Muhammad Khan, Author at Exquisite Timepieces
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Author: Muhammad Khan

hublot laferrari

The symbiotic relationship between motorcars and wristwatches has been observed since the penultimate turn of the century. Cars were replacing horses around about the same time pocket watches were slipping out of long coats and onto the wrist.

While both machines were tooled for a purpose, the most sought-after modern evolutions serve as harbingers of passion and laborious luxury. At Hublot, that luxury isn’t as subtle. The MP-05 is the brand’s latest tribute to Ferrari’s hybrid holy grail that ditches standard automotive complications for one hell of a centerpiece.

About The Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari

To understand the MP-05 LaFerrari, it’s best to tilt your skull and knock out all preconceived notions of what a mechanical watch is supposed to look like. Did you think of a timepiece with at least two lines of symmetry? Not here. What about hands? Shouldn’t they be clearly defined and sweeping? If you were born in 1812, sure. Uh, does it tell the time? That it does, but if you’re buying this watch, you won’t be looking at the time.

The MP-05 adopts a trapezoidal curved case of considerably large – and quite frankly uncouth – dimension. It’s neither smooth nor flat, with galea-like embellishments that start at the top where such a piece might sit and trickle down its sides towards the base. 

The case, available in titanium, ceramic, or sapphire, looks nearer to a museum display than a traditional watch case, unveiling a central dimension of viewing beyond the normal scope. What’s all this clear real estate, you ask? Simply put, the heart of Ferrari. 

To wrap your head around the movement, it’s better to think of a miniature model of Ferrari’s LaFerrari V12. Further, this particular V12 ditches gas for spring-loaded inertia, and instead of generating power and torque, it produces time. Oh, and it’s got a tourbillon. 

Curiously, though, it’s not an automatic, instead using a hand-wound movement as the driving force for this engine. I say it’s curious because if we stop for a second and look at the significance of the LaFerrari, it’s the amalgamation of modern technology that can contain such brutality in a user-friendly package.

I don’t know about you, but winding a non-dress watch every morning doesn’t bode well with the life of a worry-free billionaire. In the midst of all the craziness, there’s a Ferrari embroidered rubber strap that incorporates much of the prancing horse’s interior piping and stitching design, so there’s no doubt that while it may say Hublot, it’s really another Ferrari.

History Of Hublot And Ferrari Collaborations

Considering that Hublot hasn’t been around long enough to broker multi-year relationships in motorsport, it’s made quite a splash with Ferrari. The Italian automaker’s relationship with Hublot is one for the tabloids. It’s proof that Ferrari’s poor decisions in strategy were consistent off the track. 

Nevertheless, Hublot and Ferrari found each other deep in one another’s eyes in 2011, following a deal that would tie every facet of Ferrari’s racing divisions to Hublot’s hip. Members of Scuderia’s GT3 team brandished Big Bangs as much as Sebastien Vettel did. 

Baselworld 2012 debuted the partnership with a Hublot flagship with an Italian twist – the Big Bang Ferrari. A genuinely important watch for the brand on its own, the ‘generic’ Big Bang raged against the critics of its machine with an adopter of its first in-house movement, the UNICO.

Ferrari’s imitation saw a multi-dimensional prancing horse in place of an hour totalizer or small seconds sub-dial. In fact, neither of those functions that make up ⅔ of a traditional chronograph are there. 

You do get a minute’s chronograph dial and seconds chronograph hand, though, for your trouble. In all honesty, it wasn’t the greatest achievement between a legendary race team and a watchmaker, even in its musings in yellow gold or titanium. 

Sitting in Ferrari’s mid-engined V8 at the time, you could see fragments of the dash and the seats subtly woven into the face, but for whatever reason, it never gelled with me. It had this urging sense of boy racer tackiness, only made worse by the Big Bang’s visible date ring. 

A year later, though, we got a big boy watch for a big boy brand. The MP-05 LaFerrari exalted its automotive namesake with a skeletonized movement inspired by the car’s honking V12 power plant. 

Released first in brushed titanium, the MP-05 has seen re-releases in other materials and highlighting accents in the years since its inception. The most impressive of which came in 2017 with the MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire. 

