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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am relatively new to collecting and I really don't understand why in house movements are such a big deal. Greater cost at entry, and a greater cost at time of service. From reading through many past threads on this discussion it seems as though the practice of, and need to develop in house movements has become more common in recent years. Is this due to increased competition in the industry? Is it important to members and collectors because its a sign of brand longevity since ETA announced the cutbacks?
 

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It's so the manufacturer doesn't rely on the movement makers, it detaches them from ETA, puts them in a different class and so commands a much higher price - partly because they can and partly because it costs more to re-invent the wheel.

They generally (always) look AWESOME though because they aren't mass produced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's so the manufacturer doesn't rely on the movement makers, it detaches them from ETA, puts them in a different class and so commands a much higher price - partly because they can and partly because it costs more to re-invent the wheel.

They generally (always) look AWESOME though because they aren't mass produced.
Do you think it has sparked so to speak as a demand issue since ETA is wanting to limit the sale of movements to manufactures outside Swatch? Because of this it seems to have lead to a horological arms race. Would this still be happening if they weren't planning to limit sales of movements?
 

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No there are alternatives to the ETA's of this world, in house are a different breed.

It costs a lot to develop a movement from scratch , the manufacturer has to be sure he's gonna recoup that R&D in quantity or price per unit.
If they haven't got the built up rep in the watch world, they aren't gonna achieve either.
So they start using ETA's and the like , then modifying ETA's, then they might think they can do the big jump to full in-house.
 

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It's like...you go a fancy restaurant....You don't want this place to be sending a runner down the street to a local eatery to get your food.
For the prices you paid you expect them to do the cooking.
Yes, the ETA cutbacks has forced many companies to invest in developing in-house mvmts. which can be a positive thing.
But it can be a bad thing! They could release a lousy mvmt.
Except for Rolex,Zenith,PP,AL,Piaget and a few others I would be leery of new mvmts. that might be rushed to production.
It happened with the first Sellita 200 mvmts. They had a fairly serious flaw....It wasn't found until many broke down.
They did fix it. I don't know if all of those were/are covered under warranty.
 

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I am relatively new to collecting and I really don't understand why in house movements are such a big deal. Greater cost at entry, and a greater cost at time of service. From reading through many past threads on this discussion it seems as though the practice of, and need to develop in house movements has become more common in recent years. Is this due to increased competition in the industry? Is it important to members and collectors because its a sign of brand longevity since ETA announced the cutbacks?
I'm a newbie myself, so I may be speaking out of turn here. But I think there is some ambiguity in the prestige associated with "in-house movement." First, there is nothing inherently prestigious about in-house movements. If you look at the venerable Seiko 7S25-6, it is one of the most obtrusively homely piece of machinery you can imagine. It is entirely in-house. It is also one of the most robust and reliable mechanical movements out there. It is also dirt cheap, like $15 a pop or something. Rolex movements aren't much better looking, which is why they don't come with exhibition backs. And both are mass-produced. Rolex movements may get a little more hand-time on the assembly line; but it's still on an assembly-line with typically a "guest worker" from East Europe or Asia installing the same type of piece day in and day out without the need for any kind of horological expertise.

Second, as I understand it, most in-house movements are not from a true manufacture: the various parts are outsourced, and only assembled "in-house." TAG's 1887 is a good example of this. Its design is itself Seiko-based, Seiko provides many of the parts; and otherwise, the rest of the parts are outsourced from other Swiss manufacturers. These parts are, however, assembled together by a TAG subsidiary--and, hence, can be considered "in-house."

Third, I think you are totally right, most of these new in-house movements are a function of pressures imposed by Swatch, who are no longer providing ETA ébauche--although I believe they still sell entire movements. For instance, Tudors run on ETA movements.

Finally, I think the original reason for the preference of in-house movement has not to do with robustness or reliability, but because of what one sees in the following--for me--eye-opening documentaries:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntYwiyvlhh0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNftQFfgepY

You are paying for the artistry and, let's face it, the dexterity, the hand-eye coordination of a true horological craftsman.

Some of these manufactures apparently make their own tools. Never mind the parts--the tools for making the parts are in-house.
 

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Here's a nice modern/recent example - of what I'd consider nearly full in house - though you'd be hard pushed to recognise the base movement. ***

ST. 1 Premium


This costs enough** but Steinhart's next step would be to start from scratch and not from a base ETA


**BUT it still looks absolutely beautiful ;-)


*** Until you spot the number:

st1.jpg

(But they make no secret it starts life as an ETA)
 

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As has been said, there is nothing intrinsically superior about an in-house vs. outsourced movement, although it does indicate a long-term commitment and investment by a watch brand, so this typically excludes the upstart brands without actual manufacturing capabilities.

