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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a few questions for which I'd like your input.
  1. What is your vision for your watch collection? How do you go about deciding what's important to have in your collection as compared with what you may like, but don't need to acquire. How well have you defined your collecting and watch hobby's objectives?
  2. After reading the following information about me, what would you suggest as the first watch I add to my collection after the "Old Masters" that I'm currently acquiring. (I don't need or want your input on the "Old Masters" component of my collection.)
    • My planned budget is $40K, but obviously at that price point, there's some degree of flexibility. I don't have any need to spend the whole $40K and price is not an absolute driver to my decision. I'm not going to "out of hand" simply ignore something that's $50K or so and absolutely outstanding in multiple dimensions.
    • Based on the artistic style discussion below, you should use your judgment about style. Dress or sport are both plausible, but know that my most common casual dress is linen pants and collared, long sleeved linen shirt worn untucked with sandals or loafers or solid or patterned wool slacks, a beautiful patterned/textured sweater over a white t-shirt, with a suede sport jacket and loafers, no socks. Jeans might be swapped in with either look. I might wear just about any color.
    • DO NOT suggest anything having an Oyster case, anything from Movado or it's market clones, or Omega. Doing so will be proof you can't read or don't read and that you just like posting things for the sake of posting.
    • DO NOT suggest anything form Piaget. I am intimately aware of what they have to offer and a couple of their products are among the things that I have already identified as possibilities.
    • DO NOT suggest the VC 1972. It is something I've already identified as a possibility.
    • My overall watch taste is for thin to normal thickness watches. That's not an absolute, but I'd prefer not to see a ton of things that won't fit under my shirt sleeve.
    • I am not afraid of color. I prefer fewer complications over more complications, but that's not a hard and fast rule. I like to be able to easily tell time with the watch. Mechanical is preferred, but not required. Manufacture is preferred, but not required. The most important thing is that the watch be refined, exquisitely executed, ergonomically sane and distinguished. Aside from the brands noted above, any brand is okay with me.

Here's a bit more about me and my collecting objectives and process. It's long, but it should give you a very good idea about me and what might be viable and what might not be so viable as suggested alternatives to the Piaget and VC I already have in mind. (If you want any additional insight on the level of scrutiny to which I put a watch before choosing it, you can read this: https://www.watchuseek.com/f2/where-did-dress-watch-convention-get-started-929669-6.html#post6901171)

Were I to describe my own collecting, following an art analogy, I'm currently finishing up my acquisition of good, solid "Dutch Masters" (of course, my watches are Swiss, but I think you get the analogy). I'm not buying the best that genre has to offer because, like a small museum curator, I don't the money to spend on those things. I will next splash in some German analogues to the Swiss I've already bought. My plan is to next buy similarly conventional offerings from other countries just to have them as points of comparison with the Swiss.

After that, I'll be moving on to an entirely new style of piece, stuff more like the avant garde pieces of which you've seen me post pics, but also things that are something between the avant garde and the Old Masters. Right now, I'm thinking of this next phase as the horological equivalent of a single collection comprised of smatterings of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Futurist, Constructivist and De Stijl works as that's what catches my eye in paintings also.

I like Piaget right now; I think some of their stuff would fit nicely as an analogue to the Impressionists, but I see pieces from them that could also hit the mark for several other "periods," if you will. What I have some uncertainty about is whether to fully complete the assembly of the traditional motifs and "artists/periods" or whether to pursue the non-Swiss "Old Masters" at the same time that I'm also buying the items that reflect the move away from purely classic themes. I see benefits to both approaches, and as I've said before, I have time to figure it out. It's just something that I'll either decide directly or that will evolve organically. I'm okay with either approach, so it's hardly the worst uncertainty to have. (I'm not seeking your input on this uncertainty.)

Once all those pieces are in place and I'm old and gray, I'll start the final phase of my collection: the capstones. These will be pieces that by any measure represent the pinnacle of watchmaker's art. I haven't even begun to explore the verity of whether I can bring my vision to fruition, only having in my mind the general nature of what I want: (I don't need your input on these pieces; they are too far in the future for any input now to be relevant.)


  1. An antique or new piece that speaks to the beginning of great watch making. If new, I really want to get the Breguet Sympathique. If I go the antique route, something from the late 1800s to very early 1900s. I'd kind of like it to be the one pocket watch in my collection, but it doesn't have to be a pocket watch.
  2. A highly complicated and entirely handmade piece from one of the great maison d'horogerie, preferably PP, but it doesn't have to be. It will need to be a very limited production thing, at least as limited as budget will allow.
  3. Similar to #2, but made by an independent craftsman of our time. This doesn't need to be as complicated as #2, but as close as I can get and stay in budget.
  4. Same as 3, but as I'm an American, I want it made by an American watchmaker. If by the time I'm ready to do this, there isn't an American watchmaker, that's okay. I'll do without or buy what I can that's available and meeting as much of the criteria as possible.

