Jump to content
"6"

The watch appreciation thread

Recommended Posts

I agree. And I'd ask for 50% and not a penny more. If its a new PP, I'd press for a whole lot of discount (20% or more) and if I could bloody well afford my first Patek I'd like it with the whole purchase experience...i.e box, papers, the service etc.. , furthermore a Patek without any complications (chronograph, etc) isn't too thrilling or collectible or special to have such high resale value if its just a couple of years old, therefore shouldn't cost a whole lot on the secondhand market.

Very rarely do you get discounts on PP. Maybe on the PM models  but the stainless steel ones have a long wait list. 

 

You will have to wait quiet a while for the entry level sport models. 

 

 

For something as expensive as a Patek, its hard to say. After all, box and papers are just another way to validate the autheticity.

 

RM1k for a Rolex. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://youtu.be/hNCat9uhMLQ

 

Jean-Claude Biver, a stalwart of the Swiss watch industry. He bought the name Blancpain after it went bust and revived it, was a director at Omega, took on the CEO post at an eviscerated and lossmaking Hublot, then moved to become CEO of TAG Heuer. Today, he is President of the LVMH watch division.

 

He speaks prolifically--many are on youtube. I find his speeches fascinating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://youtu.be/hNCat9uhMLQ

 

Jean-Claude Biver, a stalwart of the Swiss watch industry. He bought the name Blancpain after it went bust and revived it, was a director at Omega, took on the CEO post at an eviscerated and lossmaking Hublot, then moved to become CEO of TAG Heuer. Today, he is President of the LVMH watch division.

 

He speaks prolifically--many are on youtube. I find his speeches fascinating.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMG_20180601_134619.jpg?raw=1

So, I bought a Ball.

"Jeremy, what is wrong with you? Nobody wears a Ball."

Well, I haven't worn a watch in a very long time. Must be close to two decades. My problem with watches is similar to those few people in the late 70's who had a problem with bell bottomed trousers. When bell bottoms are in trend, only bell bottomed trousers are available. To opt out of the trend is to opt out of trousers altogether.

The watches of the past decade or so have diverged strongly from what I believe watches should be. As a child, growing up, watches were small and thin. Most were not larger than 36mm, and a 1cm thick watch would qualify as a very thick watch. Straps were understated---think metal mesh for bracelets. The watches were also fragile by contemporary standards: most casebacks were friction fit and were opened by using the blade of a Swiss army knife. In that era, Rolexes were regarded as severely overbuilt and overengineered: it has a thick "oyster" case forged out of a bar of stainless steel, it has a "triple lock" screw down crown and a screw in caseback. None of these features were common then.

Today, the standards set by Rolex is exceeded by a cheap Seiko. Indeed, those standards have become minimum requirements for a watch. Watches became very chunky, heavy, large and conspicuous. 40mm seems to be the minimum diameter.

I have never worn a 40mm watch. I thought I would try one. If I could ever tolerate a watch for being so big, it would have to be a sports watch. A watch for the outdoors: when out with the dogs, when on vacation, washing the car...

The Ball Engineer II Arabic, I felt, is a superlative rough-and-tumble watch. It's relatively cheap, so it doesn't feel precious. Solid metal bracelet with solid end links. A real ETA movement, as opposed to increasingly widespread clones by Selita. 316L stainless steel, AR coated sapphire. Screw down crown, signed. Tritium gas tubes as luminous markers---the arabic numerals are formed with multiple tiny tritium-filled glass capsules. It's a more rugged watch for the outdoors than the Rolex Explorer was when first introduced.

"So, do you like it?"

I find myself liking it, yes. I admire the graphic design. In reality, it is very difficult to design a successful dial. You only have to look at the mass market Seikos and Citizens to see this: while they make full use of all the design elements also used by the Swiss, there is something off with them. Similarly, the vast majority of microbrands (like Orion Watches, for instance) struggle with the graphic design. There is a lot of specialised know-how to dial design that is not common knowledge.  In fact, that knowledge may not reside in any one person: dial design is likely a collaborative effort. This Ball has a look that I think displays great design maturity. It's bold, as befitting a sports watch, yet it's nuanced, well-proportioned, and very good to look at. It's a simple dial, yet it's complex enough to reward you each time you glance at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMG_0692.jpg?raw=1

Yesterday, I picked up a lightly worn Submariner homage by Squale, erstwhile a case manufacturer who supplied Rolex, Blancpain, and etc. Today, they make diving watches the majority of which are original designs, but some are Rolex homages, like the above. I bought it because it was too cheap and too well reviewed not to. I really wasn't that interested in a homage, much less a homage of a diving watch. (I have no love for diving watches.) I met the seller, a very nice guy about my age who lives nearby, with not too much expectations. 

