How holy, are "the holy trinity"
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  1. #1
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    How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    Very often do I hear the supposed top three, mainstrem Swiss wach manufacturers be referred to as the holy trinity. My horological knowledge is limited and fogged by the exessive marketing which the industry is subject to, but I still just cannot bring myself to agree.

    Vacheron - supposedly an old brand with history and liniage and so on and so forth, however I am to undesrstand they used Jaeger LeCoultre movements of the shelf for some of their watches (overseas), while modifying and/or using JLC eubaches/movements for other wathes. They also do not pass an opportunity to tell us how this line of watches relates to that great explorer, and this line comemorates [:insert marketing line/]. Don't get me wrong, JLC is magnificent, but how can VC be rated above it if it buys movements from JLC.

    Audemars - yes, they make some nice watches and admirable complications (almost none of which I would personally spend my pennies on). In reality though, the company seems to stay afloat thanks to the bloated, cerial box-like watches (royal oak offshore), which loosely resemble the shape of the fine watch which the Royal Oak is. On practice, looking more like the disgusting watches Hublo feeds to the iditots stupid enough to buy them. This hardly seems worthy of a company which is called "high end" and even more so a part of the "holy trinity".

    What do you think???

    In my opinion, after Patek, comes Jaeger LeCoultre. A company which quitley makes some of the best, most beautiful and complex movements, without blowing their own horn with bloated marketing and about supposed history and liniage. For that matter, Girard Perreguax would also be considered just as "holy" as the "holy three" (or at least the two of the ones mentioned) in my books.

    What is your opinion?

    Are companies relying on watches like ROO, and companies outsourcing movements worthy of the title "holy"?

    Who are your "holy three" Swiss watch makers and why?

  2. #2
    Member RejZoR's Avatar
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    My holy three Swiss makers are Hamilton, Seiko and Orient. Wait, what!? The first one is actually American but has its HQ in Swiss. The other two aren't from anywhere near Swiss... :P

    As for the Swiss Swiss, i'd say:
    - Omega (imo the only Swiss watchmaker that i really like from technology and design perspective)
    - Rolex (even though i don't like it as a brand they do have some models with nice design)
    - Rado (they go absolutely mad with ceramic materials and minimalistic approach)
    It doesn't matter how much the watch costs, it only matters if it makes your heart tick.

  3. #3
    Member CitizenM's Avatar
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    The big 3 concept is just a widely accepted tier system, but somehow with probably less credibility than the homemade tier systems posted in this forum all the time. To the degree that the three brands are special, there is no reason not to put a number of other brands right up there with them.
    tigerpac likes this.

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  5. #4
    Member shnjb's Avatar
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    I think A. Lange & Sohne has passed AP long ago.

    Patek is not flawless either, with their quartz-diamond studded ladies' watches and all.
    Nishant, Athram, Pisquare and 2 others like this.

  6. #5
    Member kylemacca01's Avatar
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    I think ALS (although not swiss) are far beyond AP and VC, every single ALS model is stunning and magnificent, fully in-house with wonderful finishing. Patek has the history and makes some fine pieces (plenty that i dont like too, aquanaut!).

    My top 3 makers, and the 3 pieces i would own if i was absolutely limited to 3 would be ALS/Patek/GS. One swiss, one german and the most complete watch company in the world all the way from Japan.





    If i HAD to choose my top 3 swiss brands then id say Patek/JLC/Rolex. I realise fully that rolex is tiers below the others, but their watches are tough as nails, instantly recognizable and classically designed. A collection isnt complete without one imo.
    Last edited by kylemacca01; March 26th, 2013 at 09:17.
    CitizenM, eliz, happyjaya and 2 others like this.

  7. #6
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    The Royal Oak is the only AP I really like. VC makes a lot of nice stuff. I think it is put on a pedestal because it's one of the oldest if not the oldest Swiss watch brand. Although it's no longer independent. Owned by the people that own JLC. Now JLC is certainly a historic company. Many icons like the reverso. I think what stops them from being consired equals is they aren't as exclusive or as expensive as AP/PP/VC. The only GP I really ilike is the slotmachine watch. But it costs like 1/2 a million MSRP. But street price is probably less. GP almost has Invicta levels of discounting. Saw a thread on here someone looking to buy like a 15k GP. He was asking why it was 1/3 price on grey market. Watch Snob called GP a wannabe PP.

  8. #7
    Member shnjb's Avatar
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    VC's Patrimony lines have a lot of watches I find even more attractive than the Calatravas.
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  9. #8
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    Among the three, I like AP the most. I like their traditional models. Not so much the big Off Shore one's.

    That said, my big 3 would be AP, JLC, Rolex.

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  10. #9
    Member mleok's Avatar
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    The Swiss ebauche tradition has historically been an integral part of the Swiss watchmaking tradition, and it is only recently that the in-house craze has turned this tradition upside down, and now wannabe watch snobs consider anything that uses outsourced movements to be unworthy of a high-end brand. To me, most of this obsession with in-house movements is a thinly veiled proxy for exclusivity, as opposed to necessarily the quality and technical sophistication of the movement.

    Jaeger-LeCoultre is often referred to as the watchmaker's watchmaker, and in part, it's because it has supplied movements to the very best Swiss high-end brands. For example, both the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak were released with an ultra-thin automatic movement that was based on the JLC 920. Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin have all relied on ebauches from JLC or other brands at some time in their history. In particular, until very recently, Patek Philippe relied on Lemania chronograph ebauches.

    I have a Vacheron Constantin Overseas that you seem so dismissive of, as well as a Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Duo. While I have the utmost respect for the movement expertise of JLC, the Vacheron Constantin is a much more nicely finished watch. I have not compared the JLC 889/2 in the Overseas to a stock JLC movement, but my understanding is that companies like Vacheron do not simply take an outsourced movement and plug it into a case, the movement typically arrives disassembled, and additional finishing and quality control steps are taken during the assembly.


    Patek Philippe Calatrava 5119J; Vacheron Constantin Overseas; Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Duo; Rolex Submariner 114060; Omega Seamaster 300; Montblanc Heritage Dual Time; Tudor Black Bay.

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  11. #10
    Member sheon's Avatar
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    Re: How holy, are "the holy trinity"

    OP,

    I think you shouldn't be too concerned about which brand is in the Top 3 or Top 5. The watch companies should be the ones thinking of this.

    If you're interested in watches from the brands you mentioned, you should compare the watches based on their own merits.

    All the watch companies you mentioned are at the top of their game. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a watch from any.
    wessa and Will_f like this.
    'I reach for my watch from the bedside table and consider the dial - its rectitude, its innocence - then I understand the position of the hands and that, yes, rush-hour traffic will already have begun.' - Deborah Eisenberg, The Flaw in the Design

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