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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

Here is something to think and talk about.

Do you think that as we become more capable of producing high quality products our lower tier watches will, or have already surpassed the quality of our favotire vintage peices during their day and age?

For example, I hear common stories of ones grandfather buying an expensive watch that served him for many years and still works for the next generation. But I feel like today you would not have to look far or spend very much on a watch that will probably last your whole life, with impressive accuracy and finishing.

How do new brands like Davosa with modern ETA movements, or even a Seiko automatic compare to a Rolex from 1940 for example?
 

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Thank you for your riveting contribution to the thread.

To answer your question, and this is purely based on my limited experience and knowledge I believe it depends on a few factors. The closest analogy I can think of is that of an automobile. Older american engine's were robust, reliable, easy to service and could take a killing in part because of their "simpler" engineering compared to today's motors. So in my opinion, with greater complexity comes the added worry of encountering more problems- hence the reason today's vehicles are cycled every 5-10 years. Of course there are cultural factors to this issue as well.

However, take for instance a seiko solar and then yes, i believe your hypothesis stands where the reliability of an affordable modern piece can match that of a luxurious vintage piece.

Sent from my LG-D852G using Tapatalk
 

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Back to cars, what has gone, ring and valve job and overhaul. That olde saying, "they don't build them like they
used to". Thank God, they don't!
Thank you for your riveting contribution to the thread.

To answer your question, and this is purely based on my limited experience and knowledge I believe it depends on a few factors. The closest analogy I can think of is that of an automobile. Older american engine's were robust, reliable, easy to service and could take a killing in part because of their "simpler" engineering compared to today's motors. So in my opinion, with greater complexity comes the added worry of encountering more problems- hence the reason today's vehicles are cycled every 5-10 years. Of course there are cultural factors to this issue as well.

However, take for instance a seiko solar and then yes, i believe your hypothesis stands where the reliability of an affordable modern piece can match that of a luxurious vintage piece.

Sent from my LG-D852G using Tapatalk
 

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I think it depends.
Certainly technology advances, automation, and modern materials and machinery have made it possible for a relatively affordable watch to have excellent fit tolerances, use sapphire crystals, low failure rates, and so on. All of these make modern watches superior to vintage ones in some respects.

A microbrand can put out a watch with a cased but uniform ETA movement, using modern synthetic oils, Superluminova lume, sapphire glass, hardened steel - all vastly superior to the watches of the old.

But I do think that yesterdays top tier watches were in many respects better. Putting aside classic designs (from case size to clean simple dials) as these are subjective, the actual watch manufacture involved much higher degree of hand-assembly and hand-finishing, more focus on long term durability (tolerances, etc), and much more reasonable price to quality value proposition.

Ultimately, almost any vintage Omega, JLC, Longines, Rolex can be restored, serviced and up and running 50 years later. Whereas, most of modern "lower tier"/affordable watches are perceived as somewhat disposable. I just don't see anyone servicing their Seiko 5, Chr Ward or Invicta for next 50 years.
And that is despite the fact that many vintage watches were worn in a tool capacity (Rolex Submariners dived with, JLC Reversos played sports with, and "dress" watches worn daily to work and to play)l where as todays top-tier watches are often used in a very "gentle" capacity.

But hey what do I know. I will however take the word of Roland Murphy on this subject:
Does price determine quality? — RGM Watch Co.
 

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I agree.

Thank you for your riveting contribution to the thread.

To answer your question, and this is purely based on my limited experience and knowledge I believe it depends on a few factors. The closest analogy I can think of is that of an automobile. Older american engine's were robust, reliable, easy to service and could take a killing in part because of their "simpler" engineering compared to today's motors. So in my opinion, with greater complexity comes the added worry of encountering more problems- hence the reason today's vehicles are cycled every 5-10 years. Of course there are cultural factors to this issue as well.

However, take for instance a seiko solar and then yes, i believe your hypothesis stands where the reliability of an affordable modern piece can match that of a luxurious vintage piece.

Sent from my LG-D852G using Tapatalk
Another car analogy. Riveting.
 

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I think mechanical movement designs haven't evolved that much, and something pretty old, with a good design, if serviced properly can be essentially as reliable and robust as something made today. I think same goes for a low-cost movement.......can be just as reliable and robust as a high-end movement.
 

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That really depends, you almost have to do a watch to watch comparison. With modern production with CNC machines there are less variations and some significant quality increases. The big issue is the quality of the high end watch movements were as good then (or better) than they are today. The quality of the high end movements from yesteryear are FAR better than the low end mechanicals of today.

Quartz is still somewhat young so it is harder to make a sweeping judgement. The vast majority of quartz movements are just disposable price point machines. There are some great quartz movements but they aren't cheap and outside the HAQ forums and maybe the Omega, Brietling, Citizen/Seiko/GS forums they don;t get discussed much.

