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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
High end luxury is all about paying a premium to get the very best.

So what makes your high end watch so much better than the watches in the entry level luxury category(<$5,000)

Some ideas:

Technology - for this one, actually list the technology and tell us what it does. Note, this has to be unique tech that is unique to that brand.

Production - 100 hours spent on each watch by a single artisan over 6 months? Or maybe its super limited edition and there are 7 of these watches in the entire world? Or maybe it has a super complicated design that uses space age materials

In-House Movement - for this one, since a lot of cheaper watches have in-house too, to use this one, the movement needs to offer something unique, it can't be just another 3 hander automatic with 40-50 hours of power reserve. So has to offer something like a different subdial seconds placement or a power reserve above 80 hours(since you can get that in a cheap Tissot these days) or a rotor made from unobtanium.


And I'm totally not making this thread because I need ideas for things to buy :-d
 

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"Better" is all relative to the criteria used. I mean functionally my phone keeps better time than my much more expensive watches...I could strap one of those to my wrists...oh wait someone already came up with that idea!

More to your point though: What are the differentiating factors between entry luxury vs higher end luxury?

While I think many in our community focus on finishing and quality, particularly with the movement (oftentimes used as a surrogate for quality) and this certainly contributes to the price, the other more common factors are brand name and the perception (or actuality) of exclusivity. (AKA the same criteria for most luxury goods).

I would argue that as an example, the meteoric rise of the Patek Philippe Nautilus on the secondary market has much more to do with the latter than any quality measure, technology, or that it has an "in house movement".
 

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I think the #1 difference would be finishing and quality control... particularly movement finishing, but sometimes case, dial, and hands too.
 

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When I look at and handle my high end pieces vs my luxury pieces and even my fun pieces there is a substantial difference in the fit, finish and feel of each of them. To different people this will certainly weigh in very differently and different watches excel in different areas. I'll give you a blaring example.... my Rolex Daytona has the best pusher and crown feel in the business and the case is certainly finished to an 8/10 standard (Patek/Lange/Vacheron, etc being 10/10) but the movement is covered up because it just isn't the same level of others. It is reliable and robust but not as attractive with the high end degree of finishing.

For me, a watch having integrity is more important that prestige/image. One of my favorite watches is a my Zenith Wounded Warriors edition with a legendary El primero movement. It's just a fun watch that will never be as special to the open market as it is to me. A timex or swatch also has integrity because are true to themselves and their pricepoint. The antithesis of this are things like Porsche Watches at MSRP(I have one I like that I got ridiculously discounted) and Hublot where you get a pedestrian movement, below average finishing and a fashion name brand that's trendy for the moment.

Things like in house movements are interesting but not deal breakers for me. JLC and Zenith have made some of the best movements in the business for brands perceptively much more prestigious as their own yet don't get the same love as the very movements in a branded watch.
 

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Yes, finishing, particularly artistry in finishing. The idea that Lange assembles each of its movements, makes sure that it is working perfectly, then disassembles them, finishes everything, then puts it back together again.

The watch I own with the most spectacular finishing (front and back) is completely under the radar when worn, other than to true ultra watch people (and probably not even all of them). I actually like that, plus I know (and marvel over) the work that went into it every time a look at it.
 

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Because I like it more?

Or is this one of those, "you have no justification for paying X for a watch, because I said so," threads? Please tell me that this isn't one of those.

Regards,
Alysandir
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Because I like it more?

Or is this one of those, "you have no justification for paying X for a watch, because I said so," threads? Please tell me that this isn't one of those.

Regards,
Alysandir
no this is one of those tell me what makes your watch special beyond the brand name on the dial
 

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Yes, finishing, particularly artistry in finishing. The idea that Lange assembles each of its movements, makes sure that it is working perfectly, then disassembles them, finishes everything, then puts it back together again.

The watch I own with the most spectacular finishing (front and back) is completely under the radar when worn, other than to true ultra watch people (and probably not even all of them). I actually like that, plus I know (and marvel over) the work that went into it every time a look at it.
My Blancpain Bathyscaph isn't my most expensive or cheapest but is my most under the radar watch. I consider it high end. I have been in a group where people "oogle" someone's Rolex right next to me. It doesn't bother me though because those are people impressed by a brand and not what makes a watch special to me. It annoys me when I wear a Rolex and people comment on it because I just assume they aren't watch people and usually I simply reply that its a fake. If someone comments on my Vacheron Overseas or Bathyscaph then I enjoy the interaction because consistently they are actual watch people. The majority of the population thinks a movado, shinola or even a Michael kors is a high end luxury watch... It's all relative.
 

