Making Complications Less Complicated

Everything You Need to Know About 8 Different Types of Watches


July 27, 2016 Watches By
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A mechanical watch movement, with its dozens and dozens of moving parts, is an inherently complex thing. You add on top of that the various functions beyond the time — a calendar, a chronograph, a moonphase, etc. — and it’s easy see why they’re called “complications.” Even to a lot of dedicated watch guys it can be confusing to understand how they all function. But over the last couple years we’ve done our research on various types of watch movements. From the ingenious mechanical-quartz chronograph to the intricate, haute horlogerie darling tourbillon, here’s what you need to know.

The Chronograph

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While most of us won’t time anything beyond a boring meeting or boiling eggs, a chronograph is all about readiness, potential and the human interaction with a micro-engineering marvel — not to mention the rare opportunity to stop time.

The GMT

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The GMT watch is brilliant not because of its complexity but because of its simple ingenuity. We’ve picked five of the best, and all of them are ready to hit the ground running.

The Calendar Watch

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If you thought figuring out the Gregorian calendar, with its short months and leap years, was hard, try building a mechanical timepiece that will do it. Fortunately, watchmakers never shy away from a challenge.

The Moonphase

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A moonphase watch reminds us that we’re all just spinning through space on this pale blue dot, orbited by a glowing rock, mere cogs in a bigger clockwork. Here’s how it works.

The Minute Repeater

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Repeater watches occupy a special place in the hearts of watch enthusiasts. Despite their obsolescence, they’re enjoying a bit of a renaissance.

The Tourbillon

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Even though they’re essentially useless, tourbillon movements still command the highest dollar in horology. Here’s why.

The World Time

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More complex and more expensive than the GMT, a world time watch allows you to see the current time in any place in the world with just a quick glance of the wrist.

The Mecha-Quartz

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The mechanical-quartz hybrid is a small and strange part of horology. But its ingenious movement offers consumers the best of both worlds.

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