The mechanical watch is one of humanity's most important cultural innovations. For centuries, watches have been keeping track of time. Today, there is a myriad of environmentally-friendly mechanical watches running precisely without a battery.
Watch lovers and collectors have been enthusiastically celebrating mechanical watches for decades. Wristwatches from Rolex or Patek Philippe are considered some of the most coveted luxury watches there are, and for good reason. Both manufacturers produce mechanical timepieces that are valuable and maintain their worth. Some vintage models and limited editions even increase in value over the years.
However, there was a time when mechanical watches had a difficult time surviving. With the rise of inexpensive quartz watches in the 1970s, many watch manufacturers found themselves in extreme hardship. Some brands were forced to quit and have since disappeared; today, they are only known by watch experts. Before the quartz boom, mechanical wristwatches and pocket watches were everyday items. If you wanted to know the current time, you needed a watch, and at that time, most had a mechanical movement. However, since quartz watches were less expensive than their mechanical siblings in the mid-1970s, quartz timepieces almost completely wiped mechanical ones off the map.
Mechanical watches experienced a comeback in the beginning of the 1980s, however. Watch lovers and collectors rediscovered the charm of a ticking mechanical movement, and felt able to accept deviations of seconds or minutes. However, it was really about the technology and precision engineering inside the watch. Since most manufacturers switched to making quartz watches, fans of mechanical watches had to find these timepieces at flea markets, auctions, and in leftover stock. In those days, it was easy to get a good bargain. That changed a few years later when the demand for old mechanical watches exceeded the supply. Traditional watch manufacturers noticed this change and began to offer mechanical watches in their collections once again. New brands and manufacturers also began to spring up in abundance, such as the German brand Nomos. Roland Schwertner founded this business in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Classic watchmaking has been experiencing a renaissance and a completely unexpected boom in sales. Wristwatches have transformed from a basic commodity to a status symbol for both men and women.
There is an abundance of mechanical watches, from inexpensive pre-owned or new models to mid-priced new watches to exclusive pieces which can cost upwards of a million euros. You can find pre-owned vintage watches from brands such as Seiko for less than 100 euros . These watches are often in good condition and are an inexpensive introduction to the world of mechanical watches. You can also find new watches from Japanese manufacturers such as Citizen, Orient, and Seiko in the 100 - 200 euros price range. There are many manufacturers, such as Junkers or Zeppelin, that use Japanese movements from Miyota in their introductory models. Miyota is Citizen's caliber department.
Swiss mechanical watches are also available at inexpensive prices. A used, vintage Tissot watch costs between 100 and 400 euros. A new Tissot PRS 516 , one of their most famous and popular models, costs around 500 euros. A highlight in this collection is the Powermatic 80 variant, with an impressive 80-hour power reserve. It's available for around 700 euros; usually, watches with long power reserves cost a few thousand euros. With an added stopwatch function, a used PRS-516 costs around 1,000 euros. New watches from this series cost around 1,600 euros. Mechanical watches from Certina, Hamilton, or Longines are in a similar price range to Tissot's.
The Swiss watch manufacturer Omega has an excellent reputation in the watch industr