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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

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One thing that never changes:

There will always be change.

 

Take watches for instance, in my lifetime wristwatches have gone from mechanical wind-ups and automatics to the not so reliable Hamilton Electric, reliable ESA balance wheel electrics, so-so Timex balance wheel electrics (but better than the Hamilton Electric for 1/6 the cost), accurate and reliable (but hard to work on) Bulova Accutron, then all the various common digital and analog quartz watches of the past 30 years.

The Seiko Astron was known as one of the first 'consumer' quartz watches along with the Hamilton Pulsar digitals and they were very expensive to begin with ($1250 for the Astron in 1969 = $8500 today), but as time went by quartz watches went from being a luxury to reliable everyday watches costing on average $20 to $200 today.

 

I never liked quartz watches very much, but only because of the constant whack! whack! whack! of the second hand jumping one second at a time.  That's it.  I liked the reliability, accurate time keeping, low maintenence, and low cost of them and 'two handers' were Ok by me (Movado Museum for instance).

 

Many watch guys defend the rolex 'oysterquartz' as a milestone etc but to me it was just another quartz watch with the added complication of an escape wheel and pallet fork along with the same old whack, whack second hand...and they were not overly reliable, infamous for doa step motors and circuit boards that cost a fortune to repair.  Not much of a watch imho...I owned three of them.  Take the name off the dial and they would be a $125 watch.

So why did mechanical watches make a comeback from the quartz curse known as 'the death of mechanicals'?  Nostalgia?  Did everyone miss the torture of high $$ repairs and maintenance?  Who knows?

 

My main question is:

If some watch companies made high grade quartz watches today with 'smooth sweep' second hands, jeweled pivots, decorated bridges, and fine casework along with models featuring complications...would mechanical watch guys buy them?  Smooth sweep second hands and finer movements/cases being the main differences from what is available today. 

 

Examples...The Grand Seiko and Spring Drive high grade quartz watches seem to get compliments from all types of watch guys and the Precisionist/Accutron II is back with a 'smooth sweep' second hand, high accuracy, reliability, and not too much $$ so is it enough to change anyone to go from the tortures of mechanical to the pleasures of quartz? 

The Precisionist/Accutron II movement is not much to look at because it is made for low cost but it is jeweled and could easily be dressed up.  They dressed up the front side of the Alpha Spaceview but it was not much of an effort.

 

Btw...something I have noticed lately is every one of my watch trader friends are wearing quartz watches.  They carry mechanical watches in pouches but no longer wear them.  Saw a quartz Omega SMP, Seiko chronograph, Luminox, Marathon SAR...and a black Oceanaut (whatever that is).  Accutron II or Precisionist for me. 

I tried to wear my 'Frankenstein 5512' (1570/MBK/Yuki) last week but gave up after three days.

 

Time may change me
But I can't trace time

David Bowie

 

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Most mechanical was fans would not wear a quartz as a daily watch. WIll mechanicals fade away again? Mabye so. Most people are only interested in seeing the time and have the mistaken idea that they need quartz accuracy. I believe if anything kills mechanicals again it will be the loack of repair people. There are too few watch schools and too few watch repairmen. 

As for the updated sweep hand quatz watches with decorated movements and such...well...you can dress up a cow flop, but it is still a cow flop. For me it's mechanical watches or nothing.

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I accept the points about accuracy and reliability, it is a long lost battle. I think the interest in wristwatches is more about it being a clothing accessory. Some still feel it is the only acceptable jewellery for men. Men are attracted to the ticking, whirring wheels and cogs. It is not about accuracy. If it we only about accurately tracking the time I would not were a watch at all, my mobile 'phone does that much better than even a Quartz watch.

 

My weekday car has computer management and fuel injection. It starts first time every morning and always has. It covers miles without great effort and is unbelievably boring. My weekend car has none of that, the steering takes a Herculian effort below 30 and if it starts at all it's likely to backfire and cough for a few miles. It always makes me smile. Sometimes we like things because they are antiquated and really a bit rubbish.

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what is this weekend car ? B)   it sounds fun !!   but that aside, I couldn't agree with you more...  my phone tells perfect time, but I feel naked without a mechanical watch on my wrist, I cannot do quartz, not even here at work where things get beat to pieces, I still wear and automatic. 

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It started out as a Marlin Roadster I built from a kit when I was a teenager. Over the years I've bolted new bits on when old bits broke or I found something better. Currently it runs an Alfa Romeo 2.0 twin cam, 5 speed, maybe Fiat, maybe not. I can't remember and a Toyota Celica back axle. If I nail the pedal from a standing start it usually just swaps ends, which never grows old.

 

If I aim the hosepipe at it, it makes a pretty good Sunday lunch car, I've had it at track days, swap the tyres and I can go trailing in it, I drive it around the fields all the time and when I was younger and even dafter, I used to commute in it.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlin_(car)

 

Remember: It's not your car unless you've had it in bits all over the shed floor?

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I always wanted to build a Kit Car as a teenager...

