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Not a replica, not a copy, not a homage, not generic?


AVO
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Sometimes when we hear or read criticism of a particular watch, it is because it falls into one of four categories.

The replica or fake. We all know what that is. We don’t discuss them here.

The copy. The difference being that it appears to carry all (or most of) the external features of a desirable and usually much more expensive watch, with the exception of the brand name.

The homage. A bit more subtle, this one. It has some recognisable features that are found on what is again usually a desirable and more expensive watch. The more of these features it has, the more it is likely to be seen as a copy as opposed to a stylistic “nod to”.

And then we have the generic watch. I’ve seen this used more and more (and will confess I have used the term myself) to describe watches that seem to adhere to a set pattern with little deviation. I’ve noticed that the two styles that seem to be in vogue (and therefore often criticised) are the generic diver and the generic dress watch. Both seem to be particularly popular with Kickstarter companies.

OK, so here’s the question. Is it possible nowadays, with so much available, to produce a relatively normal and reasonably priced watch that could not be accused of falling into any of those four (well, the last three at least) categories? I think some of the experimental haute-horlogerie watchmakers such as MB&F achieve that, but is it still possible for the rest of the world?

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22 minutes ago, AVO said:

OK, so here’s the question. Is it possible nowadays, with so much available, to produce a relatively normal and reasonably priced watch that could not be accused of falling into any of those four (well, the last three at least) categories? 

No.

:laughing2dw:

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1 hour ago, AVO said:

OK, so here’s the question. Is it possible nowadays, with so much available, to produce a relatively normal and reasonably priced watch that could not be accused of falling into any of those four (well, the last three at least) categories? I think some of the experimental haute-horlogerie watchmakers such as MB&F achieve that, but is it still possible for the rest of the world?

Its a great question. Obviously it is possible to be unique, original and different, but often if that is the goal it can end up looking daft, unattractive, gimmicky.

There is a very fine line to tread, in my opinion, between different enough to be a unique item in its own right without just ending up looking silly, but some do manage it.

I'm wearing a Marloe Vulcan today, I feel it doesn't look particularly close or simlar to much else I have seen on the market, but at the same time still looks like a watch rather than the result of someone covering their wrist in glue and sticking it into a bucket of random watch parts, jewels and hundreds and thousands.

09CRL18.jpg

I think with divers, the very fact that certain aspects HAVE to be included in the watch, combined with the vast popularity of a handful of specific designs and finally coupled up to the desire for it to serve a particular function (all be it, one that 90% of divers will never actually have to perform) the generic term is going to always be close by.

I am waiting on a Direnzo Dr03, for me (from the pictures, videos and reviews I've seen) it treads that narrow path between "different" and "still a diver".

DSC00097_A_R_01-1.jpg

web_leather.jpg

Some divers have more subtle things that, to a lesser degree, set them apart (again, imho) such as my recent RZE purchase. The sharp angles of the case and lugs standing differently to the usual diver shapes and styles:

qhdayOZ.jpg

Not a diver this time, but I think my Yema manages to stand out in a crowded field of Chrono's that often take the form of one of a small handfull of designs and layouts:

geWe8JZ.jpg

A final offering from my collection for this subject would me my (formerly @it'salivejim's) Magrette, again, there is no single aspect of this watch that is completely unique to it alone (the case shape, sandwich dials, etc... all appear on other watches) but I feel they have managed to combine features from enough different watches, to make a diver watch unlike any other competing diver watch (although would also accept that it could be argued to fall into the homage catagory with a nod towards Panerai, but in shape more than anything else)

hRFBKn2.jpg

Outside of those I have (or should have soon) I feel Boldr do what they do well, different but not garish or daft:

Screenshot_20210905-132654_eBay.thumb.jp

All of these have managed to ensure they didn't tread to far into the territory of "being different", some sadly step to far past the line, for example:

Baume & Mercer:

s-l1600.jpg

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/353658005342?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

 

Edited by Bricey
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Heres a second..

large.20210818_100047.jpg.17b0980d259d098d1a19dc238e037af6.jpg

Although "normal" has been firmly wedged up its own horrorology.. it is reasonably priced for anyone and can not be accused of being a copy of anything.

