As a watchmaker with over 40 years of
experience, I have repaired many types of timepieces, from wristwatches to
grandfather clocks, with most being Swiss or Japanese. With my training in the
old country, naturally many of the Swiss watches were either hand-wound, or
automatic. The automatics of the day were just starting to come into their own
with longer power reserves and accuracy. Swiss watches were the norm with minor
influences of Japanese timepieces, prior to the 70ís.
As the mid-70ís wore on, the quartz revolution decimated the Swiss watch
industry. Much has been said and written about this period of horological
history, so I wonít dwell on it. As such, the Japanese watches were excellent
timepieces with well-built cases and bracelets, and were ever so accurate.
However, as time wore on (so to speak), the Japanese always changed parts and
cases every few years, which made their watches obsolete after awhile. Only
after many searches with the right contacts could I find parts to repair these
watches, albeit at a high cost to the consumer. With the advent of digital
quartz watches, it seemed the death knell was complete for the Swiss watch
industry. To be fair to the Japanese, they introduced a low cost watch that
looked good, and ran well. However, most digital watch repairs were limited to
battery replacement, and minor movement regulation, since they were made of
During the course of time up to and including today, I repaired many Swiss
watches, both old and new. Except for the higher end watches such as Rolex,
Patek Philippe, Ulysse Nardin, etc. (which are a pleasure to work on) most Swiss
watches contained the ETA, AS, or Valjoux movements. With the advent of major
competition with the Japanese, most of the Swiss industry shifted from in-house
to outsourced movements, namely ETA.
I saw this consolidation as a problem, not because the movements were not any
good (they are and have always been good), but rather the cost associated with
the purchase. Many famous Swiss watch companies started using ETA as their base
movements, or templates with their own parts such as balance-staffs, polished
and personalized rotors, etc., otherwise known as Ebauche. The problem I saw
(and still do) is that except for the cases, the consumer is paying a high price
for a name brand that contains movements that are inexpensive. In some cases,
the consumer pays at least 5 times the value of the watch.
I personally like the ETA movements because they are proven workhorses and their
longevity in the marketplace allow for easy parts replacement. With average high
beats/hour (BPH) of 28,800, they are accurate for an automatic, and extremely
easy to regulate. There are a variety of ETA movements suited to different watch
styles and accuracy. Although I like ETA, it has been at least 15 years since I
saw a watch that is worth the value placed in the making of the watch. Even some
of the higher end brands (not naming names) cut corners in movement development,
which is a shame.
To overcome this high cost, I decided to develop my own Sports watch. Our 200
meter ARA diving watches are produced with the ETA 2824-2 workhorse movement,
and the cases and dials are marvelous. The key here is the price. These watches
are worth the money. Take a good look at one of our watches and compare to more
expensive brands in the $1,000 to $2,000 range, and you will be hard pressed to
see a difference in quality.
I personally pressure test our ARA Diving Watches and meticulously inspect all
parts of the case, as well as the crown for any leakage and/or moisture. The
gaskets hold up well under rigorous testing. I can tell the consumer with
confidence that these watches are worth the money, as well as not having to
change batteries every year or so. I do believe that these watches outperform
quartz in longevity, however, if you want the exact accuracy of timekeeping, I
suggest a quartz watch. Automatic watches are also good investments. They are
true mechanical time pieces which are always increasing in value, as seen on
E-bay for example. In my opinion, A mechanical time piece has definite
collectorís value where a quartz does not.
If you want to further discuss watches and their inner workings, please do not
hesitate to contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or start a thread in our new watch
forum. I look forward to hearing from you.
Diver Watches, Watch, Automatic Movement