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The ABCs of Buying Luxury Watches

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While a watch’s main function is to tell time, more and more of today’s timepieces offer extra benefits -- some serve as two-way radios, have built-in computers, or even monitor your position on earth using GPS.

But while watches as a whole have increased in their utility, some go beyond the trendy bells and whistles and offer something more -- timepieces that are built for life. Better known as luxury watches, here are a few things you will want to know before running off to make the big purchase.

Automatic versus Quartz

Lesson number one is understanding what makes these things tick . . . literally. When shopping for a luxury watch, it is important to know the difference between an automatic watch (without batteries) and a quartz watch (with batteries). The automatic watch functions as a result of the physical movement of the wearer’s wrist. Thus, if an automatic watch is not worn and is stationary for a prolonged period of time, the watch will stop ticking. A simple shake of the watch will put time back in motion.

A quartz watch works off of battery power. Generally, automatic watches are more expensive than quartz watches because precise engineering is required to produce mechanical functionality. Another statistic -- nine out of ten women’s watches are quartz because women are generally less interested in the automatic movement of the watch and are more interested in the style.

Caliber Automatic versus Standard Automatic

To better understand a watch’s movement, it is helpful to compare this function to the engine of cars. As a Porsche’s engine differs from a Buick’s, a watch’s movement can vary significantly as well. A watch’s movement is measured by calibers -- the higher the caliber, the better the movement. What this means is that although automatic movements function without batteries, after a certain time period, the watch will be slightly off time. A high caliber number will generate greater precision.

For example, after 30 days of wearing a standard automatic with a low caliber, the time will be off by approximately 12 minutes, while a caliber 36 (a high caliber movement) will only be off by 2 minutes. If the watch is placed on a nightstand and not being worn, a standard automatic will last approximately 36 days until it stops ticking while a caliber 36 movement will run for 50 days. Naturally, the higher the caliber number, the more expensive the watch will be.

Pick the Watch to Match your Personality

With the variety of different luxury brands out there, it may be overwhelming to figure out which brand will best coincide with your watch-wearing needs. Different brands tend to specialize in certain areas of timekeeping. For example, TAG Heuer is known for its precise timekeeping accuracy in the world of sports, particularly in golf and auto-racing.

In fact, TAG Heuer’s newest brand ambassador, Tiger Woods, has actually helped to design his own signature piece for the golfer who prefers to wear something light while he’s on the course: the Link Tiger Woods Limited Edition. Tiger even provided input on the design and making of the luxury watch -- its sub-dial is burgundy, (Tiger’s lucky playing color) standing for power and victory. The automatic-movement timepiece also has a black face and is inscribed with Tiger Woods’ name.

There are several factors that come into play when considering the investment in a luxury watch. These are just some first steps that will get you started on your way.

If you are interested in more information on the Link Tiger Woods Limited Edition and the Link series, call (866) 260-0460 or visit TAG Heuer’s Web site at www.tagheuer.com .

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