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Watches losing popularity - Page 6

post #76 of 119
The Rolex President, I believe, had always had the solid links.
post #77 of 119
Jon, Rolex does claim to be hand-made or hand-assembled, I forget exactly which, but how is that untrue? A Boeing 747 is hand assembled, or at least a significant portion of it is.

You claim Rolex "cuts corners", how is having a hollow centre link cutting corners? You have worked in a jewellery store so I assume you know that a sizeable number of customers, at least until before the current massive heavy watch trend started, preferred lighter watches.

More importantly, Rolex makes 600,000-800,000 watches a year, needless to say they won't be haute horlogerie. Few of the average Rolex buyer wants high horology.

If you nit-pick in that manner, everyone cuts corners. Lange is arguably the best mass produced watch today, yet the underside of the balance wheel on my Lange is unfinished, a corner cut. Philippe Dufour does not make the baseplate or bridges himself, and he has a handful of watchmakers in his atelier to help him out, that's another corner cut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS
Yes, they do claim that. I just mention this in passing, but making 1 million (or more) mechanical watches per year is not a very profitable operation if you do everything "˜the right way', thus oftentimes corners are cut, from the movement, to manufacturing, to bracelets. Perfect example is the fact that up until very recently the center links of all Rolex watches were hollow.

Jon.
post #78 of 119
How does your sample of "dozens" of watches prove that a Rolex movement is inherently flawed? Rolex makes hundreds of thousands a year. I too have seen "dozens" of Rolex watches with no problems at all, after several years of wear.

Rolex does make a fortune from repairing, BUT Rolex charges much, much less than most watch brands for servicing, mainly because they simply replace parts as you note. And more importantly, Rolex turnaround time is very much quicker. Those are two issues that are important to the average consumer.

IWC, JLC, Blancpain, AP are just some of the brands I am familiar with who do NOT replace any parts, merely service the watch, and charge far more than Rolex. That is not a criticism, I am a patron of the brands mentioned. So is what Rolex does a bad thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS
While Walt's article did have its odd parts about it, I was personally speaking from my experience of actually working at a store which carries Rolex, seeing opened watches and speaking to our watchmaker (dozens of times) in which he noted this as a problem.

What happens is that Rolex merely replaces it when it's worn down, and charges you for it. You do know that Rolex makes a fortune simply with the repair part of their business, right?

Jon.
post #79 of 119
Well once again I must disagree. Ladies who buy a Patek 24 couldn't care less whether the centre links are solid. Patek uses 'lightened' links for two reasons, one is that it makes the watch less hefty (an important criteria for many female customers), and the other is the plastic used is more resilient than metal. If it was only a hollow metal link the bracelet would stretch.

And yes, Rolex hollow links did stretch, that's why the company has since redesigned the bracelet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS
Like, I said, until very recently. I think the first Rolex ("˜common') with solid center links was the SS w/ Platinum bezel Yachtmaster. Now all Oyster Bracelet Rolexes have solid links. I got a better one for you: the Patek 24, the ladies watch has "˜lightened' links, which is a marketing word for using plastic center links with a thin metal covering on top. How crappy is that? And from Patek no less!

Jon.
post #80 of 119
True quality could arguably be found in the vintage or antique time-pieces, especially the pocket-watches from say, Audemars Piguet or even earlier, L.Leroy & Cie, not its modern constituent: This sort of quality simply isn't made anymore given the context of what these century era craftspeople had to work with. Haas Neveux's Geneva Observatory Chronometre record of 879 points was not beat until 1925, which is something to note. Some of the earler George Daniels pocket-watches are very beautiful though; quite Breguet in aesthetic.
post #81 of 119
That kind of quality still exists, but only in the form of independent watchmakers like Dufour and Kari Voutilainen. Kari's repeaters and chronograph are of exceptional finish. But all of that comes at a price. You must realise Switzerland has changed remarkably since the 1800s/early 1900s. In that era, there were still relatively poor people with little education who were willing to work in watch factories. Today the average young Swiss prefers to a job at UBS, Serono or Novartis.

The other reason why quality has fallen is the change in the syllabus of the education at the various watch academies. Modern watchmakers are trained to produce timepieces suitable for mass production, trained to fit into the assembly line production methods seen at most watch factories (including many high end, Geneva-sealed establishments), they are not trained as real watchmakers. Decades ago students at the various academies still made chronographs and minute repeaters as "school watches", project watches. No longer.

