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The watch DISCUSSION thread

SteveMc

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Who did you take this to and where are you located? Depending on what you’re willing to pay, there is no reason you can’t have the watch fully restored without replacing the movement. Bucherer watches from this time period used common ebauches. A competent watchmaker will be able to source and make replacement parts as needed.

Run, don’t walk, from whoever this watchmaker is.

The case, if you want, can be restored to as new with laser welding and use of a lapping machine (note: this is different from what most call “polishing”). It is important that if you do proceed with case restoration that you go to an expert restorer skilled in these methods. Jewelry/watch shops and even the vast majority of watchmakers and official service centers will simply polish the watch on a buffing wheel, which will not restore the factory finish and will permanently soften all the crisp edges. A good case restorer, on the other hand, will be able to restore the sharpness of the edges, preserve factory contours, and return the finish to indistinguishable from factory new. This is particularly important on a very angular watch like yours.

The trick is, as implied above, case restoration is a niche specialty and you also need the services of a good watchmaker to work on the mechanicals. If you are in the U.S., two of the absolute best in both respects are Zimmerman in Pennsylvania (@zimmermanwatchrepair on IG) and Alex Cianni in Los Angeles. Zimmerman is probably your better bet. Cianni is mostly focused on high-dollar, rare Pateks. Unlike other restorers, they are able to precisely moderate the degree of case restoration—so you can fill-in dings and restore edges, but keep all the hairline scratches and patina appropriate to an older watch. The downside is that Cianni costs an arm and a leg. Probably overkill.

LAWW and Rolliworks in California are two of the world’s best when it comes to case work, but they mainly focus on Rolex and are not as deep in mechanical proficiency. They’ll only do non-Rolex work on a case by case basis, but I would trust either if they say your job is doable. Conversely, Rikki at Time Care in Florida is one of the most trusted independent watchmakers for mechanical servicing in the States, but he is not a case restorer.

If in Europe, there are a plethora of case restoration experts across Italy: Time Lab in Milan, Giancarlo Martini in Parma, and Il Menzerno in Rome, to name some of the best. However, Ro & Ro in Austria would be my recommendation. They are the official service center in eastern Europe for many of the big brands, including Audemars. More importantly, they are enormously proficient in both case restoration and mechanical work (including part fabrication). The Italian options tend to be more focused on case restoration alone.

Good case restoration work without the need to fix catastrophic damage is generally in the $300-1000+ range (depending on the labor required and skill/reputation of the restorer). However, I suspect you’ll be on the lower end of that scale, as your case is relatively simple.

Mechanical servicing of a basic movement should be around $200-300, barring the need for intensive fabrication.

@TheFoo Thank you for this educational and detailed answer. I'm very pleased to learn that the mechanics can be restored. That will certainly help when dealing with local watchmakers.

Unfortunately, I'm not in the US or Europe so I'll have to see if I want to wait until I can get to Europe or go with a local service center (an official service center for most high-end brands).

BTW, are you familiar with any restoration experts in France? that's most likely will be our European destination probably towards end of 21.
 

TheFoo

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@TheFoo Thank you for this educational and detailed answer. I'm very pleased to learn that the mechanics can be restored. That will certainly help when dealing with local watchmakers.

Unfortunately, I'm not in the US or Europe so I'll have to see if I want to wait until I can get to Europe or go with a local service center (an official service center for most high-end brands).

BTW, are you familiar with any restoration experts in France? that's most likely will be our European destination probably towards end of 21.
Where are you, Asia? I would consider just sending the watch to one of the above options. You don’t need to visit in person.

Not aware of anyone in France. French collectors probably send their watches to Italy or California.
 

SteveMc

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Where are you, Asia? I would consider just sending the watch to one of the above options. You don’t need to visit in person.

Not aware of anyone in France. French collectors probably send their watches to Italy or California.
Following your recommendation, I've contacted Ro and Ro by mail. Waiting for their response.
 

NakedYoga

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Saw this pop up on my Google News feed the other day:

1623892468026.png


1623892767508.png


It's a re-issue of the Jacques Bianchi JB200 watch, a French diver. They're raising money for it via Kickstarter. I think it's a decently cool, whimsical piece, bonus points for left-handed crown for we lefties who wear our watches on our right hand. It reminds me of the Vostok Amphibian "scuba dude" dials.

Price is 595 euros, appx $714 USD with an NH35 movement. Not sure if the cost is worth it with that movement, but it's certainly something different.

