Watch making is big business in Switzerland and the demand for quality handmade mechanical watches is still strong despite the advent of the much cheaper end battery watches.
This can be appreciated by the fact that possibly the most sold cheaper end brand has merged with arguably the oldest and most expensive mechanical watchmaker; the one which made the fabled Marie Antoinette watch two hundred years ago.
In one factory this company is turning out millions of fifty dollar watches and in another part of the factory craftsmen are taking over a year to create million dollar watches. Ironically, no matter how well made the mechanical expensive watch is, the battery watch with so few parts will probably keep better time.
The Marie Antoinette watch was stolen a century later from a museum in Israel and has only just been rediscovered after one hundred years missing.
In the meantime an exact replica of the Antoinette watch has been made by the same firm and this stunning timepiece was unveiled at the Basle watchmakers convention just three or four years ago.
It took ten watchmakers about four years to reproduce it and is a priceless unique example of the skill of watchmaking or as it is properly termed, horology.
A typical uncomplicated mechanical watch is made from around one hundred and twenty to one hundred and forty parts but more complicated watches can have well over a thousand parts. One of the world’s most expensive production watches has over seventeen hundred parts.
A complex watch which not only tells the time but gives the day and date and perhaps the phases of the moon is known as a complication watch. The watches with anything over a few hundred parts are likely to be known in the trade as grand complication watches.
These watches will typically include chimes and astrological information and will usually cost many thousands if not millions of pounds.
As long as there are watches there will have to be people who can perform watch repairs and there are certainly some very good craftsmen in this line of work. A real test for any watch repair person would be a damaged limited edition watch made in 1735 which to this day is the most complicated wristwatch ever made and includes parts made from metal that are thinner than a human hair.
The popularity of watch and clock collecting can be gauged by the fact that one famous auction house in London regularly holds auctions throughout the year at its London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong auction houses.
Looking at the prices attained over the past few years has revealed that for the discerning buyer watches can be a great investment. Well-made quality watches need little care in order to last in working condition for centuries. Tag Heuer battery replacement