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watch quality of jewelry brands
April 6, 2011 12:40 PM   Subscribe

how are jewelry brand watches (e.g. Cartier, Boucheron, Harry Winston) regarded among watch enthusiasts? Is it the same as 'designer' watches in that they're not taken seriously?
posted by the mad poster! to Shopping (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
No, they are not taken seriously. This comment at WSJ is a good summary. Actually the whole thread of comments are pretty good.

Basically, the jewelry brand watches are outsourced. It's like buying an Acura TSX - which is actually a slightly tuned/upgraded Honda Accord in Europe/Japan. (Not trying to start a car flame war here... but...)

It's not -bad-. But it's not like buying a BMW or a Ferrari. But then again, it shows in price.
posted by veryblue1 at 12:53 PM on April 6, 2011


Cartier is an exception, I think. While Cartier doesn't make its own movements, its watches are classics nonetheless. The Tank model is almost 100 years old and considered the original wrist watch, I believe.
posted by mullacc at 1:09 PM on April 6, 2011


I'm under the impression Cartier does make its own ebauches, but I could be wrong.

But veryblue1 is correct; there are about ten brands watch geeks respect. OTOH, buy what you like. 99.99% of the population doesn't GAF. Watch geeks are a vanishingly tiny potion of the population
posted by mojohand at 1:21 PM on April 6, 2011


What's strange is that the other day the people at LV(!) showed me a watch with a patented LV movement. I think Cartier has one now too..
posted by the mad poster! at 1:21 PM on April 6, 2011


99.99% of the population doesn't GAF.

haha! If you actually look at my question history for the last few months I've been trying to figure out the aesthetics for everything at the high end so when it comes to a watch I'd definitely work within the .. 'aesthetics' .. of watch connoisseur culture

these things are phenomenally expensive though, I'm just trying to find something with a perpetual calendar and I can't find something under $20k that isn't a Tag Heuer
posted by the mad poster! at 1:24 PM on April 6, 2011


I think it makes a difference whether you want a super-expensive watch as an investment piece or because you want to be impressive to a certain sector of the population, or if you just like fancy stuff. Brand choices are definitely going to vary based on these criteria.
posted by elpea at 1:28 PM on April 6, 2011


I think this one from Harry Winston deserves respect. My general feeling is what matters is the movement.

Timezone is the place to ask this. Blancpain is well respected, here is one that meets your requirements.
posted by cosmac at 1:29 PM on April 6, 2011


"... I've been trying to figure out the aesthetics for everything at the high end..." watches

To calibrate for watches I recommend hanging out for a while in the forums on the TimeZone site. I don't know from perpetual calendars, but I know they're are people on TimeZone who do.
posted by mojohand at 1:33 PM on April 6, 2011


I think it makes a difference whether you want a super-expensive watch as an investment piece or because you want to be impressive to a certain sector of the population, or if you just like fancy stuff. Brand choices are definitely going to vary based on these criteria.

yeah the third option. I've pretty much understood that a lot of expensive things are terrible investments (especially the relatively commonly produced stuff at the $5-20k level I'm looking at) so I'm not really thinking about residual value. As for impressing certain sectors of the population I've also accepted that for (men's) items a lot of it is very understated at the especially at the high end and that's fine too. Plus the other day I saw an acquaintance buy something jaw-droppingly expensive and realized that I'm in the little leagues as far as disposable income is concerned anyway ;) so whatever newfound urge I might have had to impress people got immediately wiped out
posted by the mad poster! at 1:43 PM on April 6, 2011


Hate to say... it depends... but it really does (especially given the pricepoint).

Cartier has made exceptional strides into high horology with some incredible watches and movements. Henry Winston has also developed a number of high-end unique pieces. Louis Vuitton continues to focus on design with typical (albeit very high quality) movements sourced from other firms. Hermes has been one to watch, they invested in a small independent manufacture and has been producing some incredibly refined watches.

However, for every manufacture Cartier, there are tons of simple pedestrian watches that are indistinguishable from a Tiffany or other re-branded pieces.

Timezone.com is an incredible resource... take your time to wade through. Ultimately the "best" watch is the one that sings to you whether it be from design, branding or the artistic engineering of the movement.

A perpetual calendar is a "serious" complication and few firms do it well and at an affordable price point because of the complexity. Glashutte Original is one I would highly recommend to look at.

Feel free to e-mail me if you want more watch chat... I really know too much about this stuff and have many reference manuals and other bits of info.
posted by polyhistoric at 2:01 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if anyone wants to get a non-serious Cartier tank off their hands, memail me, I'll take it!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:58 PM on April 6, 2011


I know it's not a fancy, brand name, but I just happened to be looking at watches today and noticed that Seiko offers a perpetual calendar on some of its watches. The one spec sheet I have in front of me at the moment is for an Arctura Kinetic Perpetual (style number SNP029).
posted by sardonyx at 5:18 PM on April 6, 2011


A reasonably priced glashutte region brand is Nomos. In-house movement, simple style, awesome.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:23 PM on April 6, 2011


Seiko also makes some very good and reasonably priced automatic (mechanical) dive watches. The SBDC or 'Sumo' is an example.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:32 PM on April 6, 2011


thanks for the pointers. I went and looked at the Seiko Premier Kinetic Perpetual, it's kinda chunky! I guess I'm just confused now cause I realized that I don't really care all that much about a perpetual calendar (especially if it makes a big show of knowing which leap year it is with a dedicated window), but I definitely want a thin/dressy automatic. I think I'll just 'wait it out' with a $1-3k watch until I can cop the $30k ones. Will check out the TimeZone forums.
posted by the mad poster! at 8:06 AM on April 7, 2011


haha! If you actually look at my question history for the last few months I've been trying to figure out the aesthetics for everything at the high end so when it comes to a watch I'd definitely work within the .. 'aesthetics' .. of watch connoisseur culture

I realise that you're asking about expensive watches because you like expensive watches, but just remember that high end doesn't always mean the most expensive thing on the market. The Swiss railway watch is a design classic and won't cost you more than £200.
posted by mippy at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2011


fair point! Yeah I'm definitely trying to build discernment rather than just lust for exclusivity
posted by the mad poster! at 12:03 PM on April 8, 2011


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