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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.

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  1. cyc wid it

    cyc wid it Senior member

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    That Paul Newman Daytona sold with the quickness from the Hodinkee shop.
     
  2. roomiller

    roomiller Senior member

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    While the Hodinkee article doesn't mention it, the 37mm must be plated and I'm assuming the movement uses parts that don't meet the standards of the 40mm(but still within a reasonable tolerance).

    Still likely a fantastic watch, but we can't pretend like the only difference is 3mm and $10,000.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  3. ericgereghty

    ericgereghty Senior member

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    I wish one of the prestige brands would, just once, remove all visible branding on the watch face, especially with a simplistic design like the Saxonia.

    Obviously, that would never happen, but a man can dream...
     
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  4. dan'l

    dan'l Senior member

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    Hmmm, of course when I read that article I was immediately intrigued, but you bring up a very valid point - how can they drop the price $10k?

    Case in point, the Sax-0-Mat movement. A few years ago ALS switched from the 3/4 rotor to a full rotor and decided to go with a platinum & gold-plated counterweight instead of the platinum & gold rotor in the original version. ALS claimed it was because the rotor would be too heavy, but a lot of purists screamed foul.

    I think I will wait for a detailed review before ordering/buying one. I sure hope that ALS does not go so far as to make a gold-plated case!
     
  5. dan'l

    dan'l Senior member

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    @Belligero, great watch! Congrats.

    Did I remember correctly that you have a 116520 as well? Will it survive the culling? :)
     
  6. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    To re-state the obvious: yes.


    No. What you do not seem to grasp is that the Lange 1 is not a particularly complicated watch. None of its features are significant complications; power reserve indicators and big dates do not need to add meaningful thickness to a movement. In contrast, automatic rotors and central second hands, which are far more common and less eye-dazzling to newbie watch hobbyists, do.  


    See above comment.

    Also, you are missing the argument. The point is not that the Lange's case could be made smaller. The point is that the movement is not designed particularly well. It is a compromise for the sake of image and marketing. If you don't understand the history of German watchmaking, three-quarter plates, gold chatons, Lange's resuscitated and re-engineered branding, etc., then you can't understand Lange's design purpose behind the Lange 1.

    The reason why Patek's 5054 was a specious comparison is because its case needs to be bigger for the hinged back, not because the movement is thicker.


    Oh jeezus. Please do some reading of your own and see if you can still stand by this point without feeling silly.


    It is an incredible deal. Though, it makes one wonder what is going on with pricing on the 40mm . . .


    And even at 37mm, the case is vastly oversized for the movement. The back looks ridiculous:

    [​IMG]


    Huh? These suppositions are ridiculous.

    Lange isn't using plated cases or second-rate movement components. Rather, they are simply implementing the industry-wide practice of irrational pricing. Take a look at what most makers charge for a steel version of a watch. Then compare to the price for a gold version. Then look at the platinum pricing. The leaps are almost never proportionate to the actual increased cost of material or labor.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  7. Keith T

    Keith T Senior member

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    Congrats @Belligero! Great pickup on that Zenith-powered Daytona.

    I'm sure it will be running in tip-top shape for you to "time contractions" soon enough LOL.


    Re: the new Lange offering, since all we ever do around here is nit-pick-- I personally wish it were precisely one millimeter larger :D although 37 will be a pretty sweet spot for a lot of guys.

    But I do think that if I were still in the market for that style of dress watch (round / thin / dead simple, two-hander) I'd likely go with the Piaget Altiplano, which I've long adored. Slightly different aesthetic, of course.
     
    2 people like this.
  8. yls2012

    yls2012 Active Member

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    Lange 1 case is about 10mm thick--fairly modest in my book. I'm no watchmaker but i'm sure it would have been possible to slim the proportions of the movement. That's true for almost every watch and doesn't seem to be a reason to knock the Lange.

    I fail to see why you're more forgiving of an officer caseback adding thickness than of big date or power reserve (or for that matter the three quarter plate, if that was what you were insinuating) adding thickness. The former strikes me as much more gimmicky an anachronistic than the latter. Big dates, power reserves, and even 3/4 plates are at least part of the movement--an officer caseback is not.

    It's very easy to slim the Patek's case: jettison the officer caseback.

    My point was not that the Lange 1 totally abandoned the German tradition you view as contrived. I get they used finishing techniques and movement architecture that were old school, e.g. gold chatons, three quarter caseback, etc. The point was that the Lange 1 didn't look like an old Lange pocketwatch or deckwatch--which you had cited as examples before. Please let me know if I've overlooked an old-time Lange pocketwatch with offset hour and minute subdial, separate seconds subdial, and offset date/power reserve. Lange 1 seems to me to have been a fresh design, not a stale one. Indeed, GO subsequently copied the original Lange 1, which itself was a novel design.

