having re-read the whole discussion it seems to me that there are two mentalities confronted. the collector who appreciates a watch for its mastership and design, for its origin and history will certainly be a high-end buyer. the others look upon a watch as a daily life utility and want to have it work.
I think both POV ok, although I have a bit of a problem with the "cheap" variety, but as I said that might be my upbringing.
the 200 $ swiss made watches: for me personally it doesn't make a difference then if it's swiss made or made in japan; over here you'll find that range in supermarkets. to give you an example: Longines started to make cheap watches in the range of 200 - 300 $ and sold them in Switzerland in supemarkets; shortly afterwards I wanted to have my 1000 $ Longines serviced and went to a jeweller's in the city. reply: no, we don't do anything on Longines anymore, too cheap, we kicked this brand out...
the other mentality (over here !): it's always cheaper in the long run to pay a bit more in the beginning. example: I've seen Harley-Davidson collections by private people, between 10 and 30 bikes. they keep the value; if the owner wants to get rid of one, because he's seen another bike that fits more into his collection, he has no problem selling it for a reasonable price.
I've seen collectors of japanese bikes with special models that were well known at their time and kept their prices up the first 10 - 20 years (kawasaki z900, honda 750four etc.) but when a new generation of collectors started that hadn't the same memories, the prices fell to scrapyard level.
the same for Zippo collections. when I have a problem with it they fix it for free although mine looks really used and I'm always a bit ashamed that I don't have to pay them anything.
a little story from China (of all places...): when I was working in northern china I had an engineer as translator. after a while I wondered what wristwatch he was wearing, so I asked him. it was a very simple omega from the mid 50s, that his father bought against the will of his mother for the price of FOUR MONTHLY SALARIES, so his mother had a hard time to get him and his sister feeded. his father hid away the watch during their cultural revolution, although there were heavy punishments for the possession of anything western. when he asked his father (he only dared to do so when he was 25) why he bought and kept that watch the reply was because he wanted to have once in his lifetime a swiss watch.
when I asked my translator if his father was a party member, he started to get stuck a bit, because also today it's a problem in china when it comes to family members that weren't on the party-line...so I said to him that perhaps it was not only the watch that his father appreciated, but also "certain ideas" behind it. he turned around, nobody around, and gave me a very short yes, and walked away...
Fidbald: Actually for me its not just a "daily life utility" as I have other watches that are far from that category such as Rolex, Breitling, Baume. I suppose its hard to imagine an appreciation (as defined by "value" discussed earlier) for others not in this tier. For me and Ive tried to explain this B4, its not the cost or the prestige if you will. I see some things for what they are not what they are not. This topic has become heated so I hope it stays cool and we can all play nice together.:-) Have a good dday.
I love watches! The only thing keeping me from being a real collector, is the lack of desire on having watches that I wouldn't wear because of the cost. I would rather have 10 watches I like and wear, than only 1 at the cost of the 10.
In my opinion, some Japanese watches are under rated for their quality, and "Value".
I have what are considered low end Swiss witches (not by me!) that are made by "Swiss Army" (chronograph) and "Wenger" (diver's). These are the ones in the mid to upper range as far as cost. They serve me well, and they look and function great.
I also have Seiko and Citizen watches. The one Seiko Chronograph is over 25 years old, and still runs perfect. My Seiko Day/Date perpetual Calendar watch keeps better time than ANY other watch I've ever had. It's "Quality"?? Let me say, that after comparing the watch band with my 1984 (I bought new) Rolex 18kt/SS Datejust...The Seiko's better. I've have my Rolex Factory serviced twice, and it still keeps poor time! Also the band is "Toast"! It's stretched all to heck! It needs a new band. Pitfall for a watch that cost $2500 back then. Did I mention that my 25 year old Seiko's band still works like new?
I get more compliments on my Citizen Eco-Drive Aqualand Diver's watch, than I do when wearing my Rolex!
I will leave you with a picture of a watch that's on eBay right now. BIN for only $459,000.00! What a "Value" this is! This watch does NOTHING for me. I guess I'll stick to my cheap bottle of wine from Napa Valley. Anything better, would just be wasted on me!
Happy New Year everyone. By the way...this is a great topic!
Counterfeit items suck...... almost as much as the people who sell them!
Taste in watches, like just about everything else, varyies. Its a matter of personal choice. Though I don't doubt the craftmanship in a PP the looks just don't excite me either. My Rolex, about 5.5 yrs. old, has consistently kept time w/i COSC specs but of course its supposed to do that. :-) In fact Rolex produces more watches COSC certified than any other watch maker by a vast margin. Actually COSC accuracy can be had by many watches both Swiss and Japanese.