@AVO I think you just stumbled on my idea of collecting and (slightly) modding watches to try and avoid generic watches. I must admit though, having a limited budget limits my acquisitions. 

I find this route fun and it takes my time trying to find "alternative" designs that are not in the usual "Google top ten of wacky watches" (although they do point out makers that break the mould. 

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Ludmilla Y. Voynik was part of the Soviet team of engineers that developed the 24 hour movement in 1968-69 for the Raketa Polar watch. 50 years later, she is still working at the Raketa Watch Factory, heading the “construction bureau”. As such she spearheaded the limited re-edition of the manual Soviet Polar model as well as the improvements made to Raketa’s automatic 24-hour movement to make it even more robust.

foto.jpg

W-45-17-10-0174_.jpg

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2 hours ago, AVO said:

The copy. The difference being that it appears to carry all (or most of) the external features of a desirable and usually much more expensive watch, with the exception of the brand name.

The homage. A bit more subtle, this one. It has some recognisable features that are found on what is again usually a desirable and more expensive watch. The more of these features it has, the more it is likely to be seen as a copy as opposed to a stylistic “nod to”.

And then we have the generic watch. I’ve seen this used more and more (and will confess I have used the term myself) to describe watches that seem to adhere to a set pattern with little deviation. I’ve noticed that the two styles that seem to be in vogue (and therefore often criticised) are the generic diver and the generic dress watch. Both seem to be particularly popular with Kickstarter companies.

OK, so here’s the question. Is it possible nowadays, with so much available, to produce a relatively normal and reasonably priced watch that could not be accused of falling into any of those four (well, the last three at least) categories? I think some of the experimental haute-horlogerie watchmakers such as MB&F achieve that, but is it still possible for the rest of the world?

I find the distinction between the copy (or 'passing off' as I like to think of it) and homage for me to be very subjective.

Diver-style watches are the mass market these days.  They are easily the most popular style of luxury watch.  Every manufacturer (well, every one I can think of) makes divers, often in many different styles in different collections, or with vintage reissues (or near enough).  So, almost by definition, these share many common characteristics and design cues.  Sure, the closeness many makers' products appear to be to Subs is at one end of the spectrum, but bezels follow the same format, round markers, lots of lume, lume pips, high WR, thick cases, etc., and there's even an ISO standard to copy and paste!

But it's not just divers.  Flieger-style watches are usually very formulaic to the point of endless genericism.  Plain dials, triangles on the dial at 12 and sword hands only need apply.  Again, I think manufacturers are simply looking at what they believe sells and turn out me-too products with little to differentiate eg a £7,200 IWC Big Pilot from a £1000 COSC-certified Zeno Nostalgia Automatic Chronometer, other than a debate about VFM.

Chronometers face the same cliche three sub dials, two pushers; is it a Daytona, or is it a Chronomaster Sport?   Discuss.  OK, there's far more room for variation when it comes to chronometers, but inevitably there are a large number of similarities.

As for originality in dress watches :Snore:

And so on and so forth.

And when brands try something a bit different eg Oris with its Chronoris range, they don't sell and get discontinued.

However, all this does enable us to be picky though about the design details most non-WIS don't notice or care about.  It gives us the freedom to complain about date windows at 4:30 with or without cyclopses, horrible crowns you can't grip that don't screw down, screw-down pushers, illegible silver hands on silver dials, etc., which let's face it is half the fun of this hobby! :biggrin::laugh:

53 minutes ago, WRENCH said:

W-45-17-10-0174_.jpg

A cracking dial with heaps of style :thumbsup:

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38 minutes ago, chas g said:

https://oracleoftime.com/eone-bradley-watch-review/

This must qualify. I had one and ended up giving it to the RNIB.

I've had my eye on these. 

The thing that puts me off is the magnets inside. I'm not sure they would play well with my autos as I have a tenancy to mix up their places in my watch box.

