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The Watch Appreciation Thread (Reviews and Photos of Men's Timepieces by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, JLC etc...) - Page 1291  

post #19351 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

 

 

My first "real" watch: Muhle Glashutte Germanika V.

Congrats and enjoy it!

post #19352 of 48312
I think you are being too soft in your interpretation of "inferior."

The Port. Chrono is a perfectly fine watch. It has a tried and true ebauche movement that has been thoughtfully reworked by IWC. However, as a Portuguese and within the realm of serious watch collecting, it is indeed inferior. First of all, it lacks the crucial element that defines the Portuguese: a pocket watch sized movement that naturally calls for a larger case. Second, the fact it is an entry level watch significantly lowers its desirability. Many compromises had to be made in order to bring the price down, and they are plainly evident. Two off the top of my head: the awkward case shape necessary to fit a relatively small movement, and the cam-actuated chronograph function (as opposed to one activated by a column wheel). Third, in-house movements do matter. Watch enthusiasm is not about brute functionality, but history and design. It is not about whether an in-house movement works "better" than an ebauche from ETA, which is as reliable as an AK-47 and is near impossible to improve upon in that regard. It's about each watchmaker's unique problem-solving approach. The priciest, most collectible watches are the ones with the most interesting movements, for which you can tell a story that makes sense in light of the brand's heritage, not the ones that keep the best time or are most reliable.

The Lemania-based Audemars and Vacherons are a weak counter-example, as that particular ebauche is singularly unique. It is extremely high-grade, highly exclusive, and using chronograph ebauches is a long-established practice. The same cannot be said of any other sort of ebauche.

Anyways, in-house chronographs are becoming more and more common. IWC, JLC, Patek, Rolex, etc., each field one. Vintage watch prices may not be effected by this trend, but the future collectibility of current models certainly will be.
post #19353 of 48312
Congrats to her! Very cool watch and that doesn't surprise me in the least to hear about her great experience with Stitch
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcomer View Post

So, just wanted to give a shoutout to Stitchy.

My friend was looking for a Michele watch, and she had nothing but good things to say about working with him. And she can be a bit of a hard ass.

And the obligatory pic...

post #19354 of 48312
Not to bemoan a small point Dino, but I have often felt the Port chrono was always a tad on the high side for price point for an IWC chrono. I think their Aquatimer and Pilot chronos are the cheaper of their chronographs. Agree with you about in-house movements and their relative importance to collectors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

The Portuguese chrono is sort of an entry level IWC chronograph, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.


 It exposes the brand to a broader audience of potential consumers, possibly younger consumers, and provides revenue to use toward research and development, and to allows a company to focus on more costly lower production specialty watches.  Even Patek, AP, VC, Rolex etc have their own respective entry level models. 
post #19355 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

I think you are being too soft in your interpretation of "inferior."

The Port. Chrono is a perfectly fine watch. It has a tried and true ebauche movement that has been thoughtfully reworked by IWC. However, as a Portuguese and within the realm of serious watch collecting, it is indeed inferior. First of all, it lacks the crucial element that defines the Portuguese: a pocket watch sized movement that naturally calls for a larger case. Second, the fact it is an entry level watch significantly lowers its desirability. Many compromises had to be made in order to bring the price down, and they are plainly evident. Two off the top of my head: the awkward case shape necessary to fit a relatively small movement, and the cam-actuated chronograph function (as opposed to one activated by a column wheel). Third, in-house movements do matter. Watch enthusiasm is not about brute functionality, but history and design. It is not about whether an in-house movement works "better" than an ebauche from ETA, which is as reliable as an AK-47 and is near impossible to improve upon in that regard. It's about each watchmaker's unique problem-solving approach. The priciest, most collectible watches are the ones with the most interesting movements, for which you can tell a story that makes sense in light of the brand's heritage, not the ones that keep the best time or are most reliable.

The Lemania-based Audemars and Vacherons are a weak counter-example, as that particular ebauche is singularly unique. It is extremely high-grade, highly exclusive, and using chronograph ebauches is a long-established practice. The same cannot be said of any other sort of ebauche.

