A stylish way to “carry time” with you always!
One of the oldest accessories available, the watch has graced daily fashion since the 17th century. From the first mechanical watches to today’s smartwatch, timepieces tell so much about a wearer without actually saying anything. The options for wear are infinite, with many styles, materials, and watch types for wearers to choose from.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose a watch that will stand out in a crowd. How can you pick a watch that will make a statement and showcase your personality?🤔 Luckily, as watch technology has improved, so have the options for customization. Today, a custom made watch can be on its way to you in as little as a few days! Let’s discuss the basics of custom watches and some popular styles you may want to try.
The many faces of watch ownership ⌚
“Unlike diamonds, watches were practical. They were for people on the run, people with appointments to keep and schedules to meet.”
—Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
Although watches keep track of the passing hours and minutes, their appeal as a personal accessory is timeless. Stylish and functional, watches are a great way to look organized and punctual in professional settings. However, watches hold a deeper meaning for some wearers. They can represent a call to simplicity, predating all of our current handheld technology. For a watch collector, they can also signify class, refinement, and craftsmanship. Finally, watches are an attractive way to express one’s personal style.
Custom watches: The next step in personalized accessories
Why should I get a custom watch?
Anywhere you look, you can probably spot a watch modified for the wearer in some way. But what spurred this mass move toward watch customization? Here are a few factors to consider:
With "instafame" on the rise, consumers are always looking for new ways to share their life through fashion. Watches are part of this revolution, as influencers opt for bespoke timepieces😎 to accent their personal brand.
Historically, watches were made either by expert craftsmen or on a manufacturing line. However, today’s manufacturing looks much different, with some boutique companies even making watches from their homes. 3D printers, new materials, and better tools are transforming manufacturing, making it easier to produce custom watches quicker.
In the past, ordering a custom watch could take weeks or months. Now, advances in technology have enhanced the way people order custom pieces: consumers can even order a customized watch on their smartphones. Current technology also makes entering the customized watch market easier, and smaller companies compete with giants through user-friendly apps and websites.💻 Often, these platforms even allow you to see a mock image of your custom item before making a decision!
Types of watches that are commonly customized
There are several watch types to choose from, with different styles, movements, power sources, and more. Let’s focus on four basic types of watch that you can customize for your needs:
Analog watches are a true classic for any occasion. They consist of a face with numerical figures and hands that point to the current hour, minute and (sometimes) second. Analog watches are easily customizable, and every part can be modified to match your personal style.
With the rise of electronic devices came the arrival of the digital watch. Unlike the guesswork that comes with an analog timepiece, digital clocks clearly display the current time on an LCD, VFD, or LED screen. Changing backlight and case colors and purchasing new watch straps⌚️ are some of the ways wearers customize their digital watches.
Smartwatches are tiny computers you can carry with you, and they can have digital or numeric displays. They’re typically worn on the wrist, and they can keep track of your steps, answer phone calls, and more. Smartwatch wearers change face colors and features, watch straps, and cases to customize their timepieces.
For those who don’t like wearing a watch on their wrist, pocket watches are a classy alternative. Appearing after World War I, they attach to a chain or strap and clip to one’s lapel or belt loop. Besides changing the chain or strap material, wearers can engrave the metal cover protecting the watch’s face.
A custom watch is a sum of its parts
Any part of a watch may be customized, and one should know about these parts before getting started. Let’s use an analog watch as an example. Here are the common parts of an analog watch:
- Dial: The face of the watch with numeric characters for timekeeping. Dials come in several colors, textures, and materials, including metal, wood, or ceramic. In fact, a custom watch dial would have even more material options!
- Case: A case houses the interior of the watch and protects the inner workings. Typically made of metal, a custom watch case can also be plastic, ceramic, or any other suitable material.
- Bezel: A metal ring around the exterior of the crystal that holds it in place. It can be smooth, or it may be decorated with patterns or gemstones. Different colored metals are also available.
- Crystal: The clear cover that protects the watch dial and hands. Although crystals can be made of actual crystal, such as sapphire crystal, they can also be made of plastic for shatter protection.
- Crown: The knob on the side of a watch that adjusts the time shown by the watch hands. They’re typically metal but can come in other materials, and gemstones may be added.
- Lugs: The metal bars that attach the watch case to the strap, securing them both in place.
- Hands: The two figures that move around the face of the watch to indicate the time. The shorter arrow shows the hour, while the longer arrow indicates minutes. There may also be a third, thin hand to track seconds. ⏱Watch hands often look like arrows or straight lines, but they can also take the shape of whatever the designer chooses.
- Strap: The band that holds the watch on a wearer’s wrist. Straps are very customizable and can be nylon, leather, wood, plastic, rubber, or any material with enough give to wrap around a wrist.
- Buckle: Similar to a belt buckle, the watch buckle fastens the strap to the wrist. They're made of metal to avoid wearing down.
