or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › The Watch Appreciation Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Watch Appreciation Thread - Page 1640

post #24586 of 36874
dino, thanks for replying. very good points.

im going to leave rolex out of this because i think they really are a unique brand when it comes to this. in many many ways. i mean, hans wildorf developed the brand with the intention for it to be a behemoth. i read once that he came up with name "rolex" because it sounds luxurious and can be easily pronounced in any language and dialect. not sure if thats true, but it sounds good to me. the brand was established to that end. to be a huge luxury player. unlike almost every other brand (aside from IWC, although iirc mr jones, an american, set out to be more of a worldwide supplier and parts maker than a luxury watch manufacture, or something like that) that bear the name(s) of its founders and began as small luxury ateliers.

as well, the progression of ownership and leadership of the brand, the secrecy of policy, the almost entirely in house manufacture of everything they do, is very unique. its a fascinating brand, and mr wildorf was truly a genius in how he put the rolex brand into motion, and how he was able to affect its entire existence and way of business, long after he passed. its a true gem of a brand and company. unheralded in some ways.

all that aside, what i meant was as following. lets just take richemont for example. here is a small sampling of the brands under their umbrella.

  • ALS
  • IWC
  • JLC
  • Panerai
  • Piaget
  • VC

now, when i read the articles about the history of those brands, and when you see that incorporated in their advertising, and when you read the introductory pages to their yearly watch collection books (damn i love those, i need to order more) it makes me tingle. such fascinating histories, all the various medals won at world fairs and competitions of days gone by, the innovations of the founders and their successors, the small work shops in the frigid swiss alps.... all that stuff. i love it.

but then i put it into the context of these companies now just being a cog in the giant machine that is richemont and what not. instead of artisans at the helm, its men in power suits with multi-national MBAs, who knows how many VPs, and CEOs shuffling like a deck of cards at a vegas black jack table. it just loses some of that enchantment and value to me. its just not the same to me, and its not what i emotionally envision when i read the aforementioned histories.

dont get me wrong, i bear no ill will to richemont and their counterparts. i know its a cold hard fact that without the likes of them we would never see the production and quality levels of these watches. you need a lot of money to manufacture tens, or hundreds, of thousands, of a product at supreme quality levels. and some of these brands would surely be long defunct. and many of those that may have survived would still be attainable only to the uber rich, diplomats, and the like. 1k, 5k, even 20k, is a lot for a watch, but its attainable. you dont have to be napoleon to own a breguet, and i love that. i am very grateful and happy for what they do. they usually do their best to keep within the ideals of the men who established these brands, and they try to be honest with that. and thats highly commendable, besides just being good business sense.

but still, its just not the same. so is how it strikes me anyways.
post #24587 of 36874

I think perhaps the common ground here among all of your points is the true essence of a brand.  As mentioned above, if we're realistic about this, we see watches as pieces of art.  Engineering too, of course, but for art's sake as in many cases a better, simpler, cheaper and more effective solution was found decades ago.  They are anachronistic (no pun intended), inherently limited in their usefulness, and despite or because of that, we decide to lavish our attention and affection on these obsolete objects.  It's right to question whether "history" has any part of that in itself.  But I think we might mostly agree that a history of consistent design philosophy is what draws us more to one maker than another.  I suppose that could be a definition of the word (I say again, and overused one), "iconic".

 

Despite the power of a Richemont or a Swatch, I believe one of the reasons for their having successfully sustained these different personalities in their companies, is that they recognise the brand value in a particular design aesthetic.  Sure, they can buy workers' insurance policies collectively, combine advertising purchasing power, have centralised training, share parts and even manufacturing resources across companies.  All of those things make business sense, but none need affect the product we see: the big conglomerates seem to have left each of these companies to manage their own distinct design development, and I suspect their own management teams too, to a large extent.

 

Even the more commercial brands, e.g. Omega, despite having made a huge populist PR push to take on Rolex, have kept a very distinct house style that has clear roots in the watches we or our fathers bought years ago.  If you've always liked Omegas, there's every chance you'll still like them now.  As for AP, or JLC, they have inflated the sizes of Royal Oaks and Reversos to meet the customer's fashion taste, but the designs are, as Stitchy referenced, still pressing the buttons of nostalgia - even if it's for a past that nobody would buy today (like a little Reverso!).