For those of you who aren’t the keenest gas guzzlers, let’s get you up to speed on the jewel of the holy trinity on which this Hublot is based. The Ferrari LaFerrari. It’s best to ignore the flagrant obviousness of its rather unimaginative title.

It was designed to represent a distilled thoroughbred racehorse – from another dimension. Its shape was an imposition to the delicate Ferrari, relying on fierce air to mold most of its body. Its eager face, both grinning and gulping, foreshadowed an untamed rage well before any arousal of its power. 

And goodness me, there was power. Fifty shy of a thousand horses and a satan-invoking derivation of torque. All that from a 6.3L naturally aspirated V12 that’s further injected with an electric motor. And a KERS system for regenerative braking plucked straight from F1’s hybrid era.

Basically, it’s the most complicated Ferrari ever surmised. And, like it or not, the MP-05 is worthy of respect for its interpretation of this unrelenting, unprecedented machine. 

Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari: In-Depth Review

Now that you’ve got a baseline on what we’re looking at here, I’d say it’s about time to get a little nerdy. In our breakdown, we’ll go through specifications and references that have popped up in the model’s lifetime, and I’ll try to give you some closing thoughts on what I think it’s worth to the industry beyond its market appraised value.


To date, four case offerings exist. The launch variant in brushed titanium, a further Hublot ‘All Black’ titanium coated in black PVD, an even more limited gold, and a final hurrah in sapphire. If you thought working with titanium was hard, the latter sapphire would prove to be a completely different ball game. But we’ll get to that later. 

The case in all model variations measures 45mm across. It’s a towering thing, too, with thickness coming in around the 17mm marking. The Sapphire’s makeup, in particular, is slightly different from the rest of the watches, displaying Ferrari’s prancing horse motif at the top of the case while the others are empty. 


El visage, as it were, is hardly visible, nor is it the focal point of this piece. Beneath the barrels and gears, there is a flattened surface that matches the makeup of each selected case. It’s just there as a grounding base for your viewing pleasure. 


Not only is the movement an eclectic centerpiece for its automotive composition, it’s also a world record holder. Still unbeaten today, the HUB9005 manual-wound movement arms 11 spring-loaded barrels and a suspended vertical tourbillon to fire up a 50-hour power reserve. The tourbillon is housed in an independent cage and can be spun up by a Hublot’s miniature torque gun. How’s that for an F1 tribute?


The strap is humbling in the face of the MP-05’s greatness. It’s a textured rubber thing without much going on, really. In the Sapphire, though, things are a little different. Lanes are grooved into the rubber akin to Ferrari’s Tailor-made seat design. 

Should You Buy A Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari?

If you don’t have a LaFerrari, your own bank vault, and a financial position strong enough to get one and never find a market to sell it, most would argue no. It retailed at $338,570 and trades at around $500,000 these days, so it’s not the best investment in the world. 

Plus, most people hate it. One because it’s a Hublot. And two, because to traditionalists, it’s borderline offensive in its in-your-face abhorrence than its movement can make up for. For me, it’s a symbol of innovation and deserves admiration for venturing into an unknown where only criticism was a guarantee. 

Horology, at times, is ruined by the pedantic, those who view the rules of the past as the rules of the future. The MP-05 crumpled up the rules and journeyed into the fray, just as the LaFerrari did with the hybrid. And as far as I’m concerned, it came out on top.


For whatever you think of Hublot and its escapades, it’d be criminal to dispose of the MP-05’s excellence in watchmaking. It’s not classic or by any means beautiful, but it philosophizes a sublime watch movement—which is to say, an incredibly complex thing engineered for some simple outcome. 

Where traditional movements worth talking about seek out difficulty in perpetual calendars and other functions nobody short of Christopher Colombus would find useful, the MP-05’s flying tourbillon mimics the motion of an actual engine through pushers, gears, and a disruptive approach to tradition. 

audemars piguet vs patek philippe watches

The Frazier and Ali of the watch world are as similar as their fisticuffs counterparts. Both are Swiss. Both exceed a centurion history. And both are considered foundationary members of an elite class of culture. Audemars Piguet, colloquially referred to as ‘AP’, is vastly sought after today for its Royal Oak series of luxury sports watches.

