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The ultimate guide to different types of watches by Extropian

Scurfa Watches
Charlie Paris
E.C. Andersson
EC Andersson Watch Company
Galvin Watch Co
Astor Banks
Batavi Watches
The ultimate guide to different types of watches by Extropian

Ah, the world of watches. Once you enter that magical realm it’s so much bigger than you think it’s going to be! We’ll take you on a guided tour through all the types of watches out there - watches by movement, watches by function, watches by style (we’re guessing you’re probably going to be most interested in style!). Don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to pick up a few souvenirs along the way! 

Types of watches by movement

Our first port of call is watches by movement. Think of a watch’s movement as the engine that powers the whole thing. Everything in a watch revolves around its movement so it’s a pretty important thing to take into account when choosing one! If you’re old school you might like the idea of a hand wound or automatic movement, if you’re in awe of the wondrous power of nature then maybe solar is your thing. Let’s take a little look around!

Mechanical hand wound

A mechanical hand wound watch needs your input to get its movement working. As there’s no battery, you’ll have to hand wind it from time to time. If you’re the hands on, traditional type, that’s going to be a big part of its appeal. Of course if you tend to be on the forgetful side, a mechanical hand wound is maybe not for you! You don’t want to turn up half an hour late for a meeting because you forgot to wind your watch! So as long as you do remember to wind it you’ll find that a hand wound watch will be accurate to about +/- 20 seconds a day and very reliable. However they do tend to come with a higher price tag than other movements because of all the tiny, intricate components that power it.

Feynman - One


❤️ Extropian loves the totally unique take on the dress watch with this hand wound model!


Mechanical automatic

Automatic watches are truly magical things! They capture the movement of your wrist and use it to power the mechanism so there is no need to buy batteries or even wind the watch by hand. The only way this watch is not going to work is if you NEVER move and we’re assuming none of you are quite that lazy! You’ll find automatics are generally accurate to about +/- 20 seconds a day.

Batavi Watches - Architect


❤️ At Extropian we can’t get enough of the vintage sports watch inspired aesthetics of this automatic.



If convenience and affordability are your main concerns then a quartz movement is likely to be your movement of choice. They run on an electric current which comes from a battery in the watch that only needs replacing every 2-3 years. If you have a quartz watch on your wrist you’re never going to have to give it a second thought. Unsurprisingly it’s one of the most popular types of watches with many people preferring them over mechanical watches. And they’re accurate to about +/- 15 seconds a month too!

Astor Banks - Chrono


❤️ At Extropian we simply love the rugged good looks of this quartz run chronograph


Meca quartz

A meca quartz or mecaquartz (or mechaquartz or mecha-quartz - it seems to be no real agreement on the correct spelling so just go ahead and pick a favorite…) offer the best of both worlds - quartz and mechanical - but it only exists for chronograph watches. Quartz technology is used for the main functions of the watch, and a mechanical module for operating the chronograph. As a result they’re often referred to as hybrid movements. 

Straton - Syncro - Checkered Racing Bezel


❤️ A meca quartz movement combined with a cool retro 70s vibe. Extropian is hooked!



Solar power watches, as you have probably guessed by the name, are powered by light which is then converted into energy. There are two types of solar watches - primary and secondary. A primary solar watch simply converts light into energy. If there’s no light the watch will stop. So, not a great option if you’re a night owl! Watches with a secondary solar movement have a rechargeable battery in addition to a solar cell so even in the depths of winter, you’re not going to have to worry about it suddenly stopping. Unless you haven’t left the house for days on end that is! Solar movements are usually accurate to about +/- 15 seconds a month. 

Vaer D4 - Arctic USA Solar Diver


❤️ Solar powered and with a water resistance of 20ATM, it’s the combination of beauty and practicality that floats Extropian’s boat here!