When all is said and done, hopefully my collection will be a fair illustration (not a great one) of great watchmaking for "the regular guy" (as opposed to princes, CEOs, despots and celebrities) along with a few semi-seminal samples (LOL...what a silly term) of from whence the tradition came and into what it evolved, from an engineering standpoint as well as a design standpoint.

All the best and thank you all for your thoughtful and constructive input. Some samples of what kinds of things could work or not are below.

A reasonable suggestion for a sport watch:


This 52mm hulk of a watch is not a good suggestion


And this would be a welcomed suggestion, but it's just too big but the look is still distinctive and I can see refinement in it too.


I like the case detail, but overall the refinement on this watch is lost by the incongruous hands. Minimally, they should be silver. Not sure whose overlooked that detail, but they did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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Number 1) and 4) can easily be handled by RGM.

As an engineer, I tend to be quite literal with my interpretation of art ... So, how about a pinnacle vintage movement in a modern watch, with "state of the art" guilloche?



Oh, and kudos on actually creating a collection. 99.999% of the "collectors" on here are actually "accumulators"
 

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Your original post presupposes that everyone who visits F2 is a collector of watches or is assembling or maintaining a collection of watches.

The manner of your use of the "collect" word and its variations is of course your business but I suspect that there are perhaps a few present to whom the application of the term to theirselves would be considered (by them) pejorative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Number 1) and 4) can easily be handled by RGM.

As an engineer, I tend to be quite literal with my interpretation of art ... So, how about a pinnacle vintage movement in a modern watch, with "state of the art" guilloche?

Oh, and kudos on actually creating a collection. 99.999% of the "collectors" on here are actually "accumulators"
TY for your kind thoughts on my collecting approach. I have a feeling at least one person is going to chide you for your presumption on how others are approaching their collecting activities and choices, but I understand the distinction you are making. I've noticed folks here are pretty "thin skinned." I don't care if folks "curate" or "accumulate." The difference to me is one of approach, but it's possible for two persons using the two approaches to arrive at the same destination. So long as the journey was fun for both, it doesn't matter too much. I'm a pretty structured and organized sort of guy, so "accumulating" doesn't really fit my character.

Help? I think you know something about RGM that I don't know. What do RGM make that would speak to the origins of watch making (capstone timepiece 1). I am almost certain that if RGM are in business when I get around to buying capstone watch 4, they are who I'll choose, thought that guy on the West Coast is also a minor consideration, though not much of one as he's not ever returned a call/message I've left him (4 so far) and his website isn't particularly informative or illustrative. I think he's more a watch repairman than a watch maker, but maybe one day I'll find out.

Back to RGM...I really like their 801 series of watches and I'm sure I'll buy one of them. Not only because I think they are beautiful, but also as a point of comparison with the Breguet Classic line. I'll pick up a piece from TWC too to have yet another Breguet-esque point of comparison from a non-Swiss maker. The RGM/TWC matter is one aspect of the dilemma I mentioned above. There'd be no quandary but for those two companies watches costing so much. Right now, I'm of a mind to just "splash" RGM and TWC in as opportunity presents itself, such as when I find suitable contemporary pieces that I can obtain for reasonably low sums such that one modern piece plus, say the RGM lands me in my preferred price range for general pieces.

TY again for your contribution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your original post presupposes that everyone who visits F2 is a collector of watches or is assembling or maintaining a collection of watches.

The manner of your use of the "collect" word and its variations is of course your business but I suspect that there are perhaps a few present to whom the application of the term to theirselves would be considered (by them) pejorative.
I think I should buy a lottery ticket or something today. LOL.

No sooner have I read ~tc~'s post and said someone would do it, the very next post, yours, did exactly what I predicted. I say that hoping you aren't referring to my OP for I cannot imagine what I said that might me derisive to others.

All the best.
 

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TY for your kind thoughts on my collecting approach. I have a feeling at least one person is going to chide you for your presumption on how others are approaching their collecting activities and choices, but I understand the distinction you are making. I've noticed folks here are pretty "thin skinned."

Help? I think you know something about RGM that I don't know. What do RGM make that would speak to the origins of watch making (capstone timepiece 1).

