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Old 13 October 2021, 03:09 AM   #1
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Watchmakers - what is your favorite non-Rolex brand and why?

I always hear that JLC is the "watchmaker's watchmaker" but I'm curious for those of you who actually make your living as a watchmaker, what brand is your top pick and why? I'm hoping to get into some technical points here (which is why I posted in this subforum) as to what you've seen in the brand that intrigues you.

Thanks!
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Old 13 October 2021, 04:15 AM   #2
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I had the fortune of meeting a couple watchmakers from the Horological Society of NY this past month. For what its worth, they were wearing a IWC Portugieser and vintage JLC respectively. (or at least I thought it was a JLC)
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Old 13 October 2021, 04:46 AM   #3
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Omega, especially the vintage stuff they made is incredibly good.
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Rolex uses rare elves to polish the platinum. They have a union deal and make like $90 per hour and get time and half on weekends.
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Old 13 October 2021, 11:07 PM   #4
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Omega, especially the vintage stuff they made is incredibly good.
Do you still feel their modern work is high quality or is this one of those "they don't make them like they used to" situations?
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Old 14 October 2021, 03:34 AM   #5
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Do you still feel their modern work is high quality or is this one of those "they don't make them like they used to" situations?
Oh their modern work is good stuff, but the vintage steel used for pivots is something else. Nothing like pulling a 565 apart and having a 50+ year old rotor axle without wear, gears that are pristine, etc.

Same goes for vintage Rolex, Patek, Jaeger, they all made incredible movements back in the day, with burnished steel. Now the steel pivots are all electropolished steel, which is quick and cheap in manufacturing but not even in the same league when it comes to durability.

If modern movement technology was combined with some old school methods the movements would be truly incredible.
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Old 14 October 2021, 05:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
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I always hear that JLC is the "watchmaker's watchmaker" but I'm curious for those of you who actually make your living as a watchmaker, what brand is your top pick and why? I'm hoping to get into some technical points here (which is why I posted in this subforum) as to what you've seen in the brand that intrigues you.

Thanks!
I always thought that JLC as "the watchmaker's watchmaker" was in reference to how many high-end houses sourced JLC movements for their pieces.

FWIW, the watchmaker at one of the ADs I was in recently had an amazingly beautiful vintage red Sub that he'd completely overhauled himself.

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I had the fortune of meeting a couple watchmakers from the Horological Society of NY this past month. For what its worth, they were wearing a IWC Portugieser and vintage JLC respectively. (or at least I thought it was a JLC)
Please tell me that the Portugieser was the 7-day, not the Chrono...
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Old 14 October 2021, 05:59 AM   #7
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I always thought that JLC as "the watchmaker's watchmaker" was in reference to how many high-end houses sourced JLC movements for their pieces.

FWIW, the watchmaker at one of the ADs I was in recently had an amazingly beautiful vintage red Sub that he'd completely overhauled himself.



Please tell me that the Portugieser was the 7-day, not the Chrono...
Confirmed manual/hand wound 8-Day (or similar).
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Old 14 October 2021, 06:03 AM   #8
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Oh their modern work is good stuff, but the vintage steel used for pivots is something else. Nothing like pulling a 565 apart and having a 50+ year old rotor axle without wear, gears that are pristine, etc.

Same goes for vintage Rolex, Patek, Jaeger, they all made incredible movements back in the day, with burnished steel. Now the steel pivots are all electropolished steel, which is quick and cheap in manufacturing but not even in the same league when it comes to durability.

If modern movement technology was combined with some old school methods the movements would be truly incredible.
Always interesting to hear your thoughts BAS
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Old 14 October 2021, 12:32 PM   #9
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Always interesting to hear your thoughts BAS
+1, I found those comments very interesting. I had never seen mention of burnished steel vs plated before.

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Old 17 October 2021, 06:07 PM   #10
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Oh their modern work is good stuff, but the vintage steel used for pivots is something else. Nothing like pulling a 565 apart and having a 50+ year old rotor axle without wear, gears that are pristine, etc.

Same goes for vintage Rolex, Patek, Jaeger, they all made incredible movements back in the day, with burnished steel. Now the steel pivots are all electropolished steel, which is quick and cheap in manufacturing but not even in the same league when it comes to durability.