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Haven’t got a “High end watch” at the moment, but I would class Patek, Lange et al as high end, because of their history quality of movement/finishing, and exclusivity.

I have a few Rolex, and I would not rate them as high end, as they are mainstream watches that everyone has, and everyone knows what they are, and are the go to watch for anyone who gets £5k gifted or commuted off their pension, the movements are not decorated, and the cases and dials are not finished to the same level.

As for high end being so much better than entry level watches, well if they weren’t I would have to ask where the extra £30k went, but I’m sure if you were lucky enough to get the latest Timex Q re-release, it will illicit more “Nice watch” comments at £150 than a £30k PP5711.

So the difference in quality may be to the WIS connoisseur and not Joe public.
 

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no this is one of those tell me what makes your watch special beyond the brand name on the dial
Alright, so let me see if I can characterize this by comparing my most expensive mechanical (the APRO) with the least expensive mechanical (either Aquis). What makes one worth basically $23K more* than the other? (*comparing the Aquis MSRP vs what you have to pay grey for a new APRO right now due to demand)

So the first thing I have to talk about - at least where I'm concerned - is evolving tastes. My first non-digital watch was a Skagen Grenen; a slim, $100 quartz-on-mesh-bracelet. It got the job done for a long time, but was nothing to write home about. Plastic crystal that scratched easily. Plated metal that flaked after a time. Basically, the epitome of "cheap watch." When the battery ran out for the umpteenth time, I threw it in a drawer and forgot about it.

My next foray into watches was a very dark period of my life not long after my wife passed and I made the decision to get a blacked-out Rolex DateJust. It was a Frankenwatch that was too small, didn't really suit me, but by golly, I had a Rolex on my wrist (basically, I was trying to make myself feel better after losing the most important person in my life). But I never really liked it. Didn't really see what the big deal was. Nobody cared that I had it; it didn't even start any conversations. And like the Skagen, the DLC coating flaked after a time, which infuriated me. Eventually that went into a drawer to (and when I finally sold it, I took a massive bath on it). At that point, I became seriously disillusioned with watches.

After that, years passed and I found myself in a situation where I actually needed a watch again, working in a places where cellphones and electronic devices were verboten. Knowing it had to be mechanical, I did a little homework. Remembering my previous experience, I was resolute that I'd stay aware from a "status watch," and hit the various jewelers. Finally settled on the Bremont in my sig line. This is the watch that kicked off my interest in watches, got me researching watches, got me talking watches with other people. Got me learning about WHY things are done in a certain way when it comes to watches. Learned about the history of watches and what they meant socially, at least in the States. From the Bremont, I acquired a Ball (was fascinated by the tritium tubes), and then a Grand Seiko Snowflake (fascinated by the Spring Drive). I ultimately flipped the Ball when I ran into someone who posted a WTB. The Bremont I tend to not wear because it's too tall now for my tastes. The Snowflake I have a weird relationship with...I find it mesmerizing, but I tend to not like wearing it. Not sure why. It's a mystery.

From there I bought and flipped a Zenith (it had an open heartbeat that interested me), then acquired an Omega Grey Side (grey ceramic + Swiss castle + vertical clutch). Without realizing it, I was slowly working my way up the horological scale. In doing so, I realized that the higher I went, there seem to be increased artistry and quality of materials, that I didn't even realize I had been missing out on. But the Zenith had legibility issues and the Omega was something I didn't feel I could daily wear.

Then came the Blancpain, which I thought was going to be my capstone piece. Except...it wasn't. Too big. Too heavy. Lovely watch, a real technological beast, but beauty shots and stats don't always tell the story. You have to like wearing it. So it sits on the winder occasionally to be taken down and admired. If only it were a mm or two thinner! BUT...from this I learned that thickness often goes hand-in-hand with certain features, such as 300m WR and chronographs, and with thickness comes weight. Lesson learned.

