Swiss watches cover the entire price range, from entry level models to high-end luxury timepieces. Some have a price tag which can seem high, but which is justified for a number of reasons.
Generally speaking, because of the nature of their movements, mechanical watches are more expensive than quartz watches. However the other components of the watch can also be decisive in terms of price.
The production of quartz or mechanical movements is at the cutting-edge of technology. Mechanical movements are manufactured with meticulous care. In some cases, finishing is carried out by hand: steel is polished, bridges are decorated and chamfered. Components of the highest quality are scrupulously monitored to meet very strict manufacturing standards.
Many different kinds of material may be used to manufacture the case, including in particular plastic, steel, ceramics and precious metals. In most cases, the metallic composition of the case is indicated on the caseback or in accompanying documents. Plastic cases are comparatively less expensive and can be found most frequently on economical “fashion” watches. Steel, which is not a precious metal, is often used in the manufacture of sports watches.
The price of gold-plated watches varies according to the fineness (14 carat, 18 carat for example) and thickness of the plating, which can range from 5 microns to 40 microns or more. Meanwhile the price of watches manufactured entirely from precious metals varies according to the cost of the metal itself (gold, silver, platinum) and the difficulty of working it.
The type of crystal used to protect the dial can also vary. Different finishes can be found: plastic, mineral or sapphire crystals are all common, and hence prices can vary greatly. While plastic watch-glasses are primarily intended for cheaper products manufactured in larger quantities, mineral crystals are very widespread in other product ranges. Sapphire crystals meanwhile are more expensive and guarantee a very high level of scratch-resistance.
The bracelet can also affect the price of the watch, bearing in mind that major price differences are naturally to be expected between a plastic strap and one manufactured from rare leather, or a precious-metal or titanium bracelet for example.