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      04-08-2014, 12:53 AM   #1
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PP vs VC

Breitling is what first got me into watches and maybe one day I'll still get one but for my first serious watch purchase I'm trying to decide between PP or VC. I'm fairly brand loyal so I've looked into the history of the companies and still many months away from a purchase but I just wanted to know if anyone has either brand or has any stories to share. I'll be getting a used PP Calatrava or VC Patrimony and keeping it under 10k. I know I could get many great brand new watches for 10k rather than a used model but it's about the passion the watch inspires and both classic designs and the history of those two companies gets me excited and that's where I'm headed.
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      04-08-2014, 06:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prowess Symphony View Post
Breitling is what first got me into watches and maybe one day I'll still get one but for my first serious watch purchase I'm trying to decide between PP or VC. I'm fairly brand loyal so I've looked into the history of the companies and still many months away from a purchase but I just wanted to know if anyone has either brand or has any stories to share. I'll be getting a used PP Calatrava or VC Patrimony and keeping it under 10k. I know I could get many great brand new watches for 10k rather than a used model but it's about the passion the watch inspires and both classic designs and the history of those two companies gets me excited and that's where I'm headed.
Yes. Is there something in particular you want to know that's not covered somewhere else on the web?

My guess is that you'll be more likely to find something to your liking from VC if you want to keep the price below $10K and also get a watch that's somewhat current as goes size. Mine is the 3520, which is no longer made.

It's a lovely watch, very dressy in that it's thin and only ~33mm. You can however get one within your price range. All the same, it's a watch that is very hard to dress down. If you aren't the jeans and t-shirt type, you can put it on a simple grosgrain band (see J Press for examples) and wear it casually, but make no mistake, it's a watch that needs a shirt sleeve, even if it's one that's rolled/folded up a couple times.



This isn't one, but it's close enough that it'll give you the idea of about how dressy the watch is.



A different watch, VC I think (?), but again, you can see how to dress it down. The grosgrain band is a good way to tone down most watches that are otherwise very dressy, and they can still be worn with a suit that way.



All the best.
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      04-08-2014, 01:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prowess Symphony View Post
Breitling is what first got me into watches and maybe one day I'll still get one but for my first serious watch purchase I'm trying to decide between PP or VC. I'm fairly brand loyal so I've looked into the history of the companies and still many months away from a purchase but I just wanted to know if anyone has either brand or has any stories to share. I'll be getting a used PP Calatrava or VC Patrimony and keeping it under 10k. I know I could get many great brand new watches for 10k rather than a used model but it's about the passion the watch inspires and both classic designs and the history of those two companies gets me excited and that's where I'm headed.
Yes. Is there something in particular you want to know that's not covered somewhere else on the web?

My guess is that you'll be more likely to find something to your liking from VC if you want to keep the price below $10K and also get a watch that's somewhat current as goes size. Mine is the 3520, which is no longer made.

It's a lovely watch, very dressy in that it's thin and only ~33mm. You can however get one within your price range. All the same, it's a watch that is very hard to dress down. If you aren't the jeans and t-shirt type, you can put it on a simple grosgrain band (see J Press for examples) and wear it casually, but make no mistake, it's a watch that needs a shirt sleeve, even if it's one that's rolled/folded up a couple times.



This isn't one, but it's close enough that it'll give you the idea of about how dressy the watch is.



A different watch, VC I think (?), but again, you can see how to dress it down. The grosgrain band is a good way to tone down most watches that are otherwise very dressy, and they can still be worn with a suit that way.



All the best.
There is nothing particular I wanted to know. Just hoping to connect with other owners.

That band is amazing. I didn't realize how much difference a band like that could make. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to look up some more info on that band right now. Wow.
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      04-08-2014, 10:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Prowess Symphony View Post
There is nothing particular I wanted to know. Just hoping to connect with other owners.