Monochrome article here: https://monochrome-watches.com/jacques-bianchi-jb200-dive-watch-re-edition-kickstarter-introducing-price/
 

mhip

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Saw this pop up on my Google News feed the other day:

View attachment 1625766

View attachment 1625771

It's a re-issue of the Jacques Bianchi JB200 watch, a French diver. They're raising money for it via Kickstarter. I think it's a decently cool, whimsical piece, bonus points for left-handed crown for we lefties who wear our watches on our right hand. It reminds me of the Vostok Amphibian "scuba dude" dials.

Price is 595 euros, appx $714 USD with an NH35 movement. Not sure if the cost is worth it with that movement, but it's certainly something different.

Monochrome article here: https://monochrome-watches.com/jacques-bianchi-jb200-dive-watch-re-edition-kickstarter-introducing-price/
That is a rough price for an NH35, but it is a cool oddball piece.
I have the Vostok "Zissou" on the way. It's on some rusty freighter making the passage as we speak...
 

radicaldog

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A couple of questions regarding smartwatches

It is by now undeniable that the smartwatch is replacing G-Shocks and the like as the modern tool watch. It is what the military tends to use, etc. This sort of use first made the wristwatch popular, and then canonised icons like the various pilot watches, the Submariner, and so on. So, two related questions:

1. Are there any current or recent smartwatches (maybe by Garmin or Suunto?) that will achieve icon status in a few years' time, like the Submariner or the G-Shock did?

2. Does smartwatch technology move too fast for any of these watches to become a treasured keepsake that still remains usable twenty or thirty years after purchase? I know someone tried to produce a modular smartwatch with upgradeable parts but that failed. Perhaps the planned obsolescence that's so deep-rooted in the electronics market will spell the end of some traditional horological values.

I'd be grateful for your thoughts.
 

Phileas Fogg

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A couple of questions regarding smartwatches

It is by now undeniable that the smartwatch is replacing G-Shocks and the like as the modern tool watch. It is what the military tends to use, etc. This sort of use first made the wristwatch popular, and then canonised icons like the various pilot watches, the Submariner, and so on. So, two related questions:

1. Are there any current or recent smartwatches (maybe by Garmin or Suunto?) that will achieve icon status in a few years' time, like the Submariner or the G-Shock did?

2. Does smartwatch technology move too fast for any of these watches to become a treasured keepsake that still remains usable twenty or thirty years after purchase? I know someone tried to produce a modular smartwatch with upgradeable parts but that failed. Perhaps the planned obsolescence that's so deep-rooted in the electronics market will spell the end of some traditional horological values.

I'd be grateful for your thoughts.
I’m not a smart watch person. I do own a Suunto observer but haven’t worn it in years.

As obvious as it may sound, I think what is and will remain iconic is the Apple Watch.

Apple is rarely first to market with anything. But, when they do jump in, they tend to define the category and everyone else is busy chasing them.

As for the others (Garmin, Suunto, et al.) they just seem too niche. I don’t see anyone wearing a Suunto. Garmin seems to be favored by slender hipsters with an outdoor lifestyle fantasy.

As for the obsolescence of these watches, I think there is something to be said for that. At some point the technology outpaces the current firmware. Already anything before an iPhone 6 is unsupported by the current iOS. Given the amount of information kept on ones phone, and by extension the watch that may be tethered to it, this is more than an inconvenience but a privacy issue.

This is why I can’t understand why some smart watches cost well in excess of $1000.

And though I don’t know of any one particular version of the Apple Watch that will be considered iconic, I do think the general design will be.
 

radicaldog

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As obvious as it may sound, I think what is and will remain iconic is the Apple Watch.
I think that's right (I do own one and I only wear it as a fitness tracker though), but the Apple Watch is just not a tool watch. It's a middle of the road lifestyle accessory, and so it's a different kind of icon. It doesn't have that association with daring and extreme pursuits that canonised military pilot and dive watches.

Garmin and Suunto being niche is not a counter-argument I'm worried about at all: not a lot of people wore a Rolex Submariner in 1965 or so, even though it had been around for over a decade.

What I would like to see is something like a high-end Garmin with replaceable batteries, chips, etc -- so one could keep upgrading it through the decades while holding on to the memories associated with each dent on the case. That's one of the things that's cool about watches, and I worry that we may be losing it with the smartwatch era.
 

Phileas Fogg

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What I would like to see is something like a high-end Garmin with replaceable batteries, chips, etc -- so one could keep upgrading it through the decades while holding on to the memories associated with each dent on the case. That's one of the things that's cool about watches, and I worry that we may be losing it with the smartwatch era.
the ability to upgrade given technological change would be nice and it might be something that may actually allow me to consider a smart watch.

My issue is I just don’t know what to do with it. I’m really not sure I want to stay that connected. I see it as useful when I go on a run as I don’t normally take my phone with (I don’t like to be weighed down by anything). In that sense it could be seen as a safety device.

