How Complicated Do You Want?

When it comes to buying watches, there are all kinds of designs, and all manner of movements.  Most watches sold today have quartz movements, which are highly reliable and accurate, but which are frowned upon by purists who think that only mechanical watches matter.

That’s a debate for another day, but for many buyers, a more simple question pops up regarding what kind of watch to buy – how complicated do you want it to be?

“Complicated” can have different meanings when it comes to watches.  In watch terms, a “complication” isn’t a problem, but rather refers to an additional feature besides the basic telling of time that a watch might offer.

chronograph watch

A “complicated” watch face

Many watches only tell the time.  If your watch has a date feature, that is known as a date “complication.”  Other complications might include the day of the week, the phases of the moon, or dials for a chronograph, which allows your watch to act as a stopwatch or to record elapsed time.

Some people have a need for such features and others do not.  If you’re a pilot, race car driver,  or a diver, for instance, you may very well have a use for a chronograph.  If you’re just a businessman who wears the watch to the office where you sit behind a desk all day, you might find that you don’t need those features, and you’d rather just have a watch that tells the time, or perhaps, tells the time and offers the date.

While these complications offer additional functionality to your watch, they also take up space.  In the case of a mechanical watch, they’re going to make the movement more internally complex and necessarily larger.  While it’s less of a burden to add such features to a quartz-powered watch, there is one place where all watches become more cluttered with the addition of more complications – the watch face.

movado watch

A simple watch face

The face is where you do business with the watch.  It’s where you’re going to obtain all of the information that a watch can provide you.  The more complications a watch has installed, the more of your watch face real estate that they’re going to take up.  Chronograph dials take up space.   A moon phase display takes up space.  The day of the week takes up space.  The date takes up space.

All of these things can likely be found on a single wristwatch if you really want to have them all at once, but that is going to leave you with a cluttered watch face.  That is where buyers differ.  Some people like all of these features and don’t mind a watch that has a busy appearance.  Others prefer a more simple approach, and prefer a clean,

Which you prefer is up to you.  You just need to be aware that complications, while interesting and useful, are also going to get in the way of the basic features that make a watch a watch – the ability to look at it quickly and see what time it happens to be.

If you’re a gadget freak who likes new toys and functions, there are plenty of timepieces that can accommodate you. If you prefer a simpler look, there are other makers of luxury watches that can provide a cleaner, simpler interface.

In the end, it’s all about personal preference.