The RGM/TWC matter ...
To be clear, I don't intend "accumulation" to be a derogatory term. I just hold true "collections" in higher regard.

RGM has a deep respect for the origins of American watchmaking. Their hand cut guilloche, bridge designs, and motor barrels all harken back to the zenith of American Horology, which one can argue may have been one of the high points of all time. Or, you can go a bit more literal like I did, and actually combine them - a historic Hamilton movement with their "Breguet quality" guilloche. In addition, to me, their customization options is also like going back in time when you went to a jeweler and chose a movement, dial, and case and they put them together for you.

I don't know a whole lot about Towson, but my understanding is they do not use in-house movements, and therefore I can't classify them as "American" any more than RedSea, Lum Tec, Bozeman, or any of the others.
 

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Okay, I may be taking this in the complete opposite direction which you intended (if so, I apologise), but I just missed out on winning an Explorer II so I'm a bit fidgety. As such I am tackling the first part of your question and I feel that I can't contribute all that much to your suggestions.

My 'collection' is still in the simple phase. I'm only 21 so I plan on upgrading the central pieces I have as time goes by - but for the time being my eye is on finding watches that are solid workhorses for the few obvious functions. Currently:

Vintage: 1940s Lavina (Gold case, brown strap, small simple white dial - inherited from my granddad)
Quartz Beater: Tag Heuer F1 (Standard 42mm diving case, tough as nails, 18th birthday present from my parents)
Quartz Beater: Swiss Military (Also inherited from my granddad, doesn't get a lot of wrist time but it was on his wrist when he passed away, so it is significant)
Modern Dress: Maurice Lacroix Pontos (Blue dial, date, simple but attractive dial/case, black leather strap, wears well with suits. ETA movement but I love the case/dial designs)
Chronograph: Speedy Pro 3572.50 (No explanation required here)

I'm now in the hunt for a modern dress watch that's more understated than the MLC. A JLC Master Control is intended to fit this gap and I would have cashed the above Rolex in for one had I won it. Instead I'll be waiting for a couple of years but that's how it goes! I also plan on getting a hold of a vintage Seamaster, perhaps a skeleton dial...who knows.

Above all, I will only consider pieces that I really want. If that means 10 divers or 10 sports watches...then the rules will be bent. However after acquiring the Speedy I have thought I may try and get the 'iconic' ones - Speedy, Sub, Monaco, Navitimer etc. Not because people recognise them, but because I think an 'iconic' collection would be something I'd get a lot of pride/enjoyment out of.

Guess it will come down to what's at the top of my list when I actually have the cash to spend. Wish I had a 40k budget!
 
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To be clear, I don't intend "accumulation" to be a derogatory term. I just hold true "collections" in higher regard.

RGM has a deep respect for the origins of American watchmaking. Their hand cut guilloche, bridge designs, and motor barrels all harken back to the zenith of American Horology, which one can argue may have been one of the high points of all time. Or, you can go a bit more literal like I did, and actually combine them - a historic Hamilton movement with their "Breguet quality" guilloche. In addition, to me, their customization options is also like going back in time when you went to a jeweler and chose a movement, dial, and case and they put them together for you.

I don't know a whole lot about Towson, but my understanding is they do not use in-house movements, and therefore I can't classify them as "American" any more than RedSea, Lum Tec, Bozeman, or any of the others.
I guess I need a better understanding of the difference between accumulation and collection? I think this thread is treading dangerously close to being incredibly arrogant....
 
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To be clear, I don't intend "accumulation" to be a derogatory term. I just hold true "collections" in higher regard.
I believe your explanation/expansion on your "intent" but gotta admit, just reading the words took me in the other direction . . .
 

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Buy what you like, like what you buy. Works for me.
That pretty much defines the difference between collecting and accumulating. One is "collecting" if his collection has its own needs that might be different from what one wants at the moment. With watches I'm on accumulating side - I do not have 40K to start a structured collection - I'm just buying what I really like once in a while with almost complete disregard for what I already have. But I do collect coins. If, for example, my collection of Morgan dollars is missing 1899P and I see a nice 1899P on a coin show then I have to buy it - not because I really want it but because my collection needs it.
 

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That pretty much defines the difference between collecting and accumulating. One is "collecting" if his collection has its own needs that might be different from what one wants at the moment. With watches I'm on accumulating side - I do not have 40K to start a structured collection - I'm just buying what I really like once in a while with almost complete disregard for what I already have. But I do collect coins. If, for example, my collection of Morgan dollars is missing 1899P and I see a nice 1899P on a coin show then I have to buy it - not because I really want it but because my collection needs it.
It depends on your objectives in having the collection. If your objective is to have every single Morgan dollar, then you will ponder strategies to put you in contact with that 1899P, and then tactically pay whatever it takes to get it into your hands. But that is a rather rigid objective that may be more appropriate to coins than to watches.