Spring drive

The Spring drive, only available in Seiko and Grand Seiko lines, is the product of the creative types of Seiko and is considered one of the most ingenious, effective and unique watch calibers ever designed. Like a mecha quartz it takes a traditional mechanical movement and blends it with the best of quartz. What makes it distinct from the mecha-quartz is a piece of technology called the tri-synchro regulator which is used to replace the escapement. The escapement normally acts as a brake between the components and the collisions between them create the ticking sound that you can hear in traditional watches. However the parts tend to be susceptible to wear and tear. To tackle these problems, and greatly increase accuracy at the same time, Seiko created their marvelous Spring Drive mechanism which puts a brake on the wheel without there being any collisions between components. Due to the lack of friction, this also means that Spring Drive watches are super silent - the second hand doesn’t ‘tick’ around the dial but instead runs perfectly smooth. Clever huh?

Types of watches by function

Next stop - watches by function. What you go for may well depend on whether you’re a traditional or techy type. Let’s have a look!



Analogue watches feature a traditional clock face with three-hand movement or more. Where digital watches count down the seconds, showing only the exact time, analogue watches show you the time through hands-on a dial usually in increments of five minutes. These hands may also show you the date or day of the week. Analogue watches represent the classic and traditional side of timepieces and as a result are perfect to wear on those more dressy occasions. 

Galvin Watch Co - Loimu

Loimutrio I Gcrop

❤️At Extropian we can’t stop looking at the gorgeous dial inspired by the aurora borealis on this analogue.



Digital watches show the time in numerical digits on an electronic display and often have additional features such as GPS or a pedometer. Great if you want to make sure if you’re doing enough exercise while also not getting lost! They contain no moving parts, instead relying on an electronic circuit to drive the LEDs or LCDs that show the time. Their modern, practical design makes them perfect for sporting activities and workwear. 

Yema - LED Gold

Capture D’écran 2022 12 14 À 14.52.15

❤️ Do Extropian have a crush on the retro-futuristic styling of this digital beauty? You bet we do!



As the name suggests these watches are analogue and digital combos. They combine digital features with traditional watch mechanics offering a similar functionality to Smartwatches. Perfect for sports and fitness enthusiasts! 

Another type of hybrid, the combination of Solar Quartz & Automatic movement of the Technik 4x - Globe Edition

Ed653810 Cce3 4649 9638 E6c507d46111

❤️ At Extropian we are totally loving the luminous blue and white globe on this versatile little number.


Types of watches by style

The destination you’ve been waiting for! Movement and function are all very well but when it comes to deciding what to put on your wrist, the style of watch is probably going to be your main concern! Let’s have a look at the contenders.

Diver’s watches

Diver’s watches are, as you have probably guessed, designed for underwater diving and to monitor dive times. They’re constructed to withstand high water pressure and are durable and scratch resistant as well. A key feature of dive watches is the rotating bezel that divers use to time dives and monitor their air supply. The bezel is often unidirectional, in other words is only able to be rotated anticlockwise to prevent the bezel from giving a false reading and telling a diver they have more air remaining than they really do. But you really don’t have to be a professional, or even amateur diver, to want to own one of these beauties. Let’s be honest, the majority of people who buy them probably only go near the sea when they’re on vacation! It’s their robustness which is a major part of the appeal. And that bezel could come in super handy for timing your pasta! 

Borealis - Cascais


❤️ At Extropian we love the refined good looks of this diver!

Dress watches

Yes, dive watches are super cool but let’s face it you’re dressing up for a fancy evening out they’re not really going to cut the mustard. For that you’re going to need a dress watch, the smartest of all watch styles, and one that often comes with more sophisticated complications. Even the hour markers are simple – they’re commonly Roman numerals or simple batons. Dress watches tend to be made in precious metals to reflect the occasion, although less ostentatious examples also exist so you don’t have to break the bank! Straps are often leather and traditionally in a darker color. But there’s nothing to stop you going for a bright, poppy color if that suits your style!

Anordain - Model 1

❤️ Oh would you look at that dial?! Extropian wants one now!

