A Buying Guide for Your First Mechanical Watch

January 28th, 2010 | 13 Comments

Even seasoned watch experts struggle with choosing their next watch purchase, so it is natural that anyone planning on buying their first mechanical watch would have a number of questions to ask and decisions to make. This guide will help you choose a great, high-quality watch suited to your individual needs.

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Why a Mechanical Watch?

The history of mechanical watches dates back around 400 years, when they evolved from spring-powered clocks. In addition to their striking appearance and high style, mechanical watches are special because they use no electric or battery power. Instead, mechanical watches are powered by a mainspring, and can typically run for about 40 hours on one full wind. This removes the need to purchase and change batteries, and is an environmentally friendly way to power timepieces.

The best reasons to choose a mechanical watch over a quartz watch are:

  • Reliability
  • Durability
  • Unparalleled style

Automatic vs. Mechanical

Automatic watches are mechanical watches. Both have mechanical movements; the only difference lies in how they are wound. Mechanical watches must be wound manually; automatic watches are self-winding. When you move your arm, a weight (called the rotor) turns and winds the mainspring. If the power reserve runs out, automatic watches can be shaken or wound manually.

While the difference between the two is minimal, it might be best to go with an automatic watch if you tend to forget to do things (like winding), or with a mechanical watch if you don’t tend to wear your watch every day.



There are 6 ways that the style of a mechanical watch can vary:

  1. Size – Typically, womens’ watches are smaller than mens’, but smaller variations in size can affect the look of a watch.
  2. Shape – Watch faces can be square, rectangular, circular or oval.
  3. Metal – Today’s most popular options are white rose gold, stainless steel and titanium.
  4. Accent color – From black to fuchsia, you can find a watch in nearly any color.
  5. Strap – Straps can either be metal or leather.
  6. Extras – Some luxury watches are adorned with diamonds, jewels, and other accouterments to aid flair.


If the dizzying array of styles isn’t enough to make your head spin, standard mechanical watches also range in price from around $100-$15,000.

When deciding what the right price to spend on your first mechanical watch, it is wise to keep in mind that many watches in the $100-$1000 price range offer superior quality to those priced over $1000. Swiss watches cost so much because of the perceived prestige of wearing a certain name brand, not because of that brand’s superior quality.

This is important especially to the first-time watch buyer. With little or no prior experience with your tastes and preferences, it’s best not to spend over $1000 on your first purchase.

Suggestions for a First Mechanical Watch

A great example of a good choice for a first mechanical watch is Orient Watch’s CEV0M001B, part of their Executive collection. At only $215, the CEV0M001B boasts the quality and expertise that comes from a decades-old watchmaker.


Its simple design makes the CEV0M001B perfect for the everyday wearer. With an unobtrusive and clutter-free face, it is business-ready and easy to read. And if you prefer a genuine leather band, try the CEV0M002B on for size.

  1. 13 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Steve Poorman on Jan 28, 2010

    I really like that watch, simple yet elegant.

  3. By KimM on Jan 28, 2010

    Orient watches are great value for the money and they are starting to attract a loyal following. I almost won’t buy watches anymore that don’t have a sapphire crystal and consider that to be the only drawback to the brand.I’d be willing to pay $50 more to get one with a sapphire crystal and I’ll bet a lot of other people would too. But all-in-all, they are really cool watches and fill a real niche for people that want good quality automatic watches at affordable prices.

  4. By edgar maya on Jan 28, 2010

    This is truely extraordinary

  5. By Jim on Jan 29, 2010

    The styles of the watches listed are very sleek! WTG ;)

  6. By Josh on Jan 29, 2010

    There are many reasons to prefer a mechanical watch over a quartz watch, however, contrary to the article, quartz watches are superior in accuracy.

  7. By Mitch on Jan 29, 2010

    I’m new to watches, and I’ve seen a lot of mechanicals that have the large half circle piece on the back of the movement. Is that the weight that winds the spring on an automatic? And if so, do all automatics have that weight or are there other styles?

  8. By John on Jan 31, 2010

    It is great to have a mechanical watch with all the moving parts working together – it really makes you feel like you are wearing a timepiece and not just a watch. I bought an Orient semi-skeleton and really like being able to see the internal parts moving all day.

  9. By Larry on Feb 5, 2010

    I have several automatic watches and love them. I owned a mechanical one when i was a child, and while i loved it (it had Mickey Mouse on the face), my parents always claimed it was a delicate piece of equipment.

    Thanks for the article. I look forward to purchasing a mechanical watch in the near future.

  10. By Matt on Mar 6, 2010

    Nice watch for the money. Definitely a great way to get into mechanicals

  11. By Markus on Nov 29, 2010

    Just ordered a CEV0M002B as my first orient watch! Can’t wait!

  12. By Walker on Feb 3, 2011

    all useful tips

  13. By Sudiyanto on Apr 23, 2011

    Orient watch is the best..

  14. By Ray on Jun 24, 2011

    I’ve been shopping around for a first automatic watch. Orient seems like the best value offering Japanese quality over similarly priced Chinese wristwatches.

13 comments | Tell us what you think!