Are Steampunk Watches Any Good?
By Steampunk Origins | Updated Nov 04, 2018
This watch style originates from the 19th century Victorian era. With all the modern watch options available, are steampunk watches any good?Steampunk watches are as good as any other quality watch. The design of steampunk watches blends various genres including horror, science fiction, romance, fantasy and adventure. These watches are often made of quirky and offbeat objects that are functional and durable rather than shiny, new and slick. They represent the pinnacle of the Victorian era and remain some of the most sought after items on the planet.
What Makes Steampunk Watches So Popular?
Steampunk watches feature intricate details and have a historic charm that represent their style of functionality and creativity.
Although steampunk watches originate from 16th Century Europe, they were not widely used until the late 19th century. The beginning of railroading meant that railroad guards had to find tools to keep time.
Do You Get Your Money's Worth When You Buy a Steampunk Watch?
If you are looking to invest in a steampunk watch, it is advisable to consider a few factors in order to ensure that you get your money’s worth.
The moneymaker in any steampunk watch is the dial. Therefore, take a really good look at it for blemishes and scratches. Some problems such as small marks and missing screws can easily be fixed. However, obvious dents and missing parts can be quite expensive to restore.
An important consideration when buying steampunk watches is to make sure the gears are made of metal because it is far more durable than other materials such as plastic. In addition, make sure that the bezel, the piece that holds the crystal dial in place, is in proper condition.
There are two main types of steampunk watch styles to choose from: open-faced and hunter. A distinct feature of hunter steampunk watches is that they have a circular metal cover that closes over their crystals and dials.
On the other hand, open-faced watches lack this feature. The heart and soul of steampunk watch design is in its exterior decorations and durable functionality. Therefore, the more decorated the watch, the more steampunk it becomes.
How Old is Old?
For many collectors, a steampunk watch is not considered vintage until it is at least 75 years old. Others argue that a timepiece must no longer be in production to be considered vintage.
Like other vintage items, a steampunk watch whose original parts are still intact, has a higher value and is considered a great long-term investment.
The Best to Invest?
High end steampunk watch brands are always going to be worth a lot of money and often retain, if not increase in value. Although vintage steampunk watches may be more expensive than other watches, they could almost be guaranteed to be worth your while.
Luxury brands such as Patek Philipe, Omega and Rolex were in production throughout the Victorian era. Therefore, if you are an avid steampunk collector and your budget allows, these names are worth a look.
Automatic Self-Wind Steampunk Watches
These watches are referred to as self-wind because they are powered by the natural movement of the wearer’s hands. Automatic self-wind steampunk watches are quite popular because they eliminate the need to wind the watch regularly, to ensure operation. As long as you wear the watch frequently enough, it will maintain its power without requiring winding.
Automatic self-wind steampunk watches work almost the same way that manual watches do. However, self-wind watches include a metal weight known as a rotor, which allows for movement and can move freely within the watch. Each movement of the hand causes the rotor to spin, transferring and using the kinetic energy to wind the mainspring automatically.
A self-wind watch will maintain its timekeeping functions without winding provided it is worn every day. You may have to wind the watch to give it some quick power if it has not been worn for a long time. Alternatively, consider getting a watch winder, which will keep the watch working even when it’s not being worn.
Mechanical Steampunk Watches
A mechanical steampunk watch is powered by the mainspring, which is often wound by hand. Once you wind the mainspring, it will evenly and slowly unwind causing the second hand to move in a smooth, sweeping motion around the face of the watch.
Mainsprings are often between nine and 13 inches long. The longer the mainspring, the greater the watch’s power reserve and the longer you can go between windings.
The quality and value of a mechanical steampunk watch is determined by the attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into the watch.
For many collectors, mechanical steampunk watches are the crème de la crème of timepieces because of their intricate details and engineering. For many enthusiasts, owning a mechanical steampunk watch is a true expression of watch history, artisanship and refinement.
This is one of the most popular types of watch on the market. Quartz watches are extremely accurate and affordable. Unlike self wind or mechanical watches, quartz watches use electricity generated by a small battery inside the watch.
Electricity produced by the battery is transmitted to a small quartz crystal inside the watch causing it to vibrate. The vibrations are measured by a circuit that converts them into pulses that move the second hand on the watch.
The electric pulses produced by quartz watches give them their distinct “tick tick tick” sound. Quartz watches are not as smooth as mechanical or automatic watches.
Quartz watches have fewer moving parts largely due to the fact that they use electricity. Therefore, they are more accurate and can withstand more beating than automatic or mechanical watches.
This is one of the main reasons why most sports watches use quartz movement. In addition, quartz watches are also quite affordable. However, if you want something that offers a bit more in terms of design, history and craftsmanship, you may have to spend a little bit more.
So Are Steampunk Watches Any Good?
Steampunk watches are as good as any other quality watch. They represent the pinnacle of the Victorian era and remain some of the most fascinating and sophisticated items that have the unique ability to subtly blend past and present perfectly.
It is advisable to invest in a watch that fits your desires, needs and budget. There are nice steampunk watches that are quite affordable. However, if you want something outside your current budget, ask for a timepiece as a gift; a nice steampunk watch can make a great birthday, anniversary or graduation gift.