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      01-05-2014, 07:20 AM   #1
frenchfries
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Good watch under 2k

Im looking into buying a watch with a budget of 2k. What are some good brands/models I could get within my budget? This is going to be my first watch. thanks!
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      01-05-2014, 11:11 AM   #2
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Tag make some nice ones in that price range.
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      01-05-2014, 11:32 AM   #3
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^^

I'm partial to the Carrera / Grand Carrera
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      01-05-2014, 11:45 AM   #4
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Timex, Casio or if you want to be stylish... Swatch. They all keep time well and and they're all within your budget.
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      01-05-2014, 12:27 PM   #5
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There's a bunch of micro brands that take movements from ETA/Sellita/etc, cases from Fricker/etc, and then do their own dials, crystals and other modifications. Some also have custom cases, but the price tends to creep up.

Here's a few examples that have a good reputation:

Christopher Ward http://www.christopherward-usa.com (I like their GMTs)
Steinhart http://www.steinhartwatches.de/en/
MKII http://www.mkiiwatches.com (noted for extremly long ordering times, but beautifully crafted)

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      01-05-2014, 12:35 PM   #6
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      01-05-2014, 12:46 PM   #7
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      01-05-2014, 12:52 PM   #8
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      01-05-2014, 01:33 PM   #9
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      01-05-2014, 01:47 PM   #10
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Get a Hamilton to start your collection. They are well made and will not be hard on your wallet.
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      01-05-2014, 03:49 PM   #11
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Note: everything below pertains to mechanical watches -- manual and automatic. If you are seeking a quartz watch, but whatever you want. Quartz is quartz is quartz is quartz. They all work and they all keep better time than do mechanical watches. If you are going to buy a quartz watch, Girard-Perregaux is the brand to pick if collectability is what matters to you. Otherwise, you are better off choosing a vintage quartz watch from one of the top tier brands. Tiffany by Patek Philippe quartz watches are well worth owning, for example. For the most part, however, collectible quartz watches, as a genre, are something left to serious watch aficionados who know what and why they are buying the ones they buy. The truth is that quartz movements, no matter whose they are, are inexpensive and there is little to nothing of import (tangibly) to the average consumer that make will make a pricey one a better choice than an inexpensive one.

It's far easier to tell you what brands to avoid then it is to enumerate which ones are good. The one brand I know of that is a complete rip-off is Stauer. They are a rip-off not because the watches won't work, for they will work, but because there is absolutely no reason to pay as much as they charge for the stuff they offer. They are one of the very few watch brands that just aren't worth the money because they sell what amounts to $10 watches for $100. Everything they have is like that, regardless of the price. You can pretty reliably be certain that if they charge $500 for a watch, something quite the same and just as good can be had for $250 or less. Stauer is a no-name brand that sells inexpensive components assembled designed with average attention to detail for a lot of money. If you want a so-so or cheap watch, fine, but buy one at a so-so/cheap watch's price.

They offer one watch that has an ETA 7750 (aka Valjoux) movement inside, which is a chronograph movement and a very good one too, but the case and bracelet are dime-store quality. The watch may be fine at $400, but for the $2300 they ask for it, it's not remotely worth the price. The reason has nothing at all to do with the brand name on the watch. It is because you can buy, at retail, the exact same movement for about $570 (http://www.ofrei.com/page_183.html), which means the wholesale price - what the watchmaker would pay -- on it is at least half that if not considerably less than half that price.

(Note: I don't care what you find on a website somewhere, no movement maker, and especially ETA, is going to advertise their wholesale pricing; that is something negotiated between the maker and its business customers. Period. The most basic retail markup is 50%, i.e., the price you pay is 50% markup and 50% cost. At some retailers, Stauer being one of them, the markup can be as high as 95%.)

The vast majority of the rest of what Stauer offer have Chinese movements inside. If one is going to buy a watch having a Chinese movement inside, best to buy one from a Chinese watchmaking company that charges a fair price for what they offer. Overall, Chinese movements work, some better than others. I mean fair in the sense that the markup in the watch price if reasonable given what they are offering. Or, more precisely, the portion of the total markup that's attributable entirely to the brand name is lower than the brand name portion of the markup found in the prices of watch brands having more widely recognized names. (Brush up on your economics to understand more about the concepts of pricing and economic competition if that's not clear to you.)

Stauer and many other companies offer products that have a variety of movements inside. For "watch geeks," the movement inside often matters a lot. For the rest of the world, so long as the movement keeps decent time, they probably don't care at all. Among the watch movements that could possibly be inside a watch, the only ones that should concern a "non-geek" customer are the Chinese ones offered by non-Chinese watchmakers. The Chinese watchmakers I know of that make quality products are Beijing Watch Company and Sea-gull,

There are also Japanese companies who make watch movements found in many companies' watches. Most often, Miyota movements are the Japanese movements used. Miyota movements are basically Seiko movements without the markup attributable to the Seiko brand name. Of course there's a bit more to it than that -- from a geek standpoint -- but they can be relied upon to keep good time.

Seiko, of course, is just one of several Japanese companies who make very good watches. Two others I'm aware of are Citizen and Orient Star. Of the three, Orient Star will by far be the best value because their offerings won't have as much "brand name" markup as will Citizen and Seiko. I suspect you've never heard of Orient Star; that's why there's not a lot of "brand name" markup in their watches.Make no mistake, however, they are a brand that many a "watch geek" is quite happy to own and wear for they are proof that one need now spend thousands of dollars to have a very good quality watch.

Another watch movement you'll find is Sellita. They are a Swiss maker that makes an ETA analogue movement that is just as good as ETA. You'll find these movements more and more in watches branded as Swiss Made and that are from companies that are not part of the Swatch Group. The reason for this is that back in 2010, Swatch/ETA announced it was cutting back on deliveries of ETA movements to companies that are not part of the Swatch Group.

As basic watch movements go, Sellita is just fine, and so is ETA. There are also other Swiss movement makers -- F. Piguet, Dubois-Duprz, JLC, Piaget, and more -- however, you are not likely to find these movements inside watches retailing at $2K or less.

