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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm looking to purchase my first automatic watch. Let me start off by saying that I'm a watch noob. I'm not sure what watch are out there in my budget and that's why I'm here to get advise from the experts. I want to have a nice timepiece so when I look at the time I'll hopefully see a nice watch. I don't scuba dive, fly airplanes, boat - but I'm into nice cars. So, I may be leading towards a chronograph. I like leather straps but maybe I can get a second stainless steel strap if that's possible. I have a small wrist so I don't want the watch's face to be extremely huge. I was eyeing Tag Heuer Carrera. Are there other watches that are similar to TAG?

Thanks
 

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Have a good look in Public Forum and in Affordables, there are literally dozens of discussions with pictures of a huge variety of choices, when you get specific ideas, then come back to us with your question.

As to Tag - well, truth is most of the WIS here rather don't like Tag in general, but there are a few of their higher end watches that are decent. Their quartz watches are, IMHO, overpriced, if you want quartz you can get a good watch for less.

As a RULE, but not always, Chronos tend to be 40mm dia and up, it takes a fair bit of dial to get readable sub-dials.
 

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Now if you'd said handwind Poljot, Russische Uhren, Julian Kampmann - Chronographs ,but as far as auto chrono's not too sure.

Welcome to the forum, and it's worth a look at the wruw threads to get an idea of your prefered style before perhaps making a costly purchase.
Just take your time, the search is half the fun.
btw as far as bracelets go sometimes it's better to buy ready fitted then a strap change later as the other way round can be more costly or impossible.
 

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try a hamilton x-wind. i got mine from amazon.com at about 1k.

could be my best watch purchase so far!

good brand, value and with a chrono :)

If u want the quartz version it is even cheaper
 

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Hamilton Jazzmaster chrono ref. H32616133, less than 1K on Amazon.

715Ve1kQMAL._SL1320_.jpg

Edit: sorry for the humongous picture!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the suggestions! Can someone direct me a FAQ were theres talks about different movements, etc. I just want to get educated before I pull the trigger on any watch.

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You might have to do your own searches on that information, and these days it's subject to change.

Most Mfg tell you the movement in their on line information. However, some, like Breitling, give their ETA movement a 'breitling' movement number, but you can find a cross reference on the internet to tell you what it is in reality. Other B's have real in-house movements as well, as they are shifting away from the ETA movements.

A comprehensive listing is probably around somewhere. I'm fairly new to this so I'm just throwing out the ones that come right to mind.

Omega makes a lot of their own movements, I'm not sure they make every one
Rolex of course is famous for being an in-house movement.
Many really high-end watches are in-house - above 20K for example. A. Lange, that sort, Patik, I'm pretty sure.
Seiko is all in house, from their cheapest to their most expensive mechanical movements.

I hope others will jump in with their favorites.

Many 3-sub-dial chronos with 3 o'clock date/day are Valjoux 7750's of one stripe or another, many of the older, reduced size automatic speedmasters for example, use this well known movement, and many watches built today are using it - they will tell you as it's a high quality movement.

As you can imagine, the use of or lack of an in-house movement is subject to some discussion - some pretty expensive timepieces use ETA movements for example, but you should expect that a higher end watch will have a movement that has been massaged more than a bottom of the line ETA movement. Properly treated, they easily pass the COSC test, as shown by all the certified Breitlings - like my Colt GMT that has an ETA movement.

It's all pretty subjective, like most of the hobby - if you care, you care. I think it's that some people have a greater interest in the movement than others. Others perhaps care more about the overall package/style, provided the movement is accurate and well built. I can see both sides. In the case of many of these smaller watchmakers, making an in-house movement would be prohibitive - it would certainly make their products uneconomical.

Additionally, and I'm not an expert having just read this in another thread, at one time I guess Swiss law did not allow movements to be made by the same people who make the cases, etc. Maybe not the strangest trade law around, but odd enough.
 

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Most Mfg tell you the movement in their on line information. However, some, like Breitling, give their ETA movement a 'breitling' movement number, but you can find a cross reference on the internet to tell you what it is in reality. Other B's have real in-house movements as well, as they are shifting away from the ETA movements.

Omega makes a lot of their own movements, I'm not sure they make every one
Rolex of course is famous for being an in-house movement.
Many really high-end watches are in-house - above 20K for example. A. Lange, that sort, Patik, I'm pretty sure.
Seiko is all in house, from their cheapest to their most expensive mechanical movements.
Some very good info in there, but a couple of things that aren't quite right (unfortunately). Many of the mid-range brands try to obscure the fact that they are using the same ETA (or clone) movements as everyone else. So, if you look into TAG, Longines, Frederique Constant (for their non-actual-in-house movements), Junghans, and many more, they will have their own movement ids and names, but they are really ETA 2824, 2836, 2892 or ETA/Valjoux 7750 movements. Ironically, Longines is part of the same company as ETA, Swatch, yet they practice this same deception.