Philippe Dufour often laments this sad fact, but I believe it is changing as watch buyers grow more sophisticated and demand more quality. Just look at the increased number of independent watchmakers today. People like Roger Smith, Vianney Halter and Peter Speake Marin, they were all anonymous watchmakers 15 years ago. Of course Roger was George Daniel's apprentice and is continuing his work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
True quality could arguably be found in the vintage or antique time-pieces, especially the pocket-watches from say, Audemars Piguet or even earlier, L.Leroy & Cie, not its modern constituent:



This sort of quality simply isn't made anymore given the context of what these century era craftspeople had to work with. Some of the earler George Daniels pocket-watches are very beautiful.
post #82 of 119
What I've noticed is that many of the premier independent watchmakers, for their most complicated pieces, tend to rework antique movements. However, yes, they no longer teach any sort of purist horological knowledge just like they don't teach much classical surgery at medical schools. Of course, in my opinion, that's rather cheap. Also people have the influence of technology.
post #83 of 119
Indeed Kari uses a LeCoultre ebauche for his decimal repeater. But not without reason. Vintage ebauche, especially those of the best manufacture like LeCoultre and Victorin Piguet, are impeccable constructed, in a manner that is not found anywhere today. Such ebauches are not easy to find, but Kari himself told me that it is the only option, short of creating a new movement from the ground up. But that would make his 700K franc repeater a multi-million dollar piece.

At the same time, there are still many independents who create movements from the ground up. Kari's chronograph is completely new. Dufour's grande sonnerie is also unique, albeit it premiered in the 1980s.

I think we will see many more independents who work in the style of Dufour and Kari in the years to come, as people are growing more willing to pay enormous sums for a watch. Kari has sold all his decimal repeaters so far, and has taken orders for half the 12 piece edition of the chronograph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
What I've noticed is that many of the premier independent watchmakers, for their most complicated pieces, tend to rework antique movements.

However, yes, they no longer teach any sort of purist horological knowledge just like they don't teach much classical surgery at medical schools. Of course, in my opinion, that's rather cheap.
post #84 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJX
Indeed Kari uses a LeCoultre ebauche for his decimal repeater. But not without reason. Vintage ebauche, especially those of the best manufacture like LeCoultre and Victorin Piguet, are impeccable constructed, in a manner that is not found anywhere today. Such ebauches are not easy to find, but Kari himself told me that it is the only option, short of creating a new movement from the ground up. But that would make his 700K franc repeater a multi-million dollar piece.

At the same time, there are still many independents who create movements from the ground up. Kari's chronograph is completely new. Dufour's grande sonnerie is also unique, albeit it premiered in the 1980s.

I think we will see many more independents who work in the style of Dufour and Kari in the years to come, as people are growing more willing to pay enormous sums for a watch. Kari has sold all his decimal repeaters so far, and has taken orders for half the 12 piece edition of the chronograph.

Someone who is quite knowledgeable about high end watch houses has told me that he doubts that anyone makes everything in house. There are obvioulsy companies which concentrate on specific parts, I wonder if Dufour or Droz makes literally everything.
post #85 of 119
I am 21 and have been wearing watches almost every day for over 10 years. I'd choose checking the time with a watch over a phone any day. Besides, it's much easier to turn my wrist than it is to fish inside my pocket .. especially if i'm wearing jeans.
post #86 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violinist
Someone who is quite knowledgeable about high end watch houses has told me that he doubts that anyone makes everything in house. There are obvioulsy companies which concentrate on specific parts, I wonder if Dufour or Droz makes literally everything.

THat's true, no one does. Philippe is very open that be gets the bridges and baseplates, dials made by external specialists. His specialty is finishing. There are some companies that come very close to making everything in-house, like Glashuette Original. They even make screws and wheels in-house, a rare thing. They do get some parts (may 10-15% of a movement), like balance spring from their sister companies in the Swatch Group.
post #87 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
The Rolex President, I believe, had always had the solid links.

No, they use to have hollow center links as well. They were thicker, i.e. less hollow area than comparable oyster bracelets, but they were, nonetheless hollow. I saw a watch that was ruined by another watchmaker, which he "˜accidentally' punctured a hole in a Rolex Day-Date's president bracelet...it was not pretty.

