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Help me understand watches and value - Page 3

post #31 of 128
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlin View Post

I guess my only problem is that it's almost like there is a factory of artists whose sole function is to make money, rather than make art.

Interetsing comment. I wonder, who, then, is the "Thomas Kincade" of watch makers?
post #32 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post
Thanks for the reply- I'm not trying to analogize cars/watches. rather, simply using that as an example of my understanding of one business case.

From what others are saying here, however, I believe they'd disagree with you if you leave out the quality of the works and the cost involved. the "mass-produced" nature of a $150 Seiko versus the hand-made engineering of a higher-end watch alone creates a significant price differential.

Exactly. If I had to identify the element of the cost, it would be: (i) R&D on the watch, (ii) labor of the watchmakers, and (iii) marketing/goodwill/intangibles. Some people here are suggesting that it's all (iii), and they're wrong.
post #33 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pylon View Post
Though I certainly can't improve upon the great explanation written by djf881, this video by the fine craftsmen at A. Lange & Söhne should highlight a few areas where their watches differ, from say - a $3k Omega.

Yeah. The hand finishing on a movement is very painstaking and very expensive:

Here's a Lange:



Here is a Patek:



By contrast, this is what is beneath the caseback of a Rolex Submariner:



You can see the Rolex lacks the hand engraving, which takes a lot of labor from highly skilled watchmakers and is therefore adds a lot to the price of a watch. This extra work is entirely ornamental, and can't even be seen if the watch is on your wrist, because it is displayed through the back of the case. This kind of work is highly coveted, because it takes a lot of time and there aren't a lot of people who can do it.

The Rolex movement is designed for function rather than for display. The Submariner is rated waterproof to 300 meters, deeper than any rec dive and most professional saturation dives. This is a thing made to do a job. By contrast, the Patek is probably waterproof to 25 meters, but realistically, you'd probably want to take it off when you wash your hands. The Rolex is a very precise mechanical watch, and it maintains that supervision by a high-tech manufacturing process, but it's not about being painstakingly handmade.

The Patek movement is also designed to be very thin. An automatic watch contains a rotor which spins when you move your arm, to capture the kinetic energy of your movement to wind the mainspring. On the Rolex, the rotor is the large, fan-shaped steel piece that covers half of the movement. On the Patek, it's the small gold half-moon shape with the Patek logo near the top of the watch. Apparently, they can wind the watch using a smaller roter by making the rotor from 22 karat gold, which is very dense. Kind of cool.

Also keep in mind, the Rolex is designed to be durable and accurate, from the top of Everest to the bottom of the Atlantic. The Patek is designed to be incredibly thin, and the Lange is designed in large part to look really pretty in a display case, although it's also an extremely complicated perpetual calendar watch. The Rolex sub in steel costs around $5000. A self-winding Patek Calatrava is about $18-20k. That Lange perpetual costs around $140,000.
post #34 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by djf881 View Post
Yeah. The hand finishing on a movement is very painstaking and very expensive: Here's a Lange: http://www.alange-soehne.com/en/watc...operpuw_02.jpg Here is a Patek: http://www.users.cloud9.net/~bradmcc...leDsc00065.jpg By contrast, this is what is beneath the caseback of a Rolex Submariner: http://people.timezone.com/mdisher/a...5/Rolex16b.jpg You can see the Rolex lacks the hand engraving, which takes a lot of labor from highly skilled watchmakers and is therefore adds a lot to the price of a watch. This extra work is entirely ornamental, and can't even be seen if the watch is on your wrist, because it is displayed through the back of the case. This kind of work is highly coveted, because it takes a lot of time and there aren't a lot of people who can do it. The Rolex movement is designed for function rather than for display. The Submariner is rated waterproof to 300 meters, deeper than any rec dive and most professional saturation dives. This is a thing made to do a job. By contrast, the Patek is probably waterproof to 25 meters, but realistically, you'd probably want to take it off when you wash your hands. The Rolex is a very precise mechanical watch, and it maintains that supervision by a high-tech manufacturing process, but it's not about being painstakingly handmade. The Patek movement is also designed to be very thin. An automatic watch contains a rotor which spins when you move your arm, to capture the kinetic energy of your movement to wind the mainspring. On the Rolex, the rotor is the large, fan-shaped steel piece that covers half of the movement. On the Patek, it's the small gold half-moon shape with the Patek logo near the top of the watch. Apparently, they can wind the watch using a smaller roter by making the rotor from 22 karat gold, which is very dense. Kind of cool. Also keep in mind, the Rolex is designed to be durable and accurate, from the top of Everest to the bottom of the Atlantic. The Patek is designed to be incredibly thin, and the Lange is designed in large part to look really pretty in a display case, although it's also an extremely complicated perpetual calendar watch. The Rolex sub in steel costs around $5000. A self-winding Patek Calatrava is about $18-20k. That Lange perpetual costs around $140,000.
I present to you the Suunto diver watches, which can take a beating, perform dive analysis, gas switching and calculation and a plethora of other functions. Or take the Casio Pathfinder, which is extremely accurate and quite functional literally on mountain tops and ocean floors. And the best part? They cost a fraction of the Rolex and you can *actually* use them in those places. As opposed to paying enormous sums of money for them and let them sit around doing nothing. Now, I understand the value of a good mechanical compass -- but if you bring me a jeweled expensive one and a $5 one from REI, guess which one I would pick?
post #35 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlin View Post
I present to you the Suunto diver watches, which can take a beating, perform dive analysis, gas switching and calculation and a plethora of other functions.