As for good watches that cost ~$2K, there are many. The trick in that price range isn't finding a good watch; the trick is finding one that doesn't have as much brand name driven markup in it as a correspondingly good watch. The truth is that if you go to any high-end watch store (note: $2K isn't high end, per se, but high end stores will have $2K watches) they will have any number of watches costing ~$2K. All of them will be good watches. They will nearly all be big name brands too and they will all, therefore, have a large premium in their price that is attributable to the brand name. One can buy any of them and be rightly satisfied with the watch.

Big Name Watch Brands:
Big name brands are just that: brands that if your friends see them, they will recognize them. That's it. Some folks care that their friends know they have a major name brand. I don't give a tinker's dam about that; I care that I have a high quality watch on my wrist. Some of those big name brands with offerings in your price range are (in no particular oder):
  • Tag
  • Longines
  • Seiko
  • Tudor -- most likely you'll only find one of these in your price range used, but you may find a new one at a grey market seller that is new and in your budget.
  • Citizen
  • Hamilton
  • Omega -- New you can buy a Constellation or Deville, perhaps. Pre-owned, you can find Seamaster or Speedmaster. The two former lines are dressier; the latter two are more casual.
  • Tissot
  • Victornioxx (Swiss Army and not Swiss Army)
Some models/brands will cost more, some less; some will carry more brand recognition, some will carry less. None are poor quality.

Nobody needs input on which of those to buy. Do the best you can haggling the price down, and buy the one that looks good to you. If you don't like haggling, visit your favorite grey market seller's website and pic what floats your boat. Here are some good grey market sellers:
  • http://www.pacificbaywatch.com/collections/watches - mostly new watches, but some are pre-owned. I like these guys because they have one of the largest selections of "exotic" watches offered at discount prices. They have lots of non-exotic offerings too.
  • http://www.bernardwatch.com/ - mostly pre-owned, but some new.
  • Alan Furman -- nearly all new watches. Some pre-owned Rolexes, but none of those will be in your price range. This is my personal favorite because they also have a retail store in the DC area.
  • Prestige Time
  • AuthenticWatches.com
  • Overstock.com - They offer some of the best values to be found in some cases. In others, they are neither better nor worse than anyone else. For example, they regularly have great prices on Cuervo y Sobrinos watches. Last week they had a fantastic price on a Tag Calibre 36. I'm sure they had some other great deals too. One thing to note is you just have to check The O on the day you are ready to buy because their stock fluctuates greatly from day to day. One brand that The O has a lot of is Stuhrling Original. There's nothing wrong with these watches, but many watch "snobs" and "geeks" despise the brand because it makes copies of famous, high-dollar watch styles. (See below.)
  • http://www.dexclusive.com/
  • http://www.ashford.com/us/watches/mens/cat5001.cid
  • Jomashop -- the watches they sell are fine, but I've heard Jomashop's customer service is hit or miss. That won't matter after you've had the watch for two years (or in some cases three or four, depending on the warranty period) If buying a major brand name, or a brand that's rock solid even not being a major name, it's very likely completely irrelevant.
  • http://www.thewatchery.com/
  • http://watchwarehouse.com/
  • http://www.luxurybazaar.com/class/cl...1_Watches.html
  • http://www.chrono24.com/ - not really a seller, per se, but more a "portal" that presents watches offered by a mish mash of various sellers. Some of those sellers are individuals, some are small jewelry stores and boutiques. The sellers are global, but each listing indicates where the seller is. Some offerings are good deals, some are excellent deals, some are no better or worse than what you'll find anywhere else.
There are surely more grey market sellers.

About pre-owned watches:
If you are buying from a reputable seller, there's nothing wrong with them. Just make sure the watch has been serviced before you take delivery of it.

Some non-Big Name Brands that Offer Great Watches:
Below are some lesser known brands that I highly recommend. The only downside to buying them is that because they are from smaller companies that have less wide distribution networks, it's harder to find them at discounted prices, some may not be discounted anywhere. The upside is that what you are paying for isn't the wide recognition of the brand's name.
  • Limes
  • Damasko
  • Muhle Glashutte
  • Nomos
  • Stowa
  • Auguste Reymond
  • Prim
  • Frederique Constant
  • Oris
  • Sinn
  • Mido
  • Deep Blue
  • Milus
  • Squale
  • Boccia
  • Curevo y Sobrinos
These are the brands that I think will give you good "bang for the buck." There's no denying that some "boutique" brands charge a premium for the "boutique-ness" of their brand. I don't have too much of an issue with such brands for I know that's what I'm paying for, but I want the style they offer an that isn't replicated elsewhere in a quality product.

Check out the other posts I've made on here in the watches section. I have not every suggested a watch that I would not buy myself or that I would not recommend to a close friend or family member. Some of the watches I suggested are well below your price point, some are not, and some are well above your desired price point. In some places, I've offered my specific opinion on particular watches and in of them I explained my feelings on Tag watches overall.
About Watch Movements
If you are going to style yourself as a serious collector, they matter. All such watches and movements are either super limited production ( 10 or fewer pieces of both the watch and the movement), and none I've come across can be had for less than $15K, most cost more like $25K+. Nearly all are either highly artful uncomplicated watches, or very complicated watches in cases made usually from precious metals. These watches may have names, but unless they are one of a kind (or one of 4 pieces or something like that) they are referred to not by name, but exclusively by reference number, but by folks who have/talk about them and by their makers.

The thing is, to get unique or innovative or highly complex movements that matter, you will be buying none of the brands in this post, except maybe if you buy a pre-owned Omega that has the co-axial 8500 or 2500 movement. Technically the ETA/Valjoux 7750 and other ETA basic movements are important movements for their role in restoring the Swiss mechanical watchmaking industry to solvency. Vintage ones have some relevance in that regard. New ones purchased today are better "machines" and have no real historic or engineering significance.