    Your broader point was that there's a trend towards watches that are neither here nor there: relatively formal styling in big sporty packages. I agree. The Portuguese Auto 7 day is a good example of that. There are many others. The Lange 1 is not a great example of that.

    Moreover, Lange has been able to draw from its history of pocket/deck watches without making sacrifices. I have an 1815 up down, which as you know borrows from the deckwatch designs and maintains a very svelte 8.5mm thickness. That Lange had to be revived in the 1990s and later draw on some far removed deck watch design doesn't bother me a bit.
     
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  9. tim_horton

    tim_horton Senior member

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    I believe the issue is that in a modern wrist watch, a 3/4 plate is unnecessary. It is an innovation developed for pocket watches and serves no real purpose in the modern Lange movements, other than to give a nod to Lange's past (if one believes there is a connection between the current Lange and the one of years ago) and to needlessly thicken the movement.
     
  10. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yes, thank you.

    On one level of analysis, we should be questioning whether certain features or complications make sense together. This is extremely pertinent now, when high-end watchmakers tend to flock toward whatever complication happens to be most fashionable and senselessly combine as many complications as possible into a single watch. I am not critiquing the Lange 1 on these grounds.

    However, we should also be critical of how elegantly and efficiently such complications are implemented. This is where my issue with the Lange 1 lies. For what it is and what it does--and for the price--it could have been done better.

    My sense of Lange is that they make an exceptionally well-crafted product, but are hindered by the need to connect with a too distant and far removed past. In the long run, I think that is a losing strategy. They may dazzle newcomers, but will always come across as pretenders to the big-spending seasoned collectors who tend to favor Patek and Rolex.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  11. tim_horton

    tim_horton Senior member

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    On your last point, I have to disagree with you. I don't think too many people who would view ALS as pretenders compared to Patek and Rolex. They offer a very high-end product on par with any other manufacturer, and one superior to most. Then again, I don't really know any collectors in real life, and rumor has it that the resale value of Lange is not nearly as strong as Patek or Rolex, so you may have a point. That being said, they do have their quirks. What is that expression about falling in love with someone for their flaws as well as their virtues?

    Though in hindsight, you are probably referring to Lange as a pretender in the sense of having a direct, unbroken link to their past as compared to Patek and Rolex, which I can't fault.

    I will admit I'm a big fan of the aesthetics of Lange, but more of the older models - Lange 1, Langematik with Big Date, and the like. Also the Cabaret, though it really isn't my personal style I can admire it objectively. My enjoyment of Lange's offerings doesn't really depend on their connection, real or not (and I'm not calling it either way), to prior iterations of the company.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
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  12. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Senior member

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    I like it. I've got it on my shortlist with the new Tudor Black Bay Black. I believe @Andy57 has posted pictures of the 300 in this thread.
     
  13. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Auction and resale numbers are enough to tell the story. It's painful for me to contemplate buying a Lange new when they can be had at such steep discounts in the secondhand market. That said, Lange is not alone in this regard. As you know, most makes suffer from heavy depreciation after purchase. Patek and Rolex are the exceptions.

    Collector anecdote is corroborating. If you track the experience of a lot of well-known collectors, they tend to ultimately converge on Patek and Rolex--regardless of how varied their interests began. Jean-Claude Biver himself is an avid Patek collector with an extensive and very enviable collection, despite the fact that he has spent his life leading companies bent on competing with Patek.

    As I think I mentioned earlier, after some time collecting and studying watches, you start to realize how much is purely marketing gee-whizzery versus truly great work that will stand the test of time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  14. Andy57

    Andy57 Senior member

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    Yes, I have posted pictures of my SM 300. Mine is the Spectre limited edition, though, with the lollipop seconds hand and a 24-hour bezel.
     
  15. tim_horton

    tim_horton Senior member

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    True. That "gee-whiz" factor is present in so many fields - I see it every week in regards to orthopaedic implants - that one would have to have blinders on to not see it in mechanical watches, which are, technologically speaking, an anachronism.
     
  16. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    You definitely brought up some interesting points. I don't see Lange as a pretender when compared to any high end brand or Rolex. They all have different histories, design aesthetics, and core values. It merely depends on what a collector values and wants in his collection.