Omega is also part of the Swatch group, and most of their movements are based on the same ETA ones, but they have some significant improvements applied that aren't available to other brands, so they are given a pass as being "in-house", if not "manufacture".

For an introduction to manufacture watches/movements, take a look at this article: Selection of 21 Affordable Manufacture Watches | independent watch projects

There is quite a bit of info on movements here: http://watchotaku.com/display/swr/Movements

What are you looking to learn? Here are some highlights:

1. In the under-$4000 space, pretty much every "Swiss" watch is made using a movement from ETA, a division of Swatch, or a clone of one of their movements. Sellita and Soprod are the main clone makers. Interestingly, Sellita gained this position by ETA outsourcing work to them, so, really, they have been making ETA movements and parts for a long time. There has been lots of good analysis of these clone movements and most feel they are as good as the ETA ones.

2. The main "Swiss" movements:
- ETA 2824: This is the workhorse movement of the industry, found in models from just about everyone. It is reliable, accurate, easily adjusted and serviced.
- ETA 2892: A thinner and slightly higher spec version of the 2824.
- Valjoux (now ETA) 7750: Automatic chronograph movement used in watches ranging from $600 to $10,000+. Another accurate and durable movement that has withstood the test of time.

3. Japanese makers:
- Citizen produces a whole lot of one very solid performer, the 8215. They put it in a few of their own watches, but it goes in many other brands. Most of these are well below your $1500 budget, but they are very good watches.
- Seiko, as mentioned above, makes their own movements in house. They have quite a few of them, pretty much all are very good.
- Orient is wholly owned by Seiko, but operates fairly independently. As they don't sell their movements to others, they are one of the most pure 'manufacture' producers these days. The Orient Star line are certainly on par with Swiss watches in the $1k+ range.

4. Chinese makers have been coming on strong for some time now. There isn't always great information available about the differences between movements and who makes some of the less common ones. If you have any interest, I'd start looking at this Wiki: Main Page - Chinese Watch Industry Wiki
With what you are looking for, the reasons to look at Chinese would be if you wanted a Tourbillon, or if you were interested in getting more than one great watch with your budget. The Perpetual Chronograph II is certainly worth considering, if you want a unique movement and a high-value piece.

From a value perspective, you can do a lot better with those that don't spend a big part of their budget on advertising and celebrity sponsors (Tag, RW, Longines, etc.). Here are a few forum favorites:
Christopher Ward
Hamilton
Stowa
Steinhart
Orient/Orient Star
Oris
Magrette
Ocean7 (there are a lot more boutique dive watch brands, but I include Ocean7 and Magrette because they have some different styles)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
WOW! Thank you for all the information. I'm new to this hobby and I just want to know what brands are decent. I just turned 25 and I think it's time for me to own a nice timepiece. I was also looking at Omega Seamaster as an option but I'm going to do more research and find the right watch for me. I appreciate the info!
 

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WOW! Thank you for all the information. I'm new to this hobby and I just want to know what brands are decent. I just turned 25 and I think it's time for me to own a nice timepiece. I was also looking at Omega Seamaster as an option but I'm going to do more research and find the right watch for me. I appreciate the info!
A couple more things to think about:
- Decide whether you care about recognition and status. Very few people are going to know that Stowa or Sinn is better respected by people who know watches than the brands that are better known. People's first impression of you does affect how they see you, and an recognizably expensive watch is a different image from another that is the same quality/fit-and-finish (or better).
- Decide whether you really only want one watch. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that - in fact, it will probably save you a lot of money by preventing you from getting sucked into collecting. However, if you wanted variety, you could buy 3 watches for $1200 and each would be as good as a TAG, if you go with non-marketing-spend driven brands.
- If you are ok with used, there are often great deals on the sales forum here. Members here tend to baby their watches (and have too many to really wear them much), so you can get something nearly new for a lot less.
- Size matters. The current trend is towards big watches, but what looks good on your wrist is individual. Try on some watches locally and pay attention to the sizes. That will help in looking at what boutique models might fit.
- If you buy locally from a AD ("authorized distributor"), bargain. They will pretty much always go down by 30% at the drop of a hat.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the tips! As for now, I'm planning to purchase one watch that I will be able to wear to business meetings/any other time. I'm most probably going to purchase used as I will be able to get a "better" deal. I'm leaning towards brands that are well known. As I don't know of other non-marketing watch brands.
 

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Have a look at watchseller.com they usually have a very nice selection of both new and used watches at good prices. They have a strong reputation as well.
 

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If you do go used, keep in mind that automatics should be serviced after 5-7 years. So, if you are getting something that is more than a couple of years old (and it may have sat on a shelf for a while before seller bought it - make sure you know the manufacture date), price in a couple hundred more for a service.
 
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