Are Watches Archaic?

A question we hear a lot in our store is: “Do people wear watches anymore? I just use my phone.” My response is a little corny, but true: “We call phones the modern day pocket watch.” But seriously, the answer is yes! There are still a lot of people who wear watches. There are many reasons we (as a culture) stopped using pocket watches.

One of the biggest reasons the wrist watch came into vogue was that during wartime, soldiers needed to coordinate with each other and know the time. Wearing it on your wrist was (and still is) the most practical way to keep time for an active and busy soldier. Around 1898 in the Second Boer War in Africa, soldiers made their own wrist watches from pocket watches. In the early 1900s, aviators and drivers needed an easy way to glance at the time.

There are some important reasons for wearing a wrist watch today. For instance if your job requires you to attend meetings; it’s often inappropriate to check your phone during a meeting. Having a clock on your wrist helps you to discreetly (and politely) check the time. Maybe you’re an active person and can’t always have your phone on you. Wearing the time on your wrist is much more convenient, no need for pockets or a bag to carry your phone. Maybe it’s just for fashion, both men and women wear watches for fashion. In fact, watches are one of the most widely worn type of jewelry for men!

Have you heard watch terms and wondered what they are all about?

Three common movement types (the guts and gears) are mechanical, automatic, and quartz.

A mechanical watch

is a watch that uses an analog mechanism to measure the passage of time. It is driven by a spring (called a mainspring) which must be wound periodically. Its force is transmitted through a series of gears to power the balance wheel, a weighted wheel which oscillates back and forth at a constant rate. A device called an escapement releases the watch’s wheels to move forward a small amount with each swing of the balance wheel, moving the watch’s hands forward at a constant rate. This makes the ‘ticking’ sound characteristic of all mechanical watches. Mechanical watches are typically not as accurate as modern electronic quartz watches, and they require periodic cleaning and oiling by a skilled watchmaker.


An automatic movement or self winding watch

is a mechanical watch in which the mainspring is wound automatically while worn making manual winding unnecessary. A self-winding watch movement has a mechanism which winds the mainspring using the natural motions of the wearer’s body. The watch contains an eccentric weight (also called a rotor) that turns on a pivot. The normal movements of the watch in the user’s pocket or on the user’s arm cause the rotor to pivot on its staff, which is attached to a ratcheted winding mechanism. The fully wound mainspring in a typical watch can store enough energy reserve for roughly two days, allowing the watch to keep running through the night while stationary. In many cases automatic wristwatches can also be wound manually by turning the crown, so the watch can be kept running when not worn, and in case the wearer’s wrist motions are not sufficient to keep it wound automatically.

A quartz watch

is a movement that uses an electronic oscillator that is regulated by a quartz crystal to keep time. When you use a battery to run a current through a quartz crystal, it oscillates at a precise constant frequency. This is why quartz movements are incredibly accurate. Generally, some form of digital logic (the type of circuit) counts the cycles of this signal and provides a numeric time display, usually in units of hours, minutes, and seconds.


Watches at Teel Jewelers

At Teel Jewelers we sell bouth quartz and automatic watches through our Bulova and Tokyobay watch lines. Shop the lines HERE.



is a long running brand, opening in 1875 by Joseph Bulova. Bulova’s  innovations included everything from pioneering standardized production of watches to developing the first fully electronic watch with proprietary tuning-fork based technology making it at the time the most accurate watch in the world. Check out all of Bulova’s accomplishments HERE with this interactive photograph, one of our favorites at Teel Jeweler’s is the Moon Pilot Chronograph Watch!


Established in 1991, TOKYObay began in San Francisco. Two designers from one from Tokyo and one from the San Francisco Bay Area created a fashionable and functional accessory collection. This fusion of both cultural and design backgrounds solidified TOKYObay as a brand. It’s style mixes different eras with global influences to inspire each watch.