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Are Wristwatches Becoming Obsolete?

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Written by:

Jacky Chou

Are Wristwatches Becoming Obsolete

Wristwatches have existed for many centuries and are still in use presently. Over the many years of its existence, we have seen wristwatches go from time telling to other functions that help with our daily living.

Usually, the cause of obsolescence generally is technology. We live in an era where mobile phones are gradually replacing cameras and GPS devices.

The same technology has influenced the evolution of wristwatches over the years, so we can’t exactly say wristwatches are obsolete.

Are Mechanical Wristwatches Becoming Obsolete?

A mechanical watch employs the clockwork mechanism to tell the time. Instead of using a battery, a mechanical watch depends on its mainspring to provide it with mechanical energy.

To tell the time accurately, a mechanical watch uses a balance wheel that moves in an oscillatory motion constantly. The back-and-forth movement of the balance wheel is what a mechanical watch uses to tell the time.

The component of the mechanical watch that tells the time through the balance wheel movements is the wheel train. Also known as the gear train, the wheel train gets the accurate time through calculations on the balance wheel.

A mechanical wristwatch may sound like an outdated piece, and if you started buying wristwatches after 1970, you may not exactly know what it looks like.

A mechanical wristwatch was one of the earlier types of wristwatches produced between the 1800s and 1900s. However, after the launch of Quartz wristwatches in 1969, mechanical watches started becoming obsolete gradually.

However, there’s one feature you can’t take away from a mechanical watch – its long-lasting feature. Most mechanical watches can last for hundreds of years without losing their beauty.

When a mechanical watch gets damaged, you can get it fixed and it still lasts for years. No wonder Patek Phillipe flies the campaign: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

Why Mechanical Watches are Still Appealing Today

Even though technology – from smartwatches to quartz watches – seems to have taken over the mechanical watch movement, they still have a place in current wristwatch line-ups.

Here are some of the reasons why these mechanical watches are not going anywhere anytime soon:


We live in a generation where technology and innovations have taken over the world. However, not all these technologies are built to last. That’s why we have smartphone brands releasing new designs of their brands frequently.

But with older technology, they have design processes that make innovations stand the test of time. A good example here is a mechanical watch.

To produce a mechanical watch, manufacturers exercise patience to get perfection. They spend many hours designing and build each of the components of a mechanical watch.

After that, they assemble all the parts of the mechanical watch. The hours, focus, and sweat put into producing a mechanical wristwatch are some of the reasons why it lasts long.

Vintage class

When you see a great mechanical watch, you’ll easily identify its class. So, when anyone wears a good mechanical wristwatch, they’re sending a silent message about their class.

Each one of the components of a mechanical wristwatch is picked carefully. Thus, you wouldn’t easily get a mechanical wristwatch just anywhere.

Since most watchmakers produce quartz wristwatches, they are relatively cheap. Mechanical watches, on the other hand, depict a touch of class for the user.

If you want to buy mechanical watches, you may see expensive prices and limited editions of some wristwatches. That’s why brands like Rolex, Hublot, among others market their watches as luxury watches.

Art and beauty

Producing a mechanical watch isn’t a day’s job. It takes a lot of professionals, skilled labor, craftsmanship, and patience.

It is, thus, almost impossible to find a mechanical wristwatch that isn’t beautiful.

Likewise, mechanical watches will almost always get a second look, so much that they can be compared to an artwork.

If you’re a lover of art, a mechanical wristwatch is a great way to have art sitting on your wrists.

Timeless value

Wristwatches have gone beyond telling time and setting alarms to becoming a crucial part of our everyday fashion life. A lot of people now wear wristwatches to complement their outfits.

Asides from fashion, wristwatches are now an indicator of value. Across the globe, you have wristwatches that are about the same price range as a car.

A mechanical wristwatch is a combination of value and lots of history. Because a mechanical hardly spoils, you can transfer the mechanical timepiece between generations.

As you transfer a mechanical wristwatch from generation to generation, the value increases extraordinarily. A good proof is when Paul Newman sold his Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239 for a whopping $17.8million in the last quarter of 2017.

Therefore, mechanical wristwatches may be obsolete when it comes to telling the time, but they are a relevant type of investment to date.

Will Luxury Watches Become Obsolete?

There’s no general definition of what a luxury wristwatch is. Mostly, you’ll identify a luxury wristwatch first from the price tag of the product.

Generally, most luxury wristwatches are mechanical wristwatches, but there are other types of digital wristwatches that you can classify as luxury wristwatches.

Although high prices accompany luxury wristwatches, it’s not the only feature of a luxury wristwatch. Usually, a luxury wristwatch is produced with high-quality materials and processes.

The primary function of a luxury wristwatch isn’t to tell you the time but to show luxury. Whether you like it or not, luxurious items can never go extinct on the globe.

You may not be the richest man alive, but as long as you make your money, you will want to buy a luxury item periodically. So, a luxury wristwatch can’t ever go obsolete – it may only be scarce because not everyone wears a luxury watch.

What Does Your Wristwatch Say About You?

At the initial stages of watch production, it was produced for the sole purpose of telling time. However, the watch industry has grown, and watches now have multiple functions aside from telling the time.

These days, from the wristwatch brand you wear, people can make some guesses and predictions about you and your general lifestyle. I have put together four things you didn’t know your watch said about you.

  1. History: An old mechanical watch like Patek Philippe indicates that you’re a lover of historical items.
  2. Luxury: Wearing a luxurious watch can cost you millions in investments. For someone well-grounded in the wristwatch industry, they can know you’re successful from your wristwatch.
  3. Discipline: A wristwatch that helps you with alarms, reminders, and health information indicates that you are a naturally disciplined person.
  4. Style: Generally, wristwatches vary in style. If you have a stylish watch on, then I can guess that you’re a stylish person.

Wouldn’t you get a wristwatch too?

Now that you know these timepieces aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, now is a good time to get in on them.

The best part is that you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for good wristwatches. Whether you want automatic GMT watches (which are also mechanical watches), impressive aviator watches, or other men’s watches and women’s timepieces, you can always find a fine pick within your budget.

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the co-founder of Uberwrists and has gotten into watches from his father from a young age. His first watch was a black G Shock that was comedically large for his wrist. He appreciates watches from Seiko to a Patek Philippe.

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