 

So in conclusion, I wouldn't say that we love a watch for it's history, any more than we really do for its function.  We love it because we love its design, and if that design has roots in a long design tradition, all the better.

 

P.S. Stitchy: Duometre.  That's all I'm saying. :)

post #24588 of 36874
I completely understand where in stitches comes from... I think there is a clear hierarchy in "authenticity"
  1. Founder/Originator/Single Craftsman - e.g. Dufour, Laurent Ferrier, etc.
  2. Direct lineage or multiple watchmakers - Patek?
  3. Conglomerate with direct lineage - above brands
  4. New brand - Bremont
  5. Revived - Arnold & Sons

Can you draw generalizations? I am not sure.

All things being equal, I think I would prefer option 1 - the actual maker's name on the watch, a single craftsman hunched over my watch putting it together has an ephemeral appeal to it.

Between categories 2 and 3 I am indifferent. And 5 is just always suspicious and dodgy - if you are going to start a new watch company of high quality, why do you need to appropriate a name that you have no connection to?
post #24589 of 36874
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

(aside from IWC, although iirc mr jones, an american, set out to be more of a worldwide supplier and parts maker than a luxury watch manufacture, or something like that)

Florentine Ariosto Jones went to Switzerland to make watches for the US market, as the wages for trained watch makers were much lower there than back home. He started his International Watch Company in 1868, but things never really took off for him; he went bankrupt in 1875 and IWC was auctioned off in 1876 and Jones went back to Boston.

***

As for the perfect One Watch, I did 20 years of vigorous and faithfully monogamous testing (so you don't have to), to confirm that this is it:

The One Watch, revealed! (Click to show)
4Ot88.jpg
Disclaimer: YMMobviouslyV
post #24590 of 36874
With you Kap on the one watch. My no date sub was my one watch for years. Today, it's not my favorite watch in my modest collection. Maybe not even a top five. But if I had to have just one, that's the one.
post #24591 of 36874
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaplan View Post

As for the perfect One Watch, I did 20 years of vigorous and faithfully monogamous testing (so you don't have to), to confirm that this is it:
The One Watch, revealed! (Click to show)
4Ot88.jpg
Disclaimer: YMMobviouslyV

I thought you would have chosen this one.

Btw, great looking Sub!
post #24592 of 36874
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Bourne View Post

I thought you would have chosen this one.
:-) I still very much like my Mk XV, and it's not going anywhere. I wore the Sub exclusively for a long time, so it's nice with a little change; I think they're getting about equal wrist time ATM (the PAM I got the year before the IWC on the other hand, I could easily let go).

Still, if I could have only have one it would be the Sub. In part due to my long history with it, and in part due to it's versatility (I should probably note that I don't wear a suit & tie daily, so the sportiness of it is not a drawback to me).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Bourne View Post

Btw, great looking Sub!

Thanks!
post #24593 of 36874
This would be my one watch out of my collection (at this time..)

I wouldn't say it's spectacular in any one area, just pretty damn good in most..


photo IMG_0815.jpg
post #24594 of 36874

Stitch & Mimo,  

 

I agree largely with what each of you have stated.  In the end history is of a brand is of interest to me, its a factor I consider, and yes I do think being owned by larger corporations, changes the dynamics and maybe on some level the value of history/heritage, but most companies couldn't survive without a proper modern business model and a large bank account backing them.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by akatsuki View Post

I completely understand where in stitches comes from... I think there is a clear hierarchy in "authenticity"
  1. Founder/Originator/Single Craftsman - e.g. Dufour, Laurent Ferrier, etc.
  2. Direct lineage or multiple watchmakers - Patek?
  3. Conglomerate with direct lineage - above brands
  4. New brand - Bremont
  5. Revived - Arnold & Sons

Can you draw generalizations? I am not sure.

All things being equal, I think I would prefer option 1 - the actual maker's name on the watch, a single craftsman hunched over my watch putting it together has an ephemeral appeal to it.

Between categories 2 and 3 I am indifferent. And 5 is just always suspicious and dodgy - if you are going to start a new watch company of high quality, why do you need to appropriate a name that you have no connection to?

I personally see no true value in your category 5.  I see using the name of a watch maker from hundreds of years ago, to create interest in a new watch/new brand as dishonest and sort of a scam played upon watch newbies.  I have no interest in Perrelet or the so called "British Masters" series of watches.

 

As for the rest of the hierarchy IMHO 1-3 may matter in terms of personal feeling a buyer has about a watch.  However, I don't view any true importance to that hierarchy if I were actually buying a watch falling into your categories 1-3.  

 

Relative to category 1, yes its a cool idea in theory that the name sake of your watch, may actually have worked on your watch and had quite a bit to do with it.  When it comes to independent's I love Laurent Ferrier's watches.  However, for me there are certain issues that would make them possibly less desirable than a similarly priced Patek, AP, or Lange, Piaget, VC.  I've never bought a watch from a small independent watch company.  However, a friend of mine did.  He spent roughly $140,000 on a rose gold tourbillion (I will not mention brand, as he could be reading this and prefer to remain anonymous, as of 2 years ago he was only the 3rd or 4th person to purchase said watch in North America).  In any event, he got to meet the founder, very cool, and got to go to the workshop, again very cool.   It took roughly 1.5 -2 years for his watch to be completed.  However during several stages of creating the watch, various parts were sent out for finishing, or to get some small components from a high end supplier.  That surprised and disappointed me.  The founder is a master watch maker and quite famous, and I really thought all workmanship and all finishing, and all components would have been done completely in house.  There may be other independent/founders that do everything in house, I can't say for sure, as I only know from my friend's experience with his own watch.  However, this master watch maker/founder etc seemed far more dependent on other outside sources than I would have expected.  Sure he is the founder, and my friend go to meet him, and correspond regarding progress and having a little input, but it did bother me that his company is not as self reliant as I would have expected.  My friend could have bought a Patek, or a Lange and everything would have been made in house to incredibly high standards.  Sure my friend wouldn't get to meet those founders, and maybe not had actual input, but for the amount of money he spent, I just expected a little more from his independent.  I suppose it would be a bit like having bespoke shoes made, one could meet Pierre Corthay and have shoes made, or travel to London and have a pair of John Lobbs custom made by their best.  Can one say that one would be disappointed with a bespoke pair of Lobbs because you didn't actually meet John Lobb?  I don't know...but if I found that Pierre Corthay maybe had to send his shoes out to Edward Green for some finishing or to make the soles, maybe I would be a bit less impressed even if he presented me with a great pair of shoes.  

 

I suppose the other factor that IMHO, would push me toward a Patek, AP, VC etc over say an independent, is that they have been in business for longer than any of the independents, they have the financial resources to have proper parts supplies, distribution centers, and service centers and each are committed and able to service, repair, or restore any watch that they have ever produced.  What happens to a company, its parts, service etc if the founder of the indy company dies...well I guess one has to hope the company goes to a larger corporation to carry on the tradition?  Just food for thought.  

 

In the end there is no right or wrong answer, I think it can vary for each of us. 

post #24595 of 36874
there are like 5 separate discussions going on in this one thread... there should be a whole sub-section for watches smile.gif

One-Watch needs it's own thread for sure, as does the other discussion you have going.
post #24596 of 36874
Ironically the whole notion of Swiss watches being the top tier was a relatively recent invention. In fact, the success of Swiss watches was due to their mass manufacturing techniques. English watches used to be the top of the heap but because of the English watchmakers' conservatism, their industry stagnated and eventually died out.

The great English makers--Frodsham, Smith, Arnold--made some magnificent pocketwatches.
post #24597 of 36874
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrapen View Post
 

This is a fake right. Luminor with no crown guard doesnt exist. Also look at those screws keeping the strap on, they are a good 2mm too long at each end.

post #24598 of 36874
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

Relative to category 1, yes its a cool idea in theory that the name sake of your watch, may actually have worked on your watch and had quite a bit to do with it.  When it comes to independent's I love Laurent Ferrier's watches.  However, for me there are certain issues that would make them possibly less desirable than a similarly priced Patek, AP, or Lange, Piaget, VC.  I've never bought a watch from a small independent watch company.  However, a friend of mine did.  He spent roughly $140,000 on a rose gold tourbillion (I will not mention brand, as he could be reading this and prefer to remain anonymous, as of 2 years ago he was only the 3rd or 4th person to purchase said watch in North America).  In any event, he got to meet the founder, very cool, and got to go to the workshop, again very cool.   It took roughly 1.5 -2 years for his watch to be completed.  However during several stages of creating the watch, various parts were sent out for finishing, or to get some small components from a high end supplier.  That surprised and disappointed me.  The founder is a master watch maker and quite famous, and I really thought all workmanship and all finishing, and all components would have been done completely in house.  There may be other independent/founders that do everything in house, I can't say for sure, as I only know from my friend's experience with his own watch.  However, this master watch maker/founder etc seemed far more dependent on other outside sources than I would have expected.  Sure he is the founder, and my friend go to meet him, and correspond regarding progress and having a little input, but it did bother me that his company is not as self reliant as I would have expected.  My friend could have bought a Patek, or a Lange and everything would have been made in house to incredibly high standards.  Sure my friend wouldn't get to meet those founders, and maybe not had actual input, but for the amount of money he spent, I just expected a little more from his independent.  I suppose it would be a bit like having bespoke shoes made, one could meet Pierre Corthay and have shoes made, or travel to London and have a pair of John Lobbs custom made by their best.  Can one say that one would be disappointed with a bespoke pair of Lobbs because you didn't actually meet John Lobb?  I don't know...but if I found that Pierre Corthay maybe had to send his shoes out to Edward Green for some finishing or to make the soles, maybe I would be a bit less impressed even if he presented me with a great pair of shoes.  

I do not see the problem here. The comparison with shoemaking implies that it is better to have the shoe made completely in-house. Closing bespoke shoes is outsourced by some of the best shoemakers as it is such a skilled task they wish to commission the best closer rather than use an adequate in house person. Provided the component bought in is the best available in the world I see no problem with this and self reliance has to stop somewhere as vertical integration does not go on forever (unless you are Hermes I am told). A manufacturer is not necessarily a better manufacturer just because it makes everything itself in fact there are strong arguments that specialist in individual areas will always be able to make that part better than a generalist.
post #24599 of 36874
Quote:
Originally Posted by culverwood View Post


I do not see the problem here. The comparison with shoemaking implies that it is better to have the shoe made completely in-house. Closing bespoke shoes is outsourced by some of the best shoemakers as it is such a skilled task they wish to commission the best closer rather than use an adequate in house person. Provided the component bought in is the best available in the world I see no problem with this and self reliance has to stop somewhere as vertical integration does not go on forever (unless you are Hermes I am told). A manufacturer is not necessarily a better manufacturer just because it makes everything itself in fact there are strong arguments that specialist in individual areas will always be able to make that part better than a generalist.

There are definitely many industries where in which the main company at issue us outside component makers who are the best in their field.  In terms of implying that a shoe made completely in house is better, I'm not, as there are industries were it would not make sense. I was simply giving a parallel scenario questioning  category 1 of Akatsuki's hierarchy.   Maybe its cool to meet Piere Corthay and have him make you a pair of shoes...but do you get a better shoe than the top guy at John Lobb could make you.  Maybe, maybe not.  

 

I am not suggesting that a manufacturer is better because they make everything in house.  That simply is not so.  I also provided the story about my friend that bought a watch from a Founder/Originator/ Single Craftsman to point out that although the single craftsman may design or work your watch, so do other people or companies.  To be honest that surprised me a bit how much of the watch was being sent out for work considering this guy was a well known master watchmaker. 

post #24600 of 36874
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post
 

Maybe its cool to meet Piere Corthay and have him make you a pair of shoes...but do you get a better shoe than the top guy at John Lobb could make you.  Maybe, maybe not.

 

At this point I do not think I can add any value to this conversation about history, heritage and why we buy the things we buy.  I do want to relay about four points:

 

1.  I am fortunate to have been able to acquire a set of timepieces that have given me joy - and more importantly, what seems to be a lasting peace, or at least the ability to say "no" to other tempting timepieces.

 

2.  If there was only one watch I'd keep, I'll probably keep the 3970 in platinum.

 

3.  I did enjoy meeting Pierre Corthay and placing an order for shoes.

 

 

4.  Pierre and I are not holding hands in this picture.  It is simply the angle of the photo. Just clarifying.

 

:crackup:


Edited by no frills - 9/5/13 at 7:56am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › The Watch Appreciation Thread