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1 hour ago, RTM Boy said:

Chronometers face the same cliche three sub dials, two pushers; is it a Daytona, or is it a Chronomaster Sport?   Discuss.  OK, there's far more room for variation when it comes to chronometers, but inevitably there are a large number of similarities.

Not all Chrono's look alike.....

Some talk to Buck Rogers

Screenshot_20210910-220215_eBay.thumb.jpg.7e47fa2c20ad48f93764d5e0f13ee532.jpg

Just in case you are mad enough!

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ULTRA-RARE-MENS-TUNGSTEN-CARBIDE-CHRONO-WATCH-WITH-DATE-TU0067-NEW-BATTERY-/165052216022?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49286&mkrid=710-127635-2958-0

3 hours ago, Bricey said:

Baume & Mercer:

s-l1600.jpg

I actually wonder if Rocky might like this one due to loving Minecraft!

 

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5 hours ago, AVO said:

Sometimes when we hear or read criticism of a particular watch, it is because it falls into one of four categories.

The replica or fake. We all know what that is. We don’t discuss them here.

The copy. The difference being that it appears to carry all (or most of) the external features of a desirable and usually much more expensive watch, with the exception of the brand name.

The homage. A bit more subtle, this one. It has some recognisable features that are found on what is again usually a desirable and more expensive watch. The more of these features it has, the more it is likely to be seen as a copy as opposed to a stylistic “nod to”.

And then we have the generic watch. I’ve seen this used more and more (and will confess I have used the term myself) to describe watches that seem to adhere to a set pattern with little deviation. I’ve noticed that the two styles that seem to be in vogue (and therefore often criticised) are the generic diver and the generic dress watch. Both seem to be particularly popular with Kickstarter companies.

OK, so here’s the question. Is it possible nowadays, with so much available, to produce a relatively normal and reasonably priced watch that could not be accused of falling into any of those four (well, the last three at least) categories? I think some of the experimental haute-horlogerie watchmakers such as MB&F achieve that, but is it still possible for the rest of the world?

Yes and microbrands do it every day. 

As do plenty of other established brands. Eterna, Mido, Certina, Orient, Citizen, Seiko, etc etc etc

Edited by JayDeep
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5 hours ago, Bricey said:

Its a great question. Obviously it is possible to be unique, original and different, but often if that is the goal it can end up looking daft, unattractive, gimmicky.

There is a very fine line to tread, in my opinion, between different enough to be a unique item in its own right without just ending up looking silly, but some do manage it.

I'm wearing a Marloe Vulcan today, I feel it doesn't look particularly close or simlar to much else I have seen on the market, but at the same time still looks like a watch rather than the result of someone covering their wrist in glue and sticking it into a bucket of random watch parts, jewels and hundreds and thousands.

09CRL18.jpg

I think with divers, the very fact that certain aspects HAVE to be included in the watch, combined with the vast popularity of a handful of specific designs and finally coupled up to the desire for it to serve a particular function (all be it, one that 90% of divers will never actually have to perform) the generic term is going to always be close by.

I am waiting on a Direnzo Dr03, for me (from the pictures, videos and reviews I've seen) it treads that narrow path between "different" and "still a diver".

DSC00097_A_R_01-1.jpg

web_leather.jpg

Some divers have more subtle things that, to a lesser degree, set them apart (again, imho) such as my recent RZE purchase. The sharp angles of the case and lugs standing differently to the usual diver shapes and styles:

qhdayOZ.jpg

Not a diver this time, but I think my Yema manages to stand out in a crowded field of Chrono's that often take the form of one of a small handfull of designs and layouts:

geWe8JZ.jpg

A final offering from my collection for this subject would me my (formerly @it'salivejim's) Magrette, again, there is no single aspect of this watch that is completely unique to it alone (the case shape, sandwich dials, etc... all appear on other watches) but I feel they have managed to combine features from enough different watches, to make a diver watch unlike any other competing diver watch (although would also accept that it could be argued to fall into the homage catagory with a nod towards Panerai, but in shape more than anything else)

hRFBKn2.jpg

Outside of those I have (or should have soon) I feel Boldr do what they do well, different but not garish or daft:

Screenshot_20210905-132654_eBay.thumb.jp

All of these have managed to ensure they didn't tread to far into the territory of "being different", some sadly step to far past the line, for example:

Baume & Mercer:

s-l1600.jpg

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/353658005342?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

 

That B&M is hilariously hideous. Transformers, robots in disguise.