Anyways, in-house chronographs are becoming more and more common. IWC, JLC, Patek, Rolex, etc., each field one. Vintage watch prices may not be effected by this trend, but the future collectibility of current models certainly will be.

Foo,

 

I understand and mentioned that the Port Chrono does not follow in the tradition of the original Portuguese watches.  Yes, perhaps my interpretation of inferior is "soft." If compared to the a more upscale and true to original Portuguese themed watch, yes it can be considered inferior.  However, when compared to watches in its price catagory, I am not sure I would call it inferior.  The Port chrono is an entry level watch and as such compromises were made, but that is common place among any entry level item be it a watch, a car, or a television. 

 

If you do not like my chronograph example, then consider JLC Cal 920.  Never used by JLC, but used in the original AP RO Jumbo, the original PP Jumbo Nautilus, and VC's 222.  Its often considered one of the finest automatic movements.  Today, since AP owns the rights (I know they owned 40% of JLC until a few years back) they consider it an inhouse movement when used in their watches,...but its a JLC development.  AP's cal 3120 is lovely and more practical with a quickset date, but I prefer the ulta thin 2120 for historic reason, thinness (which was considered an art form until everyone went ga-ga over giant watches), and for its beauty. 

 

I'm not against inhouse made movements, and I do understand the value many people place on them.  I just think there are also some great watches that have outsourced movements.


Edited by Dino944 - 3/26/13 at 12:54pm
post #19356 of 48312
Question on outsourced movements. I was always under the impression that the reason the El-Premiro series Daytonas are so rare in stainless is that Rolex had trouble making a profit unless they sold it as a precious metal watch and profit on the metal.

First, is that correct?

If so, then wouldn't the same hold true for other companies that have a manufacture? Aren't they reducing profit by using an outsourced movement (unless it's a complication they don't make at all)?
post #19357 of 48312
IWC BP 5002

post #19358 of 48312
saw this today at the Mall - thought it was pretty fancy. Sat well for being 44mm. The 2-dial layout, silver dial, and blued hands reminded me of the 5001-07 I was wearing. Overall I very much lusted over it. nod[1].gif

Didn't even bother me the saleswoman was trying to explain to me that Glashutte was German, and that automatic movements don't require batteries etc.

Pics from the web.

post #19359 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post

Question on outsourced movements. I was always under the impression that the reason the El-Premiro series Daytonas are so rare in stainless is that Rolex had trouble making a profit unless they sold it as a precious metal watch and profit on the metal.

First, is that correct?

If so, then wouldn't the same hold true for other companies that have a manufacture? Aren't they reducing profit by using an outsourced movement (unless it's a complication they don't make at all)?
Not quite. Their availability in stainless steel was limited compared to the demand for them because Zenith wasn't able to supply enough ébauches relative to what Rolex could have sold. While I'm sure they weren't exactly losing money on the stainless models, the margins are higher for precious-metal ones, so they put a higher proportion of the movements into two-tone and 18K watches than they otherwise would have. Until recently, if you wanted a Daytona from a Rolex dealer, you could put your name on a list and wait years for a steel one, or just get a non-steel version.

The Zenith-based Rolex cal. 4030 wasn't a typical outsourcing job, though. It was extensively modified to the point of having about 50% different parts from the base movement, including a completely different escapement with Rolex's free-sprung balance wheel. Another factor in the lower availability was the extent to which the movement was handbuilt.

I very much doubt that buying something like an off-the-shelf or lightly modified ETA movement, as so many watch companies (I hesitate to use the term "manufacturers" in this case, pun certainly intended) do, is less profitable than making one in-house. It's an efficient but somewhat lazy way to make a watch, and you're just not going to beat ETA's pricing by manufacturing in-house unless you're Seiko. I have no problem with this practice for companies who price honestly and don't try to obfuscate the movement's origins, but at a certain cost level, it's reasonable to want something a bit less mundane under the dial.