That band is amazing. I didn't realize how much difference a band like that could make. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to look up some more info on that band right now. Wow.
You will find the blue and gold one here:

Other suppliers of grosgrain straps:
All the best.
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      04-09-2014, 07:40 PM   #5
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Oh thank you. I was reading some stuff on watchuseek and I think I just saw someone with a screen name similar or the same as yours. Is that you?

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      04-09-2014, 07:59 PM   #6
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lol, the one and only
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      04-10-2014, 04:24 AM   #7
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Oh thank you. I was reading some stuff on watchuseek and I think I just saw someone with a screen name similar or the same as yours. Is that you?
You're welcome.

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Originally Posted by finaloption View Post
lol, the one and only
I am a member on WUS, TimeZone, WatchFreaks, and the NAWCC. The NAWCC is the group I recommend to individuals who are seriously interested in collecting watches. One can apply for membership here: http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/...10-29-2013.pdf . TimeZone and WatchFreaks are quite good for somewhat serious collectors.

WUS has some serious collectors, but mostly it's geared to and populated by consumerist ("look what I got") collectors, not curatorial collectors. As a result, there's a whole lot of nonsense posted there. Nonetheless, it's the most entertaining of the popular watch forums.

I'm not entirely curatorial, but neither am I completely consumerist. I like to use my watches just as most anyone would, and to that end, I've bypassed some purchase opportunities because the watches would have to be more akin to "for display only" rather than for my personal enjoyment. The Ressence watches (http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=969831) are some about which I'm somewhat vexed.

My better judgement -- based mostly on things having nothing to do with the watch itself -- says I should stay away, but it's so darn nifty that I really want to get one. I'm still not 100% sure which way I'll go in the long run but barring a major revelation, I'm going to wait a few years. One watch-specific factor that may change my mind are the details of the movement inside. I have some questions, the answers to which, I've asked for from Ressence. Hopefully I'll get those answers along with one for the question finaloption asked in the Ressence watch thread noted above.

All the best.
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      04-10-2014, 02:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
wow, that is one gorgeous watch right there.

as I reflect on my current collection of watches, I have a hard time saying whether I would put myself into the "consumerist" or "curatorial" group. I struggle because I've never lusted for the true dress watches from any brand, as I just tend to like cases that are a little more substantial (though I also don't go for any of the clownishly big watches out there these days... 41-43mm seems to be the sweetspot for me). despite that, I fully appreciate the heritage and quality of the PP, VC and AP brands (among others). I just can't afford some of their more substantial watches that fit my aesthetic tastes (which tend to be the complications).

on to my contribution to this thread. I currently have a Vacheron Malte Dual Time in gold (a discontinued model, I believe), which hasn't skipped a beat in the past 5 years I've had it. it's an amazing piece, and though it's for very formal occasions and is probably therefore a loser on the bang-per-buck, I try to wear it as often as I can and it makes me happy.

that said, if I were choosing between the PP and VC watches you note above, I'd definitely go for the PP as it seems to just be revered as more prestigious than the VC (no matter how slightly).

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      04-10-2014, 06:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brosef View Post
...
as I reflect on my current collection of watches, I have a hard time saying whether I would put myself into the "consumerist" or "curatorial" group. I struggle because I've never lusted for the true dress watches from any brand, as I just tend to like cases that are a little more substantial (though I also don't go for any of the clownishly big watches out there these days... 41-43mm seems to be the sweetspot for me). despite that, I fully appreciate the heritage and quality of the PP, VC and AP brands (among others). I just can't afford some of their more substantial watches that fit my aesthetic tastes (which tend to be the complications).

on to my contribution to this thread. I currently have a Vacheron Malte Dual Time in gold (a discontinued model, I believe), which hasn't skipped a beat in the past 5 years I've had it. it's an amazing piece, and though it's for very formal occasions and is probably therefore a loser on the bang-per-buck, I try to wear it as often as I can and it makes me happy.

that said, if I were choosing between the PP and VC watches you note above, I'd definitely go for the PP as it seems to just be revered as more prestigious than the VC (no matter how slightly).
Blue:
Both types of watches exist for both types of collectors and every kind in between. The thing that distinguishes the curator from the consumer is how they go about choosing this and/or that watch, not necessarily which watch is chosen. Yes, some watches have zero "curatorial" merit and a small few are simply ridiculous to consider as things to wear except for a few minutes/hours just to see/show that it does indeed work.