As I strapped on the watch, I got a shock. On my wrist was the most handsome watch I've ever seen. I thought all the while that only Grand Seiko understood how to make a watch that reflects light like a facetted diamond, but there on my wrist was a watch with super bling. It reflected light in all directions from every part. It was a watch with tremendous visual drama, not just due to the reflections, but also due to the contrast between steel and the glossy black dial and bezel.

It became very clear why the Submariner is the world's most iconic watch. It's handsome as hell, it's masculine, angular, architectural and it has a lot of bling, in the sense that it's shiny and reflects light. The graphics of the dial transmits the time to you with authority.

The Squale is very high quality, with very satisfactory fit and finishing. It does not reach the level of a Rolex's manufacturing though. It has the ubiquitous ETA 2824 inside, also used by Tudor. Mine loses about 4 seconds per day.

It is a homage not to the current production Submariner but to a vintage model with the more petite and poetic case, and before the indices were enlarged and the hands widened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Problem is the Squale can be had new while most 14060 are battered and polished 5 or 6 times already. Also, the Squale is maybe 95% a 14060 in terms of build. (It is built extremely well.) The experience of wearing it is 99% a 14060.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also never have to care if my Squale comes into contact with my dog's teeth, or scrapes against a brick wall, or gets stolen. It cost me rm1650. That's probably less than a single replacement link of an Oyster bracelet in steel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a child, lots of people could afford Rolexes. If you had a good job, you could afford one. My experience of Rolex as a child is of a jingly, jangly watch with a bracelet made entirely of sheet metal. Every link was made of sheet metal rolled into a solid. The end links were stamped sheet metal. Rolexes audibly jangled because the bracelet would elongate and become loose with wear.

The Squale has an Oyster bracelet with solid links and solid end links. It is better built than the Rolexes of the 1980's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMG_0702.jpg?raw=1

Picked up my shell cordovan strap from the post office in Janda Baik this morning. Then, went to my favourite cafe in Janda Baik for a coffee and strap change. The strap is from Nomos' strap supplier, but have minor defects and therefore rejected and sold on eBay for not much money.

IMG_0707.jpg?raw=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMG_0708.jpg?raw=1

The previous owner told me to take care of his Squale. He pampered it a lot, he said. I said, of course.

IMG_0727.jpg?raw=1

What did he think I'd do to it? Like gratuitously submerge it in a stream or something?

IMG_0715.jpg?raw=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is my second day with the Squale, and I pretty much spent the whole day thinking about it. I just can't believe what Rolex has pulled off with the design of the Submariner. They are obviously playing a different game than the other makers. What was Rolex trying to optimise for when they---over decades---evolved the design of the Sub?

"The pursuit of bling"

Rolex wanted a jewel-like watch. The reflective parts are:

a) the glossy dial

b ) the metal borders around the indices

c) the hands

d) the bezel inset

e) the knurling around the bezel

f) the cleverly angled rehaut

g) the polished crown guards

h) the cyclops

i) the lume nub on the bezel

j) the sapphire crystal

Let's talk in more detail about some of these elements. Let's take the bezel inset. Rolex is one of the earliest, if not the first in the world to use a ceramic bezel inset. You could say it's due to the scratch resistance. But an even greater reason is the superior glossiness of polished ceramic over anodised aluinium. Polished ceramic reflects more light than aluminium.

In contrast to that, Rolex has shown no interest in having a scratch resistant bezel as opposed to bezel inset. Omega has a bezel made completely of tungsten carbide. The problem with tungsten carbide is its grayish, dull appearance. If Rolex really was committed to scratch resistance, it would follow suit. But no, Rolex is about bling.

Rolex has also resisted an industry-wide acceptance of antireflective coating on the sapphire crystal. Seiko has perfected the coating to the extent that the cystal practically disappears. Rolex doesn't do AR coating because an uncoated crystal reflects light a hell lot better. It is fully cognizant that this comes at the cost of legibility, especially in glare conditions outdoors. But Rolex knows its watches aren't used by adventurers anymore. Bling is more important than legibility.