 

Instead I restored a Fiat 126... and painted it black with JPS gold stripes

 

Just to add to my random story... something on topic... In the defence of Quartz watches. They might have been the high volume low price curse of the 'real' watch industry. But somewhere along the way they also spawned largely affordable Brands e.g. G-Shock, Swatch that still today are a gateway into watch collecting and maybe for some the realisation that mechanical watches are something they would like to try as well. That must be a good thing right? And I admit I have owned some premium Quartz watches... still do... and they are both practical and beautiful.

 

vive la différence

 

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"I believe if anything kills mechanicals again it will be the lack of repair people. There are too few watch schools and too few watch repairmen."

 

Agree. 

Then there is the added insult of the greedy swiss watch companies cutting off parts to the independent repair trade in order to force owners to use their stab-you-in-the-back 'factory authorized' service centers. 

 

What if your dishwasher, refrigerator, lawn mower, TV, motorcycle, ski boat, vacuum cleaner, car etc could only be serviced by 'factory authorized' repair centers with no parts available to independent repair shops.  There would be a consumer uprising...and there should be.

I believe normal people will simply quit wearing high $$ mechanical watches after getting burned a time or two.

 

Normal = not a die hard watch nut (like me).   :pimp:

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Sad truth is a lot of those aren't worth repairing anyway, especially with a call out charge. My Bosch dishwasher needed an element, which comes as a combined part at €160 plus delivery. Even doing the work myself it's better to spend the extra on a new one with guarantee. My father had an Omega, I believe it was a reward for something at work, anyway he found the cost of repair unacceptable. I guess it will always be easier to stomach the repair costs if you are an enthusiast than if not.

In the long run I think the Chinese will get better and better at movements, some will be disposable, others in time may be premium quality and repairable. If the demand is there for mechanical watches and repair, then someone will fill it, if the demand ceases, then supply will also cease.

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"In the long run I think the Chinese will get better and better at movements."

 

I believe they will too.

 

I spent a few hours taking a DG (Miyota 82xx clone) apart for clean/oil it and it looks like there has been some progress made between the first models and what is available today.  The plates are better finished and they seem to run a little better.  I always had better luck with DG movements than the Nanning (NN) 82xx clones and have not worked on an NN movement lately to see if there is anything different in them...probably could not tell anyway. 

 

There are three aggravating things (to me) about the DG:

1...The date works are not very easy to assemble (understatement). 

2...Too many parts stuffed under one plate...train wheels, reverser etc.

3...The balance jewel shock springs are not anchored in their settings and are prone to go into orbit.  Also, when installing the springs you must be careful not to install the spring backwards in the setting because it will not lock down.  It will stick in the slot and the watch will run but sooner or later the spring will pop out and the jewel will fall out.  

 

I may have to let off a little when dissing China '21 jewel' movements.   :pimp:

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Great post and as always a very good topic !!!!!

 

We live in what I call the disposable age, where just about everything that we buy or get today is disposable.  We have disposable electrical appliances, disposable razor blades, dispsable cars, disposable jobs and sadly even disposable "friends" from the modern social circles which horrifically even extends to disposable families.  Not the sort of world I was accustomed to from my upbringing.  True but to some degree also very sad. so why would the modern cheaply £1 wrist watch be any different??

 

Gone are the days where we would call a TV technician. We still see classic cars from the past such as the Ford thunderbird, MG classic, DB5 Aston Martin, 1957 Chevy to mention just a few. How many cars built today will be classics of tomorrow???  It all comes down to practicality and affordability where to some advantages there are least equal and opposite disadvantages.  Newton's law generalized

 

A watch in the past was meant to last and in most cases also passed onto the next generation and beyond. ie-  An heirloom !!!.  I love this idea, but this would only come with the longevity of a traditionally made old school mechanical wrist watch where 95% of it could still be made by hand for generations to come -provided that an artisan will still exist!!!!!. Not so even with the best quartz watch!!!!  incluing the oyster quartz which was not only very ordinary, but also very unsightly with its bulky box stye case. Once the circuit dies, do does the watch!!!!  Sadly modern mechanical watches are following same trend with the silicone hairspring etc. where they are similar to a quartz watch without the battery

 

I wear a quartz watch for practicality and when It dies, I get one that comes free as a bonus in my corn flakes packet. Definitely not an heirloom!!!!  I also do not like a quartz watch purely on the basis that it is disposable very much like any modern electrical appliance.  The ch-ch flip on each second also appeared very weird to me when I first saw it back in the 1970's, but that isn't the real reason why I don't like them.  They are a different beast altogether!!  A wrist watch has always been a man's item where it was also a status symbol and about the only equivalence of a man's jewelry which could be passed onto future generations. 