If you are going to style yourself as a casual collector, they matter a very little bit. It's nice to have movements from various watchmakers and that's mostly why casual collectors will buy watches that have in-house movements. This is where Nomos, Damasko, Frederique Constant, Auguste Reymond, Prim, and others come into play. They are fine watches and have movements made by lesser known companies. A few of these brands can be had in the $2K range. Collectors of this sort are also keen on various watches from JLC, Breguet, Rolex, and lots of other top tier makers, as well as selected novelty pieces such as the Ingersoll Mickey Mouse watch. Any watch from a top tier brand and that's generally referred to by a model name rather than exclusively by a reference number (i.e., the maker has no model name for the watch) is one of these sorts of watches. This is the type of collector I am. I and others like be buy watches at varying price points because we are into watches, but we aren't having/didn't have one-on-one chats with ALS, PP, Martin Braun, Gerald Genta (d. 2011), et al about the very specific watch they are making for us. We may commission lesser known watchmakers to build a piece for us.

If you aren't going to style yourself as any kind of collector, movements really don't matter much at all so long as they work.

About watch brands and "status:"
A watch maker gains your status because you wear their watch. You gain no status by wearing any watch. It never, ever, is any way but that. Consider this. Who is the watchmaker before you, "Mr./Ms. Accomplished, Wealthy or Titled Person" buys and wears his watch? He's nobody. Once you wear his watch, your reputation transfers to the watchmaker and s/he gains your status accordingly.

The portion of a watch's price attributable to brand name and brand status is solely driven by the clientele of the watchmaker. Breguet, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and so on down the hierarchy of brands is entirely the result of the fact that when watches were first made, the only folks who could afford them were kings, queens, and other nobility. These days, there is no shortage of companies more than sufficiently capable of making an excellent watch.

About Copies and Replicas:
Copies are watches that mimic, to greater and lesser degrees, the styles of famous and often very expensive watch brands' offerings, but the copies do not carry that famous brand name. In many cases the brand copied is from a company that makes its own cases, bracelets, and movements. No matter how close the copy, no matter how well its cases and bracelets are made (some can be quite well made, or at least as well made as the "original") and no matter how well it keeps time, it is not exactly the same if only because the name brand differs. If the copied watch is a "manufacture" watch, meaning the company whose name is on the dial is the company who made the movement inside, the copy will absolutely not have the same movement inside.

When one expensive brand copies another expensive brand, nobody seems to "get their panties in a bunch" over it. When an inexpensive brand copies and expensive brand's product, folks, especially watch geeks and watch snobs practically go into conniptions. Point in fact: check out the basic time only or time and date only models of these watches and tell me how different they are. The truth is that they are as indistinguishable as they can possibly be. Each brand retains minor aspects of the styling details that they are know for -- VC's markers, for example -- and the brand name on the front. Each is a high quality watch.
  • A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia
  • JLC Master Ultra Thin
  • Vacheron Constantin Patrimony
Another similarity at even higher price points: Arnold & Son and Graham. The dial, the movement and the case are pure Arnold & Son. The only difference is what each brand placed in the bezel. A&S offers a couple different bezel treatments; Graham offers only one I know of. Both are $200K+ watches.
There is noting wrong with copies so long as they are good quality. Copies, also called "knock offs" are not new to the consumer products industry. There are tons of them and people buy and enjoy them every day. Copies exist for two reasons: the principle of "monopolistic competition" and the current laws that exist around intellectual property.

Here are just a few examples that span many sectors of the consumer products industry. In nearly all cases, you can tell the difference in the quality of the two products, and sometimes you give a damn, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes the original will be the better product, sometimes it won't. It's no different with watches, and watches are just like any other branded product.
  • Trench Coats: Burberry and Aquascutum made the first ones. All the rest -- Brooks Brothers, London Fog, Nordstrom, Walmart, and many others are copies of the original.
  • Aluminum foil: Invented by various folks more or less around the same time, but today you can buy Reynod's right along with your local store brand.
  • Designer clothing: At least once a year, any number of daytime television shows -- Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, et al, have segments on how to have a designer look for less money. Every single one of the designer alternatives is a knock off.
  • Food: There's Ragu, and Prego, and Newman's and other brands of tomato sauce. The phenomenon is not limited to tomato sauce.
  • Furniture: There's Mies van der Rohe and there're copies of his chair. There's original Chippendale and there're copies of it.
Some folks want the designer product; some don't. The choice is in part just an emotional one. Sure, most often the quality of the original is higher, but not always. Depending on who does the copying, the quality might be equal, or it might be higher. There are only three things that can be reliably said about copies -- watches or any other:
  • The company doing the copying didn't pay a designer/engineer to come up with the style as an original style.
  • They offer the look of the original and usually do so for less money.
  • They will continue to exist until intellectual property laws are changed.
As for watch copies, many a watch geek/snob will quite readily voice his/her disdain for them. More often than not, that scorn is because the look is quite similar to their watch for which they paid a considerably higher price. IN watches, it's not often at all that the watch actually works less effectively, although there are cases where that does happen. Some brands known for copying the styles of others:
  • Invicta - This is the only brand for which I've seen any tangible evidence of there being a real issue. The real issue of which I'm aware is customer service, although there are some folks who've complained legitimately about the quality/performance of a specific watch they bought from Invicta. You can read the Better Business Bureau's website entries for Invicta and you'll know everything I know that's factual. Most everything else I've seen/heard about Invicta is just folks who are ticked because Invicta offers copies of famous, high-dollar brands, most notably Rolex, but plenty of other expensive brands are copied, including Tag, Cartier, Patek, IWC, Omega, and others. I wouldn't buy an Invicta.
  • Parnis - Parnis is a "brand" that mostly copies Rolex, IWC and Panerai watches. They also make a few models that are unique to Parnis. All their watches have Chinese movements inside. Some Sea-gull, some Beijing, some are unknown copies of ETA movements. Parnis isn't really a watch company or a watch brand. Parnis is a company that essentially puts names on dials. I don't know that they even make the dials. Any company that makes a knock off watch can have Parnis put the Parnis name on the dial and that name -- Parnis -- is sufficient to allow the watch to be compliant with intellectual property laws. I wouldn't buy a Parnis, but unlike Invicta, I have no objective evidence that there's anything wrong with them.
  • Tao - More of the same. Chines movements inside of cases that very closely resemble other brands' offerings. I wouldn't buy a Tao, but I have no objective basis for not buying them.
  • Stuhrling Original - More of the same. Movements made in China as far as I know. I might buy one of these, but probably not. (http://www.watchesonnet.com/blog/stu...-mixed-reviews , http://watchreviewsbymcv.blogspot.co...-tuskegee.html)
The main reason I wouldn't buy anything from the brands noted as copy brands is that I'm a watch collector and watches from these brand have almost no relevance in my collection. Were my collection theme something on the order of "inexpensive (truly or in comparison) watches that look like more expensive ones," or "originals and their clones," I would surely buy them. The latter theme actually could be quite interesting actually for there are clones to be had at every possible price point and quality level. Such a collection would tell an interesting story.