Field watches

As the name suggests, field watches were originally designed for warfare, replacing impractical pocket watches at the end of the 19th century. Field watch design is often straightforward, highly legible and durable – exactly what you would expect from something made for war. It has a second hand which stops when the crown is pulled – perfect for synchronizing your watch with other officers in military operations - or making sure all your friends turn up on time to a meeting! Bands on field watches are generally canvas, nylon, or leather – materials that are easily replaced if damaged in wartime. And thankfully also in peacetime!

Formex - Field Watch

Formex Field Automatic   Ultra Violet Wrist Shot 7.25%22 Wrist

❤️ Here at Extropian we can’t get enough of the quirky colorway of this field watch. 

Aviator or pilot’s watches

Aviator watches have their origins in the 1906 watch worn by pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont as he achieved the first-ever powered flight in Europe. Santos-Dumont just happened to be friends with Louis Cartier and asked him to develop a watch that could act as a stopwatch in addition to telling the time. Oh, to have friends in high places. But then Cartier could have said the same thing!

We know not many of you are going to be flying planes but these practical, rugged timepieces still have plenty of appeal for those of you who prefer to keep their feet on the ground! Aviator watches are usually bigger in diameter for ease of readability and have a large crown. This is because pilots used to wear gloves to be protected against the cold at high altitude! They also have simpler, high contrast dials, again for ease of readability. You can choose from simple time only models with a cool retro 40s or 50s vibe, or the more complicated chronograph versions.

Dufrane - Aviator Watch - The Bergstrom


❤️ We’re suckers for good design at Extropian and that coin edged bezel is pushing all the right buttons!


Racing watch

Yup, you’ve guessed, this type of watch was originally designed for racecar drivers! A racing watch will feature a chronograph and a tachymeter. The chronograph acts like a stopwatch - pushers at the 2 and 4 o’clock positions start and stop it with sub-dials marking elapsed minutes and hours. Tachymeters let the wearer calculate the speed of a car - or even a racehorse if that’s your kind of thing! By measuring the seconds it takes to cover a set distance, the outer markings show the speed in miles or kilometers per hour. Contemporary racing watches tend to come with metal bracelets although traditionally they had leather or rubber straps that were perforated for breathability.

Viqueria - Levante I


❤️ Extropian just loves that beautiful blue dial!

Smart watch

A smart watch is essentially a wearable computer! This type of watch will feature a huge range of technological features such as Bluetooth functionality to connect to computers and cellphones, cellphone compatibility – to read SMS messages and emails and a backlit LCD/OLED screen. They can come with rubber, metal or fabric bands depending on the brand.

Sports watches

Don’t worry you don’t have to be remotely sporty to wear a sports watch! These days pretty much any watch that's not a dress watch is some kind of sports watch. At least that is how the term is widely used. Sports watches mostly originate in a specific activity with dive watches, field watches and pilot watches all having a place in this particular category. Yeah, it is kinda fluid! If you want a watch for hiking or biking there are watches geared to those activities too! Whatever the type of sports watch the design will be driven by functionality and durability. It’s going to be cool-looking, fun to wear and useful in all kinds of day to day uses. What’s not to like?! 

EC Andersson Watch Company - Calypso II

Blue Ws Crop 11 1200

❤️  Extropian  adores the simple elegance of this sports watch

Tool watches

The origins of the tool watch can remarkably be traced back to the 16th century when Elizabeth I of England was given a watch to wear on her wrist, a useful and practical innovation at a time when most watches were pocket watches! Tool watches have now come to refer to any watch which is built with durability and strength in mind. Pilot watches, dive watches and field watches would all come under this category. The emergence of quartz in the 1980s enabled tool watches to become even more resistant, and very precise. Most tool watches today will be quartz watches, while also embracing a whole host of technological advances including light emitting diodes or liquid crystal displays. As durability is a key feature of all tool watches, they will often be made in materials such as titanium, stainless steel or rubber. 

Charlie Paris - Concordia Nazaré

Montre Homme Francaise Plongee Concordia Nazare 38mm Bleu Prod 5 1200x

❤️ Functional, resilient, and beautiful. This is a winner for us at Extropian!

