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The Watch Appreciation Thread - Part two (Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger LeCoultre,

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mimo, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    upload_2018-11-8_19-8-49.png
    Same idea, but a lot more subtle, Just the red seconds hand, and the Heuer logo in the light blue, and the grey throughout the subdial and minute markers. Thoughts?
     

  2. am55

    am55 Distinguished Member

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    "That [culture] is supposedly everywhere will fool only those who wish to be fooled: it is everywhere because it is nowhere. It is the result of a semantic sleight of hand to which the captious [specious?] origins of its name exposed it particularly. Everything that touches entertainment, from near or far, that touches leisure, free time, so long as it is not love or sport (and then even those may well be classified as "cultural activities": what could be more "cultural" after all?) is now rigged with teh name of culture, whether it be cave visits in Touraine or macramé workshops, electro-pop concerts or stand up comedy: so many pretexts to cultural activities, reflecting the equal soul and indifferent heart of culture as far as sociologists and statisticians are concerned. Even gastronomy has been annexed. [...] If anything, this appellation of "cultural industry" shows well, like the "Louvre brand", that we are a hundred miles away from what culture was.

    [...]

    Any attempt at maintaining, whatever the cost, a hearth of values, and first the hierarchical structure that made their essence, will be immediately confronted by the infamous accusation of contempt - where, in hyperdemocracy, as soon as spoken, has the weight of a conviction.

    "But are you not looking down, there, when you talk of [insert pop culture]?" [...]

    There is nothing that can be answered to this. To be accused of being guilty of contempt is an absolute linguistic weapon, especially since cultural contempt, already difficult to tolerate, is implicitly suspected of being associated with social contempt, this one completely reprehensible [...].

    [...]

    I have adopted for a while the metaphor of the familiar story of Salomon's judgment [...]. The king can also, and this is what he pretends he will do, cut the child in two and give each aspiring mother a half; justice is respected, "democracy" also (or rather equality): there is no privilege, but there is also no longer a child (alive)."

    - Renaud Camus, whose elegant French, charged with meaning, I've thoroughly butchered.

    :hide:
     

  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I just skimmed that, in French. To be clear, I'm definitely not a fan of democratization of culture. I'm also not a proponent of global "elite" culture, which is really the culture of the global professional class (of which many of us are members), thre new bourgeoisie, which I find to be very much a Borg-like structure, assimilating and destroying at the same time. I am disheartened that I can find the same stores in Paris as I can in New York as I can in Shanghai, carrying the same brands, prostelytizing the same set of aesthetic values.

    I'm very much a regionalist. And I personally think that, when it comes to clothing, at least, that these regional distinctions really do rest in the middle market, accessible to locals, but too mainstream in that regional society to be deemed "cool" enough to be adopted by the global culture.
     

  4. am55

    am55 Distinguished Member

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    "L'inconvénient de la méthode est que l'ignorance étant toujours donnée, sans doute à juste titre, hélas, comme le seul fonds commun reconnu, le seul socle sur lequel il est raisonnable de tabler en toute sécurité hyperdémocratique, c'est elle qui sert éternellement de jauge et de mètre-étalon, il faut toujours revenir à elle, toujours tout recommencer da capo, comme dans la classe il faut toujours s'adresser de préférence aux plus mauvais élèves, de sorte que non seulement on n'avance pas mais, l'ignorance progressant sans cesse avec un tel système, l'acquis s'amenuisant toujours et le niveau moyen s'abaissant semaine après semaine, la culture régresse indéfiniment."
     

  5. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I have a hunch about how my post and your quote relate, but it's perhaps best if you would connect the dots for me, so that there's no misunderstanding. Assuming that you agree with the quote, what, in your reading of my post, is regressing because of the application of democracy to all aspects of life?
     

  6. am55

    am55 Distinguished Member

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    I think a writer like Camus deserves more than a skim read, but that is probably my fault for failing to generate sufficient interest to get you to invest the time and effort (mostly the latter).

    Incidentally, as a monarchist living in his castle (and banished from the French intellectual scene for reasons I am careful not to bring up in this thread and recommend you avoid as well :p) he would agree with you that the international business bourgeoisie is (one of) the enemy. However, as a city person moving to the (relative) country and finding its differing mental state shocking (on that theme, I'm a big fan of Suburgatory, if you haven't watched it yet) you are too the international bourgeoisie attempting cultural colonisation...

    I guess I'm a post-modern in my belief in the benefits of a diversity of elites, rather than a single objective ideal that all should bow to (a position presented by a number of folks convincingly on this forum). I disagree with your taste, sir, but will fight to the death (or, at least, a few posts) for your right to promote it, kind of thing.

    The international MBA set, or bourgeoisie if you want to call it that (although in Camus' old France, and in 20th century Britain, the middle and upper classes, would be part of the hereditary cultural group preserving the core) is one in many of these cultural elites, for lack of a better word. Another: Dino's very American (East Coast?) taste is different from mine, but I respect its depth and consistency, and the systematic building of knowledge that led to it and that continues to refine it.