"Accumulating" sounds an awful lot like "hoarding". There are people out there who buy every inexpensive mechanical watch they see, just because they are compelled to do so. They end up with maybe hundreds of defunct half-century-old unjeweled pin-lever Timexes and so on. Few here would favor that approach, or want to be accused of it.

There is, of course, a vast middle ground between something as structured as a complete set of Morgan dollars and something as undirected as hundreds of dead pin-lever watches from the 60's.

I suspect most watch enthusiasts (which I use as a neutral term) want an interesting collection, rather than something too rigidly structured. And they want that collection to include watches they actually want. These contraints do not limit people to being mere "accumulators" who buy whatever seems cheap and shiny at the time.

When I collected clocks, I focused mainly on late-19th-Century mass-produced American clocks. But I still have several German clocks, a couple of (exquisite) French clocks, and a couple that are a bit older. There are those who want to own an example of all 30-hour Seth Thomas OGEE clocks, perhaps. But that would seem to most rather compulsively narrow. About half my collection fit my overall collection objective, and about half were the result of opportunities I did not want to pass up.

With watches, I've gone several directions at once without imposing too much rigidity. I have a good collection of Ebel watches simply because they were such good opportunities in my local market. But I have a dress watch, a sporty chronograph, a nice casual watch, a dual-time watch, and a diver--hitting the range of usual applications within that brand.

I also have a vintage Ebel example, which is not easy to own, actually. That example led me to the watch companies that collaborated on the autowinder for the AS1687/1688 movements (whcih the Ebel also used), which included Favre-Leuba, Girard-Perregaux, Eberhard, Doxa, and Zodiac. Of these G-P are hard to find that are not marriages (owing to their current value), and Doxa are too much craved by those who collect dive watches. That leaves Eberhard, which one hardly ever sees, Zodiac, and Favre-Leuba. So, I got a Zodiac with that movement. That also happened to be a high-beat movement, which ticked another interest. Like G-P, Favre-Leubas tend to be hard to find in unsullied condition, and in searching for examples with the FL1152 (which is the AS1687), I discovered the even more interesting FL253, which is a very nice, manufacture-made twin-power hand-wind movement. So, I got one of those. The Zodiac sparked an interest in that company, and that led to getting an Aerospace GMT, which also filled another hole in the list of complications I own.

The history of the Ebel raised my awareness of the Zenith El Primero, and an opportunity made one of those available to become the flagship of my collection, and to provide a dressy chronograph. I would have been less interested but for Ebel's role in saving the EP from obscurity.

It was an opportunity that placed two pocket watches in my hands, one a pendant and the other a hunter. I bought them just because I like looking at them, and they make it easy to demonstrate to others what makes watches beautiful.

My interest in Chinese watches stemmed from buying a Poljot in a junk store, which made me want to collect chronographs of Swiss origin but made elsewhere. I ended up with a modern ST-19-based 1963 remake. Then, I joined the ST5 project watch as a social interest as much as anything, and that led to wanting an original ST-5 watch, which led to getting an early Dong Feng.

There is no one thread that ties my collection together as there is with your Morgan dollars. But even an ardent collector of Morgans might study a wheat-back penny found in circulation to see if it is, say, a rare 55S. But there are threads that lead to all my watches, though they may not all be related.

Let me take that back--there is one thread that is consistent throughout my collection. I research each one with considerable determination, and am always interested in learning more about them.

Rick "that's how I go about collecting" Denney
 
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I guess I need a better understanding of the difference between accumulation and collection? I think this thread is treading dangerously close to being incredibly arrogant....
A collection has a theme, an accumulation does not (or, a theme of "whatever strikes my fancy").
 

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A collection has a theme, an accumulation does not (or, a theme of "whatever strikes my fancy").
Totally disagree.... When you have a theme you have a "themed collection". I actually think a themed collection is kind of silly.

To me accumulation is when you just get any watch you can get regardless of whether you like it or not.


Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

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Slippery slope between what you like and what you LIKE. I doubt many people buy stuff they don't like, at least in the store.

"Themed collections" don't have to be restricting. For example, my "theme" is watches with an American connection. Hamilton, Ball, IWC, Bulova, let alone "true" American watches like RGM or vintage Waltham, Elgin, etc.
 
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