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I got in a little discussion with a frat brother collects and he considered Haute Horology essentially anything over a dollar mark. I always thought of it as a tier in finishing technology etc.


it got me wondering where do you seeHaute Horology starting? And how do you define it personally to yourself? For lack of a better way to word it.

for instance I do not consider a submariner haute Horology though for some reason to me I consider most JLC watches. I was told many years ago flat out a blanket statement that haute Horology was JLC and above. That seems silly now but I’m curious how everyone interprets it.

for me I consider obviously the holy trinity, JLC (more up market), specialty items from all brands, and everything else “above”

I know this is hard to define but I really would like to hear other opinions.
 

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Look up "The White Paper on Fine Watch Making"


1. Legacy. The heritage and history of the company and the brand. In the case of younger, emerging independent brands, legacy revolves around the innovative concepts employed by the contemporary brands.

2. In-House Movements. Whether or not, and to what degree, the brand makes its own movements in house, and how complicated those movements are. Typically the finest and most difficult feats in watchmaking are considered haute horlogerie, including astronomical complications (equation of time, precise moon phases, etc.), tourbillons, repeaters and sonneries, perpetual calendars, chronograph rattrapantes, and grand complications, among others.

3. Finishing. Finishing refers to the work that goes into nearly every component inside the watch – whether or not it is visible via a transparent case back. Finishes include angling, perlage, guilloche and so many more — all of which requires dozens of hours of hand craftsmanship. Essentially, no watch is deemed haute horology without extensive hand finishing.

Incredible detailing and finishing goes into the making of a haute horlogerie movement.

Incredible detailing and finishing goes into the making of a haute horlogerie movement.
4. The Art of Fine Watchmaking. Generally, to be haute horology, the brand should use at least one, if not more, of the arts of fine watchmaking– engraving, enameling, gem setting and more.

5. Craftsmanship and Quality. Generally, for a watch to be considered haute horology, it is hand crafted with the utmost attention to every detail inside and out. These watches are hand-finished and hand-assembled.
 

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I'll give a more detailed opinion later, but, I think many offerings from companies like Ulysse Nardin and Franck Muller offer haute horology watches in their past and present line-ups.
 

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To me it's any watch that has significant hand finishing on the movement. Despite using a peseux 260 ebauche, I think the Voutilainen Observatoire has enough hand finishing to count as haute horology.

And then obviously we all can agree that the Patek Grand Complications and Lange Tourbillons count too.
 

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Haute Horology for me has to either involve exquisite movement finishing.
Or exceptional movement technology like: tourbillions, chain and fusee, dead-beat seconds, remontoire constant force, novel balance tech' or linked balances; or wandering hours, repeaters, perpetuals, etc, etc.

So haute horology does not come from the external case and branding, though without exceptional case finishing it won't count. It's the movement.
 

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To me I think mostly Legacy or pedigree is maybe a better word. All the other things that one could consider fall in line hand in hand with the legacy of a brand. If it didn’t there would be no legacy.
 

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This is another question that cannot be answered - only discussed and argued over. It's always changing and subject to individual prospective. And that's the great thing about our communal interest in horology :)
 

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Omega as a brand itself is not, but they have a Tourbillon watch which I would consider HH. Same as Hermes and Louis Vuitton which are fashion watches but have HH pieces too. I define HH by the specific model and not by brand, though some brands are considered HH by default.
 

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Generally, I think it to be:

  • In-house manufacture.
  • Small run, not mass produced.
  • Lots of labor-time taken crafting and decorating it.
  • The functional aspect is inventive, complicated or noteworthy in some way that is difficult to reproduce.
  • Brand is not so important - any watch label or watch maker could theoretically make a haute-horology piece.
  • In contrast, just because a watch has VC, AP or PP on the dial, doesn't necessarily make it haute-horology. I wouldn't count a standard Royal Oak or Caletrava as a haute-horology piece, for example.
 
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  • Exceptional movement finishing or exceptional amount of hand finishing that goes into a watch (Lange, VC, AP/Patek bracelets, etc).
  • Complicated or innovative movements or technology (Urwerk, HYT, etc.).
  • Dial work or materials that are special or extremely difficult to achieve (this is harder to define, but I think that something like custom enamel inlays or sapphire cases should count).
 

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Omega as a brand itself is not, but they have a Tourbillon watch which I would consider HH. Same as Hermes and Louis Vuitton which are fashion watches but have HH pieces too. I define HH by the specific model and not by brand, though some brands are considered HH by default.
15859267

What about this one. Could be the BEST World Timer out there.
 
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Haute Horlogerie? It depends on how high you wanna get and how gullible you are...

 

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Despite using a peseux 260 ebauche, I think the Voutilainen Observatoire has enough hand finishing to count as haute horology.
Haute Horology for me has to either involve exquisite movement finishing.
Or exceptional movement technology like: tourbillions, chain and fusee, repeaters, novel balance tech' or linked balances, wandering hours, perpetuals, etc, etc.

So haute horology does not come from the external case and branding, though without exceptional case finishing it won't count. It's the movement.
  • Exceptional movement finishing or exceptional amount of hand finishing that goes into a watch (Lange, VC, AP/Patek bracelets, etc).
  • Complicated or innovative movements or technology (Urwerk, HYT, etc.).
  • Dial work or materials that are special or extremely difficult to achieve (this is harder to define, but I think that something like custom enamel inlays or sapphire cases should count).
I think these together come close to a "definition", even if, like Justice Stewart, we are ultimately left to, "know it when I see it." Cost I don't think I would include since it's something of a moving target — e.g., the ALS Saxonia Thin 37mm used to be just under $15K, but now I think has crept up to around $20K — and if some crazy watchmaker started selling otherwise haute horology watches for around $10K, I don't think that would make them any less haute horology.
 

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The Brearded, IMHO, gave the best explanation here.
 

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The Brearded, IMHO, gave the best explanation here.
but how does the ordinary guy assess all those five criteria? It all would boil down to MSRP. :)

Most watches that would score high on all those five elements would have an MSRP of at least USD20K. If there are any watches below, they would be few and far between.
 

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Haute for me starts where watches meet fine jewelry (I mean high-end, custom, expensive, etc).

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk
 

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OP, yes, I would say that JLC is where it starts. (photo from Hodinkee site)

15860210

15860211
 
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