    What I like from Camus is the idea of the systematic search for improvement, of building on previous generations' shoulders. You cannot build a Burj Khalifa by reinventing civil engineering, you are literally building it on material science, mathematics, physics, engineering research and a global supply chain that have made it possible.

    The metaphor breaks down somewhat in that sciences do have an objective sparsest, most correct form that we dig towards (the mathematicians would cough and mention category theory? you know what I mean, with your background); whereas the arts, culture, can have orthogonal tracks each with deep quality and adding to the conversation. But there is a difference between the Classical rejection of Baroque "heaviness" followed by Romanticism evolving from there; and rejecting all three periods altogether as having no value and restarting from a blank state (which in its very shape is influenced anyway by the centuries prior).

    That last 20% that requires 80% of the effort (or in Camus' analogy, 99.5% of the effort) can be seen in the watch world somewhat (to come back on track). See the Tank Chinoise and its CPCP reedition. There is something about the first one (and maybe it is just the story) that evoques an implicit, or at least different, understanding of beautiful, complex and corrupt Imperial China as depicted by Cao Xueqin, even if this was the time of Sun Yat-sen already. By the CPCP days nobody could have known; Taiwan has remained an enclave of traditionalist Chinese thought but a shadow of a very different past ironically re-glorified today by its successor dynasty. And so the watch, whilst beautiful, has a hint of a pastiche feel. Of a superficial rather than thorough understanding. Of course the original was also an echo of a cultural wave of chinoiseries at the time.

    I've just seen your other reply on democratisation. It's about half the essay (which, btw, was published as a standalone book!) but I'm not sure I'll have time to do it justice today. "If I had had the time I'd have written a shorter letter" - by necessity these posts are long form as a thought dump, and I do wish I had the time to edit them, alas... I think the short form is that culture is necessarily elitist by virtue of the effort and time required to accede to it, and there certainly is social covariance, but by its nature true culture is universalist and thus democratic; to destroy the idea of culture through democratisation is akin to lowering the difficulty of exams so you get more perfect GPAs (I think that is the idea behind many undergraduate programs in the US today), ergo you split the child and have equality but you killed him.
     

  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    To give a super brief response to your much longer and better thought out post, and maybe to touch on Camus essay (Yes, I only read it quickly, but man, that thing was long and dense) I think that a lot of the problem with modern designs is that they appeal to only the most superficial of tastes, and perhaps betray a design group's superficial appreciation for both the object that they are designing and their audience's awareness. To mix metaphors, the designs too often seem flat - two dimensional - like the crystal clear but soulless sapphire crystals that are the norm today.

    My example in the watch world would be the IWC Mk XI and the later IWC pilot watches from the 80s and beyond. I think that @mafoofan mentioned this in a post that IWC lost its way when it veered away from creating tool watches that were functional, and instead, decided to make watches "inspired by the history of aviation". If this is true, then it's not hard to understand why IWC watches are a metaphorical shadow of what they once were.
     

  8. am55

    am55 Distinguished Member

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    Yes and Camus theorises that it is because the (global?) common language of "culture" is gradually lost i.e. designers are increasingly less knowledgeable about the world/design/art/think less, you name it, which is shown in the results. It is not a question of the style used but the artistic value/quality of the execution within that style. The exceptions like Journe stand out by their rarity.

    Two relevant quotes from the essay:

    "L'homme cultivé n'a jamais trop de temps, il n'en a même jamais assez pour tout ce qu'il y a lire, à voir, à entendre, à connaître, à apprendre, à comprendre et à aimer. L'intelligible, par son énormité, est incommensurable à son intelligence. L'existant, par son immensité, est sans rapport de proportions avec sa soif de connaissance et les possibilités de sa mémoire. L'aimable, par son infinitude, outrepasse de toute part son amour. À tout moment il doit faire des choix, c'est-à-dire renoncer à des chemins, à des livres, à des études et à des distractions. Et ce qu'il est, autant que par ce qu'il lit, par ce qu'il entend et par ce qu'il étudie, il l'est par ce qu'il ne lit pas, ce qu'il ne fréquente pas, ce à quoi il refuse de perdre son temps, ce temps que la culture rend précieux."

    Related, and especially:

    "Tous les censeurs savent cela : la vérité n'est pas pure. Elle est stratifiée, mélangée, contradictoire, pleine d'enclaves et d'enclaves dans les enclaves ; et ces enclaves au sein de la vérité sont des faussetés, des à peu près, des exceptions, des contrevérités comme on dit des contre-courants, des vérités de second rayon, qui contredisent la vérité mais n'en sont pas moins vraies et n'en font pas moins partie de son empire. Que dans la transmission des messages on interdise la perte et la déperdition, les malentendus, les appropriations abusives du sens par chacune des parties, il n'y aura plus de messages."