More often than not, a curatorial-leaning collector either (1) knows exactly what watch s/he'll buy next or (2) has narrowed the choices to two watches and needs only to determine which one most nearly meets and fits best with his collecting objectives and themes. No other person is going to be able to tell him/her which way to go because nobody is going to know every nuance of the purposes for the acquisition. A consumerist-leaning collector more likely will struggle with choices. Lots of watches will look good to him and s/he can't make up his own mind about what to buy. Lots look good to the curatorial guy too, but that's due to appreciation, not specific desire.

I think the above shows, however, that there's lots of room for any one individual to be bits of both types of collectors. Also, it's not that one type is "better" or "worse" or "greater or lesser." It's just different ways of going about choosing what to buy.

Another huge difference between collectors of the two general types I mentioned is this: curatorial-leaning collectors won't care about what watches are fakes, homages and copies. They don't have any horological appreciation for them, but they also don't feel threatened by them or concerned with the folks who wear them. I can say honestly that not one super serious watch collector I know or have casually met gives a tinker's dam about a fake or close copy watch. I can also say that every single one has had a deliberate experience with a fake (usually the highest quality fake they can easily come by) so that they at least have an academic understanding of what is being offered. In other words, to obtain a perspective and to put the things in the right perspective for what they are as timepieces.

The consumerist-leaning folks tend to be the ones who have conniptions (figuratively) over fakes. For the life of me, I don't understand why, but I know they do. Were the guy nest to them on the subway wearing a fake version of their watch actually capable of doing something to them directly, I'd perhaps understand, but that's not what happens. I can only hope that the folks who are so outspoken about the unrighteousness of fake watches also are so stridently vocal about the wrongs committed against their fellow men who have no means to defend themselves as they are about standing up for the intellectual property rights of huge companies that have scores of attorneys advocating on their behalf in the world's courtrooms.

Red:
It's hard to figure out just what that means when said by someone who also owns a Malte....

Green:
Admittedly, one can buy a less costly watch and obtain the same functionality. The Malte is a very dressy watch and if one only needs one such very formal watch, even spending say $40K-$60K on one can turn into somewhat of a "bang for the buck" proposition in one keeps it for a lifetime. It's appeal is only going to grow with time. I have a formal watch that I paid about $12K for back in the early '90s. Now, 24 years later, the same exact style (different movement; same dial and case) of watch is still offered and sells for ~$26K. It's been the watch I've been wearing to ~20 to ~25 formal events annually since I bought it, which amounts now to $500/year for a superb, but simple watch that has all the style one could need and it has more "craftsmanship/curatorial chops" than any $500 watch I could have bought at any time before or since.

I do the same thing with my cars. I buy and take care of my cars and keep them for at least 10 to 15 years. At the end of that period, the car is still usable, but I'm just tired of it and want something new. Even so, I've gotten my money's worth out of it and I drove a nice car that was fun to drive and nice looking for 15 years. Think of the folks who bought, say, an E46 and still have it and it's still in excellent shape. Ditto folks who bought some other series, or other pricey car, instead.

My pricey "things" disappoint me if by spending all that money on them I don't get well beyond the normal lifespan of use from them. So, it's from that context that I don't mind spending silly sums on certain things. But sure, there are also Honda Accords and Timexes that are also out there still kicking just fine after 15 or 20+ years too, and they certainly are now, as they were the day one bought them, better bangs for the buck. All the same, I'm willing to be extravagant enough, indulgent enough, to spend $500/year to have a very fine watch and $3K-$5K per year to have a very fine car.

Brown:
The two brands are revered for different things. VC's "thing" is super fine, stylish and/or artful watches. PP's "thing" is super fine complicated watches. You chose a Malte and that's one of the things to choose from VC. If one wants a Patrimony-like watch, sure a Calatrava is definitely the better pick. But if one wants a top notch swanky one, Malte, Historiques, or Maitre d'Art is a far better way to go than anything PP offers, except perhaps that astronomical grand complication that PP offer, but then that watch isn't about the art of the watch, it's about the complication.

