The Watch Appreciation Thread (Reviews and Photos of Men's Timepieces by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Brei

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by gdl203, May 20, 2007.

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  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    The fusee-chain solution is not only super-expensive and exotic, but exceptionally difficult to service. It's pretty much relegated to watches with a $100k+ price tag, without any other complications. At least, that is what Lange charged for the fusee-chain Richard Lange.

    The original 5001 movement was a classic slow-beat movement, at 18k beats per hour. When they changed to a screwed balance, they sped it up to 21.6k beats per hour--a little bit faster, but still slow compared to the standard 28.8 beats per hour. The magnified effect of beat error is a theoretical issue, but I'm not sure it matters in real-life usage. Precision will be exponentially more influenced by how you keep your watch wound.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013


  2. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Yes, all movements must contend with isochronism, but the extra-long mainspring in the 5001 makes it a particularly serious and challenging issue. As for the purpose of combining an automatic winding function and a long power reserve: you can wear the watch one day, let it sit for almost a week, then put it back on again without having to wind it. Hand-winding a long power reserve movement is a pain in the ass. Also, it is arguably a way of contending with isochronism error. Since the rotor keeps the mainspring winding as the watch is worn, it will sustain itself in a narrower range of tension. When I keep my 5001 on a winder, it is extremely precise (+3-5 seconds a day).

    So, I think you can rightfully argue that the temperamental precision of the watch is a real issue, but I'm not sure it impeaches the watch's legitimacy. It's a trade-off for added functionality in other areas. And, all in all, it's an interesting engineering story.
     
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  3. Flake

    Flake Senior member

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    But Foo, Rolex didn't start off as a Manufacture. They didn't even start off as a Swiss company.
     


  4. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    Just remembered a few more innovations with regards to increasing power reserve...

    3. use a fundamentally different material for the mainspring, one which can a. be molded in such a way that its thickness tapers from the center of the coil to the outside of the coil to compensate for torque asymmetry as the spring unwinds, and which b. offers better native potential to store energy. I only know of one material which has been found to be a superior material to regular metal spiral springs - fibreglass. :eh:

    4. increase the efficiency of the gear train to reduce extraneous energy loss between barrel and escapement. This is pretty self explanatory, but in the broadest terms one accomplishes it by reducing the friction coefficient. You reduce the friction coefficient through better gear tooth profiles, materials with native lower coefficients of friction (e.g. synthetic diamond as opposed to brass), and better gear train design.

    5. the last method I can think of to increase the power reserve is to remove air from a watch. "Remove the air?!" I hear you say? Think about the oscillating balance wheel, the air resistance it encounters as it oscillates, and the energy losses that entails. Pretty self explanatory again.

    All of these above innovations were implemented by Cartier (!!) in a concept watch, which has a - wait for it - 32 day power reserve.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013


  5. Newcomer

    Newcomer Senior member

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    So, just wanted to give a shoutout to Stitchy.

    My friend was looking for a Michele watch, and she had nothing but good things to say about working with him. And she can be a bit of a hard ass.

    And the obligatory pic...

    [​IMG]
     


  6. Belligero

    Belligero Senior member

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    Yes, you need a special key to wind this 31-day-reserve beast:

    [​IMG]

    Though personally, I kinda dig the interaction of hand-winding something like JLC's 8-day Reverso movement, and they've somehow managed to make the winding effort similar to that of a conventional-reserve watch. And that's another interesting engineering story. :teach:

    [​IMG]
     


  7. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    The founders moved the company to Switzerland three years after founding it in London. It wasn't even called "Rolex" until after the move. Ten years after setting up shop in Switzerland, they bought-out their movement supplier, bringing production in-house. These details are so early and marginal in the company's incubation that I don't think you can make any material case that Rolex isn't originally Swiss or fundamentally a manufacture.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013


  8. Flake

    Flake Senior member

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    Wasn't aware that they didn't adopt the Rolex name until after the move to Switzerland. I learn something new every time I read this thread. I guess that's why I am enjoying it so much!
     


  9. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, and his brother-in-law founded Wilsdorf and Davis around 1905. Later it became Rolex and the company eventually bought Aegler, the company it was buying movements from. Over the years they also bought case makers and bracelet makers (such as Gay Freres which used to make bracelets for AP, PP, IWC, Rolex and Tag)....and became an integrated company.
     


