Reminder: You Are Not Your Watch..And Vice Versa.

This is a long form post, about 1400 words to be exact. You have been warned.

Online forums are a fascinating human experiment, especially as it relates to why one chooses A vs. B. Often times the purchaser of A will then go out of their way to defend their decision devolving the discussion to put down B. Let’s start with the behavior science behind “Knocking something down to hold something else up,” otherwise known as choice support bias. From Wiki: Choice-supportive bias or post-purchase rationalization is the tendency to retroactively ascribe positive attributes to an option one has selected and/or to demote the forgone options. 

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Many take on this bias and refuse to see the merits of other options, even if said option(s) are simply engineered to a different and/or higher standard. They feel any one pointing out something may be made to a higher spec, is a slight at their choice, and thus a slight at them. 

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This hits on another behavioral phenomenon; Social Identity. Rudimentarily summed up; A person’s sense of self based on which groups or brands they feel they belong to. We can point to many cases of this; Coke Vs. Pepsi, Apple vs. PC, Rolex vs. Omega. Ford Vs. Chevy, etc. People align themselves with a group or product and that group becomes their identify. Then add in two pinches of choice support bias and we have the entirety of the internet and cable news.   How many folks do you know fall into this trap? It is easy to do. Human nature is to fall back on what you know and defend it, sometimes to the death vs. simply exploring and appreciating all angles. 

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If you are still with me, you are probably asking; where are you going with this? I came here to look at pretty pictures of watches, not learn about behavioral economics or feel bad about having a Calvin and Hobbes sticker on my Challenger pissing on a Mustang logo. If that seems like your approach, you probably will not care for the rest of this piece.

Now to the point; Not a day goes by where someone proclaims or tries to defend why their NH35 movement is as good as an ETA 2824, or why the ETA 2824 is just as good as Kenissi, and up and up the movement spectrum. There are those of the mindset that all movements are cheap to make, therefore anyone paying more for an expensive movement is foolish. I am not sure this will change that mentality, but bear with me friends.

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Let’s not kid ourselves, at the end of the day, all of these movements do the same thing; tell time in an outdated manner and in the grand scheme of things they all do it relatively the same way. What brings many of us to the hobby, is the how. Does it matter that a NH35 accurate within 30 seconds vs. a COSC certified ETA being within 4? To most people, no. Hell, I never wear a watch more than a day at a time, so it truly doesn't matter to me. One can appreciate that Vacheron Constantin 57260 is one of (if not) the most complicated watch in the world. Is it okay to be offended when someone says it is a better movement than the one in their Pagani Design that came with the upgraded NH38? No. Just stop. It is not an attack on you.

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Yes, to most people, they do not want to own the nightmare that comes with owning such a complicated piece, so for them it may be better to have a less complicated, easier to service piece. However, let’s compare apples to apples, how about basic time only movements? To start, I am far from an expert, just an enthusiast who owns most of the movements mentioned in multiples (not the Patek, sorry) and have been lucky enough to friend many in the industry and over the years I have picked up nuggets here and there. However, I will always defer to the actual experts. Let’s start with an ETA 2824, the most ubiquitous of movements many are based off of. 

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Many of you may know, there are various versions of the 2824 (most basic movements have similar levels), starting with standard, elaborated, top grade, and COSC. The more one goes up the more effort goes into making them, the more accurate they are, and upgraded tech. Click the link above to learn about the differences, but there is a reason the basic ETA costs much less than a top-grade version (upgraded mainspring, balance wheel, shock protection, jewels etc).” But CB, I can personally regulate my basic ETA to be just as good.” Sure, but it does not change the fact it does not have the same tech as the other and may not be able to hold said regulation as well.

Example, we all have met the person that buys a $15K car then proceeds to spend another $5K modding and tuning it, only to repel everyone of the opposite sex and still be slower and less reliable than most new cars in the same price range.

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I am not dumping on the 2824, I am on the record stating it is perhaps my favorite movement, but does it mean it is the same level as others? I do not know the exact figure, but I have read they pump something like five million ETA movements a year. That keeps the price down to a reasonable $150-$300 per movement (depending on grade). Awesome, there is a reason it is popular in the $1000-$1500+ range.

Now some brands get a hold of them, decorate them, add a custom rotor, perhaps upgrade a few parts, and send for COSC certification. That comes at a premium, but ultimately, one can only do so much with it. Back to the car analogy, no matter how much one works one the Mazda MX-5 4 cylinder engine, it will never compete with the 718 4 cylinder engine. I love both of these cars, but they are not the same.

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 Now compare the ETA movement above, with say the Tudor (Kenissi) MT5400:

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There are countless articles breaking down the movement, but some upgrades over the ETA include more jewels, Microstella balance wheel, traversing balance bridge, their version of the silicon balance spring, etc. Notice the finishing including sandblasting, satin brushing, and polishing. Notice the cleanliness of the edges and overall sense of build quality. While one cannot get a sense in photos, interact with each, notice the differences.

