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General, controversial thoughts about reps and gens


By-Tor
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You know I'm a genuine rep lover (pun intended). I love my reps. Some of my oldest reps are way over 10 years old and they've been super durable and good watches. I've owned over 100 reps and lots of gens. From cheap Invicta-type shit to relatively expensive items.

 

For me some reps are just something to enjoy tremendously (like my old light-franken SMP Chrono), sometimes they're a path to eventually getting the gen. I owned many reps of the watches that I eventually purchased as gens. I saved a lot of money by getting the reps first. I remember when I got the rep Daytona. After wearing it for a day I realized immediately that it wasn't a watch for me. Of course I do respect it... but boy... what a boring watch it was! :D

 

Best watches to buy as reps are Rolexes. Funny to say that as I own 16610, 16710, 14060 and 16570 gens. Now they're asking $7K for an old 16710. That's laughable. They're not worth that. Don't get me wrong, I love my Rollies... but as watches they're nothing special. They made millions of 16710's. It's not like they're gonna be next red Sea Dwellers, COMEX Subs or Paul Newman Daytonas, ever.

 

And then again... why would you buy a Chinese rep for $500 when the gen costs $1.5K in the preowned market, like Omega Seamaster or TAG Aquaracer? Quartz model even less. Yeah it'd be a quartz but it's also something that you could leave proudly to your son. Building frankens is a great hobby. I totally understand the thrill of building them, sourcing the parts, etc. Ubiquitous did this a lot and boy he built some GREAT frankens. Unfortunately I don't have his skills. But does it really make sense to build a 16800 franken for $3K when the gen can be had for less than $5K?

 

Personally, I don't like the "Batmans" and "Hulks" at all. They do nothing for me. To me they look cheesy... real douchebag watches. Like "tuned up Beemers". IMHO Rolex did to their designs what Jaguar and Porsche did when they changed E-Type to XJS and 993 to 996. They screwed up.

 

Don't get mad... that's just my personal opinion. New fat lugs black SS Submariner is okay and since it has been repped so well, I don't see any reason to buy the gen... for what... 8K? I understand price of $500 in that sense... although that kind of price for a rep would have been outrageous back in the day.

 

Gens have certain details that reps can never have. Like taking a huge macro picture of a genuine Breitling and see how the bracelet sits PERFECTLY between the lugs in 1/10 millimeter tolerances. I've chosen the watches that I buy (as gens) after long consideration. I bought my gen Rollies back in the day because I used to be obsessive about them. But I don't think they're worth the prices they're asking now.

 

But on the other hand some gens are worth every cent. This can be had for $2K in the preowned market. People always said that the "There's no reason to buy the gen as the SFSO rep is just as good". It's not. Not even close. :)

 

epbVzCM.jpg

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Agreed, after all, it is the gen we pursued in the first place - hence why we considered the rep to give us a taste. But a rep is a rep.

 

However, and as you obv know, some of the reps have been so brilliant that owning the gen has taken some of the sparkle away.

 

I've owned the gen Pam 111 and the Noob v3 at the same time. Whilst differences were there, they weren't enough to offset the proposition of the rep. I currently wear the Fifty Fathoms V1 with a gen dial. Again, the value proposition is so great that I couldn't justify immediately. 

 

To me, dress watches are better gen than rep. Sports watches get banged about here and there and the rep market is quite large for them. Dress watches are a little rarer in the rep world and there is more focus on luxury details which reps don't always have. I also feel that gen dress watches can be had for pretty good prices and they are odes to traditional watch making (when looking at movement as well). 

 

My personal rule of thumb - enjoy rep sports watches, save up for gen dress pieces. 

 

 

 

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Good observation. I've never worn any actual classic dress watches because of my physical size. Like Cellini.The dressiest one I have is probably a rep Day-Date. And even that looks silly small. 

 

But yes. Of course there are some larger dress watches that are nice. Some IWC's immediately come to mind.

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Well, I just got out my gen 1680 to beat on for a while since I want to keep the 1665 and 5514 I built nice :). Not sure what that says about me, but the frankens mean more. The flip side is a little wear and tear usually helps the frankens look the part.

