It's very high on my wish list: the design is really quite simple and classic, but I just like the weight, proportions and finish of it. And that unlike a Rolex, most people will have no idea what it is. Yet it's a Breguet. For not crazy money.
Another +1 for the black dial/brown strap combo. It was the very unique black/medium brown combo that Panerai is known for that got me really into the whole watch thing way back when. I was intrigued by the Luminor case and well, fell down that rabbit hole head first. I guess I've sort of held a soft spot for the look ever since.
As for GO. I always kick myself for not getting this when I had the chance..
For Italian naval divers in three piece wetsuits, with pockets in their neat little neoprene waistcoats.
Originally Posted by Keith T
Just needs a monocle diving mask to accessorize with.
That made me crack a smile.
Since the original Mussolini's-military-commissioned Panerai watches from the 1930s used Rolex Oyster pocketwatch cases with lugs soldered on, you can kind of see where they were going with that idea, but it's still pretty contrived in my opinion.
Belli really raises the bar to new levels when it comes to analyzing the dials on watches!
One of the most important things about a watch is its dial, as we look at it several times a day. Yet it's often one of the most overlooked aspects of a watch.
...(Click to show)
Something as simple as going from Arabics to Romans or vice versa can have a dramatic effect on a watch. Years ago there were 2 similar Pateks the 5015 and the 5054 (its successor). Whether one likes the size, bezel, or officers case is a separate matter. To me the dial on the 5015 was far more elegant and whimsical using much more stylized numbers, while the Romans on the 5054 looked a bit stodgy and you lost all of the hour marker numbers on the bottom half of the dial.
I don't agree with everything Patek does with its designs or dials, but they generally get it right with many of their perpetual calendars and perpetual calendar chronos. I'm not sure I'd say Lange doesn't not create pieces that are as refined, unless maybe you are solely referencing their own perpetual calendars. As for the quality of their workmanship, its top notch, and some would say exceeding that of Patek. However, if its solely, about dial design, I agree that some of theirs are just off, at least in my eyes. I don't love their perpetual calendar watches, and many have heard me rant about not loving the original Datographs which had a dial containing Romans, Arabics, and sticks. Lange makes great watches, but some of their dials are hit or miss IMHO.
Does it have to be new or could it be pre-owned. I'd probably consider some of their perpetual calendars if going pre-owned. I've tried the 5170 on and overall its a very nice watch, but I can't say I walked away loving it. Not sure why.
To me the curvaceous applied Arabic numbers seemed a bit too dressy/fussy for a chronograph, and the case seemed a bit too dainty (especially compared to previous chronos Patek has produced). I may have preferred the case if it were used for a time only dress watch. However, overall its lovely watch, and if it makes you smile go for it.
You're absolutely right; the dial is the core visual element in a wristwatch, and one in which every detail counts, regardless of the style. While some manufacturers seem to be content to settle for less-refined execution these days — hey, people still buy them, right? — just consider the influence that small differences on the dial can have on the future desirability. A different colour of printing, the addition/deletion of an item, or subtle changes in arrangement can affect valuation by multiples.
Not everyone notices or cares about this stuff, but some certainly do, and it really shows in the prices!
Agreed about the 5170; more details below.
I like the newer power-reserve Datograph with the baton markers very much. It’s regrettable that they increased the size, though I’d still very gladly wear it. Regarding the original Datograph with the Romans and Arabics, although it’s not my favourite combination either, it’s done competently and beautifully, so I consider it more a matter of taste than something that calls the basic design literacy of the maker into question. But yes, there’s a lot going on with that watch — again, not that I wouldn’t love to have one!
(Maintaining one, on the other hand… oy!)
Originally Posted by Kaplan
@Belligero, font discussion is super nerdy. I love it.
Aye, Kap’n! Thanks, glad to hear that the discussion is appreciated.
To be brutally honest, most specific watches don’t interest me enough to bother commenting on — I figure the industry is about 90% BS — but I do enjoy a more abstract and broader discussion of design principles. I suppose the reason I’m so picky about this stuff is because of what a watch represents to me both technically and aesthetically. It’s a tangible form of an idea as much as it is a machine, and there’s enough choice out there that there’s no need to settle for a compromise.