GADA watches

Another interesting category! Basically a GADA watch is a ‘Go anywhere, do anything’ watch! It will be dressy enough to wear to a smart occasion while sporty enough to not look out of place when you’re hanging out at the beach. Quite a tricky balancing act to pull off!

Scurfa - Treasure Seeker

Treasure Seeker Black 04

❤️ Extropian loves the textured honeycomb dial on this diver!


So there we have it, our little tour around the world of watches has reached its end. We hope you have enjoyed the journey. Now why not go out there and explore some more! 


A little extra : the evolution of watch aesthetics and user preferences

In the journey of timekeeping, from ancient sundials to contemporary smartwatches, the aesthetics of watches have evolved as much as their functionality. The confluence of technology, art, and fashion has rendered watches not just as timekeeping tools but also as symbols of personal style, societal status, and technological progress.

The phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" holds especially true for watches. What was perceived as stylish a century ago might not resonate with today's generation. Yet, the rich history of watch aesthetics provides a fascinating insight into how societal norms, technological advancements, and individual preferences have interplayed over time.

Historical Context

The pocket watch, prevalent in the 16th and 17th centuries, was more than a tool—it was a statement piece, often adorned with intricate designs, jewels, and even miniature paintings. They were typically owned by the elite, emphasizing their status in society. As the industrial age dawned and lifestyles changed, the wristwatch emerged as a more practical choice, especially for men in the military. Functionality took precedence, but this did not mean the death of aesthetic appeal. Instead, the focus shifted to crafting elegant, slim designs that could be easily worn on the wrist.

The 20th century brought about significant changes in watch design. The post-war era saw a surge in minimalist and functional designs. However, as the decades progressed, the '70s and '80s witnessed a rise in flamboyant and bold styles. Large dials, colorful straps, and unconventional shapes became the norm. Luxury brands like Rolex continued to uphold their legacy of craftsmanship while also adapting to changing tastes.

The Digital Age and Modern Preferences

With the dawn of the digital age, the watch industry was on the cusp of another transformation. The introduction of digital displays and quartz movements revolutionized the way people perceived and used watches. The emphasis on "looking different" became more pronounced, with brands offering customizable digital faces and a plethora of strap options. Water-resistance became a standard feature, catering to the active, on-the-go lifestyles of many.

However, one could argue that the true game-changer was the introduction of smartwatches. These devices blurred the lines between a watch and a gadget. Now, users could track their fitness, check messages, and even make payments using their timepieces. With technology giants like Apple and Samsung entering the fray, there was a marked shift in watch aesthetics. Modular designs, touchscreens, and interactive watch faces became the new norm.

Yet, amidst this digital frenzy, there was a parallel resurgence of analog watches. Brands like Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer continued to hold their ground, emphasizing the timeless elegance and craftsmanship of mechanical movements. This dual trend indicated a broader societal phenomenon. On one hand, people yearned for the convenience and functionality of digital tools. On the other, there was a palpable nostalgia for the tactile feel and authenticity of analog timepieces.

The Role of Fashion

Fashion, too, played an instrumental role in shaping watch aesthetics. As watches became more accessible to the masses, they transformed into essential fashion accessories. Luxury brands collaborated with high-end fashion houses, resulting in unique limited-edition collections. Casual watches, with their laid-back and versatile designs, became a staple in many wardrobes.

The rise of sustainable fashion also impacted watch designs. Brands started to experiment with eco-friendly materials, such as recycled plastics and sustainably sourced wood. Vegan leather straps became increasingly popular, catering to the conscious consumer.


The story of watch aesthetics is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of human desires and preferences. As we stand at the crossroads of the analog and digital worlds, it's intriguing to ponder the future of watch design. Will we see a further amalgamation of tech and tradition, or will the two streams continue to coexist independently? Whatever the outcome, the journey promises to be as enthralling as the past.

Created the 2022-12-20

Modified the 2023-11-30

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