Buying a Patek

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by AlanC, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    For all you watch maniacs:
    Article link.
     
  2. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    Two points to mention before I delve into the main incorrect premise of the article: 1) you can purchase "˜classic' watches from dealers and private individuals alike, not just through inheritance or auction houses 2) I shall not discuss innate value which is placed on items owned by famous personalities, because everyone has a different concept regarding so-called "˜celebrity status' and its overall importance on the baring of the monetary value of an item. With that said, I shall yet again complain about the lack of research done by reporters regarding that of which they write. For not only the misunderstanding of the art of horology is apparent but also relative monetary values. "A watch is not really important, after all, except when it fails to tell the time when you are late for a business meeting. Then it is very important. The rest of the time, especially in an age when every cell phone and PDA also has a clock function, a fancy watch is really nothing more than glorified arm candy "” a sop to one's ego and a visible appendage that reflects more succinctly than anything else in a modern man's wardrobe his relative net worth." Actually, it is important that the watch keep relative good time (all portable timepieces invariably fluctuate as to the precision of their timekeeping, mechanical more so than quartz) for if not, it's primary function is defeated and it's use would be defunct, thus there would be no need to use one. There is as well a convince factor, it is easier to view ones wrist at a glance then to remove ones PDA from a messenger bag, turn on the PDA and then glance at the time. The gravest error of the passage however is that fact that the writer thinks that a person purchases a wristwatch which costs several hundred thousands of dollars simply for their monetary ego. This is quite egregious. Yes, of course the personal monetary factor plays into the equation of the purchase, no one can deny that, but it is hardly the primary reason for the purchase. For the most part people who purchase such items, and have the means to do so, do so because of their passion for the art of horology, it is for the lack of a better term, a hobby. Granted an expensive and ever encompassing hobby that can overtake ones life and ultimately cost a small (or large) fortune in the process. "There are, of course, exceptions. One of the stars of the auction is an 18k gold minute repeating wristwatch made around 1958 by Swiss maker Patek Phillipe. This watch is simplicity itself. It does not offer such complications as a moon phase or a calendar or any of the other refinements that ratchet up a watch's price. Yet, with an estimate of between $250,000 and $350,000, it is far and away the most expensive lot in the auction." Apparently complications are only dial deep. Obviously the writer's lack of understanding of the heart of mechanical watching making is her undoing. She sees complications as only surfaced based items and her vision does not see the basis for the cost of expensive mechanical watches: the movement. To clarify her error: Minute repeating (really, all repeating watches) watches are immensely complex to build and are a true test of the horologist skill and art. The reason they are expensive is because they are one of the most complicated mechanisms that can be placed onto a watch movement. Moon phase wristwatches are hardly complex. The addition of a moon phase is a fairly simple proposition, unlike ultra-complex mechanisms such as Tourbillons and Minute Repeaters which normally can not be added and must be designed onto the base movement. Such "refinements" as the writer calls them, are completely misunderstood by the writer and anyone whom wished to learn about horology would do well to heed my words and avoid this article like the plague. It will only lead to further confusion. Forbes would well to replace the twit with someone who knows that of which they write. "And, even though its price tags are among the highest and its quality among the best, not every Patek costs as much as a Ferrari." Quite, but not every Ferrari costs as much as a Patek...it's best not to compare apples to oranges. Automobiles are not timepieces and vise-versa; I hardly think Ferrari owners regularly compare the prizes in their collections with Patek watches. Jon.
     
  3. 9_Ball_Slim

    9_Ball_Slim Active Member

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    Ahhh, I beg to differ.  The watch or watches a man wears tells much about the man.  My mother used to tell my sister to pay attention to a man's shoes, as it would be reflection of the man himself.....I always told her to skip the shoe inspection and look at his wrist.  The watch a man wears is a small window into that man's soul.
     
  4. 1Dgaf

    1Dgaf Senior member

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    "For the most part people who purchase such items, and have the means to do so, do so because of their passion for the art of horology, it is for the lack of a better term, a hobby."

    I suspect that low-cost expensive watches (hoo.) are primarily bought by people that get a kick out of having an expensive watch and possibly being seen doing so. Perhaps I'm too cynical, or totally deluded, but I can imagine lots of people buying expensive-expensive watches doing so for the same reasons.

    I suspect that watch manufacturers would have a tough time surviving if only enthusiasts bought their stuff.
     
  5. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    I did not say that every person that purchases a new Patek is a connoisseur, but for the most part people who purchase the higher-end auction watches are for the most part serious collectors. And since the article is regarding vintage watches sold at auction I decided to stay on that particular segment of the industry.

    I very much doubt that simple "˜enthusiasts' even ones with seemingly unlimited means spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on vintage Patek's. And to top it all many times exceptionally rare Patek's break price records, bidding that is hardly the arena of mere spectators, but that of major horological players.

    Jon.
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    It is similar to Leica cameras. How many people would spend $2000+ on a camera body that requires 2-3 minutes worth of fiddling about to achieve a negative that is likely to be developed in a darkroom, and then enlarged which may or may not require filters, etc.

    Leica's primary profits are from their precision industrial instruments. Their SLR's are 20 years behind the Japanese.

    Discreet status per se. I doubt most would regard Edwar Green or Berluti something to strive for.
     
