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Great post!
 

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Good question. The answer is you don't know the grade for sure. Some companies will make that information available (not necessarily easy to find though). For instance, Hamilton uses the Elaboré grade for most of their watches.
before I read this I thought a 2824-2 (for example) was just a 2824-2 and would have been happy....but now there is a "better" 2824-2, well then, I'd like to know what my money is buying, know what I mean. knowledge is a dangerous (and possibly expensive) thing, lol

thanks again
 

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Mido uses Elaboré and Top/Chronometer grade ETA2824, 2836 and 7750s in a lot of their watches. They have quite a few COSC-certified models in the Commander, Baroncelli and All-Dial lines. All the watches in their Belluna (male) line are certified.

For unmodified ETA movements only the chronometer (and top?) grades can be COSC-certified, I think.
 

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Re: Smoke and Mirrors - part 1

Interesting information about the various movement and component grades. However the term Smoke and Mirrors is a nice way of describing an intent to deceive.Surely you are not saying that Omega, Breitling, Mido and all the other companies that re-label movements or don't disclose that components are made by others are guilty of deception and maybe fraud?
Quite frankly, given the strength of the in-house movement fetish within the watch collecting community, there really is no need for the companies to deceive; self-deception has already done all the work necessary.
 

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before I read this I thought a 2824-2 (for example) was just a 2824-2 and would have been happy....but now there is a "better" 2824-2, well then, I'd like to know what my money is buying, know what I mean. knowledge is a dangerous (and possibly expensive) thing, lol

thanks again
if the 2824 is a higher grade, the watch company will almost always tout it as it's a very positive feature; assume basic grade otherwise :).
 

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AWESOME post Dennis. The best since "Is this White Chanel J12 too Feminine?"

Can't wait for part 2.

|>
 

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if a company uses a 2824-2 - how do we know what grade it is if they don't say?
Good question. The answer is you don't know the grade for sure. Some companies will make that information available (not necessarily easy to find though). For instance, Hamilton uses the Elaboré grade for most of their watches.
It is hard to tell a Standard from an Elabore from a Top from a Chronometer grade, but it is possible.

To distinguish a Top and Chronometer grade from the lower grades and themselves:

1) The Glucydur balance has curved spokes the nickel balance has straight spokes. This feature sets the Standard/Elabore from the Top/Chronometer grade.

2) Chronometers will have a serial number on the movement. This will allow you to differentiate the Top from the Chronometer.

To be honest, there are no material differences between the Standard and Elabore grades but, generally speaking decorated movements with nickel balances (straight spokes) will be Elabore grade. This is not 100% reliable, as casing companies can apply decoration, but this is somewhat unusual.

if the 2824 is a higher grade, the watch company will almost always tout it as it's a very positive feature; assume basic grade otherwise :).
Not always.....

For unmodified ETA movements only the chronometer (and top?) grades can be COSC-certified, I think.
A Chronometer grade ETA movement is nothing but a Top Grade movement sent to COSC for certification, and with the required serial number added....
 

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Mido uses Elaboré and Top/Chronometer grade ETA2824, 2836 and 7750s in a lot of their watches. They have quite a few COSC-certified models in the Commander, Baroncelli and All-Dial lines. All the watches in their Belluna (male) line are certified.

For unmodified ETA movements only the chronometer (and top?) grades can be COSC-certified, I think.
Regarding Mido this excerpt might be of interest (written by Docrwm)

The Mido technical specifications on their website included the following:
"Technical characteristics Mido® 1320 calibre (based on the ETA Valjoux 7750) Ø 131/4''' or 30.00 mm, thickness: 7.90 mm, 25 rubies, 28 800 A/H, 165 components, power reserve in excess of 42 hours, INCABLOC and NIVACOURBE shock absorbers, GLUCYDUR balance-wheel, NIVAROX I balance spring, NIVAFLEX NO barrel spring, burnished screws, circular-grained bars, oscillating weight with Côtes de Genève and engraved Mido® logo."

Here was some information that helped. So, the movement reportedly has INCABLOC and NIVACOURBE shock absorbers, GLUCYDUR balance-wheel, NIVAROX I balance spring, and NIVAFLEX NO barrel spring.

This seemed to fit with what Mike had said about how to tell, but were these improvements or the standard components?

Well, why not ask Mike? He responded with:

"The "ingredients" you mentioned for sure are what I'd call the "key components" of a "high grade" movement. I sum it up:

Balance wheel: Glucydur vs Ni

Hairspring: Nivarox 1 versus Nivarox 2 or Anachron (ETA)

Mainspring and barrel material: Nivaflex NO vs NivaflexNM

Shock protection: Etachron vs Incabloc vs KIF.

Incabloc is more expensive than the Etachron shock protection and belongs to the "top" and "chronometre" grades of ETA. NIVACOURBE is a patented spring treatment by ETA. The open spring end is treated with heat in order to prevent deformation of the spring in case of a shock. This treatment is named: ETA SA: "ETASTABLE"
NIVAROX-FAR: 'NIVACOURBE"
Most of the mechanical-ETA-movements can be ordered with ETASTABLE if you are willing to add some $$. Certainly a "high end module". Nivarox 1 is the best quality of Nivarox (1-5 is available). 0...0,5 sec deviation within 24 h on a change of temperature of 1º. I've to admit: very technical thing. The movement you described imho must be a "Top" or "Chronometre" movement."