At the same time, Patek preens classic—catered to privy favor at Saville Rowe, expressing the very best of haute-horology. Whether you’ve heard of one, both, or neither, you and I are going to reflect on the reverence of these titanic icons, the brands beyond their history, and their ability to enamor modernity.

About Audemars Piguet Watches

Congruent with the uninspired naming strategy of 19th-century establishments, Audemars Piguet was named after its founders—Jules Louis Audemars & Edward August Piguet. From the get-go, it’s a rather unlikely story filled with all the romance you’d expect from a pair of pedants.

Once upon a time, future entrepreneurs of an industry juggernaut were childhood friends, infatuated with nature’s most valuable commodity—time. Jules contrived an interest in clock manufacture (as it was previously called) from his father’s intrigue deep within the heavenly scapes of Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux.

His specialties resided in the painstaking manufacture of handcrafted movements—from their mechanical development to their final fittings within a case. Edward Piguet’s youthful aspirations and parental attention aren’t as similarly documented as his partnered friend. What we do know is that the evolutions of his interest grew to fill the vacancies in Jules’ expertise.

Notably, much of Piguet’s watchmaking contributions were in systems regulation. If you’re not sure what that means, think of the process by which a mechanical movement keeps time in check. I’ll likely be eviscerated for saying this, but true vintage AP—I’m talking the period between their 1875 inception and the Quartz Crisis—was a rather mundane time for the brand.

Unlike Rolex, whose claim to fame took the form of tool-oriented watches and a value proposition that spoke to more than the elite class— AP didn’t have a USP they could lean on. That’s not to say that they didn’t have an impact on the industry because they absolutely did. You can thank Audemars Piguet for the complications like the jumping hour and design innovations like the vastly popular skeleton watch.

If it weren’t for a man of consequence, eponymous for horology’s greatest designs taken on AP as a client, you’d never see the name touted as a must-have holy grail in every watch collector’s toy box. Who was the man? Gerald Genta. What came of his tasked expertise? A series of watches so successful it would become one of the most sought-after—and copied—designs in the world. But more on that later. 

About Patek Philippe Watches

You’ll be pleased to hear that while Audemars Piguet is globally recognized by its initials—nobody calls Patek Philippe ‘PP’. Today, Patek Philippe is like a classified document. You’ll be hard-strung to get your hands on one unless you’re on a need-to-know basis. And Patek has made it abundantly clear they need to know. 

The parallels between its aforementioned competition follow a similar timeline, with similar people. But their start didn’t come together as smoothly as it did in AP’s mountainous birthplace. To start, it may have been a Swiss outfit but the rough outline of what would later become Patek Philippe started as a Polish partnership between watchmakers Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek, forming Patek’s first venture—Patek, Czapek & Cie in 1831. 

During their six-year stint, their products reflected the timekeeping of the era—handheld pocket-watches often slung passively abreast. Riddled by disagreement, though, the relationship didn’t last long, eventually dissolving in 1845. Funnily enough, the situation gallicized for both men. Franciszek literally changed his name to Francois while Patek renewed his partnership with a Frenchman — the now suffixed Philippe. 

Where Audemars Piguet had a rather ineffectual early career, Patek Philippe’s illustrious career garnered attention as quickly as it began. Within the same year of its 1851 incorporation, Queen Victoria acquired her first Patek at the Great Exhibition of London and soon after directly purchased a piece uniquely studded in more than your average bust down — talk about a glowing recommendation for a new brand, eh? Following the Queen’s interest, Patek Philippe became an internationally renowned jeweler and timekeeper for royalty and the political elite. 

They were astute innovators enamored mostly by astronomical complications, introducing a myriad of firsts like their 1925 adaptation of the perpetual calendar in a wristwatch and the first movement with an annual calendar in 1996. 

While their classic watches required no introduction, by the time the seventies rolled around, the watch world noticed a cultural shift in what people wanted out of a timepiece. Execs at Patek didn’t need a crystal ball to see that the ballroom drapes were coming down, and a change of scenery was key to the brand’s godly grip on the industry. 

Six years after Gerald Genta came up with the Royal Oak for AP, the young accoladed designer answered the call to produce an exquisite timepiece with the reverence of Patek Philippe without the day-to-day shortcomings of a dress watch. What followed would directly compete with AP’s Royal Oak and propel Patek Philippe into another stratosphere in the new millennium.