Jon.
post #88 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJX
Jon, Rolex does claim to be hand-made or hand-assembled, I forget exactly which, but how is that untrue? A Boeing 747 is hand assembled, or at least a significant portion of it is.

You claim Rolex "cuts corners", how is having a hollow centre link cutting corners? You have worked in a jewellery store so I assume you know that a sizeable number of customers, at least until before the current massive heavy watch trend started, preferred lighter watches.

More importantly, Rolex makes 600,000-800,000 watches a year, needless to say they won't be haute horlogerie. Few of the average Rolex buyer wants high horology.

If you nit-pick in that manner, everyone cuts corners. Lange is arguably the best mass produced watch today, yet the underside of the balance wheel on my Lange is unfinished, a corner cut. Philippe Dufour does not make the baseplate or bridges himself, and he has a handful of watchmakers in his atelier to help him out, that's another corner cut.

What do you mean how is it untrue? It's an assembly line! And a mass-produced one at that. I mean, every watch is "˜hand-assembled' in one way or another, but there is a big difference between a Rolex and a Blancpain. One is made in a massive automated factory and the other is made in a large farmhouse. You really can't compare watches to airplanes.

Dude, of course its cutting corners if they mention how tough the sports watches (have you ever read Rolexes advertising, seen their promo videos, read their factory books?) are only to have them utilize center links that are hollow, whereas even much cheaper brands use solid center links. And of course they stretch...the reason they changed this is because the internet utilized peoples ability to research Rolexes corner cutting, and think twice about buy one.

Not making your own movements or plates is not cutting corners; you A) really don't get what I'm talking about, B) don't understand the whole issue regarding in-house / out-sourced movements / parts.

Most people think Rolex is high-horology. Sorry, that's what they think...same reason they think Mercedes is the end all to be all of cars. It's the name that sells. People will buy Rolex simply because it is a Rolex, and nothing else. And that's easily 75% or the Rolex-buying public. They simply think it's the best due to Rolexes misleading advertising and the general cache that follows the brand.

Nothing personal, but as someone who worked in the industry and had a great interest in horology as a hobby as well, I have a pretty good understanding of what I'm talking about, and coming in from left field to question that with not facts, but your own assumptions is asinine. This is why I don't normally get into watch discussions, because at the end of the day I am fighting fact and experience with personal feelings and conjecture.

Jon.
post #89 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJX
How does your sample of "dozens" of watches prove that a Rolex movement is inherently flawed? Rolex makes hundreds of thousands a year. I too have seen "dozens" of Rolex watches with no problems at all, after several years of wear.

Rolex does make a fortune from repairing, BUT Rolex charges much, much less than most watch brands for servicing, mainly because they simply replace parts as you note. And more importantly, Rolex turnaround time is very much quicker. Those are two issues that are important to the average consumer.

IWC, JLC, Blancpain, AP are just some of the brands I am familiar with who do NOT replace any parts, merely service the watch, and charge far more than Rolex. That is not a criticism, I am a patron of the brands mentioned. So is what Rolex does a bad thing?

You are talking about the outside of the case, and I was speaking about the movement. Simply seeing a lot of Rolexes that wear well isn't the same as year's worth of discussions with a watchmaker who has been working on Rolex for over 25 years, it just isn't.

AP replaces parts, of course they do! As does Patek! As does every other major brand in the industry. Do they charge you for the parts? Of course, but what do you think they only fix parts? Since when? Also, it's more expensive to service a JLC movement (used in JLC and AP watches) because the movements are finer and take more handiwork to work on; it's all relative. You can't question my actual experience in the industry by the 3 or 4 times you have sent watches in for service. You are judging me for something you yourself don't have evidence for.

Jon.
post #90 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violinist
Someone who is quite knowledgeable about high end watch houses has told me that he doubts that anyone makes everything in house. There are obvioulsy companies which concentrate on specific parts, I wonder if Dufour or Droz makes literally everything.

It's not expensive to make parts, once you have the right machines. It's the tooling that's expensive. But, nowadays with CNC machines, you can use a CNC machine to make a lot of different parts, especially plates and bridges. What's a lot harder to make is dials (I kind you not), hands, balances, and especially bi-metallic escapement springs.

Jon.
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