Check this custom watch at Soufeel
Personalization: The past and present of custom watches
Now that you understand a bit more about watches and their parts, let's discuss options for customization. Whether you want engraving or a custom leather watch strap, you'll find a way to make your watch unique.
The most common custom watch modifications
Watch modification has improved vastly in the last decade, and now, virtually every single part of a watch can be customized. The most common customizations focus on materials and colors. For instance, some customers prefer a shiny, gold case for their watch, while others may opt for a brushed silver face. For working professionals, leather straps and dials with muted colors are an ideal match. If a customer lives an active lifestyle, they may benefit from a rubber band and durable case material.
For those who like flashy or sparkly pieces,💃 watch bezels and crowns may be bejeweled with rhinestones or precious gems. Moreover, there are companies that will add pins or charms to certain watch bands.
In addition to choosing new colors and materials, you can also have your watch engraved. Engraving is a great way to set your piece apart from other watches. You can engrave your name, a date, or even a picture!
Custom watches made the “old fashioned” way
Despite the immense customization choices available today, this wasn’t always the case. Originally, if a customer wanted to customize their watch, options were minimal. First, customers could visit a jeweler, discuss ideas, and try to imagine the finished product. But, jewelers may only work with certain watch types, so one may have to find the right professional to design his or her product. Customization would be limited: primarily engraving or a new watch strap. Finally, this process could take months, labor was expensive, and if the finished product wasn’t quite what the consumer wanted...there wasn’t much that could be done to restore the piece to its former glory.
👏🏻Improving the process: Customization at the touch of a button
Nowadays, the process of watch customization is streamlined, and companies can send the finished product to the customer in days or weeks. Even better, consumers don’t have to leave the comfort of their homes: they can order their watch anywhere with online platforms that make designing items easy. From big companies like Fossil and Swatch to smaller names like Vortic and Undone, there are plenty of businesses offering customized watches for their customers.
Online portals have made it easier than ever to visualize your custom piece before it reaches your door. For example, this portal from Eoniq walks you through each piece of the watch, so you can see your customization options live on the model to the left. By selecting options from each list, you can test multiple designs and see which custom watch you like best.
In addition to common customizations like case and strap materials and dial colors, the Eoniq portal takes personalization to another level with unique modifications. Customers can add text, images, and icons to the face of their watch, change the numerals and dial design, and even modify the watch hands and the glow of the face to their own personal taste. Wearers can also change the rotor on the back of the watch, adding a level of customization that only they’ll know about!
“Can’t miss” popular custom watch styles
There are so many ways to personalize a watch that it can make anyone’s head spin! Here are 3 suggestions of popular custom watches you should consider when looking for a personalized piece.
Custom Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is a unique custom watch due to the many modification options. When you order an Apple Watch, you’re able to choose the case and band colors as well as materials to make sure your new watch matches your personal taste.
Apple also provides many dial options you can download to have a custom Apple Watch face for your product. With a custom watch face, you can include your favorite color, character, or team into the watch’s design. Just look at this list of top Apple Watch faces for 2020 for inspiration!
If you’d prefer a custom Apple Watch band, there are retailers who offer straps in different colors, materials, and comfort levels. SkinIt allows you to start with a blank canvas and add colors or pictures to your custom watch strap. Etsy also has plenty of crafters who create beautiful custom Apple Watch bands, the most popular of which being the monogrammed watch band.
Custom Pocket Watch
Although pocket watches may seem outdated, they still hold a special place in fashion as well as certain circles of the watch community. They exude elegance, and vintage pocket watches make a great addition to any watch enthusiast’s collection.
A pocket watch is a perfect gift for anyone who loves classic timepieces: consider a custom pocket watch with engraving for a sentimental touch. Since they have metal exteriors, pocket watches are the perfect medium for personalized engraving. This custom pocket watch on Etsy provides modern style while still holding true to the classic design. Things Remembered is also well known for engraving, and these engraved pocket watches are no exception. Finally, this site offers free engraving on most of its custom pocket watches!
Custom Photo Watch
There’s nothing quite as personal as a custom photo watch that brings together a lovely timepiece and your treasured memories.🤹🏻♀️ Although engravings, colors, and materials can change the personality of a watch, adding a family photo or that of a loved one brings watch personalization to another level. If you’re someone who likes to show off your friends, family, or pets, a custom photo watch may be perfect for you.
There are several ways you can include a personal photo in your watch. Check out this piece regarding how to add a photo to your watch in five minutes or less!
Check these photo watches at Soufeel.
Or, if you like a bold look when it comes to your personal style, think about ordering a wooden photo watch that combines your photo and chic, natural material.
Carrying time through the years with your custom watch
As the desire to personalize everything in life persists, custom watches will grow in popularity. As if the type of watch you choose wasn’t enough of a statement, more possibilities arise every day to change shades, materials, textures, text, and even the movement of watches to better suit your needs. Plus, watches are perfect heirlooms, so a custom timepiece would be even more personal when passed on to a family member or given as a gift for a special occasion. When personalizing your watch, be sure to choose options that are as timeless as timepieces themselves!