The Values of Value

This will be a long-form post, so grab your favorite beverage and settle in. I promise to break it up with pictures. 

One thing that is great about WatchCrunch is observing what different folks value. For the most part, we can all agree that it is okay to appreciate what each other value. This is lost on some, in which case I am not sure there is any saving the person who insists a Rolex or Omega is overvalued. No amount of logic or pictures will convince that person otherwise.  To many, a NH35 is and will always be a better value, as if there is no sliding scale on value. I posit there is absolutely a sliding scale on value and it is the appreciation of that scale that makes this hobby what it is.

Not a week goes by without being asked questions like: “Are in-house movements better than off the shelf?”  or “Is <insert inexpensive brand> just as good as <expensive brand>?” These are easy triggering questions for many meant for stirring up a no-win debate, often divided along the lines of personal preference and vs. empathy and understanding up and down the price spectrum. Again, there are folks who cannot fathom anyone spending $10K on a watch. I suggest jumping off here if your heels are dug into that logic. 

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Still with us? Cool. Two recent occurrences had me questioning the idea of value in the multi-thousand dollar space. One, I will give credit where due, is a recent video in which Teddy Baldassare visited Glashütte Original. I don’t usually consume his content as much of it is geared towards new folks in the hobby, but this video is excellent; Letting the brand do the talking. The video details the painstaking and passionate process of making a watch at GO. The amount of handmade artistry, the build, regulation, and testing. That is what owners pay for. Comparably, there are watches sold significantly higher with less to offer. There is no way one watches the build of one of those SeaQs and does not question why they would pick a Sub first. Seriously, look at the bridge in their watches.

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The next point of appreciation is the value of art.  Why spend $110 million (that is right millions) for this when I can buy one that looks just like it Homegoods for $39.99 and it comes with a frame? 

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The trend is similar to watch dials. Remember when Grand Seiko launched the birch and the watch community lost its collective shit about the artistry of the dial? Then they flipped the dial on its side, painted it blue, and called it the Suwa? Well, some may look at the black birch and ask, “Why should I buy that when I can get the Islander for a few hundred bucks?” 

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Vs.

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This logic ignores all that went into making the original; dismissing the artistry, craftsmanship, expertise, and materials that went into making the original. It is okay to find a ton of value in both. Saying one is a better value than the other? Foolish comparison, they are not fighting in the same class and the difference in effort is like walking to your fridge vs. completing the El Camino de Santiago. There is joy in both, but they are not equal.

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This GS dial piece leads me to the value of artistry and how underappreciated some dial makers are. An easy brand most of this community loves in AnOrdain.  Here is my AnOrdain One for reference that is just lovely:

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This enamel dial takes a ton of time and human hours to make, with a 30% failure rate after spending all that time to make it to begin with.  When the brand launched, these watches were $1000. That is unthinkable to anyone who has tried to get one since 2020, with secondhand values hitting over $4k. Perspective clients are now waiting until 2027 to get one.

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However, the community sleeps on brands like Sartory Billard and a more direct comparison, Lundis Bleus. AnOrdain, recently released the Model Three which is a spectacularly beautiful watch (seriously it is gorgeous). For about the same price, or less in some cases, one could go online and work directly with the owner of Lundis Bleus, Bastien Vuilliomenet, and have a handmade watch with an original enamel dial before they know it. Still impatient? Some are immediately available at select retailers. It is my understanding he makes about 100 watches a year, making them genuinely limited. I will not attempt to discuss the painstaking work that goes into making a single dial, but will refer you to this excellent article for those who really want to nerd out. 

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This watch comes with a top-grade off-the-shelf movement, but it can be found in watches costing a quarter the price. Is one paying for the movement in this case? Nope. I would be glad to break my subjective “The most I’d pay for a watch using X movement is…” rule. One is paying for the craft of making such a dial. Now, (I applaud you if you are still here) if one does not place value in that, that is fine, but one has to respect the time and effort regardless. All of these brands are wearable art that one should feel proud peacocking.

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So when we debate about why we fuss about the little things, THESE are the little things that make the hobby. I can nerd out and totally appreciate how Spinnaker is offering something like the watch below for $199 before discounts just as much as I can freak out about a custom handmade dial costing $4k. Or a German dive watch costing $12k because of an amazing movement. All have their own value and one value is not better than another.

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Stay crunchy and be kind.

Reply
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What is this horological tolerance BS? Is this a watch forum or is this a watch forum?

You will sit down and listen to my extremely well informed opinion on why my absolute assessment of value is actually more correct than your absolute assessment of value in this inherently subjective hobby.

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Edge168n

What is this horological tolerance BS? Is this a watch forum or is this a watch forum?

You will sit down and listen to my extremely well informed opinion on why my absolute assessment of value is actually more correct than your absolute assessment of value in this inherently subjective hobby.

Well played. I expect nothing less. :-)

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AllTheWatches

Well played. I expect nothing less. :-)

This is a hobby of tiny mechanical automatons that tell the time somewhat less accurately than the cheapest cellphone on the market.

It greatly amuses and depresses me that people take this hobby so seriously that they can earnestly take offense when someone prioritizes things differently than they do.

We're not doing this to maximize value. We're doing this to have a good time.

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Edge168n

This is a hobby of tiny mechanical automatons that tell the time somewhat less accurately than the cheapest cellphone on the market.

It greatly amuses and depresses me that people take this hobby so seriously that they can earnestly take offense when someone prioritizes things differently than they do.

We're not doing this to maximize value. We're doing this to have a good time.

Darn you, you said in far less words what I was trying to express. That should be the TLDR version. :-)

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AllTheWatches

Darn you, you said in far less words what I was trying to express. That should be the TLDR version. :-)

Steal it! Unlike many here, I don't mind a competent homage of my work!

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Edge168n

This is a hobby of tiny mechanical automatons that tell the time somewhat less accurately than the cheapest cellphone on the market.

It greatly amuses and depresses me that people take this hobby so seriously that they can earnestly take offense when someone prioritizes things differently than they do.

We're not doing this to maximize value. We're doing this to have a good time.

On that note.....I do like me a good time, which brings me to this recent acquisition......🤏🏻🫣🤐 TBH we take our collective selves too seriously, sometimes its just fun to have a bonkers mad watch cuz why not? 😂

@SpecKTator , racking up these angels wings dood..😉🤪

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solidyetti

On that note.....I do like me a good time, which brings me to this recent acquisition......🤏🏻🫣🤐 TBH we take our collective selves too seriously, sometimes its just fun to have a bonkers mad watch cuz why not? 😂

@SpecKTator , racking up these angels wings dood..😉🤪

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That is a literal skeleton watch. Kudos.

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solidyetti

On that note.....I do like me a good time, which brings me to this recent acquisition......🤏🏻🫣🤐 TBH we take our collective selves too seriously, sometimes its just fun to have a bonkers mad watch cuz why not? 😂

@SpecKTator , racking up these angels wings dood..😉🤪

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You’re starting to get on Santa’s naughty list 🤣

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One rule of watch debate

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SpecKTator

One rule of watch debate

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Dude, I'm starting to realize Starship Troopers usually always is pertinent to the convo, much like Warhammer40K 🤣.