 

On the other note, I recently was approached by a neighbor that asked me to look at their grandfathers 18k solid gold 1930 rectangular Omega that wasn't working.  Upon flipping the back off I was shocked to find a quartz Ronda movement.  It was certainly authentic but my mind went in a tailspin.  He mentioned that at service time, the watchmaker suggested that if it was to be worn frequently that it would be more pratical to replace the mechanism with an inexpensive quartz module that could  always be replaced cheaply and still have the old  movement  stored away for originality.  All it needed was a battery.  I then thought what a clever idea!!!!..  The past and present technology blended together.  When you think about it , nobody ever sees the module as all you see is the case and dial, very much like what most of us do as replica owners.  I love both my replica ( which is almost hand made with all the mods) and my mass produced genuine!!!!

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It started out as a Marlin Roadster I built from a kit when I was a teenager. Over the years I've bolted new bits on when old bits broke or I found something better. Currently it runs an Alfa Romeo 2.0 twin cam, 5 speed, maybe Fiat, maybe not. I can't remember and a Toyota Celica back axle. If I nail the pedal from a standing start it usually just swaps ends, which never grows old.
 
If I aim the hosepipe at it, it makes a pretty good Sunday lunch car, I've had it at track days, swap the tyres and I can go trailing in it, I drive it around the fields all the time and when I was younger and even dafter, I used to commute in it.
 
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlin_(car)
 
Remember: It's not your car unless you've had it in bits all over the shed floor


I'd rather drive Afla's glorious torque-laden 2.0 twin cam than a battery operated quartz Prius any day of the week!!!
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Amen Euno, I'd rather push my old Land Rover than drive just about anything else.

Except maybe Andy's Aston Martin. Good GAWD that thing's fast. :Jumpy:

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On 3 May 2017 at 11:32 AM, horologist said:

Great post and as always a very good topic !!!!!

 

We live in what I call the disposable age, where just about everything that we buy or get today is disposable.  We have disposable electrical appliances, disposable razor blades, dispsable cars, disposable jobs and sadly even disposable "friends" from the modern social circles which horrifically even extends to disposable families.  Not the sort of world I was accustomed to from my upbringing.  True but to some degree also very sad. so why would the modern cheaply £1 wrist watch be any different??

 

Gone are the days where we would call a TV technician. We still see classic cars from the past such as the Ford thunderbird, MG classic, DB5 Aston Martin, 1957 Chevy to mention just a few. How many cars built today will be classics of tomorrow???  It all comes down to practicality and affordability where to some advantages there are least equal and opposite disadvantages.  Newton's law generalized

 

A watch in the past was meant to last and in most cases also passed onto the next generation and beyond. ie-  An heirloom !!!.  I love this idea, but this would only come with the longevity of a traditionally made old school mechanical wrist watch where 95% of it could still be made by hand for generations to come -provided that an artisan will still exist!!!!!. Not so even with the best quartz watch!!!!  incluing the oyster quartz which was not only very ordinary, but also very unsightly with its bulky box stye case. Once the circuit dies, do does the watch!!!!  Sadly modern mechanical watches are following same trend with the silicone hairspring etc. where they are similar to a quartz watch without the battery

 

I wear a quartz watch for practicality and when It dies, I get one that comes free as a bonus in my corn flakes packet. Definitely not an heirloom!!!!  I also do not like a quartz watch purely on the basis that it is disposable very much like any modern electrical appliance.  The ch-ch flip on each second also appeared very weird to me when I first saw it back in the 1970's, but that isn't the real reason why I don't like them.  They are a different beast altogether!!  A wrist watch has always been a man's item where it was also a status symbol and about the only equivalence of a man's jewelry which could be passed onto future generations. 

 

On the other note, I recently was approached by a neighbor that asked me to look at their grandfathers 18k solid gold 1930 rectangular Omega that wasn't working.  Upon flipping the back off I was shocked to find a quartz Ronda movement.  It was certainly authentic but my mind went in a tailspin.  He mentioned that at service time, the watchmaker suggested that if it was to be worn frequently that it would be more pratical to replace the mechanism with an inexpensive quartz module that could  always be replaced cheaply and still have the old  movement  stored away for originality.  All it needed was a battery.  I then thought what a clever idea!!!!..  The past and present technology blended together.  When you think about it , nobody ever sees the module as all you see is the case and dial, very much like what most of us do as replica owners.  I love both my replica ( which is almost hand made with all the mods) and my mass produced genuine!!!!

 

Wow!!

 

A spectacular conclusion.!!:notworthy:You have hit the nail on the head full force and you have read most of our inner psychology!!  That truly sums it all up and I could not have put it better myself!! :clap2:

 

As for the quartz -every second tick, both rolex and omega- as well as other watch companies also made a mechanical model decades ago  that ticks like a quartz such as the rolex true beat for example, but weren't very popular.

 

i also agree with your comment on the replica as I also have a highly modded MBW submariner where I have genuine crown, case tube..dial and clark crystal kit and it has passed the pressure test with flying colors, even better than my genuine TAG.  I also look as it as almost hand made!!!! It is all in the psychology as if I replace it with a sterile dial, it is a genuine watch in it's own right!  Just look at the ocean steinhart!! I could have my name  printed on my sterile dial! Lol!

 

 

 

 

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