If you do want to buy a watch that looks like something from one of the expensive watchmakers ($5k+ is about what most folks would call expensive), check out this site:
http://examinedliving.com/products/f...ches-automatic
Not all will be copies/homages, but most

Replica watches are quite similar to copies/clones, except that they have the brand name on the dial of the watch they mimic. If you go to China and want to buy one of these, fine. They'll cost you about $25 or less if you are a good haggler. Outside of China, they'll cost you considerably more, more even than the copies. The copies are a better use of your money for the only difference between the replica and the copy is that the replica is pretending to be something it is not and it costs more than the copy. Remember, the copy may look like a Rolex, say, but it doesn't say Rolex on the dial. The replica does. You should note that replicas are are barely legal. They only reason you can buy them in the West is because the web sellers offering them very clearly state that they are replicas.

The other major difference between a replica and copy is that the only folks who can tell a replica from the actual watch are watch geeks and experts. The folks at your local watch repair shop will know the difference.

About Watches Having a Clothing Designer's Name Brand:
Few if any of these watches are downright poor in quality. Most are what are commonly called "fashion watches." Nearly all have a much larger than normal premium associated with the designer's brand name. As a result, there are very few that I would suggest one buy. There are some such watches, however, that are more than just an inexpensive movement inside of an inexpensive case and having the designer's name on the dial. The few such watches I know of and that I would buy are:
  • Cartier -- not really a designer, per se, and they make more than a few seriously good watches. Most, if not all, of their mechanical watches will be well over $2K. Some movements are by Cartier, some are from Piaget, some are from other top notch movement makers.
  • Benz by John Varvatos -- these are very good watches. Ernst Benz is a well regarded maker of watches and Varvatos has smartly left Benz's name on the watch to distinguish it from he hoi polloi of designer watches.
  • Hermes - they don't really make watches so much as design them, but they put great movements inside and the whole thing is a high quality product. Their brand premium is no worse than that of Omega, Rolex or some of the small boutique brands. You'll have a hard time finding one for $2K, but if you do and it's mechanical, buy it with the knowledge that it's not some run of the mill watch with a fancy name on the dial. Movements will be from Pargiani, a high end watch company that makes excellent watches and watch movements.
  • Ralph Lauren -- Same concept as Hermes. Ralph Lauren watches are entirely a brand licensing arrangement between Ralph Lauren and Richemont Group. Movements will be from a variety of makers; the ultra thin ones will be from Piaget, who is the undisputed king of thin movements.
  • Tiffany -- Pre-owned or discontinued new models from the 1990s, I would buy. Tiffany watches that are co-branded with a serious watchmaker's name, e.g., Tiffany by Patek Philippe, I would buy. The rest I would not buy or recommend. If you like a Tiffany style, check out Calvin Klein. It'll have the same guts and Calvin offers watches that look a lot like the Atlas series Tiffany offers, but it'll cost you about $500 or so. Both companies products are brand licensing deals with Swatch.
  • Louis Vuitton - Recently purchased a very high quality watch manufacturing company. LV watches aren't inexpensive, but they are very good quality.
  • Montblanc -- Better known for the ink pens, Montblanc also purchased a watch manufacturing company -- Minerva -- and they make very fine watches. Some of their models could even be called good values in the lower rungs of expensive watches.

I know that was a lot for you to read. However, it should be enough for you to go to a watch store or website and choose what you want. My goal wasn't to tell you what specifically to buy, but rather to empower you to buy with confidence so that whatever you choose, you'll know what you are spending your money on, both the tangible, intrinsic qualities of the watch as well as the intangible, emotion ones, like status and recognition. It's your money.

Here are a few more useful sites:
http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/brands.shtml
http://www.pmwf.com/Watches/T20PMW%20List%20Table.htm
http://www.forbes.com/sites/arielada...of-high-value/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/arielada...oks-not-value/
http://etaswissmovement.com/
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Last edited by tony20009; 01-05-2014 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Added mention of Stauer in paragraph 2 and Added some more quality Designer watch brands
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      01-05-2014, 04:01 PM   #12
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      01-05-2014, 04:03 PM   #13
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Looky looky man 20quid TAG for me

Then save the rest
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      01-05-2014, 04:23 PM   #14
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It just occurred to me, OP, that you are on Mars. I have no idea what the watch market is like on Mars. You can ignore everything I wrote above; I'm sure it doesn't apply to buying watches on Mars.

