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      03-09-2014, 10:01 AM   #1
tony20009
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A Pertty Good Overview of Watch Movements and Movement Makers

I happened across this recently and it's a pretty good "quick and dirty" on watch movement makers. It's a good read for anyone who's interested in understanding what sorts of things are available. http://www.mattbaily.ca/en/blog/2012...ment-calibres/

I'm not sure I agree with all the author's subjective comments, but that doesn't make the article a poor resource for folks seeking a rough understanding. I think newbies who read the writer's subjective statements may not recognize them as such and may be inclined to blindly accept them and act in accordance with them. A better approach would be to dig a bit deeper to get a more comprehensive picture. Doing so will provide the reader with an understanding of which statements reflect market realities versus which reflect irrevocable or indisputable facts.

All the best.
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      03-09-2014, 11:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
I happened across this recently and it's a pretty good "quick and dirty" on watch movement makers. It's a good read for anyone who's interested in understanding what sorts of things are available. http://www.mattbaily.ca/en/blog/2012...ment-calibres/

I'm not sure I agree with all the author's subjective comments, but that doesn't make the article a poor resource for folks seeking a rough understanding. I think newbies who read the writer's subjective statements may not recognize them as such and may be inclined to blindly accept them and act in accordance with them. A better approach would be to dig a bit deeper to get a more comprehensive picture. Doing so will provide the reader with an understanding of which statements reflect market realities versus which reflect irrevocable or indisputable facts.

All the best.
I agree, the article gives a good high-level overview - very informative to those new to horology. Just curious - what opinions of the author do you disagree with? I didn't note anything particularly disagreeable or objectionable...
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      03-09-2014, 07:18 PM   #3
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I agree, the article gives a good high-level overview - very informative to those new to horology. Just curious - what opinions of the author do you disagree with? I didn't note anything particularly disagreeable or objectionable...
I don't find anything especially objectionable, wrong or disagreeable. The only reservation I had has to do with an inference or two a watch newbie may take form the article. Even so, I still feel it's an excellent resource for gaining a good understanding of what watch movements are most commonly found in the marketplace, and the author does a very good job of explaining, at a high level, the merits of those movements. Trust me, I would not have shared the link to that article if I had content issues with it.

My issue has more to do with context than with content or accuracy. I just mentioned it in the interest of full disclosure, not to discredit the writer. Indeed, only two statements struck me as a bit out of place, and I do mean out of place. The statements belong much closer to each other. The specific statements are these:
The manufacture (also called in-house) movement is considered a symbol of watchmaking prowess and quality.

The premium paid, and the adoration of the market, for an in-house calibre has a lot to do with cachet and marketing.
The first statement is an accurate statement, and so is the second, but their placement -- rather distanced from each other -- might lead casual readers to place more value on in-house that such things actually are due. The second statement correctly implies that a degree of circumspection is warranted when considering manufacture watches. I think too that the author left out an important distinction concerning the nature/scope of relevance in-house should has for various buyers.

For a consumer who is a somewhat or very serious collector, in-house oftentimes matters because of the impact it will have on the overall (non-monetary) value and merit of a collection as being representative of something. Think of it as though one were curating a collection for a museum. It's about what the collection illustrates and the story it tells and manufacture watches must necessarily be included in most such collections.

For a consumer who just wants an excellent watch, even if she is is collecting -- that is in the sense of having several or a lot of watches -- watches, there isn't necessarily any imperative militating for them to require a watch's movement be in-house. There's nothing right or wrong about such a consumer choosing an in-house watch, but there's no need to do so. The in-house-ness says more about the company who makes the movement than it does about the effectiveness of a watch that has such a movement or a watch that doesn't.

After all what's the difference between a movement maker like ETA, F. Piguet, Vaucher, et al and one like JLC? The difference is that JLC puts cases, crystals and dials around those movements and those other folks don't do that. As a result, the impact of "drinking the in-house kool-aid" is that one is tacitly saying that watch A is superior to watch B because company A puts a case around the movement and company B does not.

It's true that for a watch company, being able to produce their own movements is demonstrable evidence of a certain set of skills that that company has developed. Moreover, nearly always are such movements high quality ones. However, not always, even as they are high quality, do they perform any better than non-in-house movements. Indeed, as often as not, there's not any performance difference between an in-house movement and high quality one that's not in-house such as the chronometer grade ETAs the author mentioned.

I could go on and deepen the strength of my position, but I think you get it already. My issue with the article I identified has to do with what the author didn't say, not with what he did say.

All the best.
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      03-10-2014, 09:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
I don't find anything especially objectionable, wrong or disagreeable. The only reservation I had has to do with an inference or two a watch newbie may take form the article. Even so, I still feel it's an excellent resource for gaining a good understanding of what watch movements are most commonly found in the marketplace, and the author does a very good job of explaining, at a high level, the merits of those movements. Trust me, I would not have shared the link to that article if I had content issues with it.

My issue has more to do with context than with content or accuracy. I just mentioned it in the interest of full disclosure, not to discredit the writer. Indeed, only two statements struck me as a bit out of place, and I do mean out of place. The statements belong much closer to each other. The specific statements are these:
The manufacture (also called in-house) movement is considered a symbol of watchmaking prowess and quality.

The premium paid, and the adoration of the market, for an in-house calibre has a lot to do with cachet and marketing.
The first statement is an accurate statement, and so is the second, but their placement -- rather distanced from each other -- might lead casual readers to place more value on in-house that such things actually are due. The second statement correctly implies that a degree of circumspection is warranted when considering manufacture watches. I think too that the author left out an important distinction concerning the nature/scope of relevance in-house should has for various buyers.

For a consumer who is a somewhat or very serious collector, in-house oftentimes matters because of the impact it will have on the overall (non-monetary) value and merit of a collection as being representative of something. Think of it as though one were curating a collection for a museum. It's about what the collection illustrates and the story it tells and manufacture watches must necessarily be included in most such collections.

For a consumer who just wants an excellent watch, even if she is is collecting -- that is in the sense of having several or a lot of watches -- watches, there isn't necessarily any imperative militating for them to require a watch's movement be in-house. There's nothing right or wrong about such a consumer choosing an in-house watch, but there's no need to do so. The in-house-ness says more about the company who makes the movement than it does about the effectiveness of a watch that has such a movement or a watch that doesn't.

After all what's the difference between a movement maker like ETA, F. Piguet, Vaucher, et al and one like JLC? The difference is that JLC puts cases, crystals and dials around those movements and those other folks don't do that. As a result, the impact of "drinking the in-house kool-aid" is that one is tacitly saying that watch A is superior to watch B because company A puts a case around the movement and company B does not.

It's true that for a watch company, being able to produce their own movements is demonstrable evidence of a certain set of skills that that company has developed. Moreover, nearly always are such movements high quality ones. However, not always, even as they are high quality, do they perform any better than non-in-house movements. Indeed, as often as not, there's not any performance difference between an in-house movement and high quality one that's not in-house such as the chronometer grade ETAs the author mentioned.

I could go on and deepen the strength of my position, but I think you get it already. My issue with the article I identified has to do with what the author didn't say, not with what he did say.

All the best.
Understood, and I agree with your thoughts. I have a watch with an ETA movement that is precisely 4 seconds slow since last setting it over 2-1/2 months ago. It doesn't get much better than that - even with superquartz. High quality in-house movements are a significant achievement for a manufacturer that adds to the "specialness" of a watch to those of us who are passionately interested in such things, but certainly not a prerequisite for a top quality, beautiful watch.
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