I too am a fan of Seiko and Citizen. They have some very new and innovative watches on the market. today I am wearing a Citizen 2100 cal. which is an eco-drive watch with fit and finish that compare favorably with watches much more in cost. FYE google "Grand Seiko." This is their top of the line model and is available in Jaopan only or perhaps the Oriental market but not in the US AFAIK. It can be imported here from AD's in Japan BTW. Those who I know who have them rave about them and compare them favorably to their Rollies, Omegas, Breitlings., etc.
Have a good New Year sir. Larry
BTW if you like watch discussion w/o the pretention with good people who enjoy watches of all types but most importantly the comraderie. try this site: www.pmwf.com.
FYI here is a link to a comparison of the GS vs. an Omega AT made by Reto Castellazzi who runs the aforementioned web site. Very interesting and a good read. Enjoy. Larry :-)
To Greg and Larry: Thank you for the most energetic and enlightening discussion. You are both gentlemen. As a collector of vintage radios (Sparton Bluebird, Philco 90's, ECT), rare vacuum tubes (Western electric 300B etched based, Gold Lion, ECT) and vacuum tube sound equipment (McIntosh, Cary, Jadis) I totally understand Greg's position. Most questioned, argued and laughed at my crazy hobby until they saw it all appreciate 10x their original values. But $$$ was not the catalyst here as I see with Greg. More passion and interest gone stratospheric. For Larry I can see his arguement clearly: Absolute value for $$$. Cover up the name and the insignificant nuances (to non collectors) and you do have a quality product which over time could corral a following of lower priced time pieces. Of course, not to the level of a PP but, some circle of collectors. In fact, more collections are with smaller lesser valued items. Ebay would not exist at this level if it had to cater to the RR (Roll Royce) and PP (Patek Philippe) group. Clearly, we are not talking about apples to apples here. Very good discussion, thank you, Saburo
I'm glad you liked it. Based on a discussion I had earlier today with Greg on another thread I hope he can see it his way too. I really respect his opinions and completely understand his stance. I would hope all stances here can be seen positively so we can continue to have constructive discussions. Afterall its a big world. Cheers, Larry
PS. Speaking of appreciation on different levels a watch I had mentioned, a diver from the MarcelloC co. that went for $268.00 during the inception period of that co. and that I paid $525.00 for now goes for $708.00.
Thanks for the kind words. There seems to have been a disproportionate amount of focus in this thread on the handful of comments I typed about value appreciation, while overlooking all the things I stated about quality, excellence and artistry in design. As you seem to already understand with your vintage radio collecting, monetary appreciation is just a happy coincidence of buying quality. It is certainly not what drives the collecting "addiction" for any of us.
My comments about fine watch movements being a "work of art" and my comments in post #12 about my admiration for the excellence shown in the craftsmanship of these timepieces was meant to explain what sparked my own interest in collecting fine watches. If there were no financial appreciation at all it probably wouldn't change my collecting habits... I just wouldn't be able to collect as much.
My complaint about Steinhart and a few other watch manufacturers has also been misrepresented several times in this thread. As several of my posts have stated explicitly, it has nothing to do with the price point or the fact that they aren't in the Rolls-Royce/Patek Philippe category. Rather, my complaint is that the way these companies try to create exact mimics to popular models by IWC, Rolex and other fine makers. It offends my sense of morality. One of my posts to the thread even stated:
"It doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive watch, but make mine an original. There are a lot of great watches out there (new and vintage) for under $500 that aren't imitators."
I'll probably never be a fan of brands that don't create their own new/exciting designs, preferring instead to create knock-offs. To me, owning one of these watches would seems just one step removed from owning a replica (all the prestige of owning a replica without the inconvenience of the illegal famous name on the dial). I just can't do it. I would prefer spend my money rewarding the companies that actually design and innovate to create products that inspire all of us to collect. Without them, the industry would die.
I think the industry is kept alive and active by watch makers whose products include "copies" if you will of innovative introductions. Its the popularity of new and in many cases very expensive products that generates this secondary market. Sometimes one wants what they can't afford but can get something similar at affordable prices and they do. I think this secondary market is a logical byproduct and reflects admiration for the "latest" stuff so to speak. Some collect from this POV as well.
"Sometimes one wants what they can't afford but can get something similar at affordable prices and they do."