All the best.
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      01-05-2014, 04:51 PM   #15
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Very interesting read that Tony
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      01-05-2014, 06:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchfries View Post
Im looking into buying a watch with a budget of 2k. What are some good brands/models I could get within my budget? This is going to be my first watch. thanks!
I had to check to make sure but some other brands that really are rip-offs are:
  • Daniel Steiger -- these guys offer very long warranties because even if they replace your watch annually, they'll still make a ton of profit on them. If you recall above I mentioned $25 watches from China. Well DS watches are exactly that. The only difference is that they are buying them at wholesale. You could buy that $25 watch for $10 or less if you weren't obviously a foreigner trying to get a good deal.
  • Steinhausen - More of the same.
  • Stauer - the brand I mentioned above
One thing I didn't mention in my post above is that the $2K price point is one of the hardest in which to find truly good values. As I said, none of the $2K watches you'll find are bad and many are well made. The thing is that almost all that are well known are priced at $2K in large part due to brand recognition.


Yes there are some that are worth their price intrinsically. I listed quite a few earlier, but you won't have to spend $2K to buy a good watch from any of those brands. The same problem exists pretty well all the way up to about $3500. Once you get there, the value proposition gets better. There are then good values again at many price points up to whatever sum you are willing to spend.


The short is that 9 out of 10 times, $2K won't get you any better watch than will $1200 - $1800 will. About the only time spending $2K to $3499.99 is a good thing is when the styling is so unique that it cannot be remotely obtained from any other maker at any lower price point. The other times $2K is worth spending on a watch are:
  • when one finds a great pre-owned watch that is available at that price or
  • when one find a specific watch that normally sells for a small to large sum more than $2K but is marked down to $2K.
You'll have to find those on your own using the information and resources I suggested above, along with reading watch reviewer sites to learn about "what's what." I won't look for them for you.


Good watch review sites:
  • A Blog to Watch (ABTW)
  • Worn and Wound
  • Hodinkee
  • Watch You Seek
  • Watch Time
  • WatchReport.com


All the best.
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      01-05-2014, 06:43 PM   #17
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Try Lum-Tec. They resemble Panerai
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      01-06-2014, 10:24 AM   #18
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Great information tony! I learned from it.
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      01-06-2014, 11:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boots View Post
Tag make some nice ones in that price range.
Yeah this.

You could prob get an automatic but you could easily get a good quartz that will keep perfect time and zero maintenance for under your budget. Almost everything under 2k has an off the shelf movement so I'd hold off on trying to find something fancy until your budget grows.
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      01-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
Note: everything below pertains to mechanical watches -- manual and automatic. If you are seeking a quartz watch, but whatever you want. Quartz is quartz is quartz is quartz. They all work and they all keep better time than do mechanical watches. If you are going to buy a quartz watch, Girard-Perregaux is the brand to pick if collectability is what matters to you. Otherwise, you are better off choosing a vintage quartz watch from one of the top tier brands. Tiffany by Patek Philippe quartz watches are well worth owning, for example. For the most part, however, collectible quartz watches, as a genre, are something left to serious watch aficionados who know what and why they are buying the ones they buy. The truth is that quartz movements, no matter whose they are, are inexpensive and there is little to nothing of import (tangibly) to the average consumer that make will make a pricey one a better choice than an inexpensive one.

It's far easier to tell you what brands to avoid then it is to enumerate which ones are good. The one brand I know of that is a complete rip-off is Stauer. They are a rip-off not because the watches won't work, for they will work, but because there is absolutely no reason to pay as much as they charge for the stuff they offer. They are one of the very few watch brands that just aren't worth the money because they sell what amounts to $10 watches for $100. Everything they have is like that, regardless of the price. You can pretty reliably be certain that if they charge $500 for a watch, something quite the same and just as good can be had for $250 or less. Stauer is a no-name brand that sells inexpensive components assembled designed with average attention to detail for a lot of money. If you want a so-so or cheap watch, fine, but buy one at a so-so/cheap watch's price.

They offer one watch that has an ETA 7750 (aka Valjoux) movement inside, which is a chronograph movement and a very good one too, but the case and bracelet are dime-store quality. The watch may be fine at $400, but for the $2300 they ask for it, it's not remotely worth the price. The reason has nothing at all to do with the brand name on the watch. It is because you can buy, at retail, the exact same movement for about $570 (http://www.ofrei.com/page_183.html), which means the wholesale price - what the watchmaker would pay -- on it is at least half that if not considerably less than half that price.

(Note: I don't care what you find on a website somewhere, no movement maker, and especially ETA, is going to advertise their wholesale pricing; that is something negotiated between the maker and its business customers. Period. The most basic retail markup is 50%, i.e., the price you pay is 50% markup and 50% cost. At some retailers, Stauer being one of them, the markup can be as high as 95%.)

The vast majority of the rest of what Stauer offer have Chinese movements inside. If one is going to buy a watch having a Chinese movement inside, best to buy one from a Chinese watchmaking company that charges a fair price for what they offer. Overall, Chinese movements work, some better than others. I mean fair in the sense that the markup in the watch price if reasonable given what they are offering. Or, more precisely, the portion of the total markup that's attributable entirely to the brand name is lower than the brand name portion of the markup found in the prices of watch brands having more widely recognized names. (Brush up on your economics to understand more about the concepts of pricing and economic competition if that's not clear to you.)

Stauer and many other companies offer products that have a variety of movements inside. For "watch geeks," the movement inside often matters a lot. For the rest of the world, so long as the movement keeps decent time, they probably don't care at all. Among the watch movements that could possibly be inside a watch, the only ones that should concern a "non-geek" customer are the Chinese ones offered by non-Chinese watchmakers. The Chinese watchmakers I know of that make quality products are Beijing Watch Company and Sea-gull,

There are also Japanese companies who make watch movements found in many companies' watches. Most often, Miyota movements are the Japanese movements used. Miyota movements are basically Seiko movements without the markup attributable to the Seiko brand name. Of course there's a bit more to it than that -- from a geek standpoint -- but they can be relied upon to keep good time.

Seiko, of course, is just one of several Japanese companies who make very good watches. Two others I'm aware of are Citizen and Orient Star. Of the three, Orient Star will by far be the best value because their offerings won't have as much "brand name" markup as will Citizen and Seiko. I suspect you've never heard of Orient Star; that's why there's not a lot of "brand name" markup in their watches.Make no mistake, however, they are a brand that many a "watch geek" is quite happy to own and wear for they are proof that one need now spend thousands of dollars to have a very good quality watch.