The art is there, and there in spades to be sure, but it's there because the watch is an celestial complication watch. If one is going to produce a celestial complication, much less a celestial grand complication, going "half-assed" on the artistic component is a complete waste because the stars and moon and planets offer more opportunities for artistic interpretation than do pretty much any other complication. Even the most basic of time + moon phase complication watch should have a great deal more art -- in the presentation of the moon itself, but also even just the dial -- than one could normally find with any non-art watch.

To see what I mean, take a look at the moon phase offerings from Arnold & Son, Chris Claret, DeBethune or Schaumburg. Then take a look at JLC's Master moon phase watches, GO's Panomatic Lunar, or most anyone else's moon phase watch...or even someone's perp cal that also has a moon phase. I feel confident that regardless of whether any one of them is your "cup of tea," you'll nonetheless agree with what I said regarding the artistic side of the matter.

I will note that a perp cal (PC) is something of a special case when it comes to the inclusion of a moon phase. On PCs, it just makes sense to add a moon phase because the watch is all about he geekiness of super precise (not accurate) timekeeping. Let's face it, that complication provides benefit over an annual calendar once a year in February, which in turn provides a benefit over a simple date only seven times a year. Now like a PC, a moon phase is a complication that is very much about precision; it takes a good bit of doing to make a moon image rise and fall at the right time, much less to do so for hundreds of years at a time without the need for an adjustment. So adding in the moon phase to a PC watch is just perpetuating the "precision" theme when it's found on a PC watch. It's the one time when I am not so fussy about the moon phase complication having to be super artful.

Obviously, other folks may feel differently. Some folks for example are just into the complication itself and don't care for the flamboyance of the artful implementations of it. That's fine too. As I said before, the reason why one buys a pricey watch is what's most important, not whether one is curatorial or consumerist.

All the best.
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      04-10-2014, 06:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
Blue:
Both types of watches exist for both types of collectors and every kind in between. The thing that distinguishes the curator from the consumer is how they go about choosing this and/or that watch, not necessarily which watch is chosen. Yes, some watches have zero "curatorial" merit and a small few are simply ridiculous to consider as things to wear except for a few minutes/hours just to see/show that it does indeed work.

More often than not, a curatorial-leaning collector either (1) knows exactly what watch s/he'll buy next or (2) has narrowed the choices to two watches and needs only to determine which one most nearly meets and fits best with his collecting objectives and themes. No other person is going to be able to tell him/her which way to go because nobody is going to know every nuance of the purposes for the acquisition. A consumerist-leaning collector more likely will struggle with choices. Lots of watches will look good to him and s/he can't make up his own mind about what to buy. Lots look good to the curatorial guy too, but that's due to appreciation, not specific desire.

I think the above shows, however, that there's lots of room for any one individual to be bits of both types of collectors. Also, it's not that one type is "better" or "worse" or "greater or lesser." It's just different ways of going about choosing what to buy.

Another huge difference between collectors of the two general types I mentioned is this: curatorial-leaning collectors won't care about what watches are fakes, homages and copies. They don't have any horological appreciation for them, but they also don't feel threatened by them or concerned with the folks who wear them. I can say honestly that not one super serious watch collector I know or have casually met gives a tinker's dam about a fake or close copy watch. I can also say that every single one has had a deliberate experience with a fake (usually the highest quality fake they can easily come by) so that they at least have an academic understanding of what is being offered. In other words, to obtain a perspective and to put the things in the right perspective for what they are as timepieces.

The consumerist-leaning folks tend to be the ones who have conniptions (figuratively) over fakes. For the life of me, I don't understand why, but I know they do. Were the guy nest to them on the subway wearing a fake version of their watch actually capable of doing something to them directly, I'd perhaps understand, but that's not what happens. I can only hope that the folks who are so outspoken about the unrighteousness of fake watches also are so stridently vocal about the wrongs committed against their fellow men who have no means to defend themselves as they are about standing up for the intellectual property rights of huge companies that have scores of attorneys advocating on their behalf in the world's courtrooms.