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:hmmm9uh:

Don't dis the Borg! 

:teethsmile:

Seriously though, this isn't a post about my questionable watches.

I understand the sentiment though. How many copy's of homages of copy's of those homages must we go through before "generic" becomes a normality? After we reach saturation what has the style of what we call that generic become? 

We are already knee deep in it because we look towards the movement of a particular watch before we decide if its worthy of acclaim. The style of the watch has already became "each to their own" (one person likes the date, another the hands, another sides on its cost). Liking something new or odd reigns criticism on that statement and that is not a thing we want to hear when we decide to spend £5000 on a toy/jewellery item/investment.

I am fortunate in that I specifically look for watches that differ from this idea of design perfection/acceptance. (Well... I must admit that I also like really nice watches that follow the curve too).

But.. I also think Avo has a true valid point too...

7 hours ago, AVO said:

OK, so here’s the question. Is it possible nowadays, with so much available, to produce a relatively normal and reasonably priced watch that could not be accused of falling into any of those four (well, the last three at least) categories?

I think it is possible but it also conflicts with.. investments.. peer pressure.. advertisements.. monetary ability.. (and a good few other factors that I cant think of).

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10 hours ago, AVO said:

Sometimes when we hear or read criticism of a particular watch, it is because it falls into one of four categories.

The replica or fake. We all know what that is. We don’t discuss them here.

The copy. The difference being that it appears to carry all (or most of) the external features of a desirable and usually much more expensive watch, with the exception of the brand name.

The homage. A bit more subtle, this one. It has some recognisable features that are found on what is again usually a desirable and more expensive watch. The more of these features it has, the more it is likely to be seen as a copy as opposed to a stylistic “nod to”.

And then we have the generic watch. I’ve seen this used more and more (and will confess I have used the term myself) to describe watches that seem to adhere to a set pattern with little deviation. I’ve noticed that the two styles that seem to be in vogue (and therefore often criticised) are the generic diver and the generic dress watch. Both seem to be particularly popular with Kickstarter companies.

OK, so here’s the question. Is it possible nowadays, with so much available, to produce a relatively normal and reasonably priced watch that could not be accused of falling into any of those four (well, the last three at least) categories? I think some of the experimental haute-horlogerie watchmakers such as MB&F achieve that, but is it still possible for the rest of the world?

I could easily group the first three categories together. How you might ask?

Supply chain.

I despise the likes of Parnis et al as their parts are derived from factories that also supply the parts for the counterfeit trade. 

Do you think there are separate factories producing divers bezels replicating Omega or Rolex for example and then supplying them to the homage brands, and then separate factories producing the same style of bezels for the counterfeit market?

Edited by Igerswis
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Some great replies, thanks. I know that I’m guilty of dismissing a lot of watches (especially dive watches for some reason :whistle:) as generic, so I just thought it would be interesting to raise the question.

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12 hours ago, RTM Boy said:

Flieger-style watches are usually very formulaic to the point of endless genericism.  Plain dials, triangles on the dial at 12 and sword hands only need apply.  

They are formulaic because they are pretty much all homages to one watch, the "B-Uhr" specified (Fl. 23883) by the German Air Ministry in 1940. I do find three of those homages acceptable though, as they are by original producers to the Fl. 23883 specification (IWC, Stowa, Laco)  --  ergo, they are homages to themselves.

Edited by yokel
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I think there a loads of unique watches. Of my collection, both Alexander Shorokhoff and anOrdain make wholly.o4iginal.designs with unique cases, hands & dials. anOrdain even design their own typefaces.

Other brands making unique stuff are:

Minase

Schofield

MHD

WT Author

Visitor - the Linden is a unique take on the dress watch and their diver goes its own way too.

 

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