Another watch movement you'll find is Sellita. They are a Swiss maker that makes an ETA analogue movement that is just as good as ETA. You'll find these movements more and more in watches branded as Swiss Made and that are from companies that are not part of the Swatch Group. The reason for this is that back in 2010, Swatch/ETA announced it was cutting back on deliveries of ETA movements to companies that are not part of the Swatch Group.

As basic watch movements go, Sellita is just fine, and so is ETA. There are also other Swiss movement makers -- F. Piguet, Dubois-Duprz, JLC, Piaget, and more -- however, you are not likely to find these movements inside watches retailing at $2K or less.

As for good watches that cost ~$2K, there are many. The trick in that price range isn't finding a good watch; the trick is finding one that doesn't have as much brand name driven markup in it as a correspondingly good watch. The truth is that if you go to any high-end watch store (note: $2K isn't high end, per se, but high end stores will have $2K watches) they will have any number of watches costing ~$2K. All of them will be good watches. They will nearly all be big name brands too and they will all, therefore, have a large premium in their price that is attributable to the brand name. One can buy any of them and be rightly satisfied with the watch.

Big Name Watch Brands:
Big name brands are just that: brands that if your friends see them, they will recognize them. That's it. Some folks care that their friends know they have a major name brand. I don't give a tinker's dam about that; I care that I have a high quality watch on my wrist. Some of those big name brands with offerings in your price range are (in no particular oder):
  • Tag
  • Longines
  • Seiko
  • Tudor -- most likely you'll only find one of these in your price range used, but you may find a new one at a grey market seller that is new and in your budget.
  • Citizen
  • Hamilton
  • Omega -- New you can buy a Constellation or Deville, perhaps. Pre-owned, you can find Seamaster or Speedmaster. The two former lines are dressier; the latter two are more casual.
  • Tissot
  • Victornioxx (Swiss Army and not Swiss Army)
Some models/brands will cost more, some less; some will carry more brand recognition, some will carry less. None are poor quality.

Nobody needs input on which of those to buy. Do the best you can haggling the price down, and buy the one that looks good to you. If you don't like haggling, visit your favorite grey market seller's website and pic what floats your boat. Here are some good grey market sellers:
  • http://www.pacificbaywatch.com/collections/watches - mostly new watches, but some are pre-owned. I like these guys because they have one of the largest selections of "exotic" watches offered at discount prices. They have lots of non-exotic offerings too.
  • http://www.bernardwatch.com/ - mostly pre-owned, but some new.
  • Alan Furman -- nearly all new watches. Some pre-owned Rolexes, but none of those will be in your price range. This is my personal favorite because they also have a retail store in the DC area.
  • Prestige Time
  • AuthenticWatches.com
  • Overstock.com - They offer some of the best values to be found in some cases. In others, they are neither better nor worse than anyone else. For example, they regularly have great prices on Cuervo y Sobrinos watches. Last week they had a fantastic price on a Tag Calibre 36. I'm sure they had some other great deals too. One thing to note is you just have to check The O on the day you are ready to buy because their stock fluctuates greatly from day to day. One brand that The O has a lot of is Stuhrling Original. There's nothing wrong with these watches, but many watch "snobs" and "geeks" despise the brand because it makes copies of famous, high-dollar watch styles. (See below.)
  • http://www.dexclusive.com/
  • http://www.ashford.com/us/watches/mens/cat5001.cid
  • Jomashop -- the watches they sell are fine, but I've heard Jomashop's customer service is hit or miss. That won't matter after you've had the watch for two years (or in some cases three or four, depending on the warranty period) If buying a major brand name, or a brand that's rock solid even not being a major name, it's very likely completely irrelevant.
  • http://www.thewatchery.com/
  • http://watchwarehouse.com/
  • http://www.luxurybazaar.com/class/cl...1_Watches.html
  • http://www.chrono24.com/ - not really a seller, per se, but more a "portal" that presents watches offered by a mish mash of various sellers. Some of those sellers are individuals, some are small jewelry stores and boutiques. The sellers are global, but each listing indicates where the seller is. Some offerings are good deals, some are excellent deals, some are no better or worse than what you'll find anywhere else.
There are surely more grey market sellers.

About pre-owned watches:
If you are buying from a reputable seller, there's nothing wrong with them. Just make sure the watch has been serviced before you take delivery of it.

Some non-Big Name Brands that Offer Great Watches:
Below are some lesser known brands that I highly recommend. The only downside to buying them is that because they are from smaller companies that have less wide distribution networks, it's harder to find them at discounted prices, some may not be discounted anywhere. The upside is that what you are paying for isn't the wide recognition of the brand's name.
  • Limes
  • Damasko
  • Muhle Glashutte
  • Nomos
  • Stowa
  • Auguste Reymond
  • Prim
  • Frederique Constant
  • Oris
  • Sinn
  • Mido
  • Deep Blue
  • Milus
  • Squale
  • Boccia
  • Curevo y Sobrinos
These are the brands that I think will give you good "bang for the buck." There's no denying that some "boutique" brands charge a premium for the "boutique-ness" of their brand. I don't have too much of an issue with such brands for I know that's what I'm paying for, but I want the style they offer an that isn't replicated elsewhere in a quality product.

Check out the other posts I've made on here in the watches section. I have not every suggested a watch that I would not buy myself or that I would not recommend to a close friend or family member. Some of the watches I suggested are well below your price point, some are not, and some are well above your desired price point. In some places, I've offered my specific opinion on particular watches and in of them I explained my feelings on Tag watches overall.
About Watch Movements
If you are going to style yourself as a serious collector, they matter. All such watches and movements are either super limited production ( 10 or fewer pieces of both the watch and the movement), and none I've come across can be had for less than $15K, most cost more like $25K+. Nearly all are either highly artful uncomplicated watches, or very complicated watches in cases made usually from precious metals. These watches may have names, but unless they are one of a kind (or one of 4 pieces or something like that) they are referred to not by name, but exclusively by reference number, but by folks who have/talk about them and by their makers.