This is the same argument I've heard people use to justify buying illegal replica watches. It isn't a noble argument when used there, either. Simply removing the fake brand name from the replica doesn't correct the injustice of copying another maker's design right down to the dial markers, hands and bezel markings. There are plenty of excellent watches manufactured under the $500 price point that are of high quality and yet aren't shameless knock-offs.
If its absolutely necessary for someone to own a watch that looks exactly like a Rolex GMT-Master or Submariner, perhaps they should wait and save their money to own the real thing. Waiting and anticipation makes the eventual ownership just that much more sweet. My earlier mention of monetary appreciation of fine watches was designed to get people to think differently about buying watches so they might see how they could actually afford to own the watch of their dreams without winning the lottery. Evidently, I didn't convey my ideas very well, so I'll try again.
We all have a limited amount of disposable income in our budgets which we can use to purchase goods and services that we want (computers, video games, entertainment, watches, cars, etc.). We also all have (hopefully) a certain amount set aside in our budgets for savings. When I first started collecting, I spent from my disposable income budget to buy the watches that I wanted. I sometimes felt a bit guilty about the amounts I was spending, as I considered the purchases to be disposable goods that brought me personal enjoyment, but added nothing to my net worth or financial security. In 2000, as my stock portfolio tanked with the economy and the internet bubble bursting, I realized that the fine watch purchases I had made over the years were actually the best investments I had. After a little research, I began shifting more and more of my savings budget away from traditional investments and into watches.
By making the mental shift from thinking of watches as disposable goods to thinking of them as investments, it allowed me to tap into my savings budget without guilt to buy the fine watches I wanted. After all, eBay auctions make the investment almost as liquid as cash or stocks. In addition, the watches I really wanted had historically increased in value every year (and had high gold/platinum intrinsic value as a safety net), so my retirement savings wasn't jeopardized by shifting where I was putting some of my savings dollars. All of a sudden, with this simple shift in the way I thought about watch spending, my budget increased from $500 watches to $5,000 watches and beyond. My wealth hadn't suddenly increased... I just realized that my purchases were like putting money in savings.
Give this concept some thought. Perhaps that person who thought they couldn't afford a Rolex or IWC really can afford the genuine watch of their dreams if they consider the purchase money as coming from a different part of their budget.
Actually I don't see this in the same moral context as you do. I don't think you can equate people who buy shall I say "homages" and I know we disagree about this term in the same category as those who buy fakes. Quite the opposite really. If they they wanted the real watch but couldn't afford it they could spend much less on a fake vs. an homage version. Its fine for you or others to buy watches as an investment but many people out there don't see watch collecting in that context. I will agree with one thing you said. You can afford something realy nice if you save for it. There is a way if you try hard enough, at least to one degree.
1. The Swatch Group is going to stop selling ETA movements in 2008 or 2009 to promote in-house movement making and innovation in the Swiss watch industry. Whatever Chairman Hayek's real motives behind this announcement are, it will be interesting to see what the Steinhart and MarcelloC's of the world do at that point.
2. Like Greg says, fine watches tend to appreciate--at least at the rate of inflation. Some of the limited editions and rarer models have been very good investments indeed. A case in point would be the Rolex "Red" Sub, which could be had for a few hundred when it came out but is now worth up to 20K. A well kept Bulova Spaceview, Vulcain Cricket, and almost any Patek are other examples.
3. Leaving the question of movement, brand advertising, and craftsmanship aside for a moment, the main reason for the higher cost of a timepiece is its value as a jewelery piece. This is especially true of higher-end brands, such as Cartier and Rolex and even lower-end brands, such as Tag Heuer, Gucci, and Movado.
Yes, without looking to refresh my memory, I believe that it was stated that ETA will cut by 50% each year the number of movements sold to outside companies. I shudder to think what some companies will do in response. With the growing number of Chinese-manufactures ETA knock-off movements hitting the market, I fear that these inferior movements will find their way into more and more mid/low-end brands. I doubt that 99.99% of the companies buying ETA movements today have the capability to build (or even finish raw ebauches) movements in-house.
As a future watch collector I find all your insights and diferent perceptions very refreshing. My first purchase of a "real watch" consisted in a Rolex Yachtmaster Platinum 40mm. But to be honest I really like The Roger Dubuis easy diver.
What are your opinions on this watch maker.
Why are Tourbillon watches so expensive?