If modern movement technology was combined with some old school methods the movements would be truly incredible.
Have agree Bas the old Rolex and Omega movements were fantastic but IMHO in their hay-day even Longines made some very fine movements, take the Longines twin-barrel movements were something I wish had survived in current production a brilliant movement but very expensive to make. Calibre 890, 892 & 893 had stacked twin barrels where calibres 990 to 994 had side-by-side barrels in a movement only 2.95mm thick.Now back in those days the power reserve of 44 hours was respectable but not particularly impressive for a twin-barrel movement. Although I'm sure that if R & D had continued on this movement this would have been substantially improved,and would have put many a modern movement to shame,from any manufacturer or brand today.Back in the late 1950s 1960s Longines made some fine movements. I had one of the first flagship Longines with the Cal 30L a very nice movement,it went on to be developed into the Cal 340 and its variants up to the cal 345 12-line 19800BPH.But at this time many Swiss manufactures were in trouble, owing to the influx of cheap quartz watches,which almost destroyed the Swiss mechanical movement industry. And sadly the movement side of the many of the Swiss movement makers now long gone but not forgotten by some.
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Old 17 October 2021, 09:01 PM   #11
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Have agree Bas the old Rolex and Omega movements were fantastic but IMHO in their hay-day even Longines made some very fine movements, take the Longines twin-barrel movements were something I wish had survived in current production a brilliant movement but very expensive to make. Calibre 890, 892 & 893 had stacked twin barrels where calibres 990 to 994 had side-by-side barrels in a movement only 2.95mm thick.Now back in those days the power reserve of 44 hours was respectable but not particularly impressive for a twin-barrel movement. Although I'm sure that if R & D had continued on this movement this would have been substantially improved,and would have put many a modern movement to shame,from any manufacturer or brand today.Back in the late 1950s 1960s Longines made some fine movements. I had one of the first flagship Longines with the Cal 30L a very nice movement,it went on to be developed into the Cal 340 and its variants up to the cal 345 12-line 19800BPH.But at this time many Swiss manufactures were in trouble, owing to the influx of cheap quartz watches,which almost destroyed the Swiss mechanical movement industry. And sadly the movement side of the many of the Swiss movement makers now long gone but not forgotten by some.
Yes, Longines made some incredible movements back in the day.
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Rolex uses rare elves to polish the platinum. They have a union deal and make like $90 per hour and get time and half on weekends.
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Old 17 October 2021, 09:06 PM   #12
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Oh their modern work is good stuff, but the vintage steel used for pivots is something else. Nothing like pulling a 565 apart and having a 50+ year old rotor axle without wear, gears that are pristine, etc.

Same goes for vintage Rolex, Patek, Jaeger, they all made incredible movements back in the day, with burnished steel. Now the steel pivots are all electropolished steel, which is quick and cheap in manufacturing but not even in the same league when it comes to durability.

If modern movement technology was combined with some old school methods the movements would be truly incredible.
I picked up a manual wind 1947 JLC and 1946 Omega. Both YG. I bet these things will run forever. I absolutely love them.

I appreciate your comments and insight as always.
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Old 17 October 2021, 09:26 PM   #13
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I picked up a manual wind 1947 JLC and 1946 Omega. Both YG. I bet these things will run forever. I absolutely love them.

I appreciate your comments and insight as always.
Thanks!

You'll enjoy those for the rest of your life
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Old 18 October 2021, 06:38 AM   #14
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Yes, Longines made some incredible movements back in the day.
That brand strikes me as the horological equivalent of Cadillac…
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Old 2 November 2021, 11:50 AM   #15
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I am certainly not a watchmaker, but have a vintage Movado with an incredible manual movement.
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Old 3 November 2021, 10:40 AM   #16
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Interesting subject, and great responses.
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Old 4 November 2021, 09:53 AM   #17
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Great question: Of course my favorite is vintage Rolex (starting with the 1560&70s... the 1520 not so much). But if not Rolex then I do really like the 500's in the Omega family. Vintage Longines also very nice. I haven't done as much work with Patek but a close friend has and he raves about some of their stuff.
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Old 7 November 2021, 04:39 AM   #18
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Omega, from the 19 ligne pocket watches with that beautiful blued overcoil to the 1861 they still make today.
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Old 25 November 2021, 11:50 AM   #19
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Old 25 November 2021, 01:10 PM   #20
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Interested in a watchmakers thoughts on vintage Universal Geneve.
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