Then I had an opportunity to buy the Daytona at a steep discount; this was before the craze, but I still understood what a Daytona represented. It was surprisingly solid. My smallest watch, but solid like a Brinks truck. Nice weight. Compact. Yet still had all the bells and whistles of the Omega Grey Side, despite being 5mm smaller across. Very comfortable. Bracelet was damned near perfection, even compared to the more expensive Blancpain. BUT...too illegible, particularly in bright light. And the gold accenting made it a bit too dressy for all occasions. Still, I've learned a lot about my tastes from owning that watch.

Not long after, I then acquired the Oris Staghorn, mostly on a whim. Same with the two Casio. Just trying different stuff. I learned something from all of them. Then came the Globemaster, which is still arguably my third favorite of the collection. Beautiful symmetry and Genta design. The came the NoDate Sub which quickly became my daily wearer, even though it had some design issues that rubbed me the wrong way. Then the Oris Source of Life, again on a whim, because the thing was too damn pretty not to bring home.


So this finally leads me to my final acquisition, the one I truly do think will be the capstone watch this time: the Royal Oak.

Why the Royal Oak. Well, here's what I ultimately learned about myself:
- I am a steel guy
- I am a bracelet guy
- I am a sports watch guy (and by sports watch, I mean full-balance bridge and screw-down crown, not just higher water resistance)
- I prefer thinner to thicker, but not at the expense of the watch not being able to take daily use
- I prefer vertical symmetry to my dials
- I prefer satin and/or brushed finishing
- I really like "haute" finishing, not just on the movement, but on the dial and bracelet, everything.
- Having said that, I loathe PCLs. Polished bevels? Love em. Polished links? Ugh.
- And much as I do understand cachet and prestige doesn't really matter, I want something that other watch people will see and go, "Whoa, is that a...can I see that?" Not so much because I'm trying to be Mr. Big Shot, but because I like to talk watches.

All of these criteria I learned through my journey with watches. All of these, I had to learn all of these things through first-hand experience. I considered a couple options, but eventually determined the new 15500ST reference Royal Oak was the best fit.

So what's the difference between the Royal Oak and the Aquis (in this case, the Source of Life)?

- Case is thinner on the APRO. The SoL has an interesting case and a unique kettle shape, but it is about 2mm thicker.
- Finishing on the case is better than the Aquis, although I really do like the Aquis' overall finishing for its price point.
- Bracelet is far, far superior on the APRO, not only design and construction and finishing, but it even feels more substantial. The Aquis bracelet isn't horrible, but it's far from impressive. Honestly, I typically wear the SoL on rubber, since the OEM rubber clasp - albeit thick - has an interesting tool-less micro-adjust.
- The Aquis SoL dial looks very nice, but it's basically a sunburst with an interesting take on the date complication (that is frankly, hard to read). The APRO dial with the grande tapisserie pattern is a lot more complex, with the same kind of sunburst shimmer. The way AP did the chapter ring integrated with the indices is also very nice. The use of a color-matche date wheel is also a step up.
- Movement finishing on the APRO is superior, especially given that the Aquis I have, neither has an exhibition case. The stamped carvings on the Aquis caseback are lovely tho.
- The Aquis does have a slight dome to its crystal, which fits the kettle case shape. The APRO is flat. Not sure which is better, but they each fit their individual designs.
- APRO is more dressy, more apt to fit in more occasions. The Aquis is just a fun watch to wear. The APRO is more blingy, the various facets of the bracelet each catching and reflecting the light like rippling pond water. By comparison, the Aquis is meat and potatoes (nothing wrong with that).
- Both sit very flat on the wrist and wear comfortably. This is my #1 gripe against Rolex and their protruding casebacks.

So, is one - in practical terms - worth more than $20K of the other? Well, I'm inclined to lean towards the, "no, of course not," response...but then I'm reminded that the APRO has basically been on my wrist since I acquired it, minus about 4-5 days. Whereas I used to have a pretty reasonable rotations of my top 4-5 watches, now the APRO gets all the time. I had watches that I would never think of parting with...and then the APRO came along. I don't even feel the need to scout other watches at this point, it's like I've found "the one." Every other watch before now was a, "I like it...BUT...."

Granted, it's only been two months since I acquired it, so perhaps I'm still in the honeymoon phase...BUT, I've never experienced this phenomenon with any of the other watches I've purchased, not even close. The Sub was the closest I'd gotten to that, wearing it about 3-4 days a week, but this is something altogether different. This watch makes me feel like I could part with the collection, save one or two, and not be the worse for it. So I'm forced to ask the question, "How much does the quality that was put into this watch by its makers give me this feeling?" Simply put, quality costs money. I'm certainly not suggesting that there hasn't been sharp rise in quality for all manufacturers in the age of CAD/CAM, but just looking at the APRO bracelet, how it was put together and then finished, no machine could do this.

