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  1. #11
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Wabi-Sabi and vintage watches

    Quote Originally Posted by cavallino33 View Post
    ...
    Everyone hates the car analogy but it is very similar to the increasingly popular conflict between un-restored and ultra-restored concourse show cars.
    Personally, as a modest car collector in the past, I love the analogy because it is often so apt.

    Un-restored cares are welcome on the concourse only if they don't need restoration (with a few rare examples to the contrary). Generally cars should be in a good state of repair. Even 'unrestored' cars have new batteries. Some have new pistons! All have rebuilt brake systems. And dents are not considered patina

    In cars the differentiation is more between original and accurate and fo-fo cars (custom jobbies - not considered real cars by many ).

    A respray if done in original colors is accurate. But it is not original. However, try and find a show car that has not been resprayed at some time. Paint was not meant to last 40 years!

    But this is just the top end of the market. I was more of a bottom feeder. At that end of the market you see frankens and butcher jobs all the time
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  2. #12
    Member Barnaby's Avatar
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    Re: Wabi-Sabi and vintage watches

    Quote Originally Posted by cavallino33 View Post
    I'll play devils advocate here. To me the wear and tear looses it's charm when it is from someone else wearing it. If it were a watch I,someone I cared about, or even someone famous had worn for years it would have some meaning to it.

    However I find it hard to fall in love with patina that joe schmoe put on it because he wore it to the office every day for 40 years and sometimes knocked it on stuff.
    I agree with this. The idea of 'honourable wear' is fine, but simply buying somebody else's old stuff is not wabi-sabi at all. When I was a young, callow lad, I did a bunch of martial arts and remember being really impressed by this old guy with a black belt that had gone almost white from years of use. The idea of someone else just taking and wearing it was inconceivable - or deliberately 'aging' their own belt would be just as bad.

    It's the same for me with modern guitars that have been 'vintaged'. What a stupid idea!

    That being said, a genuine old guitar that has been played a lot and looks knocked around can be a very special thing. Guitars are, however, more likely to be passed from person to person over the years. The same is true of things like goban - perhaps much more so, in fact. I have a lovely antique kaya goban with Hyuga-hamaguri goishi. When using it, I like to imagine the spirit of those who have used it before me and, sometimes, run my fingers over the top, feeling the minute indentations caused by years of playing.

    Anyway, I think a watch can have wabi-sabi, but that it is contextual. Buying an old, beaten up watch off eBay just isn't enough to do it, kids. In that case, from a wabi-sabi perspective (and I'm not talking about in general), it is better and more honest to have it restored and put your own years of wear on the dial.
    acid.funkid likes this.

  3. #13
    Member cavallino33's Avatar
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    Re: Wabi-Sabi and vintage watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Un-restored cares are welcome on the concourse only if they don't need restoration (with a few rare examples to the contrary). Generally cars should be in a good state of repair. Even 'unrestored' cars have new batteries. Some have new pistons! All have rebuilt brake systems. And dents are not considered patina
    I go the pebble beach show every year (the most stringent of all car shows) and the last couple of years there have been a greater number of cars that were literally never restored other than for mechanical function. So the exterior paint was oxidized or missing, chrome was corroded interior torn and somewhat missing. The engine while function was certainly no longer pretty but certainly original. These are magnificent cars from the pre war era and earlier and they as original as is possible from marques that no longer exist but they certainly look dilapidated. Other conours cars have paint and chrome that was better than the factory ever made.

    Now in the case of cars you loose some of the original hand craftsman ship evidence of tooling etc when restored. Which is why there is now a greater call for originality over beauty and shiny paint. I'm not sure if this is quite the same with most watches. I'm still not sure where I stand with cars either.
    Last edited by cavallino33; September 6th, 2010 at 02:49.
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  5. #14
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Wabi-Sabi and vintage watches

    Pebble beach does attract those cars which, due to rarity, would be the exceptions. But for the bulk of the car shows in America such exceptions are not regular attendees.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  6. #15
    Moderator Public Forum GlennO's Avatar
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    Re: Wabi-Sabi and vintage watches

    Quote Originally Posted by radger View Post
    Good points, but I prefer an 'honest' watch in good original condition...
    the restored watch is usually the watch which has had a hard life.
    Yes and i agree, that would be my preference too. Unless it is your own (or a family member's) hard life that has taken its toll. In this case i think the watch deserves your watchmaker's attention.

  7. #16
    Member waruilewi's Avatar
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    Re: Wabi-Sabi and vintage watches

    There was a time when I was uncomfortable with even the term wabi-sabi being thrown around our WIS circles to vaguely describe the definition of this sought-after noble condition we seek in vintage watches, as the Asian definitions of the term do not translate easily to convenient Western ideals. For example - we speak about the visual preferences of something with 'wabi' versus something restored (wabi-fied) or new (no-wabi-ness) or NOS (wabi-ful) when in the orientalist mind-think one could merge that element with an aesthetic formed on the basis of historical context (in touch with the past) and cultural meaning (local taste) to spit out an interpretation more complex and simplistic at once.

    Think what adjectives we could throw out to try and describe 'wabi' in the English vernacular and we get anything from 'gunk' to 'patina' to 'acceptable wear' to 'shabby-chic' as sherwoodschwartz puts it - yet few of these terms come close to aggregating the sense of what 'wabi' would seek to convey. This 'wabi' is not clearly defined by a linear black-white / good-bad objectivism. It's conferring an emotion that goes beyond the visual appeal, but that's all WIS seem to care about here when using the term when it's not just what you see - ergo my personal dislike for using this term. This 'wabi' could also signify a 'surprising resiliency' and 'rugged peace' and 'sadness in use' and 'passionate determination' and 'justification for being,' all equally important in determining that elusive quality which would separate something from being admirable to being admired.

    Take a beaten up watch, one that's been worn to within an inch of its life with little care from its owner. It could be a pre-moon Speedy or a 5513 Submariner. A beautiful timeless icon - unmercifully thrashed for decades. The watch has inherent value being what it is but do the denigrating dings and careless scratches skipped servicing causing bad timekeeping add or subtract to its appeal when it's obvious the watch was unloved? Would you not want to restore this?

    Take the same example to any old 6217 & 6105 Seiko diver, which would be less valuable but having been owned roughly about the same amount of time, but had received a good amount of care along with the wear - its profile slowly smoothing over time without tell-tale signs of accidents or careless dings, the dial fading nicely congruent to its time on earth, the caseback polished to an organic sheen thru usage. Would you restore this watch knowing this were true?

    "Death is beautiful. Dying is not."
    Ottovonn and acid.funkid like this.

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