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Is any brand 'what it once was'....?


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Newbie query...

A quick search on the forum seems to reveal most of the mainstream brands 'aren't what they were', selling themselves out with cheaper components or jacked pricing compared to the good old days. Even brands I thought had a strong reputation (IWC, Breitling, Omega). Is this all hyperbol, or are you better off buying vintage if you want 'the real deal'? For example, a new IWC Le Petit Prince with an 8 year warranty appears to be cheaper than most of the used examples on Chrono24 - is that for a very good reason? 

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51 minutes ago, MD770 said:

Newbie query...

A quick search on the forum seems to reveal most of the mainstream brands 'aren't what they were', selling themselves out with cheaper components or jacked pricing compared to the good old days. Even brands I thought had a strong reputation (IWC, Breitling, Omega). Is this all hyperbol, or are you better off buying vintage if you want 'the real deal'? For example, a new IWC Le Petit Prince with an 8 year warranty appears to be cheaper than most of the used examples on Chrono24 - is that for a very good reason? 

Other than the 'Jacked pricing', you may be being a little unfair ... :) Yes, brands have changed ownership, but there is continuity in many of the brands' models. Some watches certainly are regarded more valuable in their earlier iterations. Heuer, before they became Tag Heuer is an example, as is one you've hit on IWC. Earlier models of theirs, like their Pilot Watch are considered more desirable by many, than the more modern ones. Omega of course are now owned by Swatch, but there is real continuity in production of watches like the Speedmaster, especially with the 1861 movement but again, good early examples of the 321 and 861 will command better, if not eye watering prices. :wacko:

As you're finding, there's a massive amount to learn about the industry but in reality we have probably better and more varied watches these days than ever before. The Quartz revolution nearly killed off mechanical watches but companies like Swatch and Richemont did a huge amount to re-build the watch industry and we these days can reap the rewards, and that will only get better as more in-house movements hit the high street now that Swatch has changed their policy regarding the supply of ETA movements and parts.:)

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Depends what you call "mainstream" too - I'd venture to suggest Rotary, Accurist or Citizen haven't moved much in their relative pricing, quality, or market positioning for a few decades. A "nice" watch for the sort of person that goes to Argos for a special occasion. Tissot maybe if you go up a rung (with all due respect to Citizen who do do high end but pretty specialist) have for a long time done that entry level proper Swiss watch thing. Casio still knock out a decent cheap bulletproof digital, although there's been a bit of getting above their station at the top end of the G-Shocks. Timex churn out the same affordable fieldish indiglo designs they have for decades.

...oh and through it all Vostok have continued to make basically the same watches with the same movements they've been churning out since the space race was a thing.

Once you crack through the £1000 ish barrier though the pricing has probably "stretched" a fair bit in the last 20-30 years, with gaps between models and brands gradually growing as time goes on.

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Brands evolve but the two that stand out for me for selling their souls are Rolex with their theoretical watches with daft dials colours and Breitling with their generic styling and ditching of their core identity.

However, those that have not done that are often guilty of "doing heritage to death" and are producing nothing noteworthy that could be described as Contemporary. 

I am VERY interested in what Watches-and-wonders will reveal in April ... :thumbsup:

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I think Seiko is still what it once was but most of my examples are higher tier.   Lange is better than it was, Blancpain too I gather (correct me if I am wrong)   Plenty of others have just maintained their position but I would say more have declined than risen. 

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