I have really developed an interest in watches and have started a collection. I paid 9K for a Rolex Submariner and I recently spent 395.00 on a Steinhart divers watch. I read in a forum that the vast majority of Swiss watches are way over priced due to the fact that the ETA movement is so inexpensive, reliable, and durable. I am a little taken aback by these comments. Are the vast majority of watches above 2000.00. with proprietory movements, virtually identical in quality to the mass produced ETA based watches like the Steinhart? Opinions please! KO
The ETA movements are well-built, but they are mass produced and poorly finished. They're not in the same league as a Patek Philippe, Vacheron, JLC or other in-house, hand-finished movement in terms of quality, beauty or long-term durability.
Generally speaking, inexpensive watches with a generic ETA movement also shouldn't be expected to appreciate like a higher-end swiss watch either. You Steinhart was worth $395 the instant you bought it, 1/2 that amount 10 minutes after you bought it and will have no market value at all in 2 years. By contrast, many of the finer swiss brands are appreciating faster than almost any other investment you could make.
It doesn't take a $5,000 watch to tell the time. A $10 Timex Quartz is more accurate that the most expensive Patek. But fine watches are treated like works of art. Just like collecting fine art, buying quality is never a mistake.
Actually I have a different view here. First of all I do like Steinhart watches and it is conceivable that in two yrs. from now it will have actually appreciated in price. Why? Have you ever heard of MarcelloC watches? Like Steinhart they are available thru the net only, use high end (316L) SS, ETA movements and sapphire crystals. Look at their prices now vs. when they came out. They are rising and if they can so can Steinhart. It depends on how well they market their product. Secondly FYI many top end Swiss watches buy their movements from ETA. Thats no secret. ETA is under the huge Swatch umbrella and supplies practically all mvmts. to most Swiss watch companies. Yes, Rolex and PP make their own mvmts. but ETA mvmts. are robust, reliable and can be adjusted to keep accurate time well w/i the parameters of COSC testing.
Third, generally speaking watches are not the best investments in the world. Buy them because you appreciate them as works reflecting fine craftmanship but don't expect a good return on most.
Personally I think you got far more watch for you $$ in that Steinhart. Why? They use top end materials. If that watch had a Tag Heuer or other well known Swiss watch labels its price would be much more due to name brand recognition that reflects marketing success.
If you like it then enjoy it. I am wearing one now in fact and appreciate it for what it is as much as I appreciate my Rolex GMT II, my Breitling B1, and the other fine Swiss watches I have. Look beyond the label. JM2C
1) The Steinhart watches are a basic timepiece.... no more, no less. If you wish to purchase a budget-priced watch to tell time, that's fine. Just don't try to fool yourself or others into thinking its something special and unique, don't expect the watch to do anything but depreciate, and don't expect your kids to fight over it in the will. Many of the Steinhart models are shameless knockoffs of famous designs by other prominent makers. If Steinhart wishes to gain standing and respect in the industry, they need to learn to do their own work rather than copy others. Imitators are rarely innovators and a copy of a Rembrandt isn't a Rembrandt.
2) Having bought/sold/serviced literally thousands of watches over the last 2 decades, I'm well aware of who ETA is, their credentials and their movements. I've probably serviced more ETA movements on my bench than most collectors will ever see in their lifetime. For the most part, the base ETA movements are unexceptional and utilitarian. They keep time, but they're mass produced, not very pretty to look at, and can't be expected to last many lifetimes like a hand-built Patek. While it's true that ETA supplies most of the watch industry with raw ebauches, the final movements that make their way into top-tier watches are highly modified. In addition, these ETA-powered watches will never have the appeal or collectibility of a watch with a hand-finished in-house movement. Why? The true beauty and prestige of a watch isn't found in the pretty wrapper on the outside, but rather in the quality, engineering and careful hand-finishing of the movement. The movement is the watch. The rest is just window dressing.
3) Respectfully, if you truly think that watches aren't a good investment, its because you're buying Steinharts instead of Pateks. The appreciation of my watch collection has far exceeded the performance of my stock portfolio every year. If you buy quality, you'll find that watches can indeed be a very good investment.
Actually I disagree. I do think a Steinhart is a great value for the $$ you pay and it could and very well appreciate over time ala MarcelloC. In any case what you get is an excellent value for what you pay. When it comes to perception of watch value do you really think ad campaigns selling an image mean nothing? As for watches appreciating I really don't care. I don't have to have a watch with a prestigous name to be satisfied and I do have a few such as Rolex, Omega, B+M and Breitling. Down the road I suspect I'll have a few more too. I don't have a PP and wouldn't get one. They don't appeal to me.