 

They all have gen bracelets and clasps (which take most of the damage), movements, bezels, dials (5514 is "pre-Comex" so a standard 5513 dial), etc. so this makes the decision easier. Other than the mid-case, any damage is being done to a gen part.

 

Over time, the reps I most enjoy have become copies of gens I like. I have some great PAM reps (real dials and hands, Rolli dials, etc.) but I guess I never really liked the gen design so I rarely wear them. The recent IWC Portos on the other hand get lots of wear. These are also great reps since I would be really disappointed to pay 8K for the Porto automatic having experienced "the watch" for a while.

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Yes indeed. Some gens are just so expensive that it's impossible to justify myself buying them. Like those 16710's that I previously mentioned. It's not a $7K watch. There are millions of them. I wouldn't buy my gen Rollies for the prices that the market demands now.

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I guess everone has their own take on this. For me reps are fun and far more resilient than many believe, gens are nice, but a franken has a story and that always makes it somehow special to me. If I can have a genuine or a franken that needs forensic examination to tell from genuine for half the price I would take the franken every time. It's just more interesting 

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"I wouldn't buy my gen Rollies for the prices that the market demands now."

 

Me neither.  It must be Greenhorn 'collectors' with too much $$ buying them.

 

I would have more pride in a F-stein or project watch that I put together for a few hundreds bucks even if it is not genuine because anyone with enough $$ can buy a genuine example.  Not many can put a watch together from a conglomeration of parts from hither and yon. 

I would venture to guess that RWG has more watch guys that can do most of the actual watch work than any other watch forum.  The average genuine rolex forum guy has trouble screwing a crown down.

 

Q...Who has the best sub? 

A...US Navy.

 

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I have not built for myself, or bought, a rep in years and even Frankens are getting a bit expensive for my blood.  BUT, I have recently been playing around with Bulova Accutrons and they are really starting to grow on me.  I've built up two with the Accutron 2181 movements and they are so appreciative they hum to me!  Kinda like a purring kat. ;)

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I like having customised frankens built. I don't want to ruin the value of a gen by changing out the dial, bezel etc, but with reps who cares - only me and if I want it to look that way then all the better. 

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I definitely agree that there are certain builds that are a far too high percentage of the gen price to consider, but those frankens are too right for my blood anyway. I also have to agree with By-Tor on the hulk but I quite like the batman, I don't like the smurf and I think the new black subs are too bloated.
I do think that lobster is correct with dress watches being the best domain of the gen watch. The rep makers simply do not do them justice (which makes sense with the very small market) and there is just something special about a good gen dress watch that a rep has yet to provide.


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On 7/31/2017 at 11:40 PM, jmb said:

I have not built for myself, or bought, a rep in years and even Frankens are getting a bit expensive for my blood.  BUT, I have recently been playing around with Bulova Accutrons and they are really starting to grow on me.  I've built up two with the Accutron 2181 movements and they are so appreciative they hum to me!  Kinda like a purring kat. ;)

I am with you in the case of Accutrons. I have been a fan of them since they originally hit the market in the early 1960s. A relative, who was a watchmaker, owned a jewelry store back then & I remember him having to go to NYC for a 2-week Accutron training course at Bulova. He returned with a beautiful gold Spaceview that hummed when you put your ear next to it! Back then, that was the epitome of 'space age' technology & it still seems unique & cool.

 

 

Accutron 214 back 006+2__-2_tonemapped+1.jpg

Accutron 214 009+2__-2_tonemapped2+1.jpg

accutron214+1.jpg

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Freddy - I see the Spaceview crystal there, you doing a build? :)  I'd love to have a Spaceview but they usually go for a lot more than I feel comfortable paying.

 

Here's what I built.  Picked up a non-working movement/dial/hand set, a case, and case-back and built a watch head out of it.  The movement just needed a light service and I was able to muddle through it without tearing anything up.  Once I had a working head I ordered a band from Borel that I figure would be fairly period correct.  My case looks the same as yours except for the gold plating.

Gold 218 N2.jpg

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Nice work! Are you using the proper 1.35 Volt Silver Oxide cell?