  10. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Any hand-wind JLC that I have tried has been a pleasure to wind - smooth as silk - including the 8 day. I don't exactly have a hard life, but I can't even conceive of how soft an existence one must live to find hand-winding such an exquisite piece to be a collosal pain. First world problems indeed.

    I would add that I don't really get the attraction of such super-long power reserves in the first place - and for much the same reason. I don't find winding and setting a watch to remotely register as an inconvenience in my life. In fact I very much enjoy the interaction - as you describe it - in so doing. My hand-wind Moser has "only" a 3 day power reserve. I can't say that I have ever found myself thinking post-wind: "Wow that was tough! If I only had to do this once just once per week instead of twice." And it isn't as silky as the JLC.
     


  11. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    I am not sure that I would catagorize the Portuguese chronograph as an inferior watch. That is a rather broad statement and possibly unfair. The Portuguese chrono is sort of an entry level IWC chronograph, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It exposes the brand to a broader audience of potential consumers, possibly younger consumers, and provides revenue to use toward research and development, and to allows a company to focus on more costly lower production specialty watches. Even Patek, AP, VC, Rolex etc have their own respective entry level models.

    In addition, the cost of designing your own chronograph movement is incredibly high, so many companies opt to use outsourced movements. As I mentioned previously AP and VC still use F. Piguet 1185s in their RO and Overseas Chronographs. Patek used a Lemania in their chronographs until recently, while VC continues to use a Lemania in their higher end chronographs. There is no shame in using outsourced movments, if the movement is of high quality and is finished properly by the company using it.

    An inhouse movement provides some level of exclusivity in that it may not be found in other brands. However, more importantly collectors should consider whether its significant to a brand or particular model. However, its not a guarantee of superiority. Sometimes I hear people brag that their watch has an inhouse caliber, and there are times that for similar money there are watches with an outsourced movement I would prefer (if buying within a certain price range an Omega Speedy Pro with its outsouced manual wind movement is tough to beat). I think people get too wrapped up in whether a watch has an in house movement, yet they just presume inhouse is better. In the vintage world its far less relevant...just take a look at the prices of vintage Rolex chronographs, Patek Chronographs, VC Chronos, and AP Chronos.

    As long as a person understands that the Portuguese Chrono does not follow in the tradition of the original Portuguese watches, they don't mind that, its within their budget, and it suits their taste and needs, then who are we to call it inferior.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013


  12. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    Congrats and enjoy it!
     


  13. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I think you are being too soft in your interpretation of "inferior."

    The Port. Chrono is a perfectly fine watch. It has a tried and true ebauche movement that has been thoughtfully reworked by IWC. However, as a Portuguese and within the realm of serious watch collecting, it is indeed inferior. First of all, it lacks the crucial element that defines the Portuguese: a pocket watch sized movement that naturally calls for a larger case. Second, the fact it is an entry level watch significantly lowers its desirability. Many compromises had to be made in order to bring the price down, and they are plainly evident. Two off the top of my head: the awkward case shape necessary to fit a relatively small movement, and the cam-actuated chronograph function (as opposed to one activated by a column wheel). Third, in-house movements do matter. Watch enthusiasm is not about brute functionality, but history and design. It is not about whether an in-house movement works "better" than an ebauche from ETA, which is as reliable as an AK-47 and is near impossible to improve upon in that regard. It's about each watchmaker's unique problem-solving approach. The priciest, most collectible watches are the ones with the most interesting movements, for which you can tell a story that makes sense in light of the brand's heritage, not the ones that keep the best time or are most reliable.

    The Lemania-based Audemars and Vacherons are a weak counter-example, as that particular ebauche is singularly unique. It is extremely high-grade, highly exclusive, and using chronograph ebauches is a long-established practice. The same cannot be said of any other sort of ebauche.

    Anyways, in-house chronographs are becoming more and more common. IWC, JLC, Patek, Rolex, etc., each field one. Vintage watch prices may not be effected by this trend, but the future collectibility of current models certainly will be.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013


  14. rnguy001

    rnguy001 Senior member

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    Congrats to her! Very cool watch and that doesn't surprise me in the least to hear about her great experience with Stitch

     


  15. rnguy001

    rnguy001 Senior member

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    Not to bemoan a small point Dino, but I have often felt the Port chrono was always a tad on the high side for price point for an IWC chrono. I think their Aquatimer and Pilot chronos are the cheaper of their chronographs. Agree with you about in-house movements and their relative importance to collectors.


     


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