Yes, the mvmt. in a very expensive watch such as a PP is superior to ETA. However that doesn't make ETA chopped liver either. Your comparision is unbalanced. Its like saying everything else is garbage if its not a Rolls Royce.
I'm glad you can pick watches that appreciate. That shows an eye for money. However value is not always mesasured in dollar signs.
I buy watches such as Steinhart because I like them regardless of the cost. I also have some more exclusive brands too. The difference is I am just as happy to wear my Citizen eco-drive as my Rolex because I don't see value in terms of price.
You keep getting your PP's if that make you happy. I'm happy with what I do and I don't need a PP to be so. FYI there is more to a watch than its price. They are many watch collectors who appreciate watches for what they are w/o having them to be $$$ as a prerequisite.
I appreciate your perspective. I hope you can appreciate and accept mine. We don't all have to be alike.
I think you need to re-read the comments of this thread and specifically my posts again. The thread is titled "Swiss Watches... overpriced?" and the first post asks the question "Are the vast majority of watches above 2000.00 with proprietory movements, virtually identical in quality to the mass produced ETA based watches like the Steinhart?"
The answer to that question is clearly that a Steinhart is not of the same quality as a Patek or an Audemars Piguet, or a Vacheron Constantin or even a Jaeger-LeCoultre. But then, it isn't supposed to be. As I stated in my post, buy the Steinhart if you want a basic timepiece, just don't expect it to compare to a watch costing thousands more and havng a handmade movement. As with everything else in life, you get pretty much what you pay for. That doesn't make the Steinhart a bad watch, nor did I ever say that. Re-read my posts and then tell me what specific statements you disagree with.
Gregory: I thought I had made myself clear. However to repeat I think it is premature to assume that Steinharts will be worth so much less in a given period of time and will not appreciate. It can happen. It has happened with another, similar company, MarcelloC. Only time will tell. You can't possibly know today what a Steinhart will be worth 3 yrs. from now. The co. could be defunct by then but also could have grown substantially too ala MarcelloC. Having dealt with both companies I see similarities and am very impressed with Steinharts customer service and see them doing well for quite some time.
Another example are Russian watches, particulary Poljot. This is a brand most people don't know about except watch enthusiasts like myself who venture beyond the usual watch collecting horizons. A Poljot Aviator which I purchased about 5 yrs. ago has just about doubled in price.
I do agree that in most cases you get what you pay for. However that price is mitigated by how the company sells its image. When I was in college many yrs. ago why did most males then drink Budwiser? Because it was a better beer? No. Actually it was awful IMHO. Because of the image it presented and how drinking that brand gave them an identity. Virtually all companies selling any product spends millions on producing images and statements people can ID with including watch companies and that cost is passed on to the consumer. So if you have two watches with 316L ss, sapphire crystals, an ETA mvmt. tuned to COSC specs, excellent fit and finish and one is a Tag and the other a MarcelloC or a Steinhart is the Tag really worth its price which will be about 4 X that of the other two? This is where the adage "you get what you pay for" enters a gray area. I think much of the cost of watches like Tag, Movado, RW, etc. stems from the price for advertising. BTW have you ever seen, owned or worn a MarcelloC or a Steinhart?
As for the rest I think you know as well as I do what was said and inferred and what I disagreed with.
However in a nutshell its like this. It may not be a Stratavarius (spelling) but it could still be a fine instrument in its own right. Referring to something as having little worth because its not in the upper echelon of its category is where I respectfully disagree.
"Referring to something as having little worth because its not in the upper echelon of its category is where I respectfully disagree.,
Where did I say that, Larry? Please point to any statement in my posts where I say a Steinhart or any other watch discussed has "very little worth". I don't mind differing opinions, but I do mind being misquoted. I don't think you could have read my posts objectively to have summed them up so inaccurately.
I'm sorry that calling a Steinhart a "basic timepiece" in my earlier post was so offensive to some, but that's what it is. It's an off-the-shelf ETA movement wrapped it in a knockoff case designed to look like a Submariner or some other famous design. It keeps time, looks OK and pleases the wearer.... that's fine.
) "The Steinhart watches are a basic timepiece.... no more, no less. If you wish to purchase a budget-priced watch to tell time, that's fine. Just don't try to fool yourself or others into thinking its something special and unique, don't expect the watch to do anything but depreciate, and don't expect your kids to fight over it in the will. Many of the Steinhart models are shameless knockoffs of famous designs by other prominent makers. If Steinhart wishes to gain standing and respect in the industry, they need to learn to do their own work rather than copy others. Imitators are rarely innovators and a copy of a Rembrandt isn't a Rembrandt."