At the end of the day, it is all about exclusivity and perceived value, and it is an opportunity for watch brands to charge a premium for their products, and for buyers to justify the price they paid. In particular, the issue is when a premium priced watch, say with a MSRP of $6000 has a movement that can be found in a much more affordable watch with a MSRP of $800.

In part, it is also because of a shift in the manner in which buyers built their collections. Previously, it might have been built around a particular theme, but these days, it is much more common to collect watches with different movements.
 

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Well Minimalist1972...Rolex makes almost all their watch parts. They even own the foundries that smelt the steel and gold.
Good video on youtube on that. I don't know about the sapphire crystals..But yes many of the companies claim in-house
and the parts are made by other companies....They are claiming In-house because they designed the movements, subs
make the parts and the company assembles all the parts (they designed)into a completed watch.
I drove by a Toyota plant in Japan for three years,five days a week....Up in down the street I drove were little independent
shops making parts...One house made stick shift boots. Around the corner in this guys back yard ,he made seat frames....
It was still a Toyota....What's wrong with a watch made the same way?
 

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Well Minimalist1972...Rolex makes almost all their watch parts. They even own the foundries that smelt the steel and gold.
Good video on youtube on that. I don't know about the sapphire crystals..But yes many of the companies claim in-house
and the parts are made by other companies....They are claiming In-house because they designed the movements, subs
make the parts and the company assembles all the parts (they designed)into a completed watch.
I drove by a Toyota plant in Japan for three years,five days a week....Up in down the street I drove were little independent
shops making parts...One house made stick shift boots. Around the corner in this guys back yard ,he made seat frames....
It was still a Toyota....What's wrong with a watch made the same way?
At no point did I claim that Rolex is not a true manufacture. So is Seiko. I was simply pointing to an ambiguity in the putative prestige of in-house movements. Just because a movement is in-house does not automatically make the movement prestigious. Again, Seiko is a great example. Outside of their GS and Credor lines, I think we can agree that most people would not perceive an SKX as prestigious. But it's 100% in-house. And I'm a fan of both brands. I think they make great products.

Nor did I claim that there is anything wrong with using outsourced parts or installing base ETA's. In fact, there is popular prestige associated with ETA-users like Breitling, and I believe Vacheron Offshores use JLC movements. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with the 1887 either. There can be prestige--whether popular or WIS--associated with such movements.

But when it comes to elite manufactures, "in-house" takes on a different meaning, having to do with craftsmanship, artistry, and the years of training required for such expertise. Furthermore, since such craftsmanship is expected at all levels of the manufacture--incl., for example, the production of the screws and the tools (I can't get over that!)--one can expect superior quality in every little part of their movements. I suspect that is the origin of whatever prestige one should associate with in-house movements.

In short, just because some brand has in-house movement it shouldn't automatically imply that it's somehow more valuable than some other brand that outsources. So I think we agree.
 

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Well Minimalist1972...Rolex makes almost all their watch parts. They even own the foundries that smelt the steel and gold.
Good video on youtube on that. I don't know about the sapphire crystals..But yes many of the companies claim in-house
and the parts are made by other companies....They are claiming In-house because they designed the movements, subs
make the parts and the company assembles all the parts (they designed)into a completed watch.
I drove by a Toyota plant in Japan for three years,five days a week....Up in down the street I drove were little independent
shops making parts...One house made stick shift boots. Around the corner in this guys back yard ,he made seat frames....
It was still a Toyota....What's wrong with a watch made the same way?
I agree. How is a watch any better for having the movement mostly or entirely manufactured under the same corporate umbrella whose name is on the dial? Do such movements necessarily perform more accurately, with better precision, have longer lives orcost less to.repair? If so I would like to see the study.
 

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Honestly, I would buy a Seiko or an Orient before I would even think of buying anything else in that price range. Sure, it is a simple, mass produced watch with ditto movement that you find in hundreds of models, but at least they are making it themselves. Seagull is something that I considered for the same reason. Of course there is Tissot with the in house ETA. Still not sure what to think about that. This being said, that same ETa ticks in so many watches. And there is nothing wrong with this. It is a great movement. Still I would prefer something with history (Omega Speedy Pro or El Primero) over a 7750. It all comes down to what you are looking for in a watch. If you want a very pretty watch with great fit and finish, many deliver with quartz movements. It is even more on time than these archaic bundles of cogwheels. I appreciate the craftsmanship, effort, etc. from companies that try to do it all in house. The more the better. S noted above, in house can mean different things.
 