Red:
It's hard to figure out just what that means when said by someone who also owns a Malte....

Green:
Admittedly, one can buy a less costly watch and obtain the same functionality. The Malte is a very dressy watch and if one only needs one such very formal watch, even spending say $40K-$60K on one can turn into somewhat of a "bang for the buck" proposition in one keeps it for a lifetime. It's appeal is only going to grow with time. I have a formal watch that I paid about $12K for back in the early '90s. Now, 24 years later, the same exact style (different movement; same dial and case) of watch is still offered and sells for ~$26K. It's been the watch I've been wearing to ~20 to ~25 formal events annually since I bought it, which amounts now to $500/year for a superb, but simple watch that has all the style one could need and it has more "craftsmanship/curatorial chops" than any $500 watch I could have bought at any time before or since.

I do the same thing with my cars. I buy and take care of my cars and keep them for at least 10 to 15 years. At the end of that period, the car is still usable, but I'm just tired of it and want something new. Even so, I've gotten my money's worth out of it and I drove a nice car that was fun to drive and nice looking for 15 years. Think of the folks who bought, say, an E46 and still have it and it's still in excellent shape. Ditto folks who bought some other series, or other pricey car, instead.

My pricey "things" disappoint me if by spending all that money on them I don't get well beyond the normal lifespan of use from them. So, it's from that context that I don't mind spending silly sums on certain things. But sure, there are also Honda Accords and Timexes that are also out there still kicking just fine after 15 or 20+ years too, and they certainly are now, as they were the day one bought them, better bangs for the buck. All the same, I'm willing to be extravagant enough, indulgent enough, to spend $500/year to have a very fine watch and $3K-$5K per year to have a very fine car.

Brown:
The two brands are revered for different things. VC's "thing" is super fine, stylish and/or artful watches. PP's "thing" is super fine complicated watches. You chose a Malte and that's one of the things to choose from VC. If one wants a Patrimony-like watch, sure a Calatrava is definitely the better pick. But if one wants a top notch swanky one, Malte, Historiques, or Maitre d'Art is a far better way to go than anything PP offers, except perhaps that astronomical grand complication that PP offer, but then that watch isn't about the art of the watch, it's about the complication.

The art is there, and there in spades to be sure, but it's there because the watch is an celestial complication watch. If one is going to produce a celestial complication, much less a celestial grand complication, going "half-assed" on the artistic component is a complete waste because the stars and moon and planets offer more opportunities for artistic interpretation than do pretty much any other complication. Even the most basic of time + moon phase complication watch should have a great deal more art -- in the presentation of the moon itself, but also even just the dial -- than one could normally find with any non-art watch.

To see what I mean, take a look at the moon phase offerings from Arnold & Son, Chris Claret, DeBethune or Schaumburg. Then take a look at JLC's Master moon phase watches, GO's Panomatic Lunar, or most anyone else's moon phase watch...or even someone's perp cal that also has a moon phase. I feel confident that regardless of whether any one of them is your "cup of tea," you'll nonetheless agree with what I said regarding the artistic side of the matter.

I will note that a perp cal (PC) is something of a special case when it comes to the inclusion of a moon phase. On PCs, it just makes sense to add a moon phase because the watch is all about he geekiness of super precise (not accurate) timekeeping. Let's face it, that complication provides benefit over an annual calendar once a year in February, which in turn provides a benefit over a simple date only seven times a year. Now like a PC, a moon phase is a complication that is very much about precision; it takes a good bit of doing to make a moon image rise and fall at the right time, much less to do so for hundreds of years at a time without the need for an adjustment. So adding in the moon phase to a PC watch is just perpetuating the "precision" theme when it's found on a PC watch. It's the one time when I am not so fussy about the moon phase complication having to be super artful.

