Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mimo, Feb 12, 2016.
@BLAUGRANA Yeah, the Lange 1815 Chronograph isn't so bad
Outstanding Double Red, eton97.
So hot....and I also believe it's time for a new signature
Ah, speaking of wearing off-brand Crocs with a suit.
For a luxury product that in many ways is all about the details, I have no idea why they so consistently screw up one that costs virtually nothing to do right, and has such an impact on the appearance. If you really want to use an off-the-rack font instead of professional custom lettering, least don't completely scrape the bottom of the barrel by inflicting Arial and Calibri on an $85K+ watch.
So, is the (small) Sun Moon the nicest version of the Reverso ever made, or what?
In my opinion: yes.
Original-watch-appreciation-thread-starter gdl203 has, or at least had, one of them as well. The 8-day-movement version just doesn't do it for me as much because of its thicker case, plus they cheaped out on the dial work. That's an excellent example of the beautiful hand lettering that I'm talking about, which can help distinguish a decent watch from a great watch. The Times New Roman they used on the newer model just doesn't compare, and it's one of the reasons I got rid of the Reverso GMT I used to have.
Gorgeous watch for sure!
I've sworn to limit my watch collection to a small number, and I already have a watch that is similar in shape and spirit to the sun moon, but by God it is testing me. It is like an animated historiated initial at the beginning of the greatest story ever written.
Maybe the black dial version is different enough to justify it... I usually prefer white dials for dress watches but the font on the black dial is incredible.
How can one tell if the font or lettering is hand-applied? The stylized numerals of the black-dialed JLC look hand-applied to me, but hard to tell on the previous one - they looked "typed" to me.
Clearly, the numerals were hand-applied by Heaven's most skilled artisanal angels.
Knew that was going to grind your gears as soon as I saw the pictures!
Definitely one the the nicest JLCs IMHO!!! I came very close to purchasing one back in 2002. Ended up going with a Vacheron, but the original Sun/Moon has continued to haunt me. Enjoy it!!!
I don't own one, I am admiring it from afar. But if I were to get a Reverso, that would be the one I would want.
It would be very hard to justify owning two rectangular rose gold watches with a white dial and moon phase complication without admitting to myself that I have a problem.
Well, there's no foolproof method. It can sometimes be difficult to tell lettering apart from type, especially at wristwatch scale. Other times, it's easy to see the difference. In the black-dialled Reverso example above, it's obvious that the numerals are manually created in the distinctive style that JLC reserved for their platinum pieces.
The silver dial of the rose gold model is also an example of lettering, not type. Despite their more-controlled style, its indices have the subtly-organic shapes that are the hallmark of excellent draftsmanship:
image credit: watchinghorology.com
Though this dial design is produced serially, its basis is entirely in hand lettering. It's not only the large numerals that have an element of liveliness in them, but the rest of the dial lettering also has that beauty. Unfortunately, everything except the indices and logo was dumbed down to boring, dumpy Times New Roman on the newer version, and it's hugely inferior. (Though that's still not as bad as the Patek's transition from @no frills' sublime 3940 to the stunningly-inept 5140, which I would use as a case study for the decline of design standards if I ever were to teach this stuff. I've posted it before, but in case you aren't familiar with it
Even the printing quality sucks on this dial.
Provided you acutally know how to do it properly, there's nothing wrong with using a high-quality typeface. But the warmth and character that top-grade lettering can imbue is often perfect on something like a classic Reverso... or a freaking Patek perpetual. It can also work well on a sports watch; for example, I much prefer Rolex's hand-drafted numbers on pre-ceramic GMT bezels to the charmless Eurostile type on current versions, for example. However, that one's more of a matter of taste than of truly deficient design, unlike the 5140 mess.
Anyway, it doesn't really matter if lettering or type is used so long as it's well-selected and suitable to the application. Typefaces aren't necessarily inferior, it's just that their misuse can clearly signal a lack of design savvy. Conversely, those that go to the bother of commissioning custom lettering generally know what they're doing. It's surprising that the watch industry tends to be so weak in this area in recent years; there was noticeably more typographical sensitivity and finesse evident in the packaging of a $12.50 aftermarket disc filter for my Aeropress than the dials of quite a few very-costly watches.
Nomos consistently makes masterful use of both type and lettering, by the way.
If I haven't yet bored you to death on the subject, here's an article on the differences between lettering and type that I found to be well-written and worth the read: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2013/01/understanding-difference-between-type-and-lettering/
Indeed, it's a truly textbook example of genuinely shitty type selection and layout. Really, I don't find it to be gear-grinding so much as bewildering that they continue to produce to such low standards. Frankly, I think it's going to bite them in the ass someday in that collector market that they use (and sometimes manipulate at auction time) as a justification for their pricing levels, because a lot of the new stuff doesn't simply live up to the hype.
@Belligero - Patek released new 5140s with Breguet numerals in Basel a few days ago, but it didn't fix what ailed it originally.
I'll stick to this perfect little example:
Yep, that's what I'm talking about.
Good eye there; I believe you managed to snap up all the pre-MS-Paint-era (i.e. sweet-looking) Patek PCs and PC chronos in New York while they were still available.
No doubt that their PC still badly needs work. On the bright side, the new 5170R appears to offer a no-excuses new dial under the $350K level, which they haven't done in a long time.
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