Help me understand watches and value

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Cary Grant, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. ths

    ths Well-Known Member

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    I think its a little like buying a art. The functional value of the item is not what you are actually buying. You are buying the romanticism of a bygone era, the craftsmanship and the soul put into the creation of the watch.

    Anyway.. some just like to flash some bling about. In that case you would be buying a status symbol. [​IMG]
     


  2. KhalidAZ

    KhalidAZ Member

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    Interetsing comment. I wonder, who, then, is the "Thomas Kincade" of watch makers? [​IMG]

    One word

    Rolex
     


  3. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    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...

    I am in total agreement with you there. And thinking about it, I raise my hand in surrender in trying to understand the logic of our decisions. For me its akin to how my wife has surrendered to figuring out why I spend so much on shoes when on the other hand I'm a Scrooge when it comes to most other stuff, like spending on her [​IMG] Perhaps it is human nature, or feeding our vanities which drives us to this I don't know, but I am beginning to love the irrationality and the absence of logic in it.

    And looking around, if I was a logical man and I'd get a watch I'd probably get something like this:

    [​IMG]
    atomic timekeeping feature (well, at least if you're within 2000 miles from the transmitter in Ft. Collins, CO), perpetual calendar, world time function with 30 cities, 5 alarms, 100M water resistance, multi-alarms, 2 year power supply.... all for $48!!!

    But for reasons that cannot be argued with simple logic, I am saving some money for this

    [​IMG]
    time, date, seconds, 7 day power reserve, display back. And I do not know why.
     


  4. bleachboy

    bleachboy Senior member

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    I don't understand what sets a Panerai or Patek apart for 10x the price of the Omega.

    I highly recommend Walt Odets' fantastic Horologium articles. He's a watchmaker and there are tons of cool pics. A good one to check out to get an idea would be his comparison of Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Sohne movements.
     


  5. gazman70k

    gazman70k Senior member

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    This is a great discussion. I really think the better analogy is watches are like shoes. Functionally, they achieve very simple requirements. Stylistically, they tell you a lot about the person.

    They range from mass produced machine made products to high quality individualise products hand made by independent artisans. Some comparisons (which is open for debate, as this is my personal opinion) could include:

    At the very high end and can be considered works of art: For shoes, I would put the cobbler Hidetaka Fukaya, John Lobb London, Roberto Ugolini up there (no RTW or MTM service, all MTO) with the following watchmakers Phillipe Dufour, Kari Voutilainen, Vianney Halter or Roger Smith. Artisans who are at the very top of their craft and widely recognised within their industry. They are all independent businesses operated by the artisan, with personal service AND personal supervision (hands on or otherwise) of your product by the artisan. They deliver individualised products in small numbers that take an enormous amount of time to complete. For example, 12 months for a pair of Hidetaka's shoes (who makes his own thread and hand sculpts the last) or 4 years for a Phillipe Dufour Simplicity (who designed his own movements and supervises the hand finishing of the movement personally). Their prices are stratospheric but not because they are diamond encrusted but because they are painstakingly handcrafted. I truly believe that these products take on the soul of the artisan and are the ultimate appreciation of the finer things in life. A pair of Hidetaka's oxford in Metta Catherina hide will set you back EU7,000 while a Phillipe Dufour Simplicity in Platinum cost about EU25,000 (when it was released, they are now worth twice that as he has only made 200 pieces).

    At the high end, one could consider larger enterprises, whether owned by a luxury conglomorate or independent that has a long standing tradition of the craft, with some going back 100 years or more. In the watch world, these include the big 3, Patek Phillipe, Audemar Piguet and Vacheron Constantine. A comparable shoemaker would be say John Lobb (Hermes) / Sutor Matellassi / Edward Green. Lots of hand finishing but they have better infrastructre to produce their high quality products but still in sufficiently small numbers.

    I'd put Rolex along side Farragamo. Good tradition of watch making / shoe making but have branched out to make themselves highly successful, if not very commercial.

    Then there's Panerai and Berluti. Any seasoned SFer or watch collector will tell you that both Berluti and Panerai have been able to extract significant value from the end consumer with what is considered an average product. Berluti with their blake construction Stefano Bi made shoes and Panerai with their Unitas movement. While they both offer high end (MTO and in-house movement) these are merely there to legitimise their more padestrian but bread and butter product lines. What makes them stand out is that they both have a loyal and obsessive fan base that more sophisticated / better quality brands would sell their daughters in to debauchery for - the Swan club with Berluti and Paneristi with Panerai.

    From here on down, I'll let you all figure out the mid-range comparisons but I think you get my point. For example, I'd put Allen Edmonds on par with say Omega or Logines. Well respected but could be had at a good discount if you were looking hard enough.

    I should note that Seiko is the world's only vertically integrated watch manufacture. They make every single component in-house, from the mainsprings, screws, lubricants and event the luminous material. Their time pieces are actually far more accurate than what the Swiss produce and have smashed every Swiss based accuracy certification, including the COSC. The Swiss are of course not very happy about this and have countered with the allure of artisans working in their ateliers hand finishing movements.

    Also note that the mid range brands machine finish their movements. Again, a good comparison between shoes and watches.

    My very extended 2 cents.

    Cheers
    Gaz
     


  6. sanrensho

    sanrensho Senior member

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    My very extended 2 cents.

    Cheers
    Gaz


    Until you mentioned Seiko, I was going to say your post was incomplete (but nonetheless impressive)...it's hard to have a general discussion about watches without mentioning Seiko, if for no other reason to put things in perspective.