Goliath VS Goliath: The Battle of Two Iconic Swiss Watch Brands

Bitter rivals or titans within their own class? Each is known for its own segment and is successful in its pushes to excel in areas beyond its name. What do I mean? Well, it’s no secret AP likes their sports watches, but they’re not afraid to serve up some Hors d’oeuvres.

On the flip side, Pateks often reside under tailored cuffs at some secret gathering that neither you nor I have any clue about. And yet the Nautilus and Aquanaut are a common trope of the successful athlete in jean jackets and Air Force Ones. 

Now I’ve gone on and on about their apparent similarities, but when the rubber meets the road, there are some differences. The ex-business analyst in me has been waiting to say this for some time— let’s get some competitive analysis in and see who’s who.

Brand Recognition

Excluding Vacheron Constantin, we’re looking at the faces of horology’s Holy Trinity, so brand recognition really comes down to who you ask. In the upper echelons of society, where gray-haired cigar smokers are commonplace, you’d find a leaning towards Patek.

The next generation of watch enthusiasts is unlikely to agree, melding with the youthful exuberance of AP’s Royal Oak collection a touch more. Sometimes it’s generational, and sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. As my sensibilities start to take on a greater measure of calm, I’d put Patek Philippe on top, but we’re splitting hairs at this point. 

Model Variety

Despite my compulsion for watches, my genetic makeup mostly constitutes gasoline, rubber, and some missing bolts. My current love interest—Porsche—used to be the bane of my intensely opinionated childhood existence.

I remember flicking through their catalogs wondering why there were dozens of iterations of 911 with stark price changes, that—aside from swathes of color palettes—looked the same as the last. It wasn’t until I immersed myself in Stuttgart’s philosophy of the perfect sports car that I came to understand the subtleties of dissimilarity. 

The umbrella variety of Patek Philippe is much like Porsche. The catalog opens up with three dress watches; the Complications, the Grand Complications, and the Calatrava, each of which—like the rest—are dizzyingly multifarious.

Tucked into the middle are two more effeminate options which co-opt different takes on the rectangle. Finishing off the range are three sports watches that—the Nautilus, the Aquanaut, and the Twenty~4—get decidedly more usable and, for some reason, more affordable as a result. 

Audemars Piguet prefers expanding the catalog within a small selection of models rather than spilling more menu derivations than an Olive Garden menu. You’ve got three overarching Royal Oak series (which I’ve summarized as bluntly as possible):

  • Royal Oak: For the small wrist.
  • Royal Oak Offshore: For the big wrist.
  • Royal Oak Concept: For the bold wrist.

And if you’re not an AP buyer just for the hype train, there’s the Code 11:59. If you can forgive the name for sounding like a G-Shock for the kindergarten graduate, it’s a well-conceptualized dress watch without the uppity attitude of A. Lange & Söhne’s astute showcase.

Personally, they don’t come close to Patek’s Calatrava unless you’re dipping your feet in the big boy stuff. I’m talking Code 11:59 Perpetual, which might as well be a looking glass into space or some of their open-worked options.

Build Quality & Durability

Neither brand here is stranger to the epitome of watchmaking materials and the scrutiny by which those materials are put together. Depending on the model, some of the more precious materials are left out. Patek omits yellow gold, ceramic, and titanium from its Nautilus range, while the endless alternates out of the Royal Oak series add them on top of their standard steel and white gold offerings. 

Really though, it’s an appeasement to brand identity more than it is a representation of who pays more attention to build quality. We’re talking Rolls-Royce and Bentley here. No corners are cut in the mission to produce the most luxurious wristwear on earth. 


If we’re talking sports watches, the Patek has to arrest superiority to its competition. The 324C Calibre in the uncomplicated variations of the Nautilus is okay—not a description you expect from a watch that costs as much as a deposit on a house.

You get 45 hours of power reserve, which isn’t much to boast about, and the movement doesn’t hack seconds. Tell someone specs like that without mentioning the Patek Philippe name, and most people are likely to guess a machine-made Miyota special for the average Joe. 