That is before we factor in the quality of metal, factories, equipment, qc, testing, staff, etc. There are so many variables, so I will leave it with just some of the hardware to reduce this already lengthy diatribe.

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If I hold a Kenissi to an Omega, we could do the same comparison. If I hold the Omega next to a Glashütte Original and up and up the movement list.

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But does all of that make any one of each better? Yes and no, depending on your perspective. To my earlier point, they all tell time. Is pointing out that a Kenissi movement is more advanced and likely refined than a top-grade ETA a slight on the ETA, or any brand holding an ETA? No. Is pointing out that a GO SeaQ movement makes the Submariner movement look industrial at best a slight on Rolex? Again, no. I come from the perspective that advanced tech and finishing can determine which movement I choose. Someone else may say, "Well, I do not want to deal with the headache of servicing that tech and simply want to give it to my guy to fix for $300." Cool, that is not wrong at either, but does it make the less expensive movement better than a movement that is more advanced, technically and/or aesthetically?  I would posit no, unless your only criteria is ease and cost of service, then sure. Otherwise? No.

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I am lucky to have a V6 version of a car that also comes in a monster tuned V8 specifically designed for eating miles at high RPMs on the autobahn. I am not so insecure to admit, my engine is not as good performance wise as the V8. I could have opted for the V8, but I also know the challenges that engine has from a reliability perspective, as well as fuel consumption. However, if I see one, I have to tip my hat to it because it is amazing in its own right, and yes reminds me that I did not spend for the technically better engine. Am I offended when someone asks, why did I not get the V8? No. Both can exists and I would be foolish to allow my personal identity to be usurped by my purchasing decisions. 

If you are still here, I hope this was a worthy use of your time and hopefully can lead to a healthy discussion.

Reply
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Nice post.

There's so much naivety concealed under the intellectual arrogance of people attacking the products they don't prefer, along with their owners. Even if you assume you're entirely correct about every aspect of a products, which you're not, the thought that the other person's personal preferences, prioritization of features, and sensitivity to various concerns are thoroughly and precisely known to you, such that you should have sufficient confidence in your assessment of their purchase to harshly ridicule them, is delusional.

We're just a bunch of people designing, making, selling, buying, and enjoying things we like for generally pretty silly reasons, but that's totally okay and part of enjoying life. No need to get aggressive over any of it, period. If you don't like a watch, don't buy it.

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Dallen

Nice post.

There's so much naivety concealed under the intellectual arrogance of people attacking the products they don't prefer, along with their owners. Even if you assume you're entirely correct about every aspect of a products, which you're not, the thought that the other person's personal preferences, prioritization of features, and sensitivity to various concerns are thoroughly and precisely known to you, such that you should have sufficient confidence in your assessment of their purchase to harshly ridicule them, is delusional.

We're just a bunch of people designing, making, selling, buying, and enjoying things we like for generally pretty silly reasons, but that's totally okay and part of enjoying life. No need to get aggressive over any of it, period. If you don't like a watch, don't buy it.

Thanks for reading Dallen and spot on. Appreciate it!

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AllTheWatches

Thanks for reading Dallen and spot on. Appreciate it!

My favorite watch to wear has a regular SW200-1 and cost me about $1500 since I got the bracelet and rubber. The dial is printed, it has a 4:30 date window, it's like 14mm thick, the case is entirely brushed, etc. All of these are reasons people might call it bad or too expensive. None of that matters. Factoring everything in, sub $2k, I wanted this watch the most, so I bought it. Zero complaints so far.

Sometimes I think we get caught up in thinking that our hobbies and interested are required to make good sense and have clearly illustratable reasoning. If I bought a different watch because it would make more sense to more people, all I'd have is a watch I like less and a better defense against dumb, antagonistic questions.

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Ha ha ha. Love this. I have a few NH35s and they are absolutely fine, but I admit what they are, entry level movements with lousy accuracy. The fact that a $20-$30 movement runs as good as it does should be applauded. I like to say, everything is a great deal at the right price.

I agree, for the most part WC folks usually appreciate the differences, which makes this place great. It is easy enough to ignore (or block) the noise when someone starts to cause a fuss. I have to get better about being sucked in.

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Cool 👍I like quartz and my Casios just as much as as my mechanical dinosaurs

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Subaru meet 😂

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phat_tony

Cool 👍I like quartz and my Casios just as much as as my mechanical dinosaurs

Ditto! 👍

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Nicely Done my friend… so what are going to do with these…

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😁😝😜😂

I think it’s more a 4 banger with a supercharger …🤔

@Watchovski you agree … hahaha!!

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1) Does watch tell the time? Yes, go to 2. No, get off the internet and fix your watch.

2) Is watch a pin-pallet? Yes, go to 3. No, go to 1.

3) Smash watch repeatedly with hammer. Repeat until tired. Go to 1.

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It is a very nice post, pointing out the sense (or senselessness) behind comparisons on watch forums. But from my perspective it all comes down to diminishing returns. You will spend more and more for a marginally better product.