    I posted this link before, but I like re-reading it now and then:
    http://www.thepurists.com/watch/features/8ohms/7s26/

    It's a review of Seiko's ubiquitous 7s26 automatic movement, but there is also some great commentary about mechanical watches in general. For example:

    "Watches are machines. While some of them may also be works of art, they cannot escape their machineness. There is undoubtedly something fascinating about those examples of the watchmaker's craft, but there is also something to be learned from the droves of micro-machines that are designed and constructed with only performance and economy in mind."


    [​IMG]
     


  7. DrZRM

    DrZRM Senior member

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    Wow, nice watch (the bottom one)!!

    I am in total agreement with you there. And thinking about it, I raise my hand in surrender in trying to understand the logic of our decisions. For me its akin to how my wife has surrendered to figuring out why I spend so much on shoes when on the other hand I'm a Scrooge when it comes to most other stuff, like spending on her [​IMG] Perhaps it is human nature, or feeding our vanities which drives us to this I don't know, but I am beginning to love the irrationality and the absence of logic in it.

    And looking around, if I was a logical man and I'd get a watch I'd probably get something like this:

    [​IMG]
    atomic timekeeping feature (well, at least if you're within 2000 miles from the transmitter in Ft. Collins, CO), perpetual calendar, world time function with 30 cities, 5 alarms, 100M water resistance, multi-alarms, 2 year power supply.... all for $48!!!

    But for reasons that cannot be argued with simple logic, I am saving some money for this

    [​IMG]
    time, date, seconds, 7 day power reserve, display back. And I do not know why.
     


  8. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    ^ Who doesn't love the Portuguese? My dream watch. Someday...
     


  9. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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  10. Metlin

    Metlin Senior member

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    I am in total agreement with you there. And thinking about it, I raise my hand in surrender in trying to understand the logic of our decisions. For me its akin to how my wife has surrendered to figuring out why I spend so much on shoes when on the other hand I'm a Scrooge when it comes to most other stuff, like spending on her [​IMG] Perhaps it is human nature, or feeding our vanities which drives us to this I don't know, but I am beginning to love the irrationality and the absence of logic in it.

    And looking around, if I was a logical man and I'd get a watch I'd probably get something like this:

    [​IMG]
    atomic timekeeping feature (well, at least if you're within 2000 miles from the transmitter in Ft. Collins, CO), perpetual calendar, world time function with 30 cities, 5 alarms, 100M water resistance, multi-alarms, 2 year power supply.... all for $48!!!

    But for reasons that cannot be argued with simple logic, I am saving some money for this

    [​IMG]
    time, date, seconds, 7 day power reserve, display back. And I do not know why.


    The thing is that the latter watch is certainly more aesthetically pleasing than the top one.

    If aesthetics were the only issue, that's fine -- because I have a few quartz watches that I purchased purely for the way they looked.
     


  11. Schnurretiger

    Schnurretiger Senior member

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    Okay, I don't own expensive watches. I've got a 10 year old Fossil Defender and a 2 year old Casio that has a timer, a stop watch, a world timer, an alarm clock, tells you the temperature and the height of the sea level. It's a convenient watch because I use the timer and stop watch quite frequently. Although it has a steel bracelet, it's case is plastic. And because it is two years old, the battery is quite likely to be dead soon. It is an articcle, that is fun for a certain period of time, but it won't be a companion for life. As a next watch, I'm looking to get a Seiko SBDC001, because in this highly technical age, I like the thought of getting back to basics: That's why I don't buy clothes made out of some super-breathable material any more - I will start sweating anyway - , I shave with soap and safety razor and I only intend to buy handcrafted shoes in the future.
     


  12. jase12

    jase12 Senior member

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    Of course read djf881's post. That doesn't mean I can relate to it.

    Like I said, a mechanical complication is like making a steam engine run car have a mechanical turntable. Sure, it's complicated and perhaps vaguely interesting to some people, but at the end of the day, it is mechanical. In an era when you have way superior technologies that serve the core function, at that.

    Your analogy is flawed because at the end of the day, both Windows and Unix are parallel technologies. And both sacrifice some things (usability vs. security, for example). Doesn't make one superior or inferior. Also, they are both aimed at different functions (a Unix desktop is a poor end user environment and most Windows servers are poor back end environments).

    Also, cost is subjective. Some types of Unix may be free (e.g. Linux), however, there is the cost of time and effort into getting even the most basic functionality up and running.

    In the case of a mechanical watch, it is less reliable, more expensive, older technology that needs to be maintained and serves its core function very poorly. It neither functions properly as a time keeping device, nor as a piece of jewelry (to another poster's point, I can find a gold bar for the price of some watches).



    i think a quick google will show that horological appreciation is something that is far from 'vaguely interesting to some people'
     


  13. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    ^ Who doesn't love the Portuguese? My dream watch. Someday...

    Me. Too big.
     


  14. djf881

    djf881 Well-Known Member

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    Anyway.. some just like to flash some bling about. In that case you would be buying a status symbol. [​IMG]

    Absolutely no point in pretending that isn't part of it. An expensive watch is one of the most unambiguous methods of signalling wealth, especially since men generally should not wear jewelry.

    I heard somewhere that the three things you wear that people notice are your watch, your tie and your shoes. That makes a lot of sense to me.
     


  15. Metlin

    Metlin Senior member

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    Absolutely no point in pretending that isn't part of it. An expensive watch is one of the most unambiguous methods of signalling wealth, especially since men generally should not wear jewelry.

    I heard somewhere that the three things you wear that people notice are your watch, your tie and your shoes. That makes a lot of sense to me.


    Awww, man.

    I just spent all that money on my grillz. Damn... [​IMG]
     


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