    As for having an unbroken past...Lange isn't the only company that was defunct and revived. Jean Claude Biver did the same thing with Blancpain. There are several other brands that are also revived names from the past. While I like Lange, I've never cared for BP, so 2 revived brands both of high quality, just I prefer one to the other. I don't fault either for being revived. JLC's Reverso was out of production for a number of years...but they brought it back I believe in the 1980s...and its a stronger seller now that it ever was. Should that be considered a broken link to the past...the company existed, but for a time the model did not? Also, while the unbroken link to the past is nice with some brands, some brands go on to produce things I no longer want. I used to really like VC's line up and several IWCs, now both produce very little that is of interest to me. So they have an unbroken link to the past with modern products I wouldn't buy, so IMHO the unbroken link doesn't always mean much.

    Patek and Rolex do have better resale that most other brands. Both make great watches, and it can be difficult to consider purchasing competitor's pieces when one knows the resale value will not be as strong. Although, it can represent a great bargain for those who purchase preowned LNIB pieces from other great brands.

    When it comes to auction values, yes lots of collectors flock to Patek and Rolex. They both made and continue to make great watches so there are many reasons for people to bid on them and values to be strong. However, at least on some level, I wonder if they are drawn to it on the investment level (knowing Patek/Rolex do well with collectors) and hence some of the purchase is made with resale/profit in mind more than on its technical merits or design (although those are usually part of the reason collectors become particularly interested in certain pieces). In addition when it comes to Patek auction values, I discount that a bit to the degree Patek often sends people from their museum to bid on nivr vintage pieces. If they have the winning bid, well then its a win for them,but even if they don't and they merely bid up the price significantly its still a win for them, as it makes news. In addition, it helps sell basic modern offerings. I've seen sales people showing a basic Calatrava and telling potential buyers about Patek's selling at auctions for fortunes and that this is a great piece to have. Sure, its a great piece, but there is a significant difference in complexity, rarity, and desirability of the a vintage Patek perpetual calendar chronograph made in the 1950s vs a current Calatrava.

    Resale value and auction values are interesting factors to consider, but they only tell so much of a story. In the end Patek and Rolex make great high quality watches...but I also think Lange, AP, VC, JLC, Piaget, etc produce some exceptional pieces.
     
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  17. mimo

    mimo Senior member

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    I would also add that both Patek and Rolex advertise massively. Which both raises new prices and firms up the used market by stoking the aspiration of non watch geeks. Since Omega went placement crazy, their used prices have been climbing too. Very different companies and stages, but history and quality are not the only factors in desirability and depreciation.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. AxsonJ

    AxsonJ New Member

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    Hi guys! First post for me in this thread, so please excuse my first pic, which admittedly could have been better.
    My first "serious" watch, a first generation, last year run, Vacheron Constantin Overseas!
    [​IMG]
     
    4 people like this.
  19. Winot

    Winot Senior member

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    Was quite pissed off when I read this last night, having just bought a pre-owned Saxonia Thin and compromising on the fact that I wished it were 38mm.

    That said, I paid only about 20% more than the reported price of the new model and I have it now and I do love it. Need to be thankful for what we've got, right?
     
  20. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Of course the other companies you named make great watches. That is not debated. However, I don't think it is controversial to say that Patek stands apart. The Ivy League schools are all great--but then there is Harvard. Similar story. And I am neither a Patek collector nor Harvard alum.

    Personally, I'm more interested in some of the independents (Journe, Dufour, Ferrier, etc.), as I think they are doing the more innovative, best quality watchmaking today. But they are not Patek. First of all, they do lack the history. Second, they cannot compete in terms of R&D resources--Patek can pump out complications like none other. Third, they generally lack the Patek attitude and aesthetic, a sort of quiet matter-of-factness where the watch is comfortable being your timekeeping accessory, not a showpiece to draw attention.

    It's that last quality that I admire the most. When I started getting into watches many years ago, I was drawn to the dazzlers. I don't mean diamonds and bling. I mean watches with "cool" complications and standout looks that tells the world "I know my watches and I didn't buy a stupid Rolex." That's, frankly, almost all of the high-end watch universe today. Now that bores me. It is all pizazz and no brains and no elegance. The best examples of Patek are the opposite. Like a perfectly tailored suit made out of the best quality English wool in a simple, plain pattern and color, they are confident in their own intrinsic quality and happy to play second fiddle to their owners rather than be the center of attention themselves.


    Average rich guy might be influenced to buy a $30K Calatrava because he's seen enough Patek advertising in the Wall Street Journal, but you can't really believe that's what influences knowledgeable collectors who spend hundreds of thousands or more on a single watch at auction, can you?

    The people who seriously collect Pateks tend to be people who really know watches, not impressionable neophytes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016

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