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The watch appreciation thread

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Just wanted to say, a customer was wearing a Nomos Neomatik on Sunday. I actually mistook it for a Junghans, until he corrected me.

It's a nice watch; very different from a Rolex in design language. The words "classy" and "dignified" come to mind, though I've never understood what they could possibly mean.

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On 10 August 2018 at 6:13 PM, kotmj said:

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Rolex in general, and DJs in particular, are not photogenic. It's almost as if they weren't designed by people sitting in front of computer monitors, but by people making prototype parts then assembling them into prototype watches and evaluating the aesthetics that way.

A significant portion of Rolex's visceral appeal is its sparkle, the way it plays with light. Rolex discovered this insight relatively late, maybe in the late 50's. Over successive model generations, Rolex kept optimizing for sparkle. These decades of insight into sparkle culminated in the ridiculously sparkling Sky Dweller.

For some reason, the other manufacturers did not grasp this, or executed to the same extent. They made dull watches.

It's like Carl Zeiss vs everyone else. Only Zeiss optimized for contrast and saturation. The others were optimizing for resolution. Zeiss played a different game. It took the others so long to also play the contrast game, but even then they don't do it to the same maniacal level.

I have to say, that is a gorgeous strap pairing. Brings out the dignified-ness of the vintage Rolex...


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When I look at the LinkedIn profiles of designers at Rolex, a picture of Rolex emerges.

Rolex employs many, many designers. Only a minority are watch designers. You have people like La Mazza above, who may be responsible for a range of models to be launched next Baselworld. But there is also a department at Rolex named "Oyster" which also employs designers. These people may be there to design variations of next-generation Oyster cases and bracelets. I imagine there must also be a "Jubilee" team.

Quite apart from the watches, Rolex employs communication designers. These are people responsible for the website, brochures, and all electronic media and printed matter.

Rolex also hires designers who work on visual merchandising, i.e. the stands, cases, and lighting through which the watches are physically presented in fairs and in boutiques.

And then there is a Rolex-owned company called Roldeco, an interior design company that designs Rolex boutiques the world over.

It's a huge operation. Somehow, a nano company like JT needs to replicate this.

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Hans Wilsdorf wearing a pre-cyclops Datejust with jubilee bracelet.

Wilsdorf really was like Steve Jobs in his revolutionary fervour. Some quotes:

"We want to be the first… and the Rolex watch should be regarded as the one and only, the best!"

“Originality and quality [must be] our slogan for the future in every country. Every [Rolex] watch must be an ambassador of quality.” 

“Rolex must continuously strive to think and act differently from the rest. Therein lies my greatest strength."

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A customer came with a Squale. He has been wearing it the last three years as his only watch. I have a Squale lying around, so I put it on for this pic.

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The squale on the top is based on four digit submariner references. The hour markers do not have white gold (in this case maybe stainless) surrounds giving it a nice vintage look.

 

But the logo on the top the “S” of the Squale branding throws off the symmetry of the dial for me. 

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Me wearing someone’s OP date. Believe it was bought in the late 80s or early 90s. 

I find 34m very wearable for me. You forget you even have a watch on. 

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A customer and his Lange 1 Moonphase. From almost all viewing angles, it appears to have lost its crystal. It has an excellent AR coating. Quite large at 41mm. It originally comes on a brown croc, but he ordered a black croc. The extra strap, too is from Lange. Didn't want to ask him how much the strap cost, makes the suits he's making with me look like pocket change.

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Is that a Day-date? This is one of the few videos where you get to see a solid gold watch in context. I think it looks very wearable. Obviously blingy, but it's tasteful bling.

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Infernal affairs 2 showcases a day-date as well. On the gangster boss “Ah Hau” - played by Francis Ng.

 

Looks the business. 

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I hear lots of stories like the above. You give a non-WIS a Rolex, and twenty years later, they're still wearing the damn thing. I think, it's partly to do with the high wearability factor, the timelessness (conservativeness) of Rolex's designs such that even older models do not look dated, and the superior ruggedness of built. Where other brands of watches are found with cracked crystals, deteriorated dials, corroded hands, and defective movements, Rolexes keep their youth extremely well. Better than any other brand.

In this interview, he has quite a few of these stories:

 

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JLC Memovox that belongs to a customer. I got to hear the alarm sound. So surprised the two crowns are made of (no doubt very high quality) plastic.

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Lange 1815 annual calendar. I was struck by how close they put the movement to the display glass---the air gap must be a small fraction of a millimeter. The display glass is also double AR coated. This two combined makes the intricacy of the movement maximally visible. Even though it's on a strap and is only 40mm, the watch is quite heavy.

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On 10/5/2018 at 12:17 AM, monsieurxu said:

Would love to hear what you guys think of this - https://millesimewatch.com

Are the lugs soldered on? 

Nearly every watch brand has retro-inspired pieces in their catalogues. I think of Zenith's Pilot Type 20.

Zenith-Pilot-Type-20-Southern-Cross-2.jp

Longines is perpetually digging into their extensive archives for more models to bring back from the grave. Here the Longines Military Watch with fake flecks on the dial.

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I think what these resurrections have in common is these companies have created a structure that filters ideas. Because not every old watch is worth resurrecting in 2018.

Their product developers must have come up with hundreds of ideas. There is probably a small group there whose task is to pick only those that would illicit pangs of desire in the buying public. These promising ideas then go to the designers who further accentuate the desirability for a contemporary audience.

At Apple, Steve Jobs was like a one-man filter. The opposite would be car companies, where designs go through multiple stages of critique (including by external consultants), eventually ending at the BoD who either asks for a rework or okays a design.

The process of product development is as important as the ideas. It shows when it's weak, as it is at JLC. 

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