Or take the Casio Pathfinder, which is extremely accurate and quite functional literally on mountain tops and ocean floors.

And the best part? They cost a fraction of the Rolex and you can *actually* use them in those places. As opposed to paying enormous sums of money for them and let them sit around doing nothing.

Now, I understand the value of a good mechanical compass -- but if you bring me a jeweled expensive one and a $5 one from REI, guess which one I would pick?


Great, I guess mechanical watches aren't for you, then.
post #36 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by zjpj83 View Post
Great, I guess mechanical watches aren't for you, then.
I always knew that. However, that does not take away my curiosity over the cult-like followings that mechanical watches seem to have.
post #37 of 128
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post #38 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlin View Post
I present to you the Suunto diver watches, which can take a beating, perform dive analysis, gas switching and calculation and a plethora of other functions.

Or take the Casio Pathfinder, which is extremely accurate and quite functional literally on mountain tops and ocean floors.

And the best part? They cost a fraction of the Rolex and you can *actually* use them in those places. As opposed to paying enormous sums of money for them and let them sit around doing nothing.

Now, I understand the value of a good mechanical compass -- but if you bring me a jeweled expensive one and a $5 one from REI, guess which one I would pick?

No question. The Rolex Submariner is the state of the art circa 1965. In the 70's, quartz overtook clockwork as a functional timekeeper, especially where cost is taken into account.

Like I said, quartz is far cheaper and is more accurate, and, while Rolex doesn't employ micro-engravers to filagree ornate patterns on the movement, there's still a lot more hand-work involved in the manufacture of a Rolex than there is in a quartz digital.

A lot of Rolex fans will still tell you that a Rolex is a "tool watch." That's kind of delusional. Clockwork is a luxury good, or a fashion accessory now.

On the other hand you could make the same analogies about hand-stitched and mechanically stitched garments, or between leather and rubber shoe-soles.
post #39 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlin View Post
And the best part? They cost a fraction of the Rolex and you can *actually* use them in those places. As opposed to paying enormous sums of money for them and let them sit around doing nothing.

Another way to answer your riddle is to say that what might be an enormous sum of money to you might not be quite so enormous to others.

This answer does not explain all cases, but it explains many of them.


- B
post #40 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlin View Post
I always knew that.

However, that does not take away my curiosity over the cult-like followings that mechanical watches seem to have.

I'm sure you have a passion for something - try to think of what draws you to whatever that is and map that on to watches.

You're on Styleforum, so I assume you like clothing. You're argument is based on the assumption that there's no need to get something less functional when something more functional (and cheaper, at the same time) exists. Well, I'd say just about every pair of sneakers I own is more comfortable than just about every pair of dress shoes I own. They are certainly more rugged. Does that mean I'm a lunatic for bying and wearing dress shoes? No; we like the style, the artisanship, the design, etc.

I think a bunch of books have been written about hobbies and about collecting things. Why do people decide to collect things? It's obviously for reasons beyond simply the utilitarian function of the objects.
post #41 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by djf881 View Post
On the other hand you could make the same analogies about hand-stitched and mechanically stiched garments, or between leather and rubber shoe-soles.
Or between ANYTHING that is made simply to serve its utilitarian function and its less run-of-the-mill counterpart.

Exactly my point.
post #42 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlin View Post
I always knew that. However, that does not take away my curiosity over the cult-like followings that mechanical watches seem to have.
Why would you argue about this on StyleForum forum? This isn't any different than arguing about bespoke vs OTR or any of the other multitude of debates that have already taken place here about style over substance. Is a $6K bespoke suit that much better than a $1.5K OTR suit, etc?
post #43 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlin View Post
If you go by technology, quartz is the most superior technology around. Yet, for whatever reason, quartz watches aren't particularly popular among the watch aficionados.

Personally, to me, expensive mechanical watches are analogous to spending a load of money on a steam engine driven vehicle when you've modern automobiles with ICEs (i.e. quartz watches).

No matter how pretty, it is still a steam engine.

I tend to agree with this, too bad no-one makes nice looking Quartz watches...
post #44 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolpapaboze View Post
Why would you argue about this on StyleForum forum? This isn't any different than arguing about bespoke vs OTR or any of the other multitude of debates that have already taken place here about style over substance. Is a $6K bespoke suit that much better than a $1.5K OTR suit, etc?

Bespoke fits, wears, and looks better.

Mechanical watches do not fit, wear or look better (well, they look better, but not as a result of the mechanics).
post #45 of 128
After my two comments, a disclaimer: I actually find mechanical watches facinating, but I also find this facination to be very illogical... I would love to rationalize this into why it makes sense to spend 10K on an instrument of lesser precision, but in my quest to be throughly logical, I find this very difficult...
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