High-end Vintage?

Thread: High-end Vintage?

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  1. #1
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    High-end Vintage?

    After reading the What makes a vintage watch valuable thread, it got me thinking.

    I know that this can go many different ways, but what do you WUS'ers consider "high-end" when it comes to the vintage world?

    Everything is better with pictures :)

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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    Here's a page from the November 1949 issue of a magazine that would become Consumer Reports - note the right hand side:




    I find it curious that there's no mention of Jaeger-LeCoultre even though they made many movements for AP, VC, and PP back then. Notice how high IWC (International), Longines, and Hamilton were? Rolex wasn't on the list either, which is strange.
    Last edited by ulackfocus; December 10th, 2010 at 05:58.

  3. #3
    Member Tony C.'s Avatar
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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    I love that scan, Dennis! My favorite part is that Patek Philippe models were "sold by Montgomery Ward", and described in their catalogues! What a hoot!

    With regards to the original post, I'd say that it is fairly reasonable to group PP, VC, and AP at the the top of the "high-end" hierarchy. Below those three, though, the waters become very muddy, as several manufacturers produced superb, high-end models.

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  5. #4
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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony C. View Post
    I love that scan, Dennis! My favorite part is that Patek Philippe models were "sold by Montgomery Ward", and described in their catalogues! What a hoot!

    With regards to the original post, I'd say that it is fairly reasonable to group PP, VC, and AP at the the top of the "high-end" hierarchy. Below those three, though, the waters become very muddy, as several manufacturers produced superb, high-end models.
    In view of the fact that the "Royal Oak" is a fairly mundane watch and the prestigious "Jules Audemars" and "Edouard Piguet" lines are just a small section of the output, I would replace AP with A. Lange & Söhne. Breguet is another candidate but since they are backed up by the Swatch Group and their movements are made by Lemania (now the "Manufacture Breguet"), AL just pip them to the post IMO.

    Hartmut Richter

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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    In view of the fact that the "Royal Oak" is a fairly mundane watch and the prestigious "Jules Audemars" and "Edouard Piguet" lines are just a small section of the output, I would replace AP with A. Lange & Söhne. Breguet is another candidate but since they are backed up by the Swatch Group and their movements are made by Lemania (now the "Manufacture Breguet"), AL just pip them to the post IMO.
    Hartmut,

    We are, I believe, talking about vintage watches here. And in that context, and especially during the golden period of, say 1940-1965 (i.e. pre-Royal Oak), AP was certainly a top-class, albeit low volume manufacturer. Likewise, A. Lange & Söhne, while certainly a top-class manufacturer of pocket watches during that period, has only risen to great prominence in terms of wristwatches more recently.

    Breguet did indeed make fine watches in the middle of the century, but in such small numbers that I don't view them quite the same way as the "big" three.

    Regards,

    Tony C.

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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by ulackfocus View Post
    Here's a page from the November 1949 issue of a magazine that would become Consumer Reports - note the right hand side:




    I find it curious that there's no mention of Jaeger-LeCoultre even though they made many movements for AP, VC, and PP back then. Notice how high IWC (International), Longines, and Hamilton were? Rolex wasn't on the list either, which is strange.
    i'm not surprised by the omission of rolex. this article was written based on the opinions of an american watchmaker in the late 40s. i strongly doubt rolex had enough of a presence in the US by that time to warrant his opinion. the top swiss names on that list had been top names for a long time in the world of horology.

    and yes, i take great pleasure in seeing hamilton so high up.

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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    I'd take the view that the good stuff is that which survived to this day and still keeps good time.

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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    Let me elaborate on JLC. For the first half of the 20th century, they made the majority of movements for Patek, Audemars, and Vacheron. Those 3 refinished JLC's ebauchés to make them prettier and add their markings (like companies did with ETA up until the last couple years) but the craftsmanship and skill was all JLC's. Actually, for a time, JLC had controlling interest of AP and even made an attempt at taking over PP in the early 30's and nearly did acquire them. VC and JLC partnered with Longines to create LeCoultre watches by shipping movements via Longines into the US to the NY Longines-Wittnauer plant for installation into American made cases. How JLC was left off the list is a mystery to me. They had been in business since 1833 making movements as LeCoultre, and started to make complete watches in 1903 when E. Jaeger joined them.


    EDIT: Um, I'm adding this because I'm a dolt. The actual name Jaeger-LeCoultre wasn't in use until the late 30's. Seeing as this was published in 1949, the brand name might have not been well known yet. doh! (Where is the 'embarassed' emoticon?)
    Last edited by ulackfocus; December 10th, 2010 at 23:59.

  10. #9
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    Re: High-end Vintage?

    During what time period? There was a thread on super-thin Swiss cylinder watches from the early 1800's that would certainly have qualified as "High End" for the time. Prior to WWI, watches were focuses mostly on functionality; Rail Road grade watches in fancy cases would have been considered "High End", but the real high-end was in the low-production complicated watches still being produced by the Swiss (repeaters, chronographs, etc. American companies played with this market for a bit, but ultimately abandoned it until ). After WWI, costs on watch production had dropped to the point that your basic watch was becoming more of a fashion accesory then a functional item, and the focus switched somewhat to wristwatch styling. Mass production meant that the main differences between "Low" end and "High" end tended to lie in the finishing of the watch, which was otherwise identical.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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