Tourbillion watches are so expensive because of the manufacturing complexity of the escapement. Having already compensated the balance assembly for differing friction forces in 6 fixed positions, tempurature and isochronism, the tourbillion (invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet) seeks to further compensate/equalize for the very small unequal friction influences exerted on the moving balance wheel by mounting the entire escapement in a carriage that rotates 360 degrees once every minute. By doing this, the friction imbalances in 4 of the 6 possible positions of the watch (crown up, crown down, crown left and crown right... and all points in between) are equalized as the carriage rotates.
Want to see this concept taken to another level? While the traditional tourbillon equalizes friction effects in 4 positions (2 dimensions) by rotating the escapement in a circle, the new JLC Gyro-tourbillon does the same in all 6 positions (3D) by rotating the escapement in a ball-shaped carriage:
Only 75 of these watches will be produced over the next 5 years. A very good article on this amazing watch can be found at:
Thanks for the pictures and discription of the gyroturbillion. This outstanding example of the pinnacle of the watchmaker's art gives me pause...
The discussion in this thread has those who insist that Citizen and Seiko watches, along with mid-grade Swiss watches like the Rolex, can be compared to true high-end watches such as the Gyroturbillion.
Attempting to compare the two is like trying to compare a Remington 870 pump shotgun to a Parker Brothers CH.
Or a 69 VW Beetle to a 69 Jag XKE.
You see my point, I hope.
One camp is servicable. Hardy. Pleasant to look at, but decidedly pedestrian. Nobody can call them "high-end" despite the fact that they certainly have their supporters and fans.
The other camp is fragile, exquisitely detailed in its attention to detail in fit, finish, and material.
While the Beetle could possibly take the Jag in the quarter mile, well.... they just don't compare, do they?
Just as a Citizen, Seiko, or Rolex can't touch an IWC, amongst others.
My humble opinion, and worth exactly what you paid for it...
Rolex vs Steinhart:
Well this has been an interesting thread. A few points:
1) I wore a Rolex GMT Master II purchased new in 1992 for 12 years, it was my only and favorite piece of jewelry. Observations:
*I sold it for $600 more than I paid for it.
*Two rebuilds on it cost me nearly $950 USD's
*Inflation for the 12 years was on average 2.8% compounded annually
My loss: about $1000 USD's
My new Steinhart Ocean 1 39MM cost $540 delivered. I believe a rebuild will be in the neighborhood of $150 every 5 years or so if that much. I can't foretell if this watch will hold it's value, however I suspect it will do at least as well as my loss on my Rolex.
This is a -very- fine watch, I like it better than my Rolex for it has a 1mm smaller case and I have a small wrist.
I believe that Steinhart will have a lasting place in fine timepieces!
At one tenth the cost.
When calculating the collectible value of a watch especially, we must factor in rebuilds and inflation for those of us not in the business of being able to rebuild them ourselves.
Just my uneducated, yet observable and repeatable, observations.
Jacketwatch I think claimed that Steinharts may actual go up in value and that it is just a good watch for the money (which of course it isn't). In the couple years since this thread started, the Steinhart "watch company" HAS ALREADY changed it's name to a new fly-by-night watch company. Just try typing in steinhartwatches dot com and you will see their latest scam. Anyone who would make the argument that a Steinhart would or could go up in value because of their effective marketing knows nothing about watches or even business in general. Their direct sales style marketing in solely for the purpose of reeling in suckers, it is not to promote the brand long term! This is clearly demonstrated by their abandoning the brand all together to attempt to real in new suckers with a new phoney brand. These advertisements are targeted at the most foolish naive buyers in the marketplace. If you buy a Steinhart or whatever their new marketing ploy is you might as well buy a watch that says "sucker" on the dial and say to yourself "well it might go up in value if they run a ton of good ads in the future." Omg, there's one born every minute. Seriously, if you can't or don't want to spend the money for a prestige brand, and there's nothing wrong with you if you don't (and you're not in the vintage market), then buy something like a Seiko, Citizen, or even Armitron. They keep the price incredibly low by producing millions of units, but at least they do their own R&D, so you aren't walking around with a laughable fraud on your wrist. Wouldn't you agree Gregory? Btw, I was checking out your Omega's formerly owned by the Sulton of Oman, wow.
I own expensive Omega, Tag, Oris. And I own inexpensive Citizen, Casio, Tissot. And I love em all. The scams like Steinhart are to be laughed at, not to send your money to! Sad thing is the wiseguys behind Steinhart / whatever their new name is are probably doing a lot of laughing too.