The Apple Watch is cool. It looks cool and when it came out all the cool kids had one. But I’m not sure I’m in the mood to spend $500 for something cool on my wrist when I’ve got enough to deal with with my mechanical watches.
 

Texasmade

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Only people I've seen wear Garmin watches are long distance runners and people who do triathlons. I haven't seen anyone wear a Garmin that isn't seriously into fitness.
 

radicaldog

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Only people I've seen wear Garmin watches are long distance runners and people who do triathlons. I haven't seen anyone wear a Garmin that isn't seriously into fitness.
Or military. Lots of overlap there. But then many iconic watch designs are iconic because they were associated with some niche, extreme pursuit (flying fighter planes, combat diving, climbing Everest, going to the Moon, etc.)--hence my question above.
 

am55

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A couple of questions regarding smartwatches

It is by now undeniable that the smartwatch is replacing G-Shocks and the like as the modern tool watch. It is what the military tends to use, etc. This sort of use first made the wristwatch popular, and then canonised icons like the various pilot watches, the Submariner, and so on. So, two related questions:

1. Are there any current or recent smartwatches (maybe by Garmin or Suunto?) that will achieve icon status in a few years' time, like the Submariner or the G-Shock did?

2. Does smartwatch technology move too fast for any of these watches to become a treasured keepsake that still remains usable twenty or thirty years after purchase? I know someone tried to produce a modular smartwatch with upgradeable parts but that failed. Perhaps the planned obsolescence that's so deep-rooted in the electronics market will spell the end of some traditional horological values.

I'd be grateful for your thoughts.
I'm a bit of a smartwatch addict, or was. Circled back to Garmin. I use them both for daily wear and outdoors including the sea.

1. no. Sort of. I think some smartwatches are famous for achieving a particularly interesting point in history. However, tech moves too fast. So if you own a modern phone, you're not going to be interested in the original iPhone, or the iPhone 4 (IMO the two turning points for the industry) other than for novelty and nostalgia. I think the same is true of smart watches - living with their lack of performance becomes taxing. In particular, lack of investment meant very cheap chips not capable of much in virtually all cases. The only non-Apple "computer on the wrist" was the Xiaomi Watch which never left China for reasons which are obvious if you google image search... I've almost bought one several times but I can't read Chinese and the OS is not translated, and e-SIMs don't work where I am. But feel like the iteration ends when instead of a macbook you have an iWatch, and it connects to whatever screen you have nearby and you can do general computing with it.

2. Yes. Forget 20 years. I think even 5 years or sometimes less, depending on the functionality you are after. Having owned Garmins for a long long time, the battery tech has improved by orders of magnitude, as have the GPS chips, speed of the OS, functionality. Even if you are happy to live with the old performance - and honestly, I am - my daily wear is the Vivosmart 4 which I can't find a band/watch to follow at any price with the same philosophy - you still have to live with the decay inherent in all electronics and particularly batteries. Most of my Chinese watches from the early days of Huami/Amazfit are dead.

I don't think Garmin is overpriced. I used to think so. My Stratos failed on me whilst on a hike in Australia with no phone reception, dubious under-the-canopy trails most of which were only loosely marked on the maps or out of place, and no compass. On that same hike I saw an Austrelaps superbus on the path... I bought since then both a PLB and a Garmin Instinct which gave me the same breadcrumbs functionality but is almost G-shock durable. I've toyed with the idea of updating it with a Solar but the added complexity (and chances of failure) does not make up for improving the already excellent battery life.

The excellent DCRainmaker is always a good read to understand which features are always improving. Aside from better chips, the core one for me is solar. If you follow the industry it is advancing by leaps and bounds and these will eventually work their way down to the Garmin premium units. The Fenix line is just amazing technologically, the amount packed in these things is not offered by any other player, and won't be until someone sorts out general computing with great battery life on the wrist. However, the Fenix solar - even the largest available - barely add a few percent, which is almost pointless and eats valuable screen space. Casio meanwhile has underscreen cells that are capable of fully powering and even recharging the unit. So at some point Garmin will sort this out (their solar division is a recent acquisition, so, teething pains) and we will have a truly immortal outdoors watch.

The killer app for me with Garmin, which AFAIK no other brand offers (including the Chinese since the abandonment of the Stratos) is phone-free connection-free GPS. With the Fenix, you can load a few hundred MB worth of topo maps and be sure to access them on top of the breadcrumbs functionality when needed. Aside from aforementioned hike, cases where I needed it include fog on the water when out paddling or sailing, getting lost in the middle of nowhere, Australia, and figuring out which ski slope I took to get there (so I could get back). I've also pre-loaded ski slopes and bike rides to unfamiliar areas in the Instinct which got me out of trouble a few times for example almost missing the return exit out of a 20km loop around a closed park.

