newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

Thread: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

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  1. #1
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    Question newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    First, I must apologize. I am not an experienced watch enthusiast, and I'm sure I will say something silly in this post, but I'm hoping you will forgive my ignorance and help me anyway.

    My dream watch would be a mechanical (automatic or manual wind) chronograph, stylistically similar to this:

    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/MEGAN%7E1.STR/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-14.png[/IMG][IMG]file:///C:/Users/MEGAN%7E1.STR/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-15.png[/IMG]Name:  fossil-chronograph.jpeg
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    (Yes, it's a Fossil. I hope that isn't sacrilege.) I am a woman, but I have large wrists and most ladies' watches would look too small on me, so I am certainly open to men's watches.

    The hard part is my budget. I only have about $200 available now. If I found something that I truly, deeply loved, I could maybe save up $300-400, but that's pretty much the limit of what I could invest in a watch. (I mean no disrespect to those who own finer watches, it's just not in the cards for me.)

    My searching has not turned up any good options, so I suspect that of the four requirements (mechanical movement, chronograph function, style, low cost) I'll have to sacrifice at least one. Since the cost is non-negotiable and I am unlikely to wear something that isn't a style I like, it's probably down to mechanical vs. chronograph.

    I have almost resigned myself to getting the Fossil (which is quartz, but otherwise perfect) and just keeping my eye out for the dream watch in hopes of finding it someday, but I thought that I would try here before giving up. Help me, WatchUSeek community. You're my only hope!

    Regards,
    Megan
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  2. #2
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    $400 in a mechanical chronograph would get you a new Asian movement model or possibly a used Swiss movement model, which I would certainly have more confidence in as a movement, but $400 is right at the cusp where used Swiss mechanical chronographs can be bought, almost always having a Valjoux 7750 movement, which is reliable and easily serviced, but also expensive to service because of the chronograph complication.

  3. #3
    Member SwedishElite22's Avatar
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    There will be a number of posts coming I am sure and I will do some double checking of numbers to see what I can find but my first question is why settle? Why not take your $200-400 budget you have right now and save it, pair it with some other funds cutting back on small things weekly to save and bump your budget to get what you really want?

    Do you care where the movement is made? Swiss, Japan, German?

    Off the top of my head Seiko, Orient, Christopher Ward all come to mind.
    Last edited by SwedishElite22; December 28th, 2010 at 07:47.
    Ω SMP 300M 2220.80 • Hamilton H78465553 • Helm Vanuatu 01AR1 • Laco Aachen • Vintage Seiko 5 6309-8239 • G-Shock GW7900B-1 • G-Shock MTG900 • DTW LE Chrono

    True Grail : A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk

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  5. #4
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    I'm certainly open to the vintage / pre-owned route, but I'm not sure what to look for. Ebay seems to have lots of listings for "chronographs" that are not actually chronographs, making it difficult to find anything.

    I don't know enough to have an opinion on the origin of the movement, I just find the idea of a mechanical watch extremely appealing.

    As for the "why settle" question... I'm not sure how to answer it except to say that when I look at my overall financial situation, that's about as much as I can justify putting into a watch. It's not that there isn't another cent to be found, it's that I need to be putting it toward other things---like paying down student loans and other boring stuff. I'm already being pretty frugal, and the only reason I can even consider a watch purchase is the generosity of my grandparents at Christmas. I fully expect to be told that my dream watch doesn't exist in my price range, but I wanted to check with the experts before giving up.

    I'm afraid I may be impossibly particular on style---most ladies' watches look too small and/or frilly for me, but most men's watches look too heavy and/or busy. I did admire a few Orient and Chris Ward models. As I recall, the new ones were out of my league, but perhaps I can find something pre-owned.

    Thank you so much for helping me. I really appreciate it, and I look forward to whatever additional suggestions you have!

  6. #5
    Member sl7vk's Avatar
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    If you are budget sensitive stay away... and I mean far away from mechanical chronographs. These watches need to be taken care of, and once every five years you are in for a 350 dollar servicing surprise.

    Go Quartz.

    Go Citizen

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    Seiko / Orient / Hamilton

  7. #6
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    That is exactly the sort of thing I needed to hear... and the Citizen is beautiful! I will definitely look into that. Thank you so much!

  8. #7
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    Quote Originally Posted by sl7vk View Post
    If you are budget sensitive stay away... and I mean far away from mechanical chronographs. These watches need to be taken care of, and once every five years you are in for a 350 dollar servicing surprise.

    Go Quartz.

    Go Citizen

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    it's ok to rah rah quartz, but you shouldn't make it sound mandatory that every mechanical chronograph owner has his/her watch serviced every 5 years for $350. Jury is still out on how often any watch should be serviced. Some people go 10 years, some 15. Too much advice on this matter is given by people (manufacturers, watch service depts., et al), who have a vested interest in the matter. BMW and other car manufacturers used to recommend engine oil be changed every 6 months until they started paying for it the first 3 or 5 years; then all of a sudden it became every 10,000 miles/1 yr.

  9. #8
    Member Klostrophobic's Avatar
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    Quote Originally Posted by meganstrickland View Post
    I'm certainly open to the vintage / pre-owned route, but I'm not sure what to look for. Ebay seems to have lots of listings for "chronographs" that are not actually chronographs, making it difficult to find anything.
    Bear in mind, if you go vintage, that usually means a service right off the bat to get it into good order. Factor that into your budget in other words.

  10. #9
    Member Sodiac's Avatar
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    This may not work for you stylistically speaking, but you can get a nice Russian mechanical chronograph with the famed 3133 movement for less than $400.00. This one is a well-regarded Strela homage, available from one of the WUS sponsors, Irina Maier at Vostok Watches, from which many of us have purchased watches, they have excellent customer service and support.

    I can guarantee that if you're wearing this, anyone with knowledge of watches who sees it will compliment you on your wise choice!

    Visit the WUS Russian forum for more information, there are many fans of Russian mechanical watches because they (the watches!) are relatively inexpensive and very rugged. This one, for example, lists for $396.00 but they give a 19% discount for U.S. buyers.


    Sodiac
    Too many watches, only two wrists and never enough time...

  11. #10
    Member mjbernier's Avatar
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    Re: newbie seeking guidance: mechanical chronograph?

    By now you've certainly figