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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › The Watch Appreciation Thread - Part two (Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger LeCoultre, Baume & Mercier and more)
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The Watch Appreciation Thread - Part two (Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger LeCoultre, Baume & Mercier and more) - Page 177

post #2641 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coxsackie View Post

You completely dismiss GO, Breguet, IWC and Omega; but they all have some really interesting current models (mixed in with a fair bit of dross, admittedly).

I don't give a shit about resale value. I'm interested in the actual piece; how well it's designed and made; how it stands out from all the other myriad new releases clamouring for my attention.

Basically, what I'm saying is that it's ok to buy a watch simply because something about it excites you.

I disagree with much of what you say, Coxy (and some of what Foo says, too btw, while also agreeing with some of what he says as well), but I do agree with what I've quoted you as saying above. On that score, I'm like you...I never buy with an eye to resale value. I buy what I like at that particular moment in time, whether it's automatic or quartz. If it excites me, and I'm able to get it (ie. afford it), I do. Simple as that. And, like you, I like Omegas (or at least some of their stuff. I have two of them, both quartz models and I'm okay with that).
post #2642 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post

Just a couple of points to add:

- Patek is the collectors' choice for good reason, but I don't think a collector with a taste for the bottom line (or taste at all), would buy a new one.  The depreciation hit is just as awful as a Vacheron or a Lange on a new one - whatever you think of current designs.

- Competitive advertising to reach those new Asian markets (and a new generation of aspiring #luxeshitoninstagram generation Europeans and Americans), is what's inflating prices, not just gouging the customer.  It's speculation for market share and it's affected everyone.  Rent on a boutique in Dubai Mall would make your eyes water, and it costs a fair bit to put a Hublot on Jose Mourinho, too.  And Patek, for all their historical saintliness, are no exception (you don't own a big company, you look after it for the next generation...).  Rolex have been all over this for decades, but now the likes of Omega are spending just as big, it's an arms race that's pushed all their prices up exponentially.

- Don't confuse collectors with customers.  TWAT might have excellent taste, but we spend most of our money vicariously.  Johnny Customer for a high end watch buys what he's read in GQ, notfornoobswatchforum.com is off his radar and he gives not a single shit.  If it's not on a poster or magazine in an airport business lounge, or on the wrist of the guy one seat up in the boardroom, he doesn't know or care.  

1. The disparity in depreciation impact on Patek versus Lange, Vacheron, etc. is not debatable. You can buy a recent year Lange 1 in gold all day long on Chrono24 for $18-22K, before even lifting a finger to negotiate. That is 37-49% off retail ($35K). In comparison, a Patek 5296 in gold (a simpler and more common watch, at that) sells on Chrono24 for $20-25K, only a 7-26% discount versus retail ($27K). On certain other basic models, the discount is even less, if not non-existent (like the 5227). Feel free to look up more comparisons but I guarantee you'll find more of the same. Off the top of my head, another striking contrast is the depreciation on a Lange 1815 Chronograph versus a Patek 5170.

2. Not sure what your point is on "competitive advertising" and "new Asian markets." It's the Chinese and Global Internet Watch Geek Fantasy Cult that are buying up overpriced junk from the likes of Hublot or buying expensive pieces from resuscitated fantasy brands like GO. Rolex and Patek are supported by a broader and, more importantly, far deeper base of customers.

3. Who said TWAT has excellent taste? Anyway, I don't think you are getting my point about collectors. The reason why Rolex and Patek continue to thrive and why, I suspect, they will more or less shrug off the pending upheaval of the industry, is because they are supported by a strong core of deeply knowledgeable customers, as well as a broad and steady stream of newcomers who just want a single watch for the prestige on their wrist. These are companies with real (not made up or re-told or re-imagined) histories. The appeal of a mechanical watch is that it is a romantic object tied to tradition. Without history, where is the tradition and the romance? You can maybe supplant history by being a new watchmaker forging your own path (FP Journe, Philippe Dufour, etc.) because, in effect, you are making history--but what about fictionalized, glamorized, glossed-over histories that never happened? That's why Blancpain is problematic. That's why modern Breguet is problematic. That's why Glashutte Original is problematic. Fake, fake, fake. People don't collect them because nobody can get serious or passionate enough about them. Such brands don't withstand the scrutiny of the seasoned, knowledgeable, passionate watch lover.
post #2643 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belligero View Post

Though I agree with most points, I wouldn't give modern Patek nearly so much credit. Their design competence has declined significantly under Thierry and Sandrine Stern's control, and they've lost much of their previous expertise and refinement. A few current models are rather tacky, even.

While they still have a few great watches in the range, many of the current models just aren't anywhere near as special as the older ones. I'm also hearing complaints about the quality and the service in recent years.

Considering the big price hikes seen while their annual production has increased to over 50000 pieces, they may have put themselves in a bubble situation by building long-term expectations that they can no longer back up with their now-mainly-mass-produced products. One would have to be rather credulous to believe that the historic Geneva Seal standards were abruptly ditched in favour of their lame new Rolls-Royce-lookalike "Patek Seal" to improve quality.

In any case, I certainly don't see them as being infallible.

I agree, Thierry is not Philippe. The 5227 is great, but it could have been phenomenal with a little less of what he likes to call "aggression." That said, the Patek catalog is vast compared to Lange's, AP's or Vacheron's. There are easily a dozen or two absolutely gorgeous watches that are dead-on with the classic Patek aesthetic.

From personal experience, I can tell you the service is top notch. Above and beyond even. Helps that I live in Manhattan and can walk over to Rockefeller Center, but still.

On the PP versus Geneva Seal matter, the finishing speaks for itself. I don't think anyone would disagree finishing quality has only gotten better over the years. It was more or less steady state for decades until the display back phenomena and pressure from Lange to make finish quality more obvious.
post #2644 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post


Don't even know where to begin with this. Tissot and Fossil as Rolex competitors? "Plasticky-looking parts"? Your starting premises and bases for critique are so wrong-headed and misinformed that I'm not sure it's worth pursuing further discussion on this point.

 

Yes, clearly misinformed - I assumed that maybe you'd actually looked inside a Rolex case. I have. Believe me - there are plasticky-looking parts in there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
 
I'd like to see objective evidence that Patek is "reducing quality."

 

Increasing their output by 60% (mostly at the lower end) without hiring a whole new army of top-notch watchmakers.

 

Highly questionable new designs.

 

Quote:
 Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
 
The point about resale value is that it is supported by long-term, knowledgeable collectors...

 

...and a big cohort of cashed-up, clueless investors from emerging markets.

 

I should know. I sold a Patek to one of them.


Edited by Coxsackie - 8/10/16 at 3:49am
post #2645 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

The appeal of a mechanical watch is that it is a romantic object tied to tradition. Without history, where is the tradition and the romance?

 

I agree with much of what you wrote in your last two posts, but this statement is incomplete. Romance and tradition are not the only appealing aspects of mechanical watches. The others are engineering excellence, innovation within tight constraints, and finishing. I set aesthetic design aside (although it's an intriguing aspect of movement creation) as it's not limited to mechanical timepieces.

 

I also don't wholly buy into the historico-hagiographic propaganda touted by certain Swiss brands you seem to hold in high regard. VC regard themselves as the oldest continuously operating brand, but their evidential thread is alarmingly thin in places. And hey, Rolex have only barely clocked up their first century!

 

In fact, Seiko are considerably older than Rolex - 24 years older, to be exact. Not only that - they can probably claim to be more innovative than Rolex - especially in recent years - and in the case of their Grand Seiko models, better finished. Everything, and I mean everything, is done in-house. By just about any criterion important to a real watch-lover, they should be held in higher esteem than they are.

 

So what gives? I would posit: pure snobbery, underpinned by an element of racism, and further fuelled by the influence of a huge advertising budget.

 

There are other factors driving the strong resale value of Patek and Rolex - in particular, the well-known (within the industry) practice of each company to bid high for their own historic pieces at auction. Patek did this quite openly for many years while assembling their Patek Museum collection now housed in Geneva. (And quite a collection it is too.) It was probably the canniest business investment they ever made. Prices went crazy as a result, and Patek became known as "the best investment" in watch brands, enabling them to further inflate their prices.

 

I'm not saying that any of this is wrong, or that Patek and Rolex are bad investments or indeed bad watches. But they are certainly overpriced. And the "romance" of which you speak is largely manufactured, just in a different way from re-created brands like Blancpain.

post #2646 of 3937
Seiko is certainly worthy of the highest degree of respect for their manufacturing integrity. But their designs tend to be a weak area, as they generally fall into one of two categories: derivative or ugly. Originality counts, and they have yet to come out with a distinctive design of their own that actually looks good.

That said, I'd much rather wear a Seiko than a lot of the other stuff out there. They don't exactly make junk.
post #2647 of 3937
What are those 'interesting current models' from IWC some of you are referring to?

Admittedly, I primarily base my attraction to a watch on how much its aesthetics appeal to me, so it might just be a case of different tastes, but giving the current line-up a quick glance I only saw two that was remotely interesting, and one was way too large and both of them were done better years ago.
post #2648 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coxsackie View Post

Yes, clearly misinformed - I assumed that maybe you'd actually looked inside a Rolex case. I have. Believe me - there are plasticky-looking parts in there.

Yes, clearly and woefully. There are no plastic parts. You are referring to the teflon-coated gears.

Since you spew just enough contrarian bullshit, I'm sure you will gain a strong following. Plenty of people want to believe Seiko is just as great as Rolex.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaplan View Post

What are those 'interesting current models' from IWC some of you are referring to?

We are about to see the "great taste" of TWAT put to the test.
post #2649 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belligero View Post

Seiko is certainly worthy of the highest degree of respect for their manufacturing integrity. But their designs tend to be a weak area, as they generally fall into one of two categories: derivative or ugly. Originality counts, and they have yet to come out with a distinctive design of their own that actually looks good.

That said, I'd much rather wear a Seiko than a lot of the other stuff out there. They don't exactly make junk.

Seiko is to be admired for their manufacturing integrity, sure. But let's not forget, even their Grand Seiko movements are based on simple caliber designs meant for cheap, mass production--the difference is chiefly in the finishing, which is really the only standout feature in their price range. In movement design and engineering, they are nowhere near a company like Rolex or Omega, whose finishing will be less immaculate but whose movement design and technology are light years more sophisticated.
post #2650 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coxsackie View Post

I agree with much of what you wrote in your last two posts, but this statement is incomplete. Romance and tradition are not the only appealing aspects of mechanical watches. The others are engineering excellence, innovation within tight constraints, and finishing. I set aesthetic design aside (although it's an intriguing aspect of movement creation) as it's not limited to mechanical timepieces.

I also don't wholly buy into the historico-hagiographic propaganda touted by certain Swiss brands you seem to hold in high regard. VC regard themselves as the oldest continuously operating brand, but their evidential thread is alarmingly thin in places. And hey, Rolex have only barely clocked up their first century!

In fact, Seiko are considerably older than Rolex - 24 years older, to be exact. Not only that - they can probably claim to be more innovative than Rolex - especially in recent years - and in the case of their Grand Seiko models, better finished. Everything, and I mean everything, is done in-house. By just about any criterion important to a real watch-lover, they should be held in higher esteem than they are.

So what gives? I would posit: pure snobbery, underpinned by an element of racism, and further fuelled by the influence of a huge advertising budget.

There are other factors driving the strong resale value of Patek and Rolex - in particular, the well-known (within the industry) practice of each company to bid high for their own historic pieces at auction. Patek did this quite openly for many years while assembling their Patek Museum collection now housed in Geneva. (And quite a collection it is too.) It was probably the canniest business investment they ever made. Prices went crazy as a result, and Patek became known as "the best investment" in watch brands, enabling them to further inflate their prices.

I'm not saying that any of this is wrong, or that Patek and Rolex are bad investments or indeed bad watches. But they are certainly overpriced. And the "romance" of which you speak is largely manufactured, just in a different way from re-created brands like Blancpain.

First of all, by "history" I don't mean sheer number of years. There has to be a combination of achievement, story, longevity and continuity. Rolex is younger than Seiko, but its technical innovations (watertight case, automatic winding, date complication, etc.) and the iconic status of its models (Submariner, Explorer, Day-Date, GMT-Master, Daytona, etc.) are leagues beyond. Seiko has generally been a follower, not a leader.

Look, you can spend all the time you want trying to unravel the Patek/Rolex "conspiracy" or you can try to understand why they are true leaders in their segments. If you knew anything about some of the biggest Patek collectors, for example, than you would know they are not blind luxury buyers or financial investors. These people love watches. Also, perhaps pay attention to industry leaders and experts who are not affiliated with Patek or may even compete with them. Quite often, you will find a quite unabashed admiration for the company. Jean Claude Biver does not collect Blancpains or Audemars, both companies he worked for; he collects Pateks. What does that tell you? I guess he doesn't know much about watches either.
post #2651 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

I'd like to see objective evidence that Patek is "reducing quality." 

 

Should I post the pictures again?  I agree with you on the resale points but you can't ignore the photographic evidence.

post #2652 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coxsackie View Post

...

 

In fact, Seiko are considerably older than Rolex - 24 years older, to be exact. Not only that - they can probably claim to be more innovative than Rolex - especially in recent years - and in the case of their Grand Seiko models, better finished. Everything, and I mean everything, is done in-house. By just about any criterion important to a real watch-lover, they should be held in higher esteem than they are.

 

So what gives? I would posit: pure snobbery, underpinned by an element of racism, and further fuelled by the influence of a huge advertising budget.

 

...

 

Personally speaking;

Pure snobbery? No

An element of racism? No

Advertising budget? Not relevant

 

I know it's a silly reason, but for me it's as simple as the name. I'm simply not interested in a Grandiose Seiko. If they had come up with a different name for that line, possibly. Although I do agree w/ one of the above posts stating that their designs are rather vanilla/derivative.

post #2653 of 3937
Y'know, as entertaining as it is to wind up the Spring Drive quartz deniers, I really don't have any problem with Seiko.

But it's pure ignorance to pretend that they don't also have a significant marketing budget; they're one of the biggest advertisers and sponsors in the industry. And playing the racism card because of someone's watch preferences isn't cool.
post #2654 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by IGotId View Post
 

 

Personally speaking;

Pure snobbery? No

An element of racism? No

Advertising budget? Not relevant

 

I know it's a silly reason, but for me it's as simple as the name. I'm simply not interested in a Grandiose Seiko. If they had come up with a different name for that line, possibly. Although I do agree w/ one of the above posts stating that their designs are rather vanilla/derivative.

 

I forgot the typically messy dials w/ multiple fonts & variations of the "GS, Grand Seiko" themes.

post #2655 of 3937
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerpac View Post

Should I post the pictures again?  I agree with you on the resale points but you can't ignore the photographic evidence.

Sure, if you like. I am very familiar with how each finishes their movements. But such a comparison would be missing some key points.

1. Beyond a certain level of excellence, movement finishing should not be a deciding factor in picking a watch. It would be the equivalent of choosing a bespoke tailor based on the fineness of his stitching. Too many other variables matter much more.

2. Under-informed consumers, sapphire crystal display backs, high-magnification digital photos and the internet are to blame for movement finishing OCD/hysteria. In addition to providing some practical benefits, finishing should serve the purpose of decorating and emphasizing the qualities of a well-made, well-engineered movement, not become the center of attention itself. It doesn't help that it is far easier for a casual observer to differentiate between sharp anglage and slightly less sharp anglage than to understand whether a movement is well-designed and well-made. Further, it is odd to celebrate the increasing precision and fineness of finishing that is only made possible today by computer-aided machinery when much more time and labor-intensive hand finishing in the past was far less perfect. Finishing should be beautiful first, perfect second.

3. Aren't you an FP Journe owner? You know, Journe himself never prioritized finishing quality. For many years, his finishing easily lagged any of the major mainstream manufacturers. Philippe Dufour implored him to make improvements. Today, Journe finishing is indeed much better than it was before, but it is by no means a standout. Lange finishing will still be far more perfect. Patek too. But none of that detracts from the fact that Journe movements are some of the most beautiful and interesting. It would be silly to say your Chronometre Souverain was a bad buy because the finishing isn't that much better than a higher end JLC's.

4. In prior comparisons of internal components over the years, Lange did not compare favorably versus Patek. It is said this has changed in recent years after the bad internet press that Lange only cares about finishing what shows through the display back. Takeaway point is that relative finishing quality (and perceptions of it) are highly changeable.

5. On movement design, Patek is generally more functionally minded, preferring time-tested, straightforward solutions, augmented by incremental, but steady research and evolution. Lange, on the other hand, is more driven to make statements with its movements. It must add certain flourishes and anachronistic details to tie to their disconnected past and synthesize a sense of heritage. In short, Lange movements tend to be a lot more showy (gold chatons, swan neck regulators, engraved balance cocks, etc.). People confuse this for better. But a lot of these design choices actually introduce unnecessary compromise and cost. Engineering resources are perhaps not as concentrated on making thinner, more functional, more elegant calibers. Case in point, Lange movements are generally thicker than equivalent Patek movements, without any demonstrable improvement in robustness or durability. To put it in pejorative terms, there is a difference between prioritizing fine watchmaking and the appearance of fine watchmaking.

6. Another issue to consider is the much lauded fact that Lange introduces new movements much more frequently. This is impressive in a certain way, but also a very counter-intuitive virtue when it comes to watch movements--particularly less-complicated calibers. It takes many, many years for a movement to prove itself. It also takes that long for a watch company to prove its ability to service its watches. The most lauded watch movements across makers over the past century were typically manufactured and used for periods more likely to be measured in decades than years. Mechanical watch technology advances slowly and any gains tend to be so incremental as to be outweighed by the benefit of proven, existing solutions with known serviceability.
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