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I think it's pretty hard to come up with completely original designs when the tried and true ones have been working for 100 years. Sure a company can come up with an original design but it doesn't mean people are going to like it and purchase it.
 

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I would say Seiko is the obvious place to start. So many original designs : SKX; monster; alpinist; tuna; Willard ; turtle and so on. Not quite as affordable as they once were though.


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Although it is a homage to the original unreleased version, the Bulova Moon Watch is a nice original design that can be had under $500. If you don't mind quartz.
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Quartz, yes, but not exactly garden variety.

So far, this thread (to me anyway) has proven the opposite of the claim. Nodus, Octopus and Cincinnati have shown original designs that are appealing (to me). Yes, the Seikos and Citizens are unique, but for better or worse I mentally appended "from smaller companies" to the thread title.

But when you get right down to it, if I were standing around talking watches and someone said "this is how you should spend your money" I'd nod, turn around, and walk far away. Who died and made them king? It's called "taste," not "divinely dictated morality," and if someone can feel good about spending $1.2M on this



Then why on God's green golf course should I feel bad about spending $130.00 on this



"You should have bought..." "Hold on skipper, do you know the rest of my collection? Do you know that my great grandfather built a steel mill, and my grandfather was an olympic diver? Steeldive - get it now? Do you know that I once scratched the heck out of my grandmother's favorite jewelry box with a Seiko, and silly as it sounds I just don't buy them any more?" Do you know I have a firm policy of never taking unsolicited advice because in my experience 90% of the time it comes from self-important blowhards who actually don't know their head from a jar of chunky peanut butter?"


...now, if you've started one of those "what should I buy" threads and someone offers opinions about homage watches and blah blah blah sure. You've asked for input. Don't be upset if people.... provide input. But we all know the intellectual property police, volunteer division, show up far more often than that.

So live and let live. Even the IPPVD. Glad you're passionate. You do you, I'll be me.
 

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Actually, what about the zodiac astrograph with the mystery dial? Don't know if you can buy them new anymore, but the re-release was only a couple of years back I think? From memory they were around the £1k mark new and may be cheaper second hand, not sure if it was the first mystery dial watch, but certainly unique.
Watch Analog watch Vehicle Azure Automotive design
 

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That's interesting and unique. I'd want the minute hand to be about 50% larger to further differentiate it from the hour hand, but you sure as heck can't accuse them of copying anyone!
 

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That's interesting and unique. I'd want the minute hand to be about 50% larger to further differentiate it from the hour hand, but you sure as heck can't accuse them of copying anyone!
Lol, I know, they always really attracted me as a watch, but never pulled the trigger on one. Also the zodiac Seawolf/super Seawolf. As the second ever dive watch with a rotating bezel (after the blancpain), even though they look like any other "dive watch"now they were revolutionary and unique at the time and new ones around the £1k mark again, Predate the Rolex submariner even, so who is copying who at that point 😉 library photos of the original and the new ones
Watch Hand Analog watch Arm Gesture

Watch Brown Analog watch Product Everyday carry
 
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