    As part of my work I've occasionally touched on natural language processing and "AI" translation. One of the hardest things about translation is that 90% of language, at least in involved conversation, is not really spoken. Each word comes charged with an immense cultural baggage, acts as an abstraction for a cascade of meaning, which together fill the more complex message brought across. One example is this extraordinary sentence from the essay where the verb "to be" acquires a multitude of meanings: "une classe cultivée qui, elle, se réduit comme peau de chagrin, n'ose pas dire son nom, n'ose plus se présenter pour ce qu'elle est, et que d'ailleurs elle est de moins en moins, car il lui est difficile d'être en n'ayant pas le loisir de s'assumer étant." (the Balzac reference, which is more than a mere illustration, will too be lost to most readers)

    And so if that common language (which you could also call "culture") is lost, in the same way that your Ed Hardy reference was lost to me, communication becomes impossible except at the most basic level (like a modern IWC) and we lose a little bit of civilisation in our inability to get across complex concepts. Each point must be painstakingly explained, at high risk of misunderstanding, to the blank slate of the differently educated mind; metaphors must be found (acting as functors across categories of culture?), higher level abstractions dissected and reconstituted. And the crazy thing is the depth of understanding that my grandmother's generation had of other cultures, grasping the core of them - despite considerably less exposure - quickly and accurately, capable of understanding the way of thinking and feeling of people who were to a great extent more alien than science fiction antagonists today (this is also due to bad writing, but let's not get on that tangent).

    In such a way, in a very real way, civilisation and knowledge are rotting away with each generation. The advantage of the blank slate is that "new" thinking is possible. Time will tell (is telling, already) whether the tradeoff is worthy.

    ("les journalistes ont des instructions pour ne plus parler de Gainsborough, de Musset ou de Nietzsche, mais du peintre anglais Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1785), du poète romantique Alfred de Musset (1810-1847) ou du philosophe allemand Frédéric Nietzsche (1844-1900). Que le lecteur puisse disposer de dictionnaires, d'encyclopédies ou d'un moteur de recherches et juger qu'il lui appartient de donner lui-même de rapides coups de sonde dans les domaines où il aurait du mal à suivre n'est pas envisagé.")
     

  9. Medwed

    Medwed Distinguished Member

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    Stop helping Oak and Oscar design their next watch.
     

  10. Medwed

    Medwed Distinguished Member

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    We are beyond point of no-return in this and many other cultural aspects. I have had a conversation yesterday with my French co-workers asking them what their children are reading and watching on French TV. Disney cartoons they answered. What about cartoons based on traditional French or European folktales what about Andersen or Charles Perrault, Grimm etc. (all things my generation read and watched), No they said; on French TV it is mostly Disney and what they read are Manga or other comic books.
    That is in France. , country that invented word "Chauvinism". Sad times ahead.
     

  11. clee1982

    clee1982 Stylish Dinosaur

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    Don’t dispute with what you said in general, just a question on how true is this? I have seen examples, and they were truly just examples (ie not the majority norm). The superficial understateding today is probably better and the deeper understanding is probably equally bad across times would have been my impression.
     

  12. bdavro23

    bdavro23 Distinguished Member

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    Watches.

    Just thought I'd distract you lot from your existential crises for a moment...
     

  13. Medwed

    Medwed Distinguished Member

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    IMHO, very appropriately for this thread.
    We are talking about existence that is often measured by tool-watches.
     

  14. dopey

    dopey Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    This is nice but I would make the chrono subdial hands red as well so that the functions are consistent and easy to find. The running seconds hand would stay black.
     

  15. Dino944

    Dino944 Distinguished Member

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    Even the best PVD coatings can be easily damaged. I think Cartier's ADLC is far more durable than PVD, but that's a different price point. A friend has had a Santos 100 with ADLC coating for several years with no major issues in terms of the coating coming off. Then again, he isn't doing thing where his watch is coming in contact with cement.

    As for modifying stuff, again if it makes people happy, and its their clothes, car, watch etc...they can do whatever they want. I don't care. I would say I've seen plenty of modded items that if they make the owner happy, that's great, but IMHO, most of the mods were not an improvement in appearance, taste, or performance. Most people think they have better taste than they do and/or think they are better designer than they are...but again, if I don't have to wear it or drive it, it matters little to me.

    As for modifying watches, sure people do not have to conform. They can do anything they want that makes them happy. The mods you suggested with the TAG seem minor, but I've seen some mods that are rather significant (see below). Someone modifying a watch be the changes minor or major, just needs to be aware that they are essentially limiting who will service the watch (some companies will not work on a modded piece, unless the owner pays to have it returned to its original state), and if one grows tired of the watch and wants to sell it (there is a much smaller group of people who may identify with, and want to own a watch with the changes that were made), not to mention it may also be worth significantly less than if it were in the stock format, in which it left the factory. Obviously, no one is modifying 1950s perpetual calendar AP, PP, or VC, so its not like someone is losing a fortune by modifying a modern watch that's say under $10,000.

    Not my taste but here is a modified Rolex Milgauss. Perhaps it appeals to wealthy pot smokers, who for some reason need a highly anti-magnetic watch?
    [​IMG]
     

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