It’s hardly breaking news to reveal that Andy Warhol was a pretty kooky cat. But did you know that his eccentricity also applied to his wristwatch? Warhol famously wore a Cartier Tank that he refused to wind so that it didn’t tell the time. “I wear a Tank,” he said, “Because it’s the watch to wear.”
This, of course, is wilfully perverse behaviour. Sure, you want your watch to quietly broadcast your impeccable taste, but it also needs to be fit for purpose. Modern watches often come tricked up with all manner of bells and whistles. Yet time-keeping is still a major part of the deal.
That means accuracy is important. The benchmark for Swiss watch precision is the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (aka COSC). To be COSC-certified, a watch must not lose more than four seconds or gain more than six seconds a day. Suffice to say, that’s no mean feat with only three per cent of Swiss watches making the cut.
So forget whizbang gimmickry – accuracy is still the truest mark of mechanical watchmaking quality. Here are four precision timepieces that won’t let you down:
1. Omega Seamaster Diver Omega
This beauty handles the time-keeping for the Olympics so they take precision very seriously. A mechanical component called a Co-Axial Escapement ensures less friction within their movements to ensure phenomenal accuracy. $11,100
2. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona in Oystersteel
Paul Newman’s 1968 Rolex Daytona sold at auction for $US17.8 million. So, yes, this is an iconic watch, but it’s also a stickler for precision – it’s tested to +2/-2 seconds per day accuracy. $16,450
3. TAG Heuer Autavia
To minimise disruption, the Autavia’s movement is propelled by a carbon-composite hairspring that is virtually unaffected by gravity and shock and is completely antimagnetic. $4700
4. Longines Conquest V.H.P
The V.H.P here stands for Very High Precision and this movement delivers. You’re guaranteed a mere five-second gain or loss every year, while the hands automatically reset after impact to always stay right on time. $1325
Want to verify the accuracy of your own watch? Check out an app called Twixt Time. This uses your smartphone’s camera to monitor your watch’s hand positions to determine how much it gains or loses each day. Sure, these may be fractional increments, but when it comes to your timepiece, every second counts.