A question that is asked time and time again...so let's make it clear. Both have REAL diamonds & precious gemstones of similar size, quality and quantity.
However, custom set watches have had the stones added outside of the manufacturers. Why does this exist? Well firstly the process is relatively the same in terms of adding the diamonds… but ultimately it exists for two main reasons. Firstly, someone wants to completely customise their watch in a way that is not something you can buy readily off the shelf or in your local authorized dealers, secondly because of the price point. Retro fitting diamonds into a watch is typically a lot less costly than buying a watch that already comes with diamonds on it. It also gives the customer the opportunity to be involved in selecting the diamond grading to suit their requirements and budget and tailor a watch to the specific taste.
Diamond grading can be explained simply as follows, the diamond colour scale starts at D (the most colourless) through to Z (very noticeably yellow in colour). The clarity scale starts at flawless through to included and is also numbered 1,2,3 with the lowest of these numbers meaning the tail part of that clarity grading. Typically, most watches are set with “brilliant cut” diamonds but often these days you will see princess cut, baguette and emerald cut stones also being used.
What diamonds do I need in my watch? Should it be VVS? Typically, common questions asked in this industry… well in short, it’s all down to personal preferences and budget. The better the diamond quality the better the results, that said it’s a common misconception that you must have VVS clarity diamonds. In small diamonds especially brilliant cut mostly added to watches its more about the colour than the clarity. The bigger the stones such as large engagement ring diamonds then you will ideally need both colour and clarity, but for small stones its more important the stones are selected for their colour and to make sure they are clear and not cloudy.
The debate of custom vs factory will always rage on, both with supporters and those opposed, in a luxury market it’s nice to have a choice and something to suit all tastes and budgets.
A point worth noting… once diamond setting has been carried out on a watch it cannot be removed and will also invalidate any manufacturer’s warranty.