This sounded GREAT! As much as I like the watch aesthetically this information was only making me enjoy the watch more. At this point it sounded good. Then I got a response to my query on the TZ-UK Forum. I had lots of compliments on the watch but had one or two technical inquiries. When I responded Lysanderxiii said again that it sounded like a "Top Grade" Eta movement. I asked if he had any specifics on the various grades and he kindly responded with:

"The material differences are listed below.

Standard and Elabore:
Mainspring - Nivaflex NO
Shock protection - Etachocs
Pallet stones - Polyrubies, Epilame-coated
Balance - Nickel gilt
Balance staff - Epilame coated
Collet - Nivatronic
Hairspring - Nivarox 2
Hairspring heat treatment - Etastable

Top and Chronometre:
Mainspring - NivaflexNM
Shock protection - Incabloc
Pallet stones - Red rubies, Epilame-coated
Balance - Glucydur gilt
Balance staff - Epilame coated
Collet - Nivatronic
Hairspring - Anachron
Hairspring heat treatment - Etastable

The performance differences are the big differences between the various grades: ("The limit values are subject to interpretation: 95% of the pieces delivered in a lot must be within the specified limits.")

Standard:
2 positions (CH, 6H)
daily rate: +/-12 sec/day
Maximum positional variation: 30 sec
Isochronism (between 0 and 24 hours): +/- 20 sec

Elabore:
3 positions (CH, 6H, 9H)
daily rate: +/-7 sec/day
Maximum positional variation: 20 sec
Isochronism (between 0 and 24 hours): +/- 15 sec

Top:
5 positions (CH, FH, 6H, 9H, 3H)
daily rate: +/-4 sec/day
Maximum positional variation: 15 sec
Isochronism (between 0 and 24 hours): +/- 10 sec

Chronometre:
As per COSC specifications, which as far as most owners will notice, isn't much different from Top grade.

There are variations in the finish that will come with the movement, the Top and Chronometre come with snailed rotors, and elabore is a little better decorated that standard. But, even standard grades can be gold plated or even decorated."
 

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Seems crazy we don't get to decide what level of refinement in the movement we're willing to pay for. It's like you find a car whose styling you love but it's underpowered and unrefined with its 6 cylinder engine, but wait, glory be, you can pay extra for the V8. I guess that could only happen when the watch company makes its own movements (not Orient or Seiko), and even then it's either rare or unavailable.

For 2000 watch dollars (somewhat arbitrary amount) it seems to me you ought to expect to be able to choose your engine/movement. I don't like spending $2000 on a watch and having compromises in material/design inside my movement. Not having that option makes watch ownership less involving and deep (as in inside the movement), and makes ownership more superficial. A COSC movement with little positional variation and the best shock protection is an important part of fully appreciating a watch, at least for me. I guess if there were more WIS we might be a market large enough to lobby or even call some shots.
 

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I've told already and telling it now - your posts should be at least "Stick"ed, Dennis. That kind of information and efforts made must not be lost among senseless "what to buy" threads.

Part 2 is going to be sensational, right? I heard lots of tales how ETA movements being improved by big brands, even producing some key parts from exclusive alloys, etc.
Can't wait to see the truth.
Cheers
Igor
 

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Seems crazy we don't get to decide what level of refinement in the movement we're willing to pay for. It's like you find a car whose styling you love but it's underpowered and unrefined with its 6 cylinder engine, but wait, glory be, you can pay extra for the V8. I guess that could only happen when the watch company makes its own movements (not Orient or Seiko), and even then it's either rare or unavailable.

For 2000 watch dollars (somewhat arbitrary amount) it seems to me you ought to expect to be able to choose your engine/movement. I don't like spending $2000 on a watch and having compromises in material/design inside my movement. Not having that option makes watch ownership less involving and deep (as in inside the movement), and makes ownership more superficial. A COSC movement with little positional variation and the best shock protection is an important part of fully appreciating a watch, at least for me. I guess if there were more WIS we might be a market large enough to lobby or even call some shots.
It is important to remember that ETA does limit their supply and distribution, so even if a company wanted to use a higher grade movement or offer custom upgrades, it's not necessarily available to them. Mercedes will make you, the individual customer, anything you want. ETA will not, unless your buying hundreds of movements at a time. It's only going to get worse. Look at operations like Timefactors. Eddie has projects in the pipeline for years because he can't get the movements he needs in the quantity he needs. I don't think he's in a big hurry either though.;-)
 

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Part 2 is going to be sensational, right? I heard lots of tales how ETA movements being improved by big brands, even producing some key parts from exclusive alloys, etc.
Can't wait to see the truth.
Cheers
Igor
Yeah, I'm hoping part two will shed some light on this claim. I've always heard that the 7750s used in some IWC models are so reworked by IWC that it's not even the same movement anymore, but I've never seen any real evidence of this. It would be nice to know what they actually do to these movements.
 

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Yeah, I'm hoping part two will shed some light on this claim. I've always heard that the 7750s used in some IWC models are so reworked by IWC that it's not even the same movement anymore, but I've never seen any real evidence of this. It would be nice to know what they actually do to these movements.
I would like to know also, and it's given IWC a lot of credit for their contribution to the movement, but if it's so "reworked by IWC that it's not even the same movement anymore", then to my mind it becomes an IWC movement which it obviously can't or IWC would be making their own movements.
 
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