Free of complications, excluding your bog standard date, the Royal Oak’s recently revised 50-year-old automatic movement—calibre 2121, now 7121, fairs a bit better. You’ve got more jewels at 40, more power reserve at 60 hours, and, thankfully, some hacking seconds.

If you’ve gone this far with no idea what it is, it’s basically a way to stop the entire movement when you pull the crown out to adjust the time. It’s an extra layer of precision to know the seconds stop right where you left ’em rather than continuing on as if nothing ever happened.

Price, Resale & Rarity

Sneaking into either brand at retail will require you to have one of two things and a non-negotiable prerequisite of near-limitless money. Yeah, if you were thinking having a lot of money was it—at this level, it’s not that simple. At this level, there’s a relationship requirement with either your dealer or the brand themselves. 

You can’t buy a watch fit for royalty if nobody knows your name. Or at least that’s what the dealer seems to dictate. Aside from a relationship, you’ll also need a collection of some special items if you want an allocation for some special pieces. Such is the way the elite world goes.

Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe Watches: Top Models Comparison 

Okay, so now that we’ve got a baseline on Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, I’d say we move on from comparing apples to oranges to watches that deserve to fight each other. I’m going to take a look at each model from AP and Patek as a whole because, like I said, there are like 30 variations of each, and comparing all of them to the other is going to take another eon. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak vs Patek Philippe Nautilus

In my infancy as a watch collector (pre-musings of the AP catalog), I thought the Bulgvri Octo was going to be the only thing with 8 sides to drag my wallet to hell. Even while I was up to speed with haute-horology, my dollar store eyes never figured the Nautilus was anything more than an oval with rather pronounced edges. 

Where the Royal Oak conforms to a standard octagonal orientation, there’s a bit more stretching on the sides of the Nautilus’ bezel. Both watches have a brushed bezel finish on and are geared for daily driver exploits. Every Royal Oak’s face leans on its ‘Petite Tapisseries’ design of embossed squares of equal size, while the Nautilus’s range of stripes or plain faces institutes a playful degree of freedom. 

The sizing of both has varied through the years. AP’s Royal Oak seems to carry more favor beneath the 40mm veil, while the shape of the Nautilus conforms above. It’ll always be a matter of preference and your own wrist size as a determinant of which is best, but it’s nice to know they’re each varied. 

Audemars Piguet Royal OakPatek Philippe Nautilus
Case Sizes(Ref. numbers are just examples of possible size range)Royal Oak 39mm 15300: 2005 — 2012.Royal Oak 41mm 15400: 2012 — 2019.Royal Oak 37mm 15450: 2012 — 2022.Royal Oak 41mm 15500: 2019 — Present.Royal Oak 37mm 15550: 2022 — Present.Nautilus 42mm 3700:
1976 — 2006Nautilus 40mm 5711:
2006 — 2021Nautilus 41mm 5726:
2006 — Present
MaterialsYellow Gold, White Gold, Frosted White Gold, Rose Gold, Steel, Platinum, Titanium, CeramicRose Gold, White Gold, Stainless Steel
Water Resistance50M60M – 120M
Current MovementsAutomatic: Calibre 2120, Calibre 2121
Quartz: 2612
Automatic, Mechanical and Quartz
StrapMetal Bracelet, Leather StrapMetal Bracelet, Leather Strap
Additional Features Petite Tapiserrie Dial, Riveted Octagonal BezelMoon Phase Complication, Octagonal Bezel
MSRP$15,400 – $98,000+$31,940 – $151,000+

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore vs Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Okay, so as far as the AP argument goes, the Offshore is literally a Royal Oak for people who train forearms more than usual. If you’ve got a big wrist but still want the billeted octagon from Genta’s Hall of Fame, the Offshore was designed for you.

The Aquanaut, however, is offered in the same sizes as the Nautilus and defers in its strap, commitment to ruggedness, and more playful aesthetic. On its face, the Royal Oak Offshore continues to blow things out of proportion with a ‘Mega’ take on the tapisserie design. The blocks have been zapped with a growth ray to look like ceramic tiles in a millionaire’s spa house. 