In the Sub, I was surprised to discover that the knurling around the bezel is such that they're almost like a ring of diamonds. The knurls are angled in such a way that bling is maximised.

Similarly, unlike 99% of watches by other makers, Rolex does not do a perfectly tubular rehaut. Its rehaut is angled at about 60 degrees, and that thing catches the light regardless of the angle at which you view the watch.

Now, compare the Sub to it's relative, the Tudor Black Bay. The BB is a much more muted watch. It has a tubular rehaut like everyone else. The knurling around the bezel is exactly like that of a coin and is not angled to reflect light towards the wearer. It has an aluminium bezel inset. It has no crown guards to further generate bling. Its dial is matt and it has no cyclops.

Next, I wish to talk about the strategic importance of bling how it underpins Rolex's commercial success.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"A watch for both leisure and business"

The bestselling Rolex models are at once dress and sports watches. The Explorer 1 and the Submariner+GMT-Master have this versatility. Rolex itself, I think, calls it "sports elegance".

Sports elegance is a huge factor in Rolex's commercial success. You would think this is obvious, but surprisingly few makers go out of their way to create and market such a watch. They either create a dress watch, or they try to make something "iconic" which invariably ends up too sporty.

Take the Explorer 1. Nothing threads the divide between sports and dress watch like the Explorer. Due to its iconicism, every brand out there has attempted to do an Explorer. They failed.

This is because they fail to understand bling. Consider Sinn's attempt at an Explorer-esque watch to see their failings. The Sinn 556A or even 556i are superficially in the same category as the Explorer 1, but its designers do not understand the subtle game Rolex has been playing. Without a rotating bezel or crown guards, Rolex understood it had to inject bling into the Explorer in other ways. It gave a high polish to its fixed bezel. It could have used a fluted bezel like on the datejust, but that would have been too dressy for the Explorer. Rolex brought more bling to the dial in the form of glossy metallic arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9. Bling is the reason why these are arabic as opposed to batons---there is more bling with arabic.

By creating a One Watch -- the watch for both business and leisure -- Rolex increased the buyer's readiness to spend on that One Watch.

In contrast, its Cellini line (pure dress watches) was always moribund.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out Damasko and their coating technology.

Please let me know from an engineers point of view how good are they, or what the put up on their website is true.

I had 2, very very scratch resistant and quite shock proof. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damasko is solving the wrong problem, hahahaha!

The problem to solve is to create a watch that you can continue wearing as you go from the boardroom in the morning to the golf course in the afternoon and later to fine dining in the evening. One that gives the maximum amount of "oommph!" or satisfaction when you put it on---a.k.a. bling. And one that lasts a long time. Damasko solves only the last of the three, but completely fails on the first two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All those people who say Rolex is a tool watch are dumb fucks. So stupid. Rolex is a bling watch you can wear in every single context in life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Showed Part Timer A my Squale. She says it looks old school. Like a vintage watch, she says. I told her Rolex still makes a watch like that and sells it for RM40K and it is their bestseller. She couldn't believe it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, takashi said:

Come on....get a Rolex....with your wrist size...i recommend a 36mm Explorer.

6966249972_7f0813184d.jpg

(Random pic from the internet of an Explorer 36mm on a Malaysian Chinese)

I can already imagine how the conversation will go...

Me: Urmmm, I bought a new watch. Well, not new, because it was discontinued quite a while back, but new to me. Have a look!

Part Timer A: What happened to your other watches?

Me: Huh? Nothing. I still have them.

Part Timer A: Why do you need so many watches for?

Me: Well, they're all different. The Ball is white faced, the Squale is a divers watch, and this one is a versatile sports elegance watch. It's very iconic.

Part Timer A: Looks old school. More old school than the other one.

Me: More old school than the Squale?

Part Timer A: Yes! Like it belonged to your father and he gave it to you. How much did you pay?

Me: Errr, well, it's a Rolex, so not cheap. Urmm, 17K.

Part Timer A: *speechless*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And the conversation with Dispatch A...

Me: Hey, how's the video coming along? BTW, I bought a new watch. Have a look.

Dispatch A: Nice. As I was saying about the video...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×