There’s a reason why the watch-making market is valued at approximately $50.1 billion. Watches are not only important for telling time, but they’re also inextricably linked to personal style and fashion.
However, have you ever stopped to wonder why some watches are so expensive? The answer comes down to the watch-making process. Making a watch involves a thousand tiny, but important, decisions.
To give you a better idea of what’s involved we’ve made this guide to give you a look into the manufacturing process. Let’s get started!
Aesthetic and Function Blueprint Phase
Before a watchmaker can even begin the design phase they need to have a plan for what features the product will include. The first part of the pre-production phase is deciding on the aesthetic and function of the watch.
The aesthetic includes style decisions like the color of the watch, the display of numbers, the buckle type, and the size. Once these considerations are made, then the designers will move on to the specific function.
For example, some common elements might want to include options for showing the date, different time zones, and bezel function. Luxury watches tend to be a little more concerned with aesthetic over function.
However, others prioritize function for specific circumstances. For example, the H2HUB Seiko Prospex Diver is made to withstand underwater depths of three hundred meters. As such, it’s a functional watch that works nicely for divers.
Watch Material Phase
The next phase of pre-production involves choosing a watch material. The aesthetic and function of the watch will help inform which type of material is a good fit. For example, if the product is a luxury watch, then it will likely include precious metals like gold or silver.
Most types of functional watches opt for the standard material stainless steel. However, this isn’t the only type that they can include. Watchmakers might also choose to include expensive plastics, leather, ceramics, and other types of metals. These materials will play an important role in determining the watch’s final cost.
Watch Movement Design Phase
The watch movement is perhaps the most complicated aspect of the watch-making process. This is the final pre-production phase that determines how the mechanics of the watch will function.
In essence, this phase makes the aesthetic and function blueprints a reality. For example, if a watch is going to have a calendar or bezel function, then the movement of the watch will need to include parts that make this possible.
Unfortunately, it takes years of training and hundreds of hours to get good at making watch movements. Why is this so complicated? Because it involves the careful precision of hundreds of different moving parts, including screws, springs, wheels, and many more.
It’s so complicated that the manufacturers need to use specialized programs to properly map them out. The watch movement is another aspect of design that plays an important final role in design. To cut down on costs many watch manufacturers will adapt their designs from old types of watch movements.
Others will purchase their movements from suppliers instead of making their own. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does limit some of the functions that a watch can have. If a watchmaker is designing the movements from scratch, then you expect the watch to be a lot more expensive.
Watch Making Assembly Phase
Next, it’s time for the watchmaker to assemble the watch. There are two important considerations a company needs to make when it comes to this phase. The first is whether they’ll work entirely in-house or go with a partnership.
If a watch is built in-house that means that the manufacturer handles all aspects of the creation from the ground up. This includes things like sourcing the material, creating the movements, and assembly.
While it’s rare for a company to produce watches entirely in-house it’s not unheard of. You generally see it happen with certain types of luxury watch companies. However, it’s more common for a watch company to work in partnership with other types of suppliers and manufacturers.
When this happens one company might be responsible for sourcing the material, while another is in charge of designing it. Then, the blueprints are shipped off to a factory that assembles them.
The drawback with partnerships is that there might be a loose link in the supply chain that results in subpar final products. However, this method is much more affordable. As such, it’s a bit of a trade-off when it comes to the final product and the price.
The second consideration a company needs to make is whether they’ll build the watch by hand or through a machine. As you can guess, watches that are built by hand require a lot more time, training, and money.
Because of this, they’re usually reserved for luxury brands. And, even then, many luxury brands will still only hand-make certain aspects of their watch. All more common these days is machine making. While these types of products lack some of the heart that makes hand-made watches special, they are a lot more affordable.
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We hope this article helped you learn more about what the watch-making process entails. Once the product is fully assembled it can be shipped off to happy customers all over the world.
As you can see, it doesn’t matter if a watch is manufactured on a conveyor belt or completely handmade. The process still involves a lot of work in terms of design, assembly, and quality control.
However, depending on the movement design, materials, and assembly method the price can cost a lot more. So, find a watch that fits your needs, whether they’re more functional or style-oriented.
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