The Aquanaut is less congruent in its departure from the Nautilus. The face is bound by the rules of a largely stretched grid available in a variety of more playful colors. The Offshore and the Aquanaut alike are bold Miami-bred watches that scream, “look at me and remember my name”. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak OffshorePatek Philippe Aquanaut
Case Sizes(Ref. #s are just examples of possible size range)Royal Oak Offshore 42mm 25721ST: 1993 — 2004.Royal Oak Offshore 43mm 26420SO: 2021 — 2023.Royal Oak Offshore 44mm 26176FO: 2009 — 2012.Royal Oak Offshore 48mm T3 25863TI: 2003 — 2004Aquanaut 40mm 5261R: Aquanaut 41mm 5167A-001: Aquanaut 42mm 5168G-001: 
MaterialsYellow Gold, White Gold, Frosted White Gold, Rose Gold, Steel, Platinum, Titanium, Ceramic, DiamondsRose Gold, White Gold, Stainless Steel
Water Resistance300M120M
Quartz: 2612
Automatic, Quartz
StrapRubber Strap, Metal Bracelet, Ceramic Bracelet, Alligator Strap, Calfskin StrapRubber Strap, Tropical Composite Strap
Additional Features Mega TapisserieEmbossed Stretching Square Dial
MSRP$25,400 – POR$24,250 – POR

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 vs Patek Philippe Grand Complications

Now we’re into Patek’s bread-and-butter territory. And in my opinion, as whimsical as Code 11.59 presents to be, it’s a far cry away from the revered excellence of the Grand Complications series. 

Both models are picky on size compared to the previously discussed offerings, rarely straying away from the 41mm and 42mm case sizes. Bearing in mind the league change from luxury sports watch to dress watch, the shapely polished bezels are no longer of octagonal measure. 

The Code 11.59 does these gradient faces that pull a darkened edge into some centric, deeply colored point. For me, it doesn’t work as a dress watch and looks a bit tacky, but that’s just me.

Audemars Piguet Code 11:59Patek Philippe Grand Complications
Case Sizes
(Ref. #s are just examples of possible size range)
Code 11:59 26393OR 41mmCode 11:59 26398BC 42mmGrand Complications 5207G-001 41mmGrand Complications 5208R-001 42mm
MaterialsWhite Gold, Pink Gold, Black Ceramic, Blue Ceramic, Stainless Steel18K Gold, Rose Gold, White Gold, Yellow Gold, Platinum, Stainless Steel
Water Resistance20M-30M30M
MovementSelf-WindingSelf-Winding, Hand Wound
StrapAlligator Skin, Leather Strap, Rubber Coated StrapAlligator Skin, Metal Bracelet, Rubber Strap
Additional Features Openworked (Skeleton option)“Gouette” Bracelet
MSRP$34,000 – POR$34,000 – POR


When the stakes are this high and the money this great, those that can afford it won’t mind dipping their feet in both camps just for the heck of it. The Royal Oak is Audemars Piguet, while the Nautilus isn’t Patek Philippe. 

If you’re looking for a daily luxury watch with a robust band as iconic as Rolex’s Jubilee, I’d go for the Royal Oak. There’s just more variation in size and material, and the watch’s temperament is more easily enjoyed in a casual setting than Patek’s Nautilus. 

If you’re planning on doing some glamping or otherwise high-brow adventuring, the Aquanaut and its brilliantly dependable strap make for comfortably classy wear. Plus, when embellished in those deeper, more natural greens, it finds home beyond gated suburbia and highrise opulence. 

But if the Queen’s in town and you’ve been invited for tea, nothing should be considered beyond the Patek Philippe Grand Complications. Regardless of which complication you go for, which size or material, whether you know its history or have memorized all its references.

It’s Everest, the peak of watchmaking excellence, and while Code 11.59 may have some supremely limited reference competitors, it just doesn’t have the same historical significance. 

digital vs analogue watches

So you’ve finally decided to become a watch enthusiast, eh? Deep breaths. I know it’s overwhelming; we’ve all been there. Between the myriad of brands, the hated and the loved – there’s a lot to get through.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty specifics of which watch is right for you, it’s important to remember that a timepiece is … for you. Criticisms from horological cults may try to convince you that a digital watch isn’t a genuine timepiece. 