The thing is, to get unique or innovative or highly complex movements that matter, you will be buying none of the brands in this post, except maybe if you buy a pre-owned Omega that has the co-axial 8500 or 2500 movement. Technically the ETA/Valjoux 7750 and other ETA basic movements are important movements for their role in restoring the Swiss mechanical watchmaking industry to solvency. Vintage ones have some relevance in that regard. New ones purchased today are better "machines" and have no real historic or engineering significance.

If you are going to style yourself as a casual collector, they matter a very little bit. It's nice to have movements from various watchmakers and that's mostly why casual collectors will buy watches that have in-house movements. This is where Nomos, Damasko, Frederique Constant, Auguste Reymond, Prim, and others come into play. They are fine watches and have movements made by lesser known companies. A few of these brands can be had in the $2K range. Collectors of this sort are also keen on various watches from JLC, Breguet, Rolex, and lots of other top tier makers, as well as selected novelty pieces such as the Ingersoll Mickey Mouse watch. Any watch from a top tier brand and that's generally referred to by a model name rather than exclusively by a reference number (i.e., the maker has no model name for the watch) is one of these sorts of watches. This is the type of collector I am. I and others like be buy watches at varying price points because we are into watches, but we aren't having/didn't have one-on-one chats with ALS, PP, Martin Braun, Gerald Genta (d. 2011), et al about the very specific watch they are making for us. We may commission lesser known watchmakers to build a piece for us.

If you aren't going to style yourself as any kind of collector, movements really don't matter much at all so long as they work.

About watch brands and "status:"
A watch maker gains your status because you wear their watch. You gain no status by wearing any watch. It never, ever, is any way but that. Consider this. Who is the watchmaker before you, "Mr./Ms. Accomplished, Wealthy or Titled Person" buys and wears his watch? He's nobody. Once you wear his watch, your reputation transfers to the watchmaker and s/he gains your status accordingly.

The portion of a watch's price attributable to brand name and brand status is solely driven by the clientele of the watchmaker. Breguet, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and so on down the hierarchy of brands is entirely the result of the fact that when watches were first made, the only folks who could afford them were kings, queens, and other nobility. These days, there is no shortage of companies more than sufficiently capable of making an excellent watch.

About Copies and Replicas:
Copies are watches that mimic, to greater and lesser degrees, the styles of famous and often very expensive watch brands' offerings, but the copies do not carry that famous brand name. In many cases the brand copied is from a company that makes its own cases, bracelets, and movements. No matter how close the copy, no matter how well its cases and bracelets are made (some can be quite well made, or at least as well made as the "original") and no matter how well it keeps time, it is not exactly the same if only because the name brand differs. If the copied watch is a "manufacture" watch, meaning the company whose name is on the dial is the company who made the movement inside, the copy will absolutely not have the same movement inside.

When one expensive brand copies another expensive brand, nobody seems to "get their panties in a bunch" over it. When an inexpensive brand copies and expensive brand's product, folks, especially watch geeks and watch snobs practically go into conniptions. Point in fact: check out the basic time only or time and date only models of these watches and tell me how different they are. The truth is that they are as indistinguishable as they can possibly be. Each brand retains minor aspects of the styling details that they are know for -- VC's markers, for example -- and the brand name on the front. Each is a high quality watch.
  • A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia
  • JLC Master Ultra Thin
  • Vacheron Constantin Patrimony
Another similarity at even higher price points: Arnold & Son and Graham. The dial, the movement and the case are pure Arnold & Son. The only difference is what each brand placed in the bezel. A&S offers a couple different bezel treatments; Graham offers only one I know of. Both are $200K+ watches.
There is noting wrong with copies so long as they are good quality. Copies, also called "knock offs" are not new to the consumer products industry. There are tons of them and people buy and enjoy them every day. Copies exist for two reasons: the principle of "monopolistic competition" and the current laws that exist around intellectual property.

Here are just a few examples that span many sectors of the consumer products industry. In nearly all cases, you can tell the difference in the quality of the two products, and sometimes you give a damn, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes the original will be the better product, sometimes it won't. It's no different with watches, and watches are just like any other branded product.
  • Trench Coats: Burberry and Aquascutum made the first ones. All the rest -- Brooks Brothers, London Fog, Nordstrom, Walmart, and many others are copies of the original.
  • Aluminum foil: Invented by various folks more or less around the same time, but today you can buy Reynod's right along with your local store brand.
  • Designer clothing: At least once a year, any number of daytime television shows -- Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, et al, have segments on how to have a designer look for less money. Every single one of the designer alternatives is a knock off.
  • Food: There's Ragu, and Prego, and Newman's and other brands of tomato sauce. The phenomenon is not limited to tomato sauce.
  • Furniture: There's Mies van der Rohe and there're copies of his chair. There's original Chippendale and there're copies of it.
Some folks want the designer product; some don't. The choice is in part just an emotional one. Sure, most often the quality of the original is higher, but not always. Depending on who does the copying, the quality might be equal, or it might be higher. There are only three things that can be reliably said about copies -- watches or any other:
  • The company doing the copying didn't pay a designer/engineer to come up with the style as an original style.
  • They offer the look of the original and usually do so for less money.
  • They will continue to exist until intellectual property laws are changed.
As for watch copies, many a watch geek/snob will quite readily voice his/her disdain for them. More often than not, that scorn is because the look is quite similar to their watch for which they paid a considerably higher price. IN watches, it's not often at all that the watch actually works less effectively, although there are cases where that does happen. Some brands known for copying the styles of others:
  • Invicta - This is the only brand for which I've seen any tangible evidence of there being a real issue. The real issue of which I'm aware is customer service, although there are some folks who've complained legitimately about the quality/performance of a specific watch they bought from Invicta. You can read the Better Business Bureau's website entries for Invicta and you'll know everything I know that's factual. Most everything else I've seen/heard about Invicta is just folks who are ticked because Invicta offers copies of famous, high-dollar brands, most notably Rolex, but plenty of other expensive brands are copied, including Tag, Cartier, Patek, IWC, Omega, and others. I wouldn't buy an Invicta.
  • Parnis - Parnis is a "brand" that mostly copies Rolex, IWC and Panerai watches. They also make a few models that are unique to Parnis. All their watches have Chinese movements inside. Some Sea-gull, some Beijing, some are unknown copies of ETA movements. Parnis isn't really a watch company or a watch brand. Parnis is a company that essentially puts names on dials. I don't know that they even make the dials. Any company that makes a knock off watch can have Parnis put the Parnis name on the dial and that name -- Parnis -- is sufficient to allow the watch to be compliant with intellectual property laws. I wouldn't buy a Parnis, but unlike Invicta, I have no objective evidence that there's anything wrong with them.
  • Tao - More of the same. Chines movements inside of cases that very closely resemble other brands' offerings. I wouldn't buy a Tao, but I have no objective basis for not buying them.
  • Stuhrling Original - More of the same. Movements made in China as far as I know. I might buy one of these, but probably not. (http://www.watchesonnet.com/blog/stu...-mixed-reviews , http://watchreviewsbymcv.blogspot.co...-tuskegee.html)
The main reason I wouldn't buy anything from the brands noted as copy brands is that I'm a watch collector and watches from these brand have almost no relevance in my collection. Were my collection theme something on the order of "inexpensive (truly or in comparison) watches that look like more expensive ones," or "originals and their clones," I would surely buy them. The latter theme actually could be quite interesting actually for there are clones to be had at every possible price point and quality level. Such a collection would tell an interesting story.