  7. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Senior member

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    The simplicity of a minute repeater: http://www.timezone.com/library/rdnotebook/200408292930 BTW, I'm almost finished with watch shopping...
     
  8. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    "There are, of course, exceptions. One of the stars of the auction is an 18k gold minute repeating wristwatch made around 1958 by Swiss maker Patek Phillipe. This watch is simplicity itself. It does not offer such complications as a moon phase or a calendar or any of the other refinements that ratchet up a watch's price.
    The simplicity of a minute repeater: http://www.timezone.com/library/rdnotebook/200408292930 BTW, I'm almost finished with watch shopping...
    Thank you for elaborating my point. BTW the best way to see how a minute repeater works is by purchasing IWC's book regarding the Grande Complication wristwatch. Not only does it have wonderful step-by-step explanations of the minute repeating mechanism but it also comes with a wonderful over-sized pull out that allows one to view the mechanism in full detail. Jon.
     
  9. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    (AlanC @ 27 Nov. 2004, 08:30) A watch is not really important, after all, except when it fails to tell the time when you are late for a business meeting.
    Ahhh, I beg to differ. Â The watch or watches a man wears tells much about the man. Â My mother used to tell my sister to pay attention to a man's shoes, as it would be reflection of the man himself.....I always told her to skip the shoe inspection and look at his wrist. Â The watch a man wears is a small window into that man's soul.
    Oh dear, I don't even know where to begin to laugh and cringe at such a statement... Let's at least try not to get metaphysical about the wearer of a watch.
     
  10. 1Dgaf

    1Dgaf Senior member

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    (1Dgaf @ 27 Nov. 2004, 8:34) "For the most part people who purchase such items, and have the means to do so, do so because of their passion for the art of horology, it is for the lack of a better term, a hobby." I suspect that low-cost expensive watches (hoo.) are primarily bought by people that get a kick out of having an expensive watch and possibly being seen doing so. Â Perhaps I'm too cynical, or totally deluded, but I can imagine lots of people buying expensive-expensive watches doing so for the same reasons. I suspect that watch manufacturers would have a tough time surviving if only enthusiasts bought their stuff.
    I did not say that every person that purchases a new Patek is a connoisseur, but for the most part people who purchase the higher-end auction watches are for the most part serious collectors. And since the article is regarding vintage watches sold at auction I decided to stay on that particular segment of the industry. I very much doubt that simple "˜enthusiasts' even ones with seemingly unlimited means spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on vintage Patek's. And to top it all  many times exceptionally rare Patek's break price records, bidding that is hardly the arena of mere spectators, but that of major horological players. Jon.
    Man, if I had the money I'd buy all sorts of crazy shit. Robot Giraffes, cars made out of cake; anything at all.
     
  11. gregory

    gregory Senior member

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    I agree. The writer is hopelessly uninformed. My dad bought his most recent watch from a friend, who collects watches. That is the second least vulgar way to acquire a watch, aside from inheritance.
     
  12. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    Well, auction houses are hardly "˜vulgar', I think the correct term to use regarding auction houses is that they are "˜public'. Of course one can bid via the internet or via phone and keep ones anonymity, especially if one would rather negate the limelight.

    Jon.
     
  13. ernest

    ernest Senior member

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    It is risky to buy in an auction as many watches which had a poorly maintenance can only be sold in auction because profesionnals do not want them and they are not guaranted to work properly.
     
  14. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    What? I think not. Many items (timepieces) that come up for auction are often times serviced and / or are accompanied by service records. As well most of the reputable auction houses: Christie's, Sotheby's and of course, Antiquorum utilize rating systems which allow the potential buyer the quality and condition of a particular lot. As well, lots can be viewed prior to the auction.

    Regardless if a watch has been serviced at regular intervals or has dilapidated in a bank vault, as long as all the movement's prices are intact, the watch can be serviced and put into working order. If watchmakers can fix watches that have parts missing and that are 250+ years old, they can service a 1981 Cartier Pasha with ease.

    Jon.
     
  15. ernest

    ernest Senior member

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    (ernest @ 29 Nov. 2004, 09:22) It is risky to buy in an auction as many watches which had a poorly maintenance can only be sold in auction because profesionnals do not want them and they are not guaranted to work properly.
    What? I think not. Many items (timepieces) that come up for auction are often times serviced and / or are accompanied by service records. As well most of the reputable auction houses: Christie's, Sotheby's and of course, Antiquorum utilize rating systems which allow the potential buyer the quality and condition of a particular lot. As well, lots can be viewed prior to the auction. Regardless if a watch has been serviced at regular intervals or has dilapidated in a bank vault, as long as all the movement's prices are intact, the watch can be serviced and put into working order. If watchmakers can fix watches that have parts missing and that are 250+ years old, they can service a 1981 Cartier Pasha with ease. Jon.
    You have nothing to service in a quartz watch, just to make sure that the battery hasn't damage the movement if it has stayed empty in the watch for a long time. Some watches have been in pawn, some were in a safe for many years. I guess that the very expensive watches have been serviced well most of time. I am not sure it is the case for more common watches. The rating system doesn't imply to open the watch and to check if every part of the movement if in good trim and guenuine. Auction are often full of professionals who knows each other and who are far or less friends with the actioneer and so best watches would go in their hands. In a nutshell, a private individual can not make a bargain there. Better buy to a second hand shop or to a private individual after having checked with the brand's after sales service if everything was clear.
     

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