Obviously, other folks may feel differently. Some folks for example are just into the complication itself and don't care for the flamboyance of the artful implementations of it. That's fine too. As I said before, the reason why one buys a pricey watch is what's most important, not whether one is curatorial or consumerist.

All the best.
thanks for such a well-thought reply. the allure for fine mechanical watches for me has always had so much to do with how much there is to understand, and your post did a nice job of reminding me how much more I look forward to learning about them.

as a point of clarification since you referenced it, however, I must admit that the VC I have was a gift from my father who bought it five years before giving it to me (he kind of stopped wearing gold altogether... lucky for me).
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      04-10-2014, 08:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
Blue:
Both types of watches exist for both types of collectors and every kind in between. The thing that distinguishes the curator from the consumer is how they go about choosing this and/or that watch, not necessarily which watch is chosen....

More often than not, a curatorial-leaning collector either (1) knows exactly what watch s/he'll buy next or (2) has narrowed the choices to two watches and needs only to determine which one most nearly meets and fits best with his collecting objectives and themes. No other person is going to be able to tell him/her which way to go because nobody is going to know every nuance of the purposes for the acquisition. A consumerist-leaning collector more likely will struggle with choices. Lots of watches will look good to him and s/he can't make up his own mind about what to buy. Lots look good to the curatorial guy too, but that's due to appreciation, not specific desire.

I think the above shows, however, that there's lots of room for any one individual to be bits of both types of collectors. Also, it's not that one type is "better" or "worse" or "greater or lesser." It's just different ways of going about choosing what to buy.

Another huge difference between collectors of the two general types I mentioned is this: curatorial-leaning collectors won't care about what watches are fakes, homages and copies. They don't have any horological appreciation for them, but they also don't feel threatened by them or concerned with the folks who wear them. I can say honestly that not one super serious watch collector I know or have casually met gives a tinker's dam about a fake or close copy watch. I can also say that every single one has had a deliberate experience with a fake (usually the highest quality fake they can easily come by) so that they at least have an academic understanding of what is being offered. In other words, to obtain a perspective and to put the things in the right perspective for what they are as timepieces.

The consumerist-leaning folks tend to be the ones who have conniptions (figuratively) over fakes. For the life of me, I don't understand why, but I know they do. Were the guy nest to them on the subway wearing a fake version of their watch actually capable of doing something to them directly, I'd perhaps understand, but that's not what happens. I can only hope that the folks who are so outspoken about the unrighteousness of fake watches also are so stridently vocal about the wrongs committed against their fellow men who have no means to defend themselves as they are about standing up for the intellectual property rights of huge companies that have scores of attorneys advocating on their behalf in the world's courtrooms.

...
Obviously, other folks may feel differently. Some folks for example are just into the complication itself and don't care for the flamboyance of the artful implementations of it. That's fine too. As I said before, the reason why one buys a pricey watch is what's most important, not whether one is curatorial or consumerist.

All the best.
I like the write up definitions, it puts a lot if views and comments into perspective... as one that would be categorized as curatorial leaning, I have a hard time understanding the consumerist behaviors of most when it comes to watches and determining a choice. As u say, I always know what I want until I get it and then the seach begins for the next one, (or the next next one ) as I'm usually thinking of the next two at any given time. I could not care less if anyone likes or dislikes my purchases, nor if it bothers them that I may have X# of watches from the the same design house or that may look similar, or if they are too big or this or that, you name it and I've heard it because so many people are consumerist leaning and have no set focus on a watch and it's brands history and place in time or the market. I can appreciate many watches without actually wanting them.
I also agree that I don't get the fake /copy/ "homage" watch thing. It's odd for sure, it doesn't threaten my collection at all, but it's just strange to me. A fine watch is a pure luxury that is appreciated for the acquisition and knowing what you've got and the history of the brand and all that went into making the watch, it's movement and it's design..... it's not like one really needs a watch to tell time anymore, they are pure jewelry and complete unnessary purchases but we love them all the same. You can't get that feeling from a copy, IMHO.
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