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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
With features I can understand how you get what you pay for, because higher quality materials & movements, R&D etc. obviously cost more, but it can't cost much if anything NOT to use cartoonish fonts & proportion, getting cute with dial markers etc. that you don't see as much in more expensive watches. I can see the motivation from some brands that have models across a wide price range, you might want to sandbag your entry level designs to give us even more motivation to splurge on their luxury models.

Hoepfully this discussion can take place in somewhat of a vacuum. I don't want to single specific models, because some of the ones I'm thinking of have legions of passionate defenders, so if it's not fair or too subjective to say cheap looking designs, then at best controversial designs. vs. higher end models that have much more universal visual appeal, & THAT part of their superiority doesn't cost anything- or is it as simple as they can hire designers with that much more skill? Am i underestimating how much it costs to get a good design? It's like they do it on purpose.

Also I realize there are examples of ugly expensive watches & good looking cheap watches that we'd likely agree by near consensus. They're not the norm though.
 

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Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

I think the simple reality is that good design does cost money. Or at least innovative good designs cost money.

That said, I think you overstate just how many inexpensive watches don't look good. I've seen some fanastic designs from entry level Seikos and Citizens. For less than $1000 there are a bevy of well designed micro-brand dive watches out there. Tissot and Hamilton make very elegant watches as well. Taking a step down even - I really like the essential designs of a lot of Casios and Timexes. The former's waveceptor line (if I recall that name correctly) is quite nice.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

True.

I might also be letting higher quality materials and quality control confound my perception of design- any given dial layout is going to look nicer with nicer execution, higher quality dial finishing & mterial,seen through sapphire & bordered by ceramic etc.

I guess the main detail that gets me so often with cheaper watches is poor font choice, font layout on dial, font size proportion on bezels etc.- do the elite designers come up with their own fonts or something? Not just choosing them from a list?
 

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Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

Cheap cars and watches are not made to look as good , perform or last as expensive cars and watches.
Reason? Nobody would buy the expensive stuff.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

Cheap cars and watches are not made to look as good , perform or last as expensive cars and watches.
Reason? Nobody would buy the expensive stuff.
I suspect some of it is intentional. Funny you mention cars though, because I always wondered why cheap cars had to look cheap in addition to being a POS, but lately they actually close the gap with more expensive models, don't look cheap by comparison anymore.
 

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Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

Cheap cars and watches are not made to look as good , perform or last as expensive cars and watches.
Reason? Nobody would buy the expensive stuff.
In some cases. But broadly speaking there are plenty of examples of less expensive cars and watches that look just as good,and last just as long as more expensive models. Performance is another issue - too broad a term to use generally. Look at the Mazda Miata. Beautifully designed (dare I say it, better looking than a lot of cars that are far more expensive) - especially in 2nd Gen. Top notch handling, and decent acceleration. How many are still on the road? In the watch world, I think you'd have a hard time arguing that the Tissot Visodate, or the Le Locle is worse looking than the average, more expensive watch. It performs just as well, frankly, and it'll last just as long. Same thing with Seikos (especially the SARB range).
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

Definitely plenty of counterexamples, both ways. Unfortunately by the time I get to seiko or casio with out these problems, it's a $2,000 seiko. And a $1,000 casio.
 

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Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

I think the simple reality is that good design does cost money. Or at least innovative good designs cost money.
Thank you. I'm a designer, and let me add on to this – good designers aren't cheap either.

In the industrial design world, most of the talent lies in pushing materials as far as possible while making manufacturing still do-able. That's why Ive is such a brilliant man – he's found ways to make such gorgeous stuff, and it's still possible to manufacture it with enough efficiency that it can still be sold for a huge profit.

Cheap manufacturing doesn't allow that, and the best designers don't waste their time on sub-standard work that doesn't allow them to have the most fun and pride in their work. That's why knockoffs are so insulting - they ride on the coattails of the few folks able to make timelessly beautiful stuff.
 

