Whether it is handbags, watches, or clothing, the world of luxury is often filled with interesting history, immaculate craftsmanship, beautiful designs, and sometimes; myths that everyone believes. Unfortunately, in watchmaking, plenty of myths have managed to creep their way into the public psyche over the decades, with some even penetrating into the collector’s conscience.
While most myths are relatively harmless, some can negatively impact someone’s enjoyment of whatever the myth is about, watches in this case, and so we have decided to tackle five of watchmaking’s biggest myths and put them to rest once and for all.
“You can overwind a watch”
Perhaps the only myth on this list that is somewhat based on reality, the old idea that you can overwind a watch still exists to this day, and it often leads people to not fully winding their watch as a precaution and thus have it run out of power prematurely and lead them to think that their watch is broken or faulty.
However, the idea that a modern automatic watch can be overwound is a fallacy. The vast majority of modern automatic watches cannot be overwound as they are designed with a slip-clutch that engages with the mainspring when it is fully wound and thus prevents the mainspring from being wound any further.
This myth was born prior to the proliferation of automatic watches, when manual-wind watches were the status quo. Today, vintage watches can undoubtedly be overwound, but the vast majority of modern ones cannot. Likewise, manual-wind watches are still difficult to overwind as the watch will simply stop winding when it is fully wound. To overwind a modern manual-wind watch, it would require that you completely ignore and overpower the great level of resistance the crown has, which is easier said than done.
“A luxury watch has to be expensive”
There’s no doubt that we watch collectors have an expensive hobby, no matter what kind of watches you collect, but there is no basis to the idea that a luxury watch has to be expensive. In the modern pantheon of watchmaking and watch collecting, there are so many routes a collector can explore to keep the cost of their hobby at a minimum.
Whether it is buying from more accessible brands like Seiko, Bulova, Tissot, Oris, and so on, buying from independent brands like Furlan Marri or Zelos, or buying vintage and finding deals at auction, there is a plethora of ways to keep costs down.
Likewise, in fact, if you only own one watch but have a wide selection of different Horus watch straps, you actually, in essence, have as many different looks as you do straps. Not every watch has to be a Patek Philippe or a Rolex, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy them just as much.
“Mechanical watches aren’t accurate”
Another sentence that every watch collector has heard is, “why would you spend so much on that when my $20 watch (or phone) tells the time more accurately?” This myth is usually upheld by the belief that mechanical watches just aren’t accurate in general. However, the fact of the matter is that a luxury mechanical watch is generally very accurate.
Sure, is it as accurate as a quartz watch? No, but a mechanical watch can be accurate within 5 seconds a day; that’s 99.994% accuracy – pretty damn impressive considering it is often hand-made and achieved through gears, springs, levers, screws, and nothing else - no quartz trickery or computers to help.
“No one buys luxury watches anymore”
This myth is perhaps one of the funniest of all. Luxury watches did indeed suffer a decline in popularity in the 2000s as the digital age began to kick into gear, but Swiss watch exports have been growing year on year for a long time now and show no signs of stopping. Even the idea that the smartwatch would cripple the luxury watchmaking industry is a myth born from the very same fallacy.
On the contrary, smartwatches have actually helped the luxury watch industry as they introduced people to wearing watches again, ultimately leading them to invest in a luxury watch.
With luxury watch imports in the US up 31% in the first half of 2021, you can say for certain that the demise of the luxury watch is nothing but a myth perpetuated by those who aren't in the know.
“Rolex makes the best watches”
Another myth that will undoubtedly get a chuckle out of any horology fan is the notion that Rolex makes the best watches on the market. Sure, let’s not get it confused; Rolex makes amazing watches. They are technically impressive, iconic, feature some of the most tried and tested designs, and are immaculately built. Still, the watch industry is like an iceberg that the layperson has no idea about.
Rolex, as the best-known brand, are the tip of that iceberg, but independent brands like MB&F, Moser, Greubel Forsey, Urwerk, and so many others (without mentioning names like Patek, AP, Vacheron, and Lange) make watches that are far more technically impressive as horological feats of engineering.
Rolex makes excellent watches, but they are far from the best.
Bonus Myth: “You can match your watch with any outfit with a Horus Strap”
Oh, wait a second, this myth isn’t actually a myth – it’s true! Check out our range of our luxury watch straps.