Read the above. Your inferences are uttery clear. When you use words and phrases like not expecting you kids to fight over them what else are you comparing them to except such items that they might want to fight over such as a PP, a rare Rolex, etc. You also say its a basic time piece. One can get a basic timetiece from A drug store carousel for $15.00. It seems for you $400.00 for a watch makes it basic only. You need to reread what you said and pay attention to the inferences your own words imply. Also I say again you have no way of know they won't appreciate for the reasons I have stated. You selectively ignore this issue too as well as not answering my question about whether or not you have ever owned, or even seen a Steinhart or a MarcelloC. Greg I think it is you who needs to reread this thread.
You don't purchase a fine watch "to feel important", as you state. Rather, one buys a fine timepiece because they insist on uncompromising quality and want only the finest in everything they buy.... clothes, art, jewelry, autos, etc. The goal not to impress others, but rather an expression of a pursuit of excellence. People who buy replicas and fakes to simply "appear" weathy and cultured clearly don't understand this concept. As a secondary benefit, the very finest items in any category usually appreciate in value while their cheaper counterparts depreciate.
If I had only $400 to spend on a watch, I would probably invest in a vintage 1940s-1960s timepiece by a top swiss maker. You would be surprised to see what $400 will buy from that era. Even a few solid gold models can be found. These models are appreciating rapidly and will certainly draw more attention than a generic $400 modern stainless steel watch (if attention is what you're after). Better yet, I would save up until I had enough money to buy an entry-level Patek or Vacheron or Rolex (even though I don't personally care for Rolex) or similar top brand, knowing that my investment in these watches was as safe as money in the bank. If you think of a fine watch as an investment rather than an expense, it becomes much easier to expand your budget. The money isn't truly spent, it just changes forms and is gathering interest in the form of appreciation. On the high end of the scale, Pateks have doubled in value in just the last few years. Even mid-market brands like Omega are appreciating rapidly when you buy the right models. A solid gold 18K "Pie Pan" dialed Constellation from the 50s or 60s sold for $750-$850 a couple of years ago. The same watch regularly trades at over $1,500 today.
My very first fine watch purchase as an adult (pictured below) was a used 18 Karat Gold Vacheron Constantin Ultra-thin (world's thinnest mechanical movement). I wore the watch for several years and then sold it for 3x what I paid for it. That was just the start of the addiction. Several thousand watches later, I'm still excited examining a fine timepiece.
Here's the first fine watch I owned (18K Vacheron Ultra-thin):
Poorhouse: I think it was very gracious of Gregory to respond the way he did, especially as your question is essentially an insult. It assumes character flaws you have no way of knowing about. For me I don't think your question is worthy of a response.
I'm glad you liked the watch pictures. The funny story I didn't tell was that I was afraid to show my purchase to my wife, so I went out and purchased a Patek Philippe Lady Calatrava for her and gave it to her before I showed her my watch. That smoothed everything out!
Vacheron doesn't have a lady's version of the ultra-thin (the "world's thinnest" movement was actually made for them by JLC). Instead, they offer a line of "world's smallest movement" watches for ladies ($$$$$$$$). I purchased one of these watches for my wife (platinum w/2.5 carats of diamonds) a few years ago, but I haven't taken pictures of it yet. I can share some pictures of a very similar Vacheron model I sold that is just slightly larger. I've shown it next to a matchstick so you get an idea just how small it is. Enjoy!
The crux of this arguement is that the two camps of watch people here have completely differing perspectives: Greg is a high-end guy who believes that piece of art movements, literally works of mechanical art, are what appreciate more than anything else. The other camp believes that Russian aviators and other lower/mid-grade watches have more wiggle room, that they will appreciate in the future markets than the high end stuff.
Me, I'm a high-end enthusiast who has been patiently searching for over 10 years for the object of my quest, a Jaeger Ultra-Thin in Stainless with a deployant buckle. This watch uses the movement Greg mentioned as being the "world's thinnest movement" Wearing a nice, thin, Swiss watch is unlike any other... a clunky Rolex or Wakmann? Nearly impossible.
Ranger: Actually let me add this point. I don't care of they appreciate or not though they have in some cases. I'm a watch enthusiast regardless of price range. I buy what I like and what appeals to me. I have some hgih end watches but yesterday I wore a Mondaine. To each their own. For me BTW thin is not in. I prefer the heft.
I agree. Everyone has their own tastes. Thin, heavy... gold, inox... crocodile, bracelet.
Back onto the topic of the thread... Swiss watches...overpriced? I say that the market bears what it will. Fraud and misrepresentations aside, competition to own the highest quality watches is keen, and the prices will of course reflect that interest.