A lot of it comes down to one phrase: “The least important thing a watch does is tell the time.” People like mechanical watches for the same reason they might prefer a classic Jaguar E-Type over a modern-day Toyota or vinyl records over MP3s. It’s not just what something does but how it does it. And for many of us men, that’s pretty important (after all this is a very male world we’re in: one leading watch manufacturer told us that 95 per cent of its customers were men).
An automatic watch is a living thing, as you soon discover when you hold one for the first time. One of the beauties of them is that the seconds hand travels in a smooth “sweep”, while on quartz watches it just ticks depressingly once a second. As soon as you notice this, it becomes a surprisingly big deal-breaker.
One final thing to bear in mind: if you take off your automatic watch, it’ll eventually stop. How long it can run without being on your wrist depends on the individual timepiece, but many tend to work for 38-48 hours before they need rewinding, while some can go on for a full five days.