Also, a watch is generally the only item on my body with any visible lettering, so I find it very difficult to overlook flaws in such a thing.
Yes, this definitely constitutes nerding out... and I love it too!
Originally Posted by NonServiam
I really enjoy the PP discussion, @Belligero is spot on in my eyes.
A quick challenge: Say you were to liquidate a collection of watches and buy a modern mid-level Patek, which one would you choose? Investment value might be interesting, but highly unpredictable of course. But it needs to be one with a certain promise of a future classic, worthy of passing down to the next generations.
To spend you have, lets say: 80k USD. Give or take.
I am thinking the 5170 chrono. Lovely new in-house chrono movement, classic(ish) size, sober but interesting dial. But I've always been one for chronos over calendars
I’m with you on the chronograph vs. calendar thing. For me, the function and look of a chrono is just so much more interactive and useful than something that only moves once a day and that you only get to play with when it needs correction. I’m infantile like that.
A calendar plus a chronograph, with moon phase, please... that's generally impossible not to like.
About that 5170, you probably don’t want to know what I think , but here goes...
It’s a mostly-beautiful watch in either version; I also prefer the Breguet numerals on the white gold version to the skinny Romans on the yellow gold, though either obviously constitutes a top chronograph. Patek’s current manual chrono movement is the epitome of the classic horizontally-coupled column-wheel style.
And they certainly picked some lovely dials from their 1463 model as templates for the new ones...
Breguet-numeral 1463: hat tip to Christie's via Perpetuelle
Roman-numeral and baton-marker 1463, with doctor's pulsometer (as seen in 5170): hat tip to Hodinkee
5170J and 5170G: hat tip to Perpetuelle
Unfortunately, the modern version doesn’t do much for me.
It seems a bit uninspired, and it’s largely because of the pulsometer. They had a lovely watch apart from this logarithmic scale, which is charmless and sterile on the new version. Leaving aside the inexplicable selection of Arial for all the numbering except the 3, as the impropriety of its use has already been amply covered, this element just doesn’t blend in. It didn’t have to be a direct copy of the gorgeous old hand-lettered version — there are ways to impart a modern and machine-finished look if that’s what they were going for — but the new one just doesn’t fit with the rest of the dial.
Let's take a closer look:
hat tip to The Prodigal Guide
Everything else is harmonious and consistent, so a completely mismatched sans-serif (particularly an inherently unattractive one that's absolutely devoid of typographic integrity) is jarring by contrast. As with a few other high-end watches I’ve seen recently, it’s as if the person who did most of the work clocked out before it was finished and left Dwight Schrute in charge of the last bit. What makes it even more confusing is that they went to the effort of altering the “3” instead of just picking a suitable high-quality typeface in the first place. The one they used to write "GRADUE POUR 15 PULSATIONS" would likely have been perfectly suited.
I just don’t get it.
P.S.: I realize its inclusion is optional in uppercase, but they really should have have retained the original's accent aigu on "gradué".
To compare, take a look at the 5950 to see a current chronograph that they’ve done right:
hat tip to perpetuelle
The 5950 is flawless, which it damn well ought to be for half a million bucks. But their “mere” fifty- or hundred-grand models shouldn’t require excuses, either.
Honestly, none of the current basic-complication models from Patek does much for me; I used to like the 5130 quite a bit but I’ve lost interest. The aperture-display annual calendar tends not to make for a very good-looking watch — at least not anything they’ve made to date — and the alternate chrono with the minutes and hours on the same axis has yet to be used in a design that’s up to their old-school standards.
If it seems like I'm being a bit hard on Patek, it's because I am. With their pricing and diamond-cartel-like self-regard, the product has to be beyond reproach. I just don't see it in most of the current range. I've discussed this with others who feel similarly, a few of whom are in a position to buy and who have passed on a modern Patek simply because of not loving the dial.
Although I lack enough of a self-preservation instinct to get much use out of a Patek Philippe myself, I’d be keen on the 5070 if for some reason I was seriously considering getting one of their chronographs. What are your thoughts on that model, or Lange's newer Datograph?
In fairness, the 5170 isn’t a mess like the 5140, but they still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with it. I would have a tough time not seeing it as a flawed imitation of the 1463, despite its excellent movement.
It's a very nice watch... but if there's any doubt, then there is no doubt.