So I'm forced to ask whether it's worth paying more money to have something that feels inherently more complex or special, versus something more affordable and machine-made? And I don't know for certain, but it sure feels like it. The rub though, is that I had to go through my journey to understand that. Without my journey, it would've just been another horribly expensive watch that no one in their right mind should pay that kind of money for. I had to experience over a dozen other watches before I could really see the APRO for what it is. I fear that may sound a little snooty...I don't mean for it to be...but I can't think of a better way to put it.

Sorry for the long answer, but you asked, and I couldn't think of a better way to try to answer the question.

Regards,
Alysandir
 

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I could go into great detail about the finishing, workmanship etc. But quite simply having a VC, Patek, or Lange on my wrist makes me feel good. And in the end, that is why almost EVERYBODY buys a watch; whether high end or not. A watch, with very few exceptions, is just man jewelry, whether it costs $500 or $50,000.
 

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My experience is very similar to Alysandir with regards to APRO, although mine is 15400.

When I was looking for "the one" high end sport watch, I tried many models: GP Laureato, Piaget Polo S, VC Overseas Gen 3, Zenith Defy, Hublot Fusion, even Maurice Lacroix Aikon.
Each of them i felt is missing something. Didn't try on Nautilus, since the availability and price is out of reach, but I also don't really fancy the design.

But when I tried on APRO 15400, I knew this is the one.
The mesmerizing dial, the elegance of the hands and markers, the bracelet, the case, each of these aspects trumps any other watches I tried on before, although with the case of Overseas Gen3, it was very close.
 

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As one who recently picked up a 15400 I agree with those that describe its qualities of fit and finish. I really love all my watches and their different characteristics but the RO is mesmerizing to me. To borrow an English phrase, it is simply a wonderful piece of kit!
 
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Alright, so let me see if I can characterize this by comparing my most expensive mechanical (the APRO) with the least expensive mechanical (either Aquis). What makes one worth basically $23K more* than the other? (*comparing the Aquis MSRP vs what you have to pay grey for a new APRO right now due to demand)

So the first thing I have to talk about - at least where I'm concerned - is evolving tastes. My first non-digital watch was a Skagen Grenen; a slim, $100 quartz-on-mesh-bracelt. It got the job done for a long time, but was nothing to write home about. Plastic crystal that scratched easily. Plated metal that flaked after a time. Basically, the epitome of "cheap watch." When the battery ran out for the umpteenth time, I threw it in a drawer and forgot about it.

My next foray into watches was a very dark period of my life not long after my wife passed and I made the decision to get a blacked-out Rolex Datejust. It was a Frankenwatch that was too small, didn't really suit me, but by golly, I had a Rolex on my wrist (basically, I was trying to make myself feel better after losing the most important person in my life). But I never really liked it. Didn't really see what the big deal was. Nobody cared that I had it; it didn't even start any conversations. And like the Skagen, the DLC coating flaked after a time, which infuriated me. Eventually that went into a drawer to (and when I finally sold it, I took a massive bath on it). At that point, I became seriously disillusioned.

After that, years passed and I found myself in a situation where I actually needed a watch again, working in a places where cellphones and electronic devices were verboten. Knowing it had to be mechanical, I did a little homework. Remembering my previous experience, I was resolute that I'd stay aware from a "status watch," and hit the various jewelers. Finally settled on the Bremont in my sig line. This is the watch that kicked off my interest in watches, got me researching watches, got me talking watches with other people. Got me learning about WHY things are done in a certain way when it comes to watches. Learned about the history of watches and what they meant socially, at least in the States. From the Bremont, I acquired a Ball (was fascinated by the tritium tubes), and then a Grand Seiko Snowflake (fascinated by the Spring Drive).

From there I bought and flipped a Zenith (it had an open heartbeat that interested me), then acquired an Omega Grey Side (grey ceramic + Swiss castle + vertical clutch). Without realizing it, I was slowly working my way up the horological scale. In doing so, I realized that the higher I went, there seem to be increased artistry and quality of materials, that I didn't even realize I had been missing out on. But the Zenith had legibility issues and the Omega was something I didn't feel I could daily wear.

