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What Makes a Watch So Expensive? Exploring the Many Factors of a Timepiece

Jun 14, 2017

It is a common question among watch consumers, particularly people who are new to the world of watches. Why are watches so expensive? Like with most luxury items, there is a huge price range in timepieces. Some well-made and intricate watches are very expensive, and some are not. Since the question comes up so often, […]

Ben Bridge Jeweler

It is a common question among watch consumers, particularly people who are new to the world of watches.

Why are watches so expensive?

Like with most luxury items, there is a huge price range in timepieces. Some well-made and intricate watches are very expensive, and some are not. Since the question comes up so often, it is fair to dive into some of the reasons watches can run pretty high in price.

The creation of a watch is intense

A watch movement, or calibre, is basically the engine of a watch — the powerhouse that makes it and¬†all of its functions work. Watch movements are internal and control everything from the hands to additional complications like calendars and chronographs. Watch movements are not all created equal, in fact quartz and chronograph are very different. A chronograph watch shows the time of day as well as the intervals, similar to a stopwatch. A quartz watch uses the vibration frequency of a quartz crystal subjected to electronic tension as its norm.

Sound complicated? That’s because it is! The intricate details involved in watchmaking are one of the reasons the price of a watch can run so high. The watch itself, the extra details like design, materials, finish, and decoration that make one watch different from another are also factors in its price.

What materials are in your watch?

Some watches are made of solid gold. Some are made of plastic. Some have diamond adorned bezels. Some watches are made with platinum, stainless steel; with colored diamonds or other gemstones. Watches are made with fiber, rubber, ceramic, bronze, wood, real leather, faux leather, and everything in between. The price will vary greatly depending on the features of your watch.

Woman wearing watch

 

Generations of experience

The watch brands you have heard about your whole life have really been around for that long — and typically for much longer. Among the many historic brands, Rolex was founded in 1905, Seiko was founded in 1882, Patek Philippe was founded in 1839, and Breguet was founded in 1775. Many high-end brands have generations of experience and knowledge and employ highly trained watchmakers, ensuring each and every timepiece is perfectly crafted.

Watchmakers are highly trained

It can take up to a whole year to make one watch. Between detailed complications and thoughtful steps like hand polished finishing, watchmakers do it all. Most watchmakers are highly trained and certified and typically have years of training and education under their belts. The excellent work and time watchmakers place into every single step of the process is worth the price of a well-made piece.

watchmaker at ben bridge jeweler

There are many factors that go into watchmaking! And remember, your budget is important when it comes to choosing a timepiece. There is a time and place for every style of watch, from the most expensive to the much more affordable.

Read more:

What Should I Look For When Buying My First Watch?

When, How, and What Kind of Watch? An Interview with Marc Bridge

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