 

My Accutron was a hand-me-down from my father, who received it from the watchmaker relative I referenced earlier. So I am its 2nd owner. I have had the Spaceview parts for years and originally planned to convert the watch. But due to the watch's family provenance, I decided to keep the watch as is & archive the parts, especially, since this model was used in alot of Bulova's early Accutron advertising.

1964Accutronad.jpg~original.jpg

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Thanks, Freddy, it was really fun tinkering with it and getting it running and scrounging case parts, etc., was kinda like building a Franken!  I think it's the right voltage, I order a few cells that are supposedly for the Accutron.  I have one more of these that I bought complete as "...running, keeps good time..." and I'm having some difficulty with it.  It does appear to run but the date change hangs half way between numbers.  Fun $hit...

 

The first Accutron I ever saw was when I was in the Army.  The infrared surveillance equipment that I trained on used a 24 hour dialed Accutron in the film recorder to time-stamp the film with. 

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38 minutes ago, jmb said:

 

Clark's sells the correct battery. Although others may allow the watch to function, they greatly stress the circuit & will cause its premature demise. Be aware that these batteries only last about a year or so. Often, although the movement is humming, if the battery is more than a year old, it is probably due for replacement.

Re the sticking date - the date change mechanism is similar to most other mechanical watches, so same rules for troubleshooting apply. Remove the dial & make sure the ring is in good shape, located correctly & its channel is clean. Once you have verified the date change condition, run it with the dial off. If the date changes correctly, investigate what it is contacting on the rear of the dial. If it still sticks without the dial, check the underside of the date ring & ancillary components. Once you watch it in action without the dial, it is usually pretty obvious where the problem lies.

Back in the 1960s & early 1970s, in addition to the military, NASA used Accutron-timers in some of their instrumentation.

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Sticks without dial so that's not it.  Switches over every time just fine with the "quick change", just when passing through midnight.  I've found that one out of 9 or 10 days it will switch over correctly so something mush have a burr on it, or something.  Hey, keeps me off the street!

 

I'll double-check the battery, thanks.

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Three of my watch-fixer friends were Accutron specialists from the 1960s up until they started disappearing from wrists.  All three used the same method to clean dirty index wheels on old 'Rattytrons' without taking them apart (me too):

Run a small drop of hairspring cleaner (One Dip etc) down a needle or small oiler onto the index wheel a time or two to rinse the dirt away (do not touch the index wheel teeth if at all possible).  If it hums and just will not run, this may get it going.  If it does not hum, check the batt (making sure it is 'upside down'), contacts, coils, and circuit.

 

If the watch runs up until the date is changing and stalls out but the second hand still moves (218), it is usually the canon pinion...turn it over.  How? remove the hands and dial, then remove the hour wheel and look at it...easy to see how to do it.  The 218 quick sets the date, many do not know it and this is why so many canon pinions are loose.

Do Not turn the sweep second hand backwards with a brush, tool etc when working around the watch with the movement out of the case or the crystal removed, it might/will bend the index and pawl jewel springs (the springs were supposedly made from hairspring material).  Do not leave a running 218 'hacked' for long.

If you do much work on them, you will probably need a microscope...and lay off coffee and energy drinks.

A regular 214 can be turned into a pretty good Spaceview using Clark's crystal and hands.  Sometimes you will need a 'skeletonized' minute chapter ring though.

I learned enough about A-trons to get by but will not fool with one now unless I have to.

 

Trivia:

Remember what Crocodile Dundee said:  "That 218 is not an Accutron.  This 214 is an Accutron!"

Don Johnson wore a steel 214 Spaceview on 'Nash Bridges'.

 

http://members.iinet.net.au/~fotoplot/acc.htm

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@By-Tor i like your comparison with porsche when the changed their design...I like the 911 until the 964 to me ! :lol:

 

What i have seen here is the guys love to mod the watches, it becomes a true hobby when they look for parts, work them and sometimes it takes more than 6 months to achieve a project !

 

But a gen is gen, there is not this feeling with a super franken watch...On the other hands, they can put in the watch their own touch when they mod it !

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