If you do want to buy a watch that looks like something from one of the expensive watchmakers ($5k+ is about what most folks would call expensive), check out this site:
http://examinedliving.com/products/f...ches-automatic
Not all will be copies/homages, but most

Replica watches are quite similar to copies/clones, except that they have the brand name on the dial of the watch they mimic. If you go to China and want to buy one of these, fine. They'll cost you about $25 or less if you are a good haggler. Outside of China, they'll cost you considerably more, more even than the copies. The copies are a better use of your money for the only difference between the replica and the copy is that the replica is pretending to be something it is not and it costs more than the copy. Remember, the copy may look like a Rolex, say, but it doesn't say Rolex on the dial. The replica does. You should note that replicas are are barely legal. They only reason you can buy them in the West is because the web sellers offering them very clearly state that they are replicas.

The other major difference between a replica and copy is that the only folks who can tell a replica from the actual watch are watch geeks and experts. The folks at your local watch repair shop will know the difference.

About Watches Having a Clothing Designer's Name Brand:
Few if any of these watches are downright poor in quality. Most are what are commonly called "fashion watches." Nearly all have a much larger than normal premium associated with the designer's brand name. As a result, there are very few that I would suggest one buy. There are some such watches, however, that are more than just an inexpensive movement inside of an inexpensive case and having the designer's name on the dial. The few such watches I know of and that I would buy are:
  • Cartier -- not really a designer, per se, and they make more than a few seriously good watches. Most, if not all, of their mechanical watches will be well over $2K. Some movements are by Cartier, some are from Piaget, some are from other top notch movement makers.
  • Benz by John Varvatos -- these are very good watches. Ernst Benz is a well regarded maker of watches and Varvatos has smartly left Benz's name on the watch to distinguish it from he hoi polloi of designer watches.
  • Hermes - they don't really make watches so much as design them, but they put great movements inside and the whole thing is a high quality product. Their brand premium is no worse than that of Omega, Rolex or some of the small boutique brands. You'll have a hard time finding one for $2K, but if you do and it's mechanical, buy it with the knowledge that it's not some run of the mill watch with a fancy name on the dial. Movements will be from Pargiani, a high end watch company that makes excellent watches and watch movements.
  • Ralph Lauren -- Same concept as Hermes. Ralph Lauren watches are entirely a brand licensing arrangement between Ralph Lauren and Richemont Group. Movements will be from a variety of makers; the ultra thin ones will be from Piaget, who is the undisputed king of thin movements.
  • Tiffany -- Pre-owned or discontinued new models from the 1990s, I would buy. Tiffany watches that are co-branded with a serious watchmaker's name, e.g., Tiffany by Patek Philippe, I would buy. The rest I would not buy or recommend. If you like a Tiffany style, check out Calvin Klein. It'll have the same guts and Calvin offers watches that look a lot like the Atlas series Tiffany offers, but it'll cost you about $500 or so. Both companies products are brand licensing deals with Swatch.
  • Louis Vuitton - Recently purchased a very high quality watch manufacturing company. LV watches aren't inexpensive, but they are very good quality.
  • Montblanc -- Better known for the ink pens, Montblanc also purchased a watch manufacturing company -- Minerva -- and they make very fine watches. Some of their models could even be called good values in the lower rungs of expensive watches.

I know that was a lot for you to read. However, it should be enough for you to go to a watch store or website and choose what you want. My goal wasn't to tell you what specifically to buy, but rather to empower you to buy with confidence so that whatever you choose, you'll know what you are spending your money on, both the tangible, intrinsic qualities of the watch as well as the intangible, emotion ones, like status and recognition. It's your money.

Here are a few more useful sites:
http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/brands.shtml
http://www.pmwf.com/Watches/T20PMW%20List%20Table.htm
http://www.forbes.com/sites/arielada...of-high-value/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/arielada...oks-not-value/
http://etaswissmovement.com/
Tony,

Great write up.
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      01-07-2014, 02:44 PM   #21
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Great post tony

I have been keeping an eye on this watch for several months now, and just released in UK

Swatch SISTEM51

http://www.swatch.com/zz_en/sistem51.html
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      01-07-2014, 02:47 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filip75 View Post
Tony,

Great write up.
Did you seriously just quote that post

My scroll button has just liquidised.....
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