Then came the Blancpain, which I thought was going to be my capstone piece. Except...it wasn't. Too big. Too heavy. Lovely watch, a real technological beast, but beauty shots and stats don't always tell the story. You have to like wearing it. So it sits on the winder occasionally to be taken down and admired.

Then I had an opportunity to buy the Daytona at a steep discount; this was before the craze, but I still understood what a Daytona represented. It was surprisingly solid. My smallest watch, but solid like a Brinks truck. Nice weight. Compact. Yet still had all the bells and whistles of the Omega Grey Side, despite being 5mm smaller across. Very comfortable. Bracelet was damned near perfection, even compared to the more expensive Blancpain. BUT...too illegible, particularly in bright light. And the gold accenting made it a bit too dressy for all occasions. Still, I've learned a lot about my tastes from owning that watch.

Not long after, I then acquired the Oris Staghorn, mostly on a whim. Same with the two Casio. Just trying different stuff. I learned something from all of them. Then came the Globemaster, which is still arguably my third favorite of the collection. Beautiful symmetry and Genta design. The came the NoDate Sub which quickly became my daily wearer, even though it had some design issues that rubbed me the wrong way. Then the Oris Source of Life, again on a whim, because the thing was too damn pretty not to bring home.


So this finally leads me to my final acquisition, the one I truly do think will be the capstone watch this time: the Royal Oak.

Why the Royal Oak. Well, here's what I ultimately learned about myself:
- I am a steel guy
- I am a bracelet guy
- I am a sports watch guy (and by sports watch, I mean full-balance bridge and screw-down crown, not just higher water resistance)
- I prefer thinner to thicker, but not at the expense of the watch not being able to take daily use
- I prefer vertical symmetry to my dials
- I prefer satin and/or brushed finishing
- I really like "haute" finishing, not just on the movement, but on the dial and bracelet, everything
- And much as I do understand cachet and prestige doesn't really matter, I want something that other watch people will see and go, "Whoa, is that a...can I see that?" Not so much because I'm trying to be Mr. Big Shot, but because I like to talk watches.

All of these criteria I learned through my journey with watches. All of these, I had to learn all of these things through first-hand experience. I considered a couple options, but eventually determined the new 15000ST reference Royal Oak was the best fit.

So what's the difference between the Royal Oak and the Aquis?

- Case is thinner on the APRO
- Finishing on the case is slightly better than the Aquis (I really do like the Aquis' overall finishing for its price point)
- Bracelet is far, far superior on the APRO, not only design and construction and finishing, but it even feels more substantial. The Aquis bracelet isn't horrible, but it's not impressive either. Honestly, I typically wear both on rubber, since the rubber clasp - albeit thick - has an interesting tool-less micro-adjust.
- The Aquis dial looks very nice, but it's basically a sunburst with an interesting take on the date complication (that is frankly, hard to read). The APRO dial with the grande tapisserie pattern is a lot more complex, with the same kind of sunburst shimmer. The way AP did the chapter ring integrated with the indices is also very nice. The use of a color-matche date wheel is also a step up.
- Movement finishing on the APRO is superior, especially given that the Aquis I have, neither has an exhibition case. The stamped carvings on the Aquis are lovely tho.
- The Aquis does have a slight dome to its crystal, which fits the case shape. The APRO is flat. Not sure which is better, but they each fit their individual designs.
- APRO is more dressy, more apt to fit in more occasions. The Aquis is just a fun watch to wear. The APRO is more blingy, the various facets of the bracelet each catching and reflecting the light like rippling pond water. By comparison, the Aquis is meat and potatoes (nothing wrong with that).
- Both sit very flat on the wrist and wear comfortably. This is my #1 gripe against Rolex and their protruding casebacks.

So, is one - in practical terms - worth more than $20K of the other. Well, I'm inclined to lean towards the, "no, of course not," response...but then I'm reminded that the APRO has basically been on my wrist since I acquired, minus about 4-5 days. Whereas I used to have a pretty reasonable rotations of my top 4-5 watches, now the APRO gets all the time. I had watches that I would never think of parting with...and then the APRO came along. I don't even feel the need to scout other watches at this point, it's like I've found "the one."