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I am of the opinion that in-house movements are overrated in some cases, particularly those where the movement really brings nothing additional to the table in terms of functionality, reliability, accuracy, power reserve, etc. However, in other cases, I think in-house movements can be well worth the money when they have something they bring to the table other than exclusivity. I could easily see paying for an El Primero or Seiko Spring Drive or high beat or Rolex. I think I would have a harder time paying for an in-house dress watch movement just to say it was more exclusive.
 

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WIS's like in house movements because tradition is so important to many watch collectors. Many people prefer brands that have a long and rich history of watchmaking, and do more than just make watch cases to house pre-made movements. There is nothing wrong with the ETA movements, though, and the chronometer grade ones are very nice. Furthermore, there are no glaring flaws with the popular ETA movements; they've been proven over many years and millions of models to be reliable and not have any significant weak points.

However, you could say that the ETA designs "play it safe." While their movements work better and are more durable than many higher end in house movements, they do not have anything about them that makes them stand out other than their ruggedness and reliability. So if you want a beautifully designed movement with artistically spaced bridges and such, you'll have to look elsewhere. If you want a high beat movement, you'll have to look at Seiko or Zenith. You'll have to sacrifice some things in many instances, though. For an example, the Rolex movement is optimized for isochronism. The beat amplitude doesn't vary as much due to the efficient winding, and the free sprung balance wheel with the Breguet overcoil helps to reduce the effect of the amplitude variance that does exist. However, this design is not as robust as the ETA movements because the bushing rotor system is quite fragile, and can become severely damaged without regular servicing. The balance wheel design also cannot be adjusted easily when the watch falls out of regulation. Is it worth it? To some it is, to others it isn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am of the opinion that in-house movements are overrated in some cases, particularly those where the movement really brings nothing additional to the table in terms of functionality, reliability, accuracy, power reserve, etc. However, in other cases, I think in-house movements can be well worth the money when they have something they bring to the table other than exclusivity. I could easily see paying for an El Primero or Seiko Spring Drive or high beat or Rolex. I think I would have a harder time paying for an in-house dress watch movement just to say it was more exclusive.
So why do you think there is such a push to begin manufacturing in house? Driven by ETA limiting movements or is it market driven? Or is it market driven because of ETA. It just seems like the craze began at the time they first showed an interest in this. I know there are other companies that produce movements in mass quantities, but they don't compare to the scale of ETA. Do you think a company like Selleta has the most to gain from this scenario.
 

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I'm just going to say it... for most of the "in-house" movements there is absolutely no advantage aesthetically, technically, or otherwise. Most of the time it just gives one a sense of prestige, and a lighter wallet.

There are some in-house movements that ARE an improvement over say a Miyoto 9015... but those tend to be far and few between.

Personally I think 99% of the prestige and artisan feel we associate with watches is an utter illusion... starting with Rolex... there's nothing unique, special or artisanal about a mass-produced "in-house" rolex movement. There are some 1%ers out there, but being an "in-house" movement doesn't make a movement special in and of itself.
 
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"Long and rich history", then why the hoopla over Lange? A very short history.
WIS's like in house movements because tradition is so important to many watch collectors. Many people prefer brands that have a long and rich history of watchmaking, and do more than just make watch cases to house pre-made movements. There is nothing wrong with the ETA movements, though, and the chronometer grade ones are very nice. Furthermore, there are no glaring flaws with the popular ETA movements; they've been proven over many years and millions of models to be reliable and not have any significant weak points.

However, you could say that the ETA designs "play it safe." While their movements work better and are more durable than many higher end in house movements, they do not have anything about them that makes them stand out other than their ruggedness and reliability. So if you want a beautifully designed movement with artistically spaced bridges and such, you'll have to look elsewhere. If you want a high beat movement, you'll have to look at Seiko or Zenith. You'll have to sacrifice some things in many instances, though. For an example, the Rolex movement is optimized for isochronism. The beat amplitude doesn't vary as much due to the efficient winding, and the free sprung balance wheel with the Breguet overcoil helps to reduce the effect of the amplitude variance that does exist. However, this design is not as robust as the ETA movements because the bushing rotor system is quite fragile, and can become severely damaged without regular servicing. The balance wheel design also cannot be adjusted easily when the watch falls out of regulation. Is it worth it? To some it is, to others it isn't.
 

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Nothing wrong with an ETA movement if the watch is priced accordingly. I will not pay the casing Co. $5k for a re-modified ETA movement.
I'll gladly pay $5k for a well put together ETA movement based watch... What you won't see me do is pay $5K for a piece of garbage case with an entry-level in house movement that isn't as good as a base ETA 2824-2.
 

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"Long and rich history", then why the hoopla over Lange? A very short history.
It doesn't have to have a long and rich history, you just have to BELIEVE it has a long and rich history...
 
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