The traditional practice of sourcing an ébauche from JLC, F. Piguet, Lemania, Valjoux, etc. and doing the finishing and assembly in-house is a separate matter, and at smaller production volumes, I wouldn't presume to speculate on its impact on profit margins.
post #19360 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post

Question on outsourced movements. I was always under the impression that the reason the El-Premiro series Daytonas are so rare in stainless is that Rolex had trouble making a profit unless they sold it as a precious metal watch and profit on the metal.

First, is that correct?

If so, then wouldn't the same hold true for other companies that have a manufacture? Aren't they reducing profit by using an outsourced movement (unless it's a complication they don't make at all)?

Hi Ron,

 

The El-Primero powered Daytonas were grossly underpriced and demand was insanely high (which led to some AD's charging significantly above list price and also people flipping the watches and doubling their money in 24 hours...although Rolex did not get a part of that).  It has been said that Rolex only had a limited number of movements from Zenith, and hence they chose to use more of them for the steel and gold and all gold models, which of course have a much higher profit margin.  It should also be noted there were numerous significant changes to the movement, which had to be done by hand which also limited how many movements they could produce (The current movement is signifcantly less complicated and easier to produce and service).  If Rolex had charged more for their SS Daytonas they would have gotten it.  There were waiting lists at most ADs, and as mentioned some AD's were nearly doubling the list price and still selling them.  When I got interested in them around 1994 the list price was only $3,800.  By the time I got my first in all steel it was $4,350...which was still relatively inexpensive when compared to other chronographs. A Cartier Pasha chronograph was about $6,800,  APs Royal Oak Chronograph was $12,500 when released around 1998, the VC Overseas was about $11,000, a Breguet or Blancpain were each about 7,000-8,000 (all of which use the F.Piguet 1185).  It wasn't until nearly the year 2000 that it was about $6,000 and it remained there until 2005 when it went up to $6,500...while chronographs from other companies continued to have more significant price increases.  For more than a decade it was the watch with the highest demand, highest resale, and it was the closest thing to a complicated watch Rolex made.  Dealers often tried to use it as a "Carrot" selling it only to so called "better customers" or telling people they will sell it to them for list price if they also buy something like a Day-Date.

 

As for reducing profit by using an outsourced chronograph movement, chronograph movements are very complicated and costly to develop.  Hence, a company has to determine whether its worth it to spend the R&D to produce one of their own.  In the end Rolex wanted to be self sufficient and did develop their own movement cal 4130.  I will admit my first inhouse movement Daytona did have a problem with the chronograph function after about a year and had to go back under warranty for repairs...I never had any problems with my El Primero based Daytonas.  My second inhouse Daytona never had any problems.  However, many companies, including VC, AP, Cartier, IWC and a ton of others still use outsourced movements for chronographs. 

post #19361 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belligero View Post


Not quite. Their availability in stainless steel was limited compared to the demand for them because Zenith wasn't able to supply enough ébauches relative to what Rolex could have sold. While I'm sure they weren't exactly losing money on the stainless models, the margins are higher for precious-metal ones, so they put a higher proportion of the movements into two-tone and 18K watches than they otherwise would have. Until recently, if you wanted a Daytona from a Rolex dealer, you could put your name on a list and wait years for a steel one, or just get a non-steel version.

The Zenith-based Rolex cal. 4030 wasn't a typical outsourcing job, though. It was extensively modified to the point of having about 50% different parts from the base movement, including a completely different escapement with Rolex's free-sprung balance wheel. Another factor in the lower availability was the extent to which the movement was handbuilt.

I very much doubt that buying something like an off-the-shelf or lightly modified ETA movement, as so many watch companies (I hesitate to use the term "manufacturers" in this case, pun certainly intended) do, is less profitable than making one in-house. It's an efficient but somewhat lazy way to make a watch, and you're just not going to beat ETA's pricing by manufacturing in-house unless you're Seiko. I have no problem with this practice for companies who price honestly and don't try to obfuscate the movement's origins, but at a certain cost level, it's reasonable to want something a bit less mundane under the dial.

The traditional practice of sourcing an ébauche from JLC, F. Piguet, Lemania, Valjoux, etc. and doing the finishing and assembly in-house is a separate matter, and at smaller production volumes, I wouldn't presume to speculate on its impact on profit margins.