Granted, it's only been two months since I acquired it, so perhaps I'm still in the honeymoon phase...BUT, I've never experienced this phenomenon with any of the other watches I've purchased, not even close. The Sub was the closest I'd gotten to that, wearing it about 3-4 days a week, but this is something altogether different. This watch makes me feel like I could part with the collection, save one or two, and not be the worse for it. So I'm forced to ask the question, "How much does the quality that was put into this watch by its makers give me this feeling?" Simply put, quality costs money. I'm certainly not suggesting that there hasn't been sharp rise in quality for all manufacturers in the age of CAD/CAM, but just looking at the APRO bracelet, how it was put together and then finished, no machine could do this. So I'm forced to ask whether it's worth paying more money to have something that feels inherently more complex or special, versus something more affordable and machine-made. And I don't know for certain, but it sure feels like it.

Sorry for the long answer, but you asked, and I couldn't think of a better way to try to answer the question.

Regards,
Alysandir
This is such a wonderful and thoughtful write up.

Thank you, Alysandir.

I will be looking at the Aquis now.
 

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Workmanship, Craftsmanship, Labour of Love and precision, beauty, finish, desirability, uniqueness, emotion...sense of personal achievement...any one of these would do it for the individual concerned.
 

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Alright, so let me see if I can characterize this by comparing my most expensive mechanical (the APRO) with the least expensive mechanical (either Aquis). What makes one worth basically $23K more* than the other? (*comparing the Aquis MSRP vs what you have to pay grey for a new APRO right now due to demand)

So the first thing I have to talk about - at least where I'm concerned - is evolving tastes. My first non-digital watch was a Skagen Grenen; a slim, $100 quartz-on-mesh-bracelt. It got the job done for a long time, but was nothing to write home about. Plastic crystal that scratched easily. Plated metal that flaked after a time. Basically, the epitome of "cheap watch." When the battery ran out for the umpteenth time, I threw it in a drawer and forgot about it.

My next foray into watches was a very dark period of my life not long after my wife passed and I made the decision to get a blacked-out Rolex Datejust. It was a Frankenwatch that was too small, didn't really suit me, but by golly, I had a Rolex on my wrist (basically, I was trying to make myself feel better after losing the most important person in my life). But I never really liked it. Didn't really see what the big deal was. Nobody cared that I had it; it didn't even start any conversations. And like the Skagen, the DLC coating flaked after a time, which infuriated me. Eventually that went into a drawer to (and when I finally sold it, I took a massive bath on it). At that point, I became seriously disillusioned.

After that, years passed and I found myself in a situation where I actually needed a watch again, working in a places where cellphones and electronic devices were verboten. Knowing it had to be mechanical, I did a little homework. Remembering my previous experience, I was resolute that I'd stay aware from a "status watch," and hit the various jewelers. Finally settled on the Bremont in my sig line. This is the watch that kicked off my interest in watches, got me researching watches, got me talking watches with other people. Got me learning about WHY things are done in a certain way when it comes to watches. Learned about the history of watches and what they meant socially, at least in the States. From the Bremont, I acquired a Ball (was fascinated by the tritium tubes), and then a Grand Seiko Snowflake (fascinated by the Spring Drive).

From there I bought and flipped a Zenith (it had an open heartbeat that interested me), then acquired an Omega Grey Side (grey ceramic + Swiss castle + vertical clutch). Without realizing it, I was slowly working my way up the horological scale. In doing so, I realized that the higher I went, there seem to be increased artistry and quality of materials, that I didn't even realize I had been missing out on. But the Zenith had legibility issues and the Omega was something I didn't feel I could daily wear.

Then came the Blancpain, which I thought was going to be my capstone piece. Except...it wasn't. Too big. Too heavy. Lovely watch, a real technological beast, but beauty shots and stats don't always tell the story. You have to like wearing it. So it sits on the winder occasionally to be taken down and admired.

Then I had an opportunity to buy the Daytona at a steep discount; this was before the craze, but I still understood what a Daytona represented. It was surprisingly solid. My smallest watch, but solid like a Brinks truck. Nice weight. Compact. Yet still had all the bells and whistles of the Omega Grey Side, despite being 5mm smaller across. Very comfortable. Bracelet was damned near perfection, even compared to the more expensive Blancpain. BUT...too illegible, particularly in bright light. And the gold accenting made it a bit too dressy for all occasions. Still, I've learned a lot about my tastes from owning that watch.

