of the glass. If it is a mineral glass, the drop of water will diverge; however, if it is a sapphire crystal glass, the water would come together.
- The touch test: This is probably the most simple of all the tests. With a sapphire crystal glass, when you touch it, you would notice that it feels cool if not icy to the touch; however, with mineral glass, it does not feel this way at all.
Another additional test but a very unlikely one would be to use a professional machine. If by some means, you can lay hold of a professional machine used for testing glass, then, you would most likely want to measure both glasses for:
Just to mention a few. However, since everyday people cannot easily get a hold of such a machine, or easily carry one about when going to purchase a wristwatch, this test should be left up to the professionals.
In the making of a quality wristwatch, these are the 2 major things that are taken into consideration. The quality of material used for the watch casings and the quality of glass used.