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Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

Impossible not to mention brands but in the interest of fairness let's go regular mechanical Seiko sarb vs mechanical grand Seiko. I've seen them both in the metal though not handled them; imo the designs are very similar - both classic, simple and elegant. Hard to justify the 10x price difference...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Let's post cheap watches that we think look great.

Nice try G.B. The GS design is nearly perfect, but you're not about to get me to say anything negative about the cocktail time. You're right though, this is impossible to discuss in a vacuum. So instead, I'll just slightly divert the thread topic. To me, the citizen AU1040-08E design looks AMAZING for being a hundred dollar watch, but that may be because they're cheating too, no second hand. I find the less cheap watches try to do, the better they look. Fewer details to potentially get wrong. Should have just posted this in the dive forum, cited a few forum favorites, & put my flame suit on.
 

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Re: Let's post cheap watches that we think look great.

I think we can all agree that $48 is about as cheap as it gets. But, it gets you this:
SNK793.jpg
(in all fairness, the bracelet is crap, and should be replaced immediately)
 

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Re: Let's post cheap watches that we think look great.

I don't like crowns on three handed watches at any position other than 3.

I think the Cocktail Time would be better at 39mm and ever so slightly bigger/longer lugs.

Visodate only looks good to me with white dial and with the smooth lug case and if only it had hands that fit the dial properly.
If it did, it could well be that perfect design.
Well, perfect for me would also probably really mean no date or just date at 6.
I really like date windows at 6.
Hmm, not so perfect after all.


I think we can all agree that $48 is about as cheap as it gets. But, it gets you this:
View attachment 888299
(in all fairness, the bracelet is crap, and should be replaced immediately)
 

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I don't like crowns on three handed watches at any position other than 3.
Personal preferences, of course, but I actually really like that design and wish more watches did it. The crown is partly embedded into the case, so that it sticks out about as little as possible, and the 4 o'clock positioning further streamlines the case. I don't change the time while I'm wearing the watch, so I get no benefit from a prominent crown sticking out of the 3 o'clock position. Not that it matters for a 38mm watch, but in general I think it's smart not to have crowns positioned where they can poke straight into my hand.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
This on the other hand, for what it is, and for the price:
View attachment 888974
Nothing extraneous, simple, classic look, and a bombproof solar quartz movement. Not to mention, cheap.
Good one. Looking at bigger photos of it, aside from the hands (& maybe not if those exact hands were just finished better on a more expensive watch, then it wouldn't be a matter of design), I'd just be nitpicking. It's a very similar dial to the seiko fieldmaster tuna SBDC011, except for some reason truncated hash marks stuffed under & only displacing the 12 o'clock marker. A.M. do you have this one? I read praises about the micro adjustability of it's bracelet, & want to know more about it. Love how the lume is all blue, except for the little encapsulated green on the bezel. Guess that's as much a design choice as any other.

But it's all nitpicking when it comes to jewelry, & it seems only the real expensive ones I can't find a nit to pick! Maybe if I could somehow go back in time & be presented everything without brands or prices attached, & judge blind, it could be (more) objective. There's no way we aren't being influenced by that, at least subconsciously. Or me, I'll just speak for myself.
 

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Re: Why do cheap watches have cheap looking designs?

Cheap cars and watches are not made to look as good , perform or last as expensive cars and watches. Reason? Nobody would buy the expensive stuff.
This is not exactly true. Car manufactures don't make ground breaking models anymore, think Austin Martin DB5, because they can't afford to produce a potential loser. So they stick to mostly ho-hum designs that will most certainly be a success, even if it's not a home run.
 

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This is not exactly true. Car manufactures don't make ground breaking models anymore, think Austin Martin DB5, because they can't afford to produce a potential loser. So they stick to mostly ho-hum designs that will most certainly be a success, even if it's not a home run.
I couldn't disagree more! I'll post some examples of mass produced recent whacky car models later.
 
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