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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a small and modest watch collection. I will never make enough to justify a watch that is in the upper echelon.

However, I have what I - and most non-wis people - would consider "nice" watches. A Tissot Chrono. My Hamilton Intra-Matic. In the future I'll pick up more in that price / quality range.

In my head I see passing down a watch or two to my son. Maybe on special occasions. Wedding. Graduation. Etc.

In your opinion, will these watches stand the test of 20 or 30 or even more years? Are decent quartz and low end autos to be considered "disposable"?

What say you?

No matter what, I'll pass them down and they will hopefully carry sentimental weight, but I don't want to hand down a disposable item that lacks all other value.
 

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An heirloom is whatever you decide to pass down to your kids. My son is obsessed with my Tissot Touch watch and admires it daily. He's only 6 but he has quite an interest in watches.

My eldest daughter is drooling over the Moonwatch. She wants me to keep it for her. And my youngest daughter at 6 months old would probably get the Submariner since it was bought during her birth year and month if she wants it.

The whole point of an heirloom is not something expensive but something to remember you by when you are no longer with them. Sorry to be morbid about it. So, an heirloom watch can be even a Seiko 5 that you treasured and wore daily. My dad passed down some Seiko and citizen automatics and I still keep them in my watch drawer. And someday, these watches from my dad will be passed on to my kids..
 
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What will make it worth more than any monetary value will be the memories of you wearing it. I think quartz can't be true heirlooms as their circuit boards, by and large, aren't repairable so once they die, they die. Autos, even cheap ones, can be repaired for an indeterminate amount of time based on availability of parts etc. I'd argue that if you hope they can actually wear it then buying something with an ETA clone (like a Tudor BB) that has great styling and build quality is your best bet as parts will be available from the original source or donor movements for a very long time.

Many watches like Moser, LF, FPJ etc position themselves as heirlooms but when the main source behind the unique movements passes will the company survive? And, if it doesn't, how will they ever be repaired?
 

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Heirloom to me is not subject to price or brand. It should be something that has a special meaning though.
If you have 20 watches that are rarely worn and give one to your kid - not sure if I'd view it as a heirloom as there is no history behind it, nor association in kids' memories. On the other hand, if you have a XYZ watch that the child remembers you wearing as they grow up (vacations, momentous occasions, just playing) - that could very well be a heirloom even if XYZ is an affordable watch.

I have only one heirloom watch - my grandfathers Poljot (MSRP - maybe $10). Reason why it's a heirloom is because it was gifted to him same year I was born and was the only watch he wore as I grew up. He died many years ago, but the watch provides a connection to him. Price did not factor in.

PS. longevity should be a factor for heirloom - if the watch can't last 50 years and be serviced - it can hardly be a heirloom. Poljot was fully serviceable after 40 years and runs just fine now.
 

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Price has zero to do with an heirloom watch. It's all about the personal connection the heir makes between the watch and the person giving the watch.

If you're asking about longevity, I think any mechanical watch will fit that need. Quartz, too, unless there are some unique ICs that can't be sourced in the future. While a mechanical part can be manufactured (if absolutely necessary), making an obsolete IC will be pretty much impossible by any watchmaker.
 

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Any watch can be an heirloom. Origin, price or movement have nothing to do with the definition of heirloom. Don't get me wrong, as a collector I like all the Swiss Marketing BS but I don't want to pass that on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Re: What makes a watch something worth "passing down"?

Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I didn't mean to focus on the monetary as much as longevity... Although they can be hand in hand.

My twins are not even four, but they already know which watch my wife got me for our wedding. Also, they love wearing them and seeing what they do. I think because they live in a digital world they love seeing mechanical things.

Again, thanks.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

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A couple years ago, my dad gave me his watch, an Omega no-date US-market 17-jewel automatic.

He said he once had a nicer watch and foolishly gave it to his jeweler in trade for something else.

But, this Omega, nondescript as it is, was the watch Mom bought for him using her first paycheck from her first job after they had gotten married.

Besides the watch itself, he kept the box, warranty card, receipt, and even the paper bag from the jewelry store.

If that's not an heirloom, I don't know what is.
 

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Re: What makes a watch something worth "passing down"?

Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I didn't mean to focus on the monetary as much as longevity... Although they can be hand in hand.

My twins are not even four, but they already know which watch my wife got me for our wedding. Also, they love wearing them and seeing what they do. I think because they live in a digital world they love seeing mechanical things.

Again, thanks.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
the reason a PP is passed down is because PP can make parts for mechanicals even if the blueprints don't exist any more. they have watches from the 1700s that they can do maintenance on and they still work because they "manually" craft replacements. JLC, ALS and others can do the same, but low tier brands don't that.
 

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Re: What makes a watch something worth "passing down"?

Heirloom: an item that has value, not for what it is, but for what it has been, and will continue to be.
 
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Re: What makes a watch something worth "passing down"?

Heirloom: an item that has value, not for what it is, but for what it has been, and will continue to be.
he's not asking what the definition is... he's asking if 40 years from now his son can take his tissot to a watchmaker if something happens to it and it stops working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: What makes a watch something worth "passing down"?

he's not asking what the definition is... he's asking if 40 years from now his son can take his tissot to a watchmaker if something happens to it and it stops working.
Bingo. That's it.

Maybe I envision my grandson getting it someday (far far in the future). I am wondering if that's even possible. I sure hope it is.

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Re: What makes a watch something worth "passing down"?

he's not asking what the definition is... he's asking if 40 years from now his son can take his tissot to a watchmaker if something happens to it and it stops working.
Short answer would be yes. Long answer is spare parts for an ETA movement, which is what modern Tissot runs on, will not be a problem to source.

But here's the thing, Swatch Group, which owns Tissot and ETA, is restricting supply of parts an ebauches to third party watchmakers. So, as long as you go to an authorized Tissot service centre, the watch can still be serviced 50, 60 or 100 years down the line if Swatch Group continue to exist that long.
 

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Re: What makes a watch something worth "passing down"?

Heirloom value is its own animal and no price can be put on the value. As far as monetary value decades later goes, I think one needs to be in the 10-15k range, or buy Rolex, for a watch to have significant long term monetary value. Solid gold watches also, for obvious reasons, will still maintain a certain value.

As far as practical value goes, almost any mechanical watch, particularly those with a common movement can outlast any of us with proper maintenance...
 
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