I'm basically checking out every single Garmin release at the moment. I know roughly what specs I need, and what needs urgent upgrades, and buy the next unit whenever it meets that spec. Only thing is their release cycle is very slow - the Fenix has not been refreshed for a couple of years I think. It's probable I'll buy a Fenix 6 Solar when it comes out.
 

am55

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Oh, and my favourite Garmin feature (for the Fenix and Instinct, anyway): no touch screen. You can tell these things were designed whilst observing users :D
 

smittycl

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I'm a bit of a smartwatch addict, or was. Circled back to Garmin. I use them both for daily wear and outdoors including the sea.

1. no. Sort of. I think some smartwatches are famous for achieving a particularly interesting point in history. However, tech moves too fast. So if you own a modern phone, you're not going to be interested in the original iPhone, or the iPhone 4 (IMO the two turning points for the industry) other than for novelty and nostalgia. I think the same is true of smart watches - living with their lack of performance becomes taxing. In particular, lack of investment meant very cheap chips not capable of much in virtually all cases. The only non-Apple "computer on the wrist" was the Xiaomi Watch which never left China for reasons which are obvious if you google image search... I've almost bought one several times but I can't read Chinese and the OS is not translated, and e-SIMs don't work where I am. But feel like the iteration ends when instead of a macbook you have an iWatch, and it connects to whatever screen you have nearby and you can do general computing with it.

2. Yes. Forget 20 years. I think even 5 years or sometimes less, depending on the functionality you are after. Having owned Garmins for a long long time, the battery tech has improved by orders of magnitude, as have the GPS chips, speed of the OS, functionality. Even if you are happy to live with the old performance - and honestly, I am - my daily wear is the Vivosmart 4 which I can't find a band/watch to follow at any price with the same philosophy - you still have to live with the decay inherent in all electronics and particularly batteries. Most of my Chinese watches from the early days of Huami/Amazfit are dead.

I don't think Garmin is overpriced. I used to think so. My Stratos failed on me whilst on a hike in Australia with no phone reception, dubious under-the-canopy trails most of which were only loosely marked on the maps or out of place, and no compass. On that same hike I saw an Austrelaps superbus on the path... I bought since then both a PLB and a Garmin Instinct which gave me the same breadcrumbs functionality but is almost G-shock durable. I've toyed with the idea of updating it with a Solar but the added complexity (and chances of failure) does not make up for improving the already excellent battery life.

The excellent DCRainmaker is always a good read to understand which features are always improving. Aside from better chips, the core one for me is solar. If you follow the industry it is advancing by leaps and bounds and these will eventually work their way down to the Garmin premium units. The Fenix line is just amazing technologically, the amount packed in these things is not offered by any other player, and won't be until someone sorts out general computing with great battery life on the wrist. However, the Fenix solar - even the largest available - barely add a few percent, which is almost pointless and eats valuable screen space. Casio meanwhile has underscreen cells that are capable of fully powering and even recharging the unit. So at some point Garmin will sort this out (their solar division is a recent acquisition, so, teething pains) and we will have a truly immortal outdoors watch.

The killer app for me with Garmin, which AFAIK no other brand offers (including the Chinese since the abandonment of the Stratos) is phone-free connection-free GPS. With the Fenix, you can load a few hundred MB worth of topo maps and be sure to access them on top of the breadcrumbs functionality when needed. Aside from aforementioned hike, cases where I needed it include fog on the water when out paddling or sailing, getting lost in the middle of nowhere, Australia, and figuring out which ski slope I took to get there (so I could get back). I've also pre-loaded ski slopes and bike rides to unfamiliar areas in the Instinct which got me out of trouble a few times for example almost missing the return exit out of a 20km loop around a closed park.

I'm basically checking out every single Garmin release at the moment. I know roughly what specs I need, and what needs urgent upgrades, and buy the next unit whenever it meets that spec. Only thing is their release cycle is very slow - the Fenix has not been refreshed for a couple of years I think. It's probable I'll buy a Fenix 6 Solar when it comes out.
I have Garmin Fenix that I used for running and cycling but I find the small size off-putting. There are way too many features and too few buttons to make it useful. the endless layers of menus is tiresome and maps are hard to read on a watch. Also, getting older and need readers and the small dial is hard to see for me at least.

Have shifted back to exercising with a mechanical watch with an easy-to-read face and will grab a cycling computer/GPS for my bikes next. I also wear cycling glasses with readers on them now.

I agree that smartwatches will not hold up over time. Just upgraded my iPhone 7Plus for a 12 Pro and it's like night and day. The old tech is useless once superseded.
 

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