All this doesn't factor in even the best older movements can become hard to keep running over time as parts dwindle, there are manufacturers like VC and Patek who wll keep anything they made running but obviously at a price. The issue may be far worse with quartz in the long run.
 
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Ultimately, almost any vintage Omega, JLC, Longines, Rolex can be restored, serviced and up and running 50 years later. Whereas, most of modern "lower tier"/affordable watches are perceived as somewhat disposable. I just don't see anyone servicing their Seiko 5, Chr Ward or Invicta for next 50 years.

I don't think this is relevant, for one simple reason: it's not cost-effective. Marginal gold mines get re-opened when gold prices rise enough to actually make a profit. Oil fields in marginal areas won't get drilled right now, with an oil glut and $35/barrel or so prices...if it goes back to $100/barrel, different story. What's the labor cost alone, for service on a Miyota 8215, Seiko 6R15, or Selitta 200?

I'm old enough to actually remember tube TVs. Not overly surprising; they didn't die out *that* long ago. However, in my case, my father *built* one...a Heathkit. You could do that in the 60's. I remember tube swaps and tube testing stations in a supermarket...and, vaguely, when it was no longer there. The tube TVs were serviceable; find and replace the tube(s) that failed. The first all-electronic control TVs were barely serviceable; you could swap out control boards. Fast forward to the LED TVs, and service became almost impossible...and on anything, say, 40" or less now, pointless.

Now, with the basic autos, the point that it *can't* be serviced, doesn't hold...they're eminently serviceable. But, at what cost, when you only spent, say, $300 or so, as on my Laco or Hamilton.
 

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Manufacturing capabilties have improved to the point where you get higher quality AND, more importantly, consistency.

I think the fascination with vintage watches has more to do with high values which are a result of scarcity more than quality. I hang out on guitar forums as well and it's the same thing there. Some people swear that the unicorn tears that they used to polish the final product way back in the old days magically made them better than anything that can be produced today. I think the quality was not as consistent and the ones that stuck around the longest are the best of the bunch from their era.
 

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That really depends, you almost have to do a watch to watch comparison. With modern production with CNC machines there are less variations and some significant quality increases. The big issue is the quality of the high end watch movements were as good then (or better) than they are today. The quality of the high end movements from yesteryear are FAR better than the low end mechanicals of today.

Quartz is still somewhat young so it is harder to make a sweeping judgement. The vast majority of quartz movements are just disposable price point machines. There are some great quartz movements but they aren't cheap and outside the HAQ forums and maybe the Omega, Brietling, Citizen/Seiko/GS forums they don;t get discussed much.

All this doesn't factor in even the best older movements can become hard to keep running over time as parts dwindle, there are manufacturers like VC and Patek who wll keep anything they made running but obviously at a price. The issue may be far worse with quartz in the long run.
Agree on the specific watch comparison comment. And that's just regarding tangible/objective aspects. Factor in intangibles, like that pristine Rolex of yesteryear, and being mechanically "better" currently doesn't matter much, at least as to market values . . .
 

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Yes, it is the product lifecycle of everything.....what is premium today becomes more affordable and mainstream over time, replaced by a new premium....
 

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I think it all depends on how low you go. Some automatics that people seem to rave about can't even be hand wound, so in that case I'd say no.
 

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No. In fact, in this throwaway age, I almost feel the converse is true. Put another way, I think it was more common in the past that things were made to last, whereas many things are made to be disposable these days.
 

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Ultimately, almost any vintage Omega, JLC, Longines, Rolex can be restored, serviced and up and running 50 years later. Whereas, most of modern "lower tier"/affordable watches are perceived as somewhat disposable. I just don't see anyone servicing their Seiko 5, Chr Ward or Invicta for next 50 years.
Yes, but wouldn't the lower tier/affordables of Seiko 5, Chr Ward and yes, even Invicta (so long as you get an okay one that bucks their relatively poor QC), be "superior" to a higher end watch of the past due to more modern production methods and materials (along with better shock proof and water resistance protection)? And if so, wouldn't such lower end watches be able to survive far more stress than vintage pieces and last much, much longer without any servicing?

Your point about repairs is only a point of economics. Better to throw away the Seiko 5 and buy a new one based purely on costs (repair cost versus value) - not an issue of inferiority.

In other words, is a Seiko 5 better than a Rolex of 1955 based on durability and longevity? The Rolex of '55 had less automation and more hand built parts than a Seiko 5 of today - but what does that mean? I suppose the question could even compare a time only Patek and Vacheron with a mass built low end Seiko.

Forget 2nd hand values or old world craftsmanship - machines win - right?
 

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watchmakers of the 50s had more accountability and worked with quality materials from well respected manufacturers at a fraction of the price, even after adjusting for inflation. Globalization has made crap readily available to anyone with a computer
 
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