You may want to ask yourself who, precisely, is being a "prick" in this conversation. Poor form, sir.
Very nice - watches that have some personal history attached are always special. If it were mine, I'd set aside the bracelet, pair it with a nice brown croc strap and wear the heck out of it.
^^^ Agreed. There was a thread a while back on WUS, with numerous IWC owners reporting on the timekeeping performance of their watches with the 8 day movement. The results were, in my view, appalling. All the chest-thumping about a functional approach to movement finishing rings a bit hollow when the actual function of the movement - accurate measurement of the passage of time - is quantifiably lacking.
You've probably touched upon the the three elements that contribute most to disenchantment with IWC.
1) Accuracy - for a company that use to pride itself on better-than-chronometer paramaters for accuracy, the performance of recent movements has been disappointing.
2) For those that were "with" IWC before the current direction shift (my lovely and elegant 3531 would have no place within their current design aesthetic), the change isn't geneally welcomed as a positive.
3) IWC used to impress as a serious manufacturer dedicated to horological advancment. Now they present as almost frivolous with their endless parade of celebrities, glamour parties and fashion model shots. The focus seems more on branding than upon craftsmanship. It may well prove to be ultimately successful for their bottom line, but has (as you noted) been polarizing.
All that said, I don't think IWC attracts nearly the flack of some other premium brands. Their watches still have the cool factor. Were I in the market for a big pilot watch, the Big Pilot would be high on the list.
I'd say most Reversos meet my definition of a dress watch, and would look FAR better with a suit than the great proliferation of big clunky sports watches weighing down the wrists of business professionals. The Reverso defines the last vestiges of classic JLC design, now that the company has made a strong committment to the special forces / black ops / covert incursion / badass mall-ninja design ethos.
I find your defense of IWC's interesting in terms of them being as you describe IWC as on a "More serious, engineered approach." IMHO, that might seem more true if their collections had not become more a styling exercise (and a tremendously disappointing one at that in recent years). Not to mention in terms of more serious approach...these guys milk everything they can out of silly looking limited editions....the Prada Edition, the Cousteau, the Boris Becker, etc etc etc.
I see nothing wrong with more hand workmanship and as you suggest embellishment. In terms of honesty, lets not forget, the less they do to embellish or decorate a movement,the less labor intensive and costly it is for them and the faster they can pump them out.
As for Lange not being as you say "Honest." Well I suppose from a puritanical view of using only what is necessary in a watch, maybe that makes sense. But at the price range they are competing in, their movements should look beautiful, impressive, and be a distinctive.