The fact is, the romantics of our timekeeping obsession exist far beyond the pearly white gates of exclusivity and societal compliance. If you trust the process, the memories of your life will soak into whatever lands on your wrist—and that will be forever priceless.

Anyway, back to brass tax. For the purposes of this breakdown, we’re going to split the entirety of the horological field into two groups; digital and analog. 

Analog: Movement Driven

Okay, so, in defining the analog, we have to recognize that the term comes from the nature of the movement, the mechanism by which time is manufactured. And we’ll also have to have to get face-to-face with the dial. 

Let’s dissect the anatomy of Rolex’s definitive Oyster Perpetual for reference. Beneath the domed glass lies a couple of hour markers, some hands, and an elliptically textured face. The face in itself is devoid of any electronically actuated buttons or interfaces that would indicate the presence of a digital display. 

Fairly straightforward, right? If we go even further down below the face, we get to the movement. Before we chime on what’s under the hood for the Oyster Perpetual, let’s get through the types of movements that you can expect. We’ve got:

  • Manual Wound
  • Automatic
  • Quartz

It may start to feel like the shell game but don’t fret; it’s not too difficult. Leaving out quartz for a minute, manually wound and automatic watches are willed into motion purely through mechanical processes. Essentially, there are four principles that mechanical watches use to create time and maintain it. 

  1. Power Source: a mainspring
  2. Transmission: an assortment of gears
  3. Distribution: the transfer of energy 
  4. Regulation: the maintaining of energy

In simple terms, the mainspring gets wound tighter and flings out a burst of mechanical energy through a bunch of gears, regulated by an escapement wheel and balance wheel that ensure energy doesn’t zip away in a couple of seconds. The difference between automatic and manual watches boils down to how they’re wound. 

Manual watches request that you ruffle the crown back and forth to wind up the spring. In the case of the Oyster Perpetual, which features an automatic movement, there’s a self-winding rotor that rocks around the mechanism while you sway your arms or shake your wrist, using that inertia to wind up the spring so you don’t have to.

Quartz, otherwise referred to as battery-powered, watches are a slightly different ballgame. Conceptually, they sound like the workings of a digital watch—because of the battery, but because of its elemental source. Let’s break down the three principles of manufacturing time in a battery-powered watch and see where we land. You’ve got;

  1. Power Unit: usually a disc-shaped battery
  2. Integrated Circuit Unit: a guide for electrical current
  3. The Quartz: a literal quartz crystal that vibrates when shocked 

So, again, the battery here is the energy source that surges electricity through a circuit into the quartz crystal. Vibrating when shocked, the quartz crystal sends enough energy back through the circuit to pulse a second of time to the hands on the surface. 

The uniqueness of quartz is the frequency at which it vibrates—32,768hz. It’s pitched just high enough to resonate out of earshot and cheap enough to send consistent pulses to relatively inexpensive counters, making it perfect as a budget alternative to the more expensive movements.

Digital: More Than An Apple Watch

You’d be forgiven for assuming that a rechargeable Apple watch stands somewhere in the lineage of the digital timepiece. While it might be baked into the name, digital watches are actually powered by quartz movements rather than full-on smartwatch batteries. 

The function works almost identically to its analog counterparts, except that the details of time are relayed through a screen rather than a set of hands. These watches generally don’t require a charge, use low-energy screens and have functions beyond the scope of an analog watch. 

Speaking of screens, the digital watch is part of an effigy of displays ranging from negative LCDs to the newer MIP screens for added visibility. The majority of the screens that aren’t touch sensitive are virtually the same, with the exception of being slightly more efficient to power and legible to read. 

Digital Vs Analog Watches: Which Should You Choose

So, now that we know the differences between their physical makeup, we can start to hone in on which watch is right for you. There are a number of factors—often considered together—that determine how you should make your decision, so let’s look ‘em over.


Easily the biggest marker of variance between the two, digital watches have a hard time pricing up against the complexities of an analog watch. Analog watches, particularly the ones chocked full of complications in manually wound or automatic outfits are like Rube Goldberg machines, designed as the most complicated way to produce what is now quite simple. 

With the exception of fashion houses and microbrands that mainly use robo-manufactured automatic movements, mechanical watches of substance are generally handmade. In the digital space, you might see a few timepieces that spur past the four-figure mark, but it’s pretty rare.