Not long after, I then acquired the Oris Staghorn, mostly on a whim. Same with the two Casio. Just trying different stuff. I learned something from all of them. Then came the Globemaster, which is still arguably my third favorite of the collection. Beautiful symmetry and Genta design. The came the NoDate Sub which quickly became my daily wearer, even though it had some design issues that rubbed me the wrong way. Then the Oris Source of Life, again on a whim, because the thing was too damn pretty not to bring home.


So this finally leads me to my final acquisition, the one I truly do think will be the capstone watch this time: the Royal Oak.

Why the Royal Oak. Well, here's what I ultimately learned about myself:
- I am a steel guy
- I am a bracelet guy
- I am a sports watch guy (and by sports watch, I mean full-balance bridge and screw-down crown, not just higher water resistance)
- I prefer thinner to thicker, but not at the expense of the watch not being able to take daily use
- I prefer vertical symmetry to my dials
- I prefer satin and/or brushed finishing
- I really like "haute" finishing, not just on the movement, but on the dial and bracelet, everything
- And much as I do understand cachet and prestige doesn't really matter, I want something that other watch people will see and go, "Whoa, is that a...can I see that?" Not so much because I'm trying to be Mr. Big Shot, but because I like to talk watches.

All of these criteria I learned through my journey with watches. All of these, I had to learn all of these things through first-hand experience. I considered a couple options, but eventually determined the new 15000ST reference Royal Oak was the best fit.

So what's the difference between the Royal Oak and the Aquis?

- Case is thinner on the APRO
- Finishing on the case is slightly better than the Aquis (I really do like the Aquis' overall finishing for its price point)
- Bracelet is far, far superior on the APRO, not only design and construction and finishing, but it even feels more substantial. The Aquis bracelet isn't horrible, but it's not impressive either. Honestly, I typically wear both on rubber, since the rubber clasp - albeit thick - has an interesting tool-less micro-adjust.
- The Aquis dial looks very nice, but it's basically a sunburst with an interesting take on the date complication (that is frankly, hard to read). The APRO dial with the grande tapisserie pattern is a lot more complex, with the same kind of sunburst shimmer. The way AP did the chapter ring integrated with the indices is also very nice. The use of a color-matche date wheel is also a step up.
- Movement finishing on the APRO is superior, especially given that the Aquis I have, neither has an exhibition case. The stamped carvings on the Aquis are lovely tho.
- The Aquis does have a slight dome to its crystal, which fits the case shape. The APRO is flat. Not sure which is better, but they each fit their individual designs.
- APRO is more dressy, more apt to fit in more occasions. The Aquis is just a fun watch to wear. The APRO is more blingy, the various facets of the bracelet each catching and reflecting the light like rippling pond water. By comparison, the Aquis is meat and potatoes (nothing wrong with that).
- Both sit very flat on the wrist and wear comfortably. This is my #1 gripe against Rolex and their protruding casebacks.

So, is one - in practical terms - worth more than $20K of the other. Well, I'm inclined to lean towards the, "no, of course not," response...but then I'm reminded that the APRO has basically been on my wrist since I acquired, minus about 4-5 days. Whereas I used to have a pretty reasonable rotations of my top 4-5 watches, now the APRO gets all the time. I had watches that I would never think of parting with...and then the APRO came along. I don't even feel the need to scout other watches at this point, it's like I've found "the one."

Granted, it's only been two months since I acquired it, so perhaps I'm still in the honeymoon phase...BUT, I've never experienced this phenomenon with any of the other watches I've purchased, not even close. The Sub was the closest I'd gotten to that, wearing it about 3-4 days a week, but this is something altogether different. This watch makes me feel like I could part with the collection, save one or two, and not be the worse for it. So I'm forced to ask the question, "How much does the quality that was put into this watch by its makers give me this feeling?" Simply put, quality costs money. I'm certainly not suggesting that there hasn't been sharp rise in quality for all manufacturers in the age of CAD/CAM, but just looking at the APRO bracelet, how it was put together and then finished, no machine could do this. So I'm forced to ask whether it's worth paying more money to have something that feels inherently more complex or special, versus something more affordable and machine-made. And I don't know for certain, but it sure feels like it.

Sorry for the long answer, but you asked, and I couldn't think of a better way to try to answer the question.

Regards,
Alysandir
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post.
 

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Thin watch with an exceptional movement, with the best of the best when it comes to finishing towards the watch itself and the movement of the watch
 
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