Well said!

post #19362 of 48312
Thanks! You guys are quite thorough - I love it. Do you all read/post on Time Zone as well?
post #19363 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post

Thanks! You guys are quite thorough - I love it. Do you all read/post on Time Zone as well?

Years ago I used to read and post there almost every day... now not so much. After a while many of the posts seemed a bit repetitive with lots of people check to see if their $150 eBay VC, Rolex, Cartier was real.

I visit this thread a lot now because even when we disagree there is still a sense of community and fun here. Also I find I'm learning a great deal here through our exchange of ideas about watches.
post #19364 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

Years ago I used to read and post there almost every day... now not so much. After a while many of the posts seemed a bit repetitive with lots of people check to see if their $150 eBay VC, Rolex, Cartier was real.

I visit this thread a lot now because even when we disagree there is still a sense of community and fun here. Also I find I'm learning a great deal here through our exchange of ideas about watches.

Funny - that's why I am very rarely posting/reading in MC anymore, and tend to stick with CESpool and Social Life on SF.
post #19365 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

Foo,

I understand and mentioned that the Port Chrono does not follow in the tradition of the original Portuguese watches.  Yes, perhaps my interpretation of inferior is "soft." If compared to the a more upscale and true to original Portuguese themed watch, yes it can be considered inferior.  However, when compared to watches in its price catagory, I am not sure I would call it inferior.  The Port chrono is an entry level watch and as such compromises were made, but that is common place among any entry level item be it a watch, a car, or a television. 

If you do not like my chronograph example, then consider JLC Cal 920.  Never used by JLC, but used in the original AP RO Jumbo, the original PP Jumbo Nautilus, and VC's 222.  Its often considered one of the finest automatic movements.  Today, since AP owns the rights (I know they owned 40% of JLC until a few years back) they consider it an inhouse movement when used in their watches,...but its a JLC development.  AP's cal 3120 is lovely and more practical with a quickset date, but I prefer the ulta thin 2120 for historic reason, thinness (which was considered an art form until everyone went ga-ga over giant watches), and for its beauty. 

I'm not against inhouse made movements, and I do understand the value many people place on them.  I just think there are also some great watches that have outsourced movements.

I agree with you for the most part. "Inferior" is a relative term. The Port. Chrono is not a bad watch. However, I really do think it is a questionable value proposition. Its retail price is $7,900--two thousand dollars more than the retail price of a Pilot Chronograph on a leather strap. Heck, the Pilot Chronograph on a bracelet is $7,100--still $800 less than the Port Chrono. Yet, they all share essentially the same movement. To make matters worse, the least expensive "real" Portuguese (the Portuguese Handwound) is $8,900. In actual purchase dollars, that is only a ~$700 premium, and you get an in-house, full-sized movement. Plus, the Portuguese Handwound is arguably the most classic form of Portuguese currently available. The white dialed version with gold numerals is a near dead ringer for the Jubilee, but with applied numerals. Actually, now that I think of it, it's shocking how much of a premium people are still willing to pay for the Jubillee now that these are available new (and with the typical dealer discount).

You are right about the JLC chronograph ebauche--but, again, chronographs are really their own isolated world in the horological universe. Also, as time goes on, I am convinced there will be more and more pressure on companies like AP and VC to develop their own truly in-house chronographs. It's a matter of prestige, and now that others are doing it, they cannot continue using the excuse that available ebauches are good enough.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post

If so, then wouldn't the same hold true for other companies that have a manufacture? Aren't they reducing profit by using an outsourced movement (unless it's a complication they don't make at all)?

Generally, ebauches are the much cheaper route. After all, the development cost for the ebauche is spread amongst all the brands who adopt it and use it over many, many years. Also, the typical ebauche is made to be rugged, easy to assemble, and highly adaptable (for ease of installing complication modules). That's to say, they are made to accommodate the lowest pricing possible, not to be particularly elegant or refined.

In contrast, in-house movements must be newly developed and are not typically shared with other brands. Hence, they can be made in a way that is optimal for their specific applications, and you can wind-up with something a lot prettier and more elegant.
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