If we’re talking about everyday use, let’s throw manual winding out the door. Though beautiful, most manual watches are incomprehensibly tedious for daily use, with power reserves of no longer than two days and a balanced touch required to wind just the right amount of tension so as not to damage the spring. 

Automatics fare much better with self-winding technology, which as stated above simply requires the active movement of the wrist throughout the day, before ultimately relying on a power reserve if left around for a few days. Quartz is king here, with an average lifespan of an entire year.


If we define quality within the parameters of what a watch is trying to achieve, we find a quality watch between the two types. If we define quality as a measure of luxury, the analog timepiece finds itself tightly wrapped in precious metal and laborious texture more often than in the digital space. 

You’ll often find knurled crowns and fluted bezels in the automatic space of timepieces—because who wants to pay well into the multiple thousands for a watch whose heart is half-machine?

3 Excellent Digital Watches At Three Different Price Points

Casio G-Shock GWM5610-1 – ($150)

Casio G-Shock GWM5610-1 - ($150)

More than just a first watch for the recently walking, Casio’s G-Shock is definitive of what you should expect from a rugged daily driver. Apart from being practically bulletproof, the G-Shock GWM5610-1 is stuffed to the gills, with functionality with its 31 timezones, solar-powered rejuvenation, and clearly legible positive LCD screen. 

Unlike the AW700 series, which befits a metal band, the GWM comes on a softer rubber strap ergonomically designed for effortless wear. Considering its competitive price of $150, you can’t really go wrong with a G-Shock as your daily driver; its inventor, Kikuo Ibe even wears it with his three-piece suits!

Hamilton American Classic PSR Digital Quartz – ($745)

Hamilton American Classic PSR Digital Quartz

The PSR Digital Quartz looks like if you peeled the visor off an astronaut’s helmet and buried it into some metallic space rock with a stylish bracelet. Granted, the display’s units aren’t far off pixels on a microwave timer, though it’s the point. 

The ref. H52414130 commemorates Hamilton’s innovation of the seventies in the Pulsar, the first digital watch that shared the same red pixelated typeface. Resting comfortably under $1000, the PSR brings retro design back to the future.

Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 – ($6,000)

Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0

Moving up a couple of price brackets, we make our way to the Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0. I know it may look like I’ve made a mistake seeing as topside up it looks like a police radar hooked up to a bracelet, but this enigmatic side-view watch is an evolution of Girard-Perregaux’s unorthodox seventies original. 

Aside from its titanium embellishments on the case back, pusher, and embossed logo, it looks exactly the same as its predecessor. Functions are plentiful, though, with the new caliber GP3980 quartz movement that adds a second timezone and chronograph, to name a few. You can essentially bake a specific date to read at a certain time with the secret date function, which can be a subtle touch on your anniversary. 

The Digital Deal

The first watch I ever received outside of Ronald McDonald’s Happy Meal plastic surprise came from my grandfather. It was a full-metal jacket, 80s Casio Marlin, which, aside from the harpooned fish etched into the bezel, had this immeasurable coolness that felt like being a consigliere to Al Capone.

He gave it to me with a then cracked screen, which was explained by the classic grandad spiel of half-truths. Twelve-year-old me wholeheartedly believed that it cracked as a result of his daring stints in the UN, traveling in dual-rotor helicopters and bleached white tanks.

Exposure to current affairs today has taught me that the UN really means taking expensive transport to places to argue for a few hours and do nothing, and the crack was more likely fashioned by banging into a desk drawer. 

But I still appreciate the effort in the story, and every glance at that vaguely legible LCD screen that flutters its pixels from its ill-fated wound reminds me of the man who taught me how to dream. If not for its captivating LCD screen and whimsical retro design, I doubt that story would still be remembered today if it were a bland analog marked for the Classique enjoyer. 

Anecdotes aside, digital watches have an essential spot in every collection, imbuing the wrist with an effortless style that doesn’t require you to spout knowledge of its history or have you understand the inner workings of its design.

Whether you’re gearing up to go off the grid or you just want a daily driver that doesn’t fuss about getting a ding or too, the digital watch is an uncompromised bargain that you often don’t have to trade your kidney for. 

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