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Watch That Will Last

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 260 ✭✭ onmebike


    I'm looking for a bit of general advice. I inherited an old pocket watch recently, as did my siblings, and it struck me as a really lovely thing to receive. It's impractical for modern use, but I love it and it will be passed on to the next generation eventually.

    It got me thinking about the possibility of having a watch that I'd wear and be able to pass on to my kids. Browsing through some threads here, I see that it's possible to own more than one watch. Who knew??

    The bones of my question are what you would look for if you want a watch that will last. I had a Festina before that I really liked, but some got some corrosion inside and that was the end of that (according to a jewellers in Liffey Valley). It was a quartz one that probably cost about €150, 15 years ago.


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Comments



  • Its a good question. The rule of thumb should be that an expensive watch from a marquee brand should last a generation or two.

    But there were cheap watches produced in the 40s and 50s (Chronographe Suisse for eg) that are still going strong today if looked after. I have had more than a few of these over the years.
    And there are premium watches from that period that have fallen to parts.

    Assuming you do not want to sell a kidney then IMO - Military watches are generally really well built. As are dive watches. A watch that is water proof should in theory last longer as less risk of internal water damage.

    My own recommendation is the humble Hamilton Khaki mechanical wind watch. They are available relatively cheaply and should last good few decades if looked after.




  • That's great - thank you. I haven't heard of Military watches before. Would they be the typical chunky style in here?


    https://manofmany.com/fashion/watches/best-tactical-watches




  • Some Seiko movements have been known to go for 20 odd years without ever being serviced. Problem with Seiko dive watches these days is quality control is very hit and miss. In my experience Damasko make the toughest, most scratch resistant cases.

    If the seat's wet, sit on yer hat, a cool head is better than a wet ar5e.





  • The style of the MWC Navigator is more what I had in mind than the big hunks of plastic. I would be looking at a watch in that style from a known quality brand with a mechanical movement. (some would argue quartz, but me is old school!)

    Case and movement build quality are key. A watch that is serviceable and repairable should something happen. Otherwise the chances of it ending up in the bin over the decades increase exponentially.




  • The only military issued watch in that list is the Marathon Navigator. A nice enough watch and tough enough but made of plastic and won't last for decades. Of that list the first the Marathon is a great watch, though I'd look for the mechanical movement version rather than the quartz.

    Nothing wrong with quartz, but in decades time when the movement fails a replacement may not be easy to find, whereas the mechanical will pretty much always be fixable. They're also a very tough watch that will take a battering, though they wear large on the wrist and of course aren't the cheapest.

    The rest in the list are all military styled watches of variable quality(MWC are known to be so so). Most actual military guys these days if they wear a watch at all usually wear a Casio G-Shock.

    Generally speaking diver watches will last the years better because of superior sealing against the elements. You can see that with vintage stuff, the divers are nearly always in better condition internally.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • What's your budget?




  • Grand seiko quartz at the moment have a theoretical service interval of 50 years. Battery is sealed off from the rest of the watch, so changing that can't contaminate the rest of the movement.




  • Cienciano wrote: »
    Grand seiko quartz at the moment have a theoretical service interval of 50 years. Battery is sealed off from the rest of the watch, so changing that can't contaminate the rest of the movement.
    My understanding is that this is a myth, people misread some Seiko literature which talked about the 9F lubricant lasting 50 years.




  • This is something I've wondered lately Wibbs.

    Would a mechanical Def be your best bet for possible future repair yes? I was mulling whether it would be easier get parts for a mechanical or a new quartz movement after X amount of years

    You'd Def say mechanical so?




  • Actually that's a bloody good question S. Not being able to source a quartz movement assumes we don't progress in small scale, short run, even homemade manufacturing. If I look at my 50 year old very early quartz and one of them stops working, well currently I can probably source an original movement, or fix one. There's even a lad in Germany who will repair a Longines Ultraquartz movement, which is the oddest thing you ever saw, a rare and quirky movement indeed. Another guy in the Netherlands can take the same watch throw the dead original movement in the bin and fashion a new modern quartz movement that mimics all the functions of the original including the crown setting on the back(though not the sweeping seconds) and he does it in his workshop from scratch and he was doing it ten years ago. For others I can find current brand new movements that will fit the case and hand sizes and be more robust, if not as fancy and "authentic" and original as the, well, original, but my watch will be up and running again. And now that I think about it for significantly less cost than restoring a mechanical movement that's actually broken and servicing that same watch through its life.

    Now if zombies take over after a solar flare and all we have is tiny screwdrivers and the like, then yes a mechanical movement is the better bet, but the more I think about it... Oh and if I was looking to centuries of survival pick the most basic time only mechanical movement and one that was produced in the millions.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • redlead wrote: »
    What's your budget?
    I have no particular budget in mind, but I'm definitely nowhere near 'donate a kidney' territory. I'd probably be prepared to spend up to several hundred Euro - say, €500. I'd want to be happy that I've got something good quality then.



    Similar to bikes, I'd only spend what I can afford to lose/break. If I broke a €1000 watch, I'd feel like I'd made a mistake getting it.

    Edit - am I crazy thinking I'd get a long-lasting watch for €500?




  • I'd usually find my eye drawn towards watches with a number of smaller dials inset - stopwatch at the like. This is an aesthetic thing though as I don't dive and I'd use a round-the-neck stopwatch for things I need that for.

    Is there a rule of thumb about these types longevity or being more problematic or difficult to maintain?




  • Chronographs? Well you'll be hard pressed to get a decent long lasting one for 500 quid and yeah they're more complicated and if mechanical need more expensive maintenance because there's a lot more going on. Though here's a Seiko quartz chronograph within budget

    s-l1000.jpg

    If that appeals? Seiko are a great brand and the watch is in steel. That's something I forgot earlier, always go for steel, unless your budget and desires include solid gold. Any plated watch cases age terribly. Same for plastic.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • I think long lasting and mechanical is pretty hard at 500 bucks. I'd imagine nearly all the Seikos in that bracket have hardlex crystals instead of sapphire. A dive watch with sapphire crystal and a ceramic bezel would be good things to look out for in terms of durability but very hard get at that price point.




  • redlead wrote: »
    I think long lasting and mechanical is pretty hard at 500 bucks. I'd imagine nearly all the Seikos in that bracket have hardlex crystals instead of sapphire. A dive watch with sapphire crystal and a ceramic bezel would be good things to look out for in terms of durability but very hard get at that price point.

    Loads of Chinese dive watches with ceramic and sapphire and Seiko NH35s inside for a lot less than €500.

    Orient Kamasu. Hasn't a ceramic bezel but it's ss and as the watch sells for around €250 you will have plenty left over to upgrade if you feel the need.




  • There are fairly decent ceramic bezels available for about 30 yoyos online. If that is a key feature, you can easily upgrade if you are competent enough to change a battery.

    I did one myself on an SKX009 without the help of a grown up*.







    *No horologists were consulted, or required, during this action.




  • For €620 you could get an Ocean One Titanium 500 which has a ceramic bezel that will not show signs of wear unless you are very hard on it; a sapphire crystal which will be very hard to scratch, 500 meters of water resistance and a Swiss Made ETA 2892/SW300.

    If you keep an eye out you should be able to get a second hand one for <€500

    ZDJYvixl.jpg

    The negatives would be that titanium can pick up some scratches, but tbh any watch you wear every day will pick up some scratches.


    For me it would be hard to beat.


    (note I have 2 Steinharts but not this one. I do however have the batman GMT version of this and love it)




  • I have the Steinhart Ocean 39 black ceramic. Add another €30 for shipping and you're still under the mark. Not eta but Sellita SW200 now which are eta based and just as good even if ETA would be preferable for re-sale and bragging rights. Steinhart list their movements as ETA/Sellita (SW) but this is a bit of misleading marketing.

    https://www.steinhartwatches.de/en/ocean-one-39-black-ceramic.html




  • Loads of Chinese dive watches with ceramic and sapphire and Seiko NH35s inside for a lot less than €500.

    Orient Kamasu. Hasn't a ceramic bezel but it's ss and as the watch sells for around €250 you will have plenty left over to upgrade if you feel the need.

    I don't trust most of those cheap Chinese watches. They have all the specs on paper but will they realistically hold up? I bought a Cadani design or something like that last year which I believe is one of the bigger Ali express watch companies and it was absolute junk. It stopped working after a few weeks and the strap basically disintegrated. Fair point on the Orient and Steinharts though.




  • The other thing about an economically priced Chinese watch is that it will always be that - a cheap Chinese watch. And while I am sure future generations will be full of sentimentality for whatever is left to them - I don't see them purring over Grandad's cheap Chinese watch like they would over a brand that will still be recognizable in 50-100 years time.


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  • The other thing about an economically priced Chinese watch is that it will always be that - a cheap Chinese watch. And while I am sure future generations will be full of sentimentality for whatever is left to them - I don't see them purring over Grandad's cheap Chinese watch like they would over a brand that will still be recognizable in 50-100 years time.

    There's little chance they will purr over any watch unless it can be easily turned into cash. :)




  • There's little chance they will purr over any watch unless it can be easily turned into cash. :)

    This is it tbh.

    I remember watching a US antiques roadshow where a woman had her father's collection with Rolex, Patek, etc getting valued and the amount of insults towards her in the comments was disgusting from "watch enthusiasts"

    Like we like our watches but if it's not a hobby/passion you can't expect others to be holding onto them more than you might keep a collection of vases, classic cars etc if the person has passed and they aren't your bag

    You'd nearly rather it gets sold on to someone else who values it rather than it gets kept in a drawer or dinged about the place on drunken nights out like it's a Micheal Kors fashion piece




  • rather than it gets kept in a drawer or dinged about the place on drunken nights out like it's a Micheal Kors fashion piece

    Hahaha look what dinged piece of crap I have in a drawer


    20210126-194450.jpg




  • redlead wrote: »
    Hahaha look what dinged piece of crap I have in a drawer

    :pac:




  • redlead wrote: »
    I don't trust most of those cheap Chinese watches. They have all the specs on paper but will they realistically hold up? I bought a Cadani design or something like that last year which I believe is one of the bigger Ali express watch companies and it was absolute junk. It stopped working after a few weeks and the strap basically disintegrated. Fair point on the Orient and Steinharts though.

    It does depend on how cheap those watches are - there's cheap and there's cheap.

    Keep in mind that a Seiko NH35 costs $20 if the whole watch costs 50 euro that falls into the "pot luck" territory. On the other hand - once you get to around 200 euro there's lots of good quality available.

    Many microbrands will put a SW200 or ETA2824 into a watch and sell for around 400-500 euro on kickstarter if you want to go the swiss route - Miyota 9 series movements are highly regarded too.

    I'd echo what some other posters have said too - if you're buying a new 500 euro watch - it will probably only have sentimental value - the old gold cased pocket watches of yore cost a lot more than 1/3 of a month's average wage - probably more likely to be 3 months or more (Wibbs can confirm :D ) - so the equivalent nowadays might be 5-6k on a watch - that would quite likely get you something very nice that potentially your descendants may wish to keep to remind great great grandfather by.




  • It's complex enough to work out what things like pocketwatches were worth compared to wages because there are all sorts of variables. They were often seen as portable wealth by working people. Women bought them for a similar reason. In the 18th and 19th centuries one of the most common items brought into pawnshops were pocketwatches and most often by women. When the man's wristwatch came along a quality silver cased trench watch in WW1 was about three months wages for the average working man, but prices trended downwards as watches became more popular, more were produced and materials like steel came into the market.

    In today's prices the average "good watch" for most of the 20th century was actually more like a months wages or less. In the US in 1970 the average annual wage was just over 6000 dollars, so around 500 quid a month. To put that in context for today's buyers; a steel Rolex Submariner was depending on model between 250-400 dollars, so under a months wages. In the UK in 1970 the average annual wage was around 1700 pounds, so around 140 quid a month and again for context an Omega Speedmaster was 80 pounds, an 18kt gold Constellation was more like 500(well gold has an intrinsic value), the early quartz watches were around the 500 quid mark too. Cutting edge tech put into expensive cases and dials, which of course becomes cheaper and cheaper as time goes on.

    Like I said there are all sorts of variables involved but it's pretty clear that mid tier Swiss "good watches" in steel have become "luxury" and prices have skyrocketed. Ker-ching! for the Swiss who played a blinder with marketing and the market. They've done a DeBeers.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • This is the thing - I'm looking for something that would more likely be a memento than something of financial value. Although, something that will last will likely need a bit of investment.


    I like the look of that Steinhart, above. https://www.steinhartwatches.de/en/ocean-one-39-black-ceramic.html


    It says that it's Automatic. Does this mean it uses hand/arm motion to keep itself wound? Is that a reliable enough technology or a bit gimickey? I seem to remember hearing about that for the first time about 10 or 15 years ago - was it a Seiko or something that was well known at the time?




  • onmebike wrote: »


    It says that it's Automatic. Does this mean it uses hand/arm motion to keep itself wound? Is that a reliable enough technology or a bit gimickey? I seem to remember hearing about that for the first time about 10 or 15 years ago - was it a Seiko or something that was well known at the time?

    Yeah, hand/arm motion, it's a new gimmick. It'll never catch on, better stick to battery powered quartz.




  • onmebike wrote: »
    It says that it's Automatic. Does this mean it uses hand/arm motion to keep itself wound? Is that a reliable enough technology or a bit gimickey? I seem to remember hearing about that for the first time about 10 or 15 years ago - was it a Seiko or something that was well known at the time?
    Basically there are two types of movement; mechanical with gears and springs around for centuries and quartz which uses electronics and battery power.

    Mechanical movements break down again into two types automatics and hand wound. Both wind the spring that drives the watch. An automatic has a swinging weight in the movement that while wearing rotates and winds the watch. Hand wound movements do what they say on the tin :D you wind the spring with the crown on the side of the watch by hand. Most automatic movements allow you do this too. Automatic movements have been around since the 1920's first invented by Harwood so have stood the test of time :)

    Hand wound movements involve more input on the part of the owner which some people prefer, but automatic or handwound it's down to a personal choice.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • Steinhart are a good solid watch alright and are popular. Though they tend to get sold on quickly enough. They seem to be a gateway drug :D that leads to more spending on more expensive or different watches.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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