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Why Wearing Mechanical Gives You More Street Cred

You’re walking down the street wearing your mechanical watch. You notice people glancing at your wrist, and they’re nodding, smiling. It’s as if you’ve been initiated into a club, but you sure don’t remember signing up for a membership.

You might be wondering why they’re showing such outward signs of appreciation for you—or, rather, what’s on your wrist. Here are a few reasons why:

A. Lange & Söhne Mechanical Movement

Photo courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne

They’re more expensive than quartz

Generally speaking, mechanical watches are the pricier option. There are exceptions to this statement, of course: a few quartz versions of well-known watches are more expensive than cheap mechanicals, but within brands, mechanical versions are typically higher priced than their quartz equivalents. Take for example the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Classique, which comes in both quartz and mechanical models. The price discrepancy between the two is roughly 30%, with a premium placed on the mechanical version—a huge difference considering that everything about the watch is the same save for the movement.

No batteries? No problem

It just feels good knowing that you don’t have to worry about your watch running out of juice or if the battery’s (heaven forbid) melted into the movement. You don’t ever have to look for a watch repair shop hoping they have the right size battery. The ability to power your watch just by wearing it makes you feel connected to it in a special sort of way. It’s almost heartwarming.

Quality > Quantity

Even before they’re placed into the case, mechanical movements undergo the most rigorous quality control and testing. That’s just because a single, microscopic—and we’re not being hyperbolic here—misalignment or mistake could make or break a watch. They’re also handmade, which translates into more time, energy, and skill going into the making of these watches.

They (ideally) last forever

Electronic devices have life spans, and a quartz watch is no exception. Sooner or later, the circuit board of a quartz watch will cease to work no matter what you do and how well you care for it. A mechanical watch, on the other hand, can run forever if given proper care and maintenance. They’re heirlooms waiting to happen, and it says a lot having a watch that could probably outlive you.

Simply put: people want them

Luxury watches are one of painfully few things that have the Veblen effect when it comes to general perceptions. People see these watches as the embodiment of quality and prestige, and believe that if the price is higher then it’s of higher quality. The more expensive they are, the more people want them, and the very idea of a luxury watch is inextricably tied to a mechanical watch. Everyone wants a luxury watch. Everyone. Some of us just don’t know it yet.

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