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Inexpensive watches with high-dollar style -- poseriffic?

DocHolliday

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No, not replicas.

I recently spotted an inexpensive quartz that reminded me very much of IWC, and it was, dare I say it, fairly tasteful, lacking the gaudiness associated with many inexpensive watches. Plain stainless case, black dial, elegant hands. However, I couldn't help wondering if it wasn't a little too reminiscent of IWC. Not a direct knockoff, but very much in the vein.

That got me to wondering: Is such a thing wearable, or should we respect makers' distinctive styles? If the latter, is it possible to find a watch with good style without paying a premium for it?
 

chas

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This is around $500. I think it looks classy and it is in no ways a knock off. I just got a new strap that is a bit darker. Because it is clearly a Hamilton and not trying to be something it isn't I am able to wear it with confidence.
 

yfyf

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At the risk of sounding pretentious, whenever I see a quartz watch, I always think "bummer, why did he skimp on the automatic version". They just never seem quite as special as mechanical watches. I'm not a car person, but I imagine the logic is similar to seeing a sports car with an automatic gearshift.

That been said, it is still possible to find mechanical watches that don't cost the earth and are still very nice.
 

FidelCashflow

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Originally Posted by DocHolliday
That got me to wondering: Is such a thing wearable, or should we respect makers' distinctive styles? If the latter, is it possible to find a watch with good style without paying a premium for it?
Well, people around here like to moan about the average joe walking down the street is always dressed poorly. It would be pretty unfair to turn around and label someone wearing a very nice but very cheap timepiece as a "poser." Not everyone cares to or can afford to spend several hundred or thousand dollars on a watch. I don't think that low-priced watch companies should have to "respect" designs from high-end watch companies any more than clothing companies like Zara and H&M should have to "respect" the fit of high-end clothing designers styles and fit. I think style should be accessible to everyone regardless of price. I know there are some very stylish and low-priced watches out there. It's funny because when I was looking for a new watch a few weeks ago, I tried on a Cartier Tank Solo, which is Cartier's base model that costs around $2K. It was nice, but lacked any intricate detailing. After that I met up with a friend who worked at the mall. While we were talking, I got a good look at his watch which was a dead-ringer for that Cartier model, but with much a much more intricate guillohe dial. I asked him about it and he told me he got it for $55 from the Tommy Hilfiger outlet. It kind of put things in perspective that a $55 tommy hilfiger could be nicer than a $2K cartier. I'm certain that the design was copied from Cartier, but kudos to Hilfiger for doing it better and cheaper and making the style accessible to the mass public. At the same time, I don't think its any threat to Cartier, because while I think it looks great, I would personally never buy it because it's a Tommy Hilfiger. I guess i'm adverse to a good value on some level because of my vanity.
 

whacked

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Originally Posted by DocHolliday
is it possible to find a watch with good style without paying a premium for it?

Absolutely. Anyone who think otherwise haven't looked hard enough.
 

Twotone

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I would wear a Hamilton or Seiko automatic over a quartz "fashion watch" any day. I prefer watches that have a bit of "soul" to them, something lacking in quartz watches. Some of the Seiko 5 automatics can be found well under $100. The are not "poser" watches and are not pretending to be something they are not.

Twotone
 

DocHolliday

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Originally Posted by chas
This is around $500. I think it looks classy and it is in no ways a knock off. I just got a new strap that is a bit darker. Because it is clearly a Hamilton and not trying to be something it isn't I am able to wear it with confidence.

This has always been my strategy -- my usual watch is a Tissot automatic, which is nice but nothing spectacular. But I'm very interested in thoughts on when something starts trying to become something it isn't. Fidel's Cartier example is a good one, I think. That's a design that's almost become public domain because it's so widely imitated. Too direct a copy is still in poor taste, I think, but at what point does a tank go from being a tank to being a Cartier ripoff? If someone says, "Hrm, that reminds me of Cartier," is that too close for comfort?
 

FidelCashflow

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Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Too direct a copy is still in poor taste, I think, but at what point does a tank go from being a tank to being a Cartier ripoff? If someone says, "Hrm, that reminds me of Cartier," is that too close for comfort?
I don't have a problem with lower priced manufacturers copying designs from high-end manufacturers. The fact is that it's a Tommy Hilfiger watch, and it will never have the cachet or appeal of a Cartier. If anything, it should be a signal to Cartier to step up their game because someone just outdid their design for a fraction of the price. This type of competition can be healthy. But this copying of designs is by no means limited only to lower priced watch companies. I think some Omega Aqua Terra's looks disturbingly like a Rolex DateJust. I think some Tag Heuer AquaRacer's looks distubringly like the Omega Seamaster Professional. These are just a few examples I thought of off the top of my head. One could argue that some Vacheron Constantin models look too much like Patek Phillipe models or vice-versa. I guess there are a limited amount of basic conservatively styled watch designs, and the difference is just in the minor details. It should come as no surprise that if thousands of companies are producing variants of the the classic tank shaped dress watch, that eventually some of them will come out looking the same, whether by accident or design. Live and let live.
 

DocHolliday

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Good points, Fidel, and I'm glad you bring them up. One of the things that got me thinking about the cheapo I spotted is that while I initially thought "IWC," there was also more than a bit of Breitling about it, at least to my amateur eye. The blurring of distinctions between brands, and between "iconic" and "general aesthetic," struck me as very interesting.
 

Aluan

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Originally Posted by DocHolliday
No, not replicas. I recently spotted an inexpensive quartz that reminded me very much of IWC, and it was, dare I say it, fairly tasteful, lacking the gaudiness associated with many inexpensive watches. Plain stainless case, black dial, elegant hands. However, I couldn't help wondering if it wasn't a little too reminiscent of IWC. Not a direct knockoff, but very much in the vein. That got me to wondering: Is such a thing wearable, or should we respect makers' distinctive styles? If the latter, is it possible to find a watch with good style without paying a premium for it?
I think this is fine. I'd have no problem with someone wearing such a thing, and poser would be the last thing I would think, as long as they weren't trying to pawn it off as being as good as the "real thing" or "original." I'd think maybe "cool, a watch wearer, even if it is a quartz..." But I'm not as fanatic about watches as some. Why just watches, though? What about shoes or suits or ties? Or breakfast cereals? I don't think I'd think someone being a cereal poser for eating corn flakes not made by Kellogg's.
And I think you can respect makers' distinctive styles and think that styling imitators are wearable. I think that famous makers are the only ones to have distinctive styling, and it's natural for non-famous makers to emulate them. After all, it's hard for non-famous makers to come up with distinctive styling.
 

csheehan

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Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Plain stainless case, black dial, elegant hands. However, I couldn't help wondering if it wasn't a little too reminiscent of IWC. Not a direct knockoff, but very much in the vein.

Most men, seeing a nice watch at a good price, would just go for it if it appealed to them. They probably don't know that IWC exists. I know that they exist, but I couldn't identify any of their watches.
 

Artisan Fan

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Originally Posted by FidelCashflow
I don't have a problem with lower priced manufacturers copying designs from high-end manufacturers. The fact is that it's a Tommy Hilfiger watch, and it will never have the cachet or appeal of a Cartier. If anything, it should be a signal to Cartier to step up their game because someone just outdid their design for a fraction of the price. This type of competition can be healthy.

But this copying of designs is by no means limited only to lower priced watch companies. I think some Omega Aqua Terra's looks disturbingly like a Rolex DateJust. I think some Tag Heuer AquaRacer's looks distubringly like the Omega Seamaster Professional. These are just a few examples I thought of off the top of my head. One could argue that some Vacheron Constantin models look too much like Patek Phillipe models or vice-versa.

I guess there are a limited amount of basic conservatively styled watch designs, and the difference is just in the minor details. It should come as no surprise that if thousands of companies are producing variants of the the classic tank shaped dress watch, that eventually some of them will come out looking the same, whether by accident or design.

Live and let live.


Infidels.
 

acidboy

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Perhaps the most recognizable IWC watches are its pilot line, which isn't an original design of theirs actually.
 

polar-lemon

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Originally Posted by chas


This is around $500. I think it looks classy and it is in no ways a knock off. I just got a new strap that is a bit darker. Because it is clearly a Hamilton and not trying to be something it isn't I am able to wear it with confidence.


That's what I like about the Jazzmaster; it's clearly Hamilton, and not trying to be anything else. I feel the same way about most of Hamilton's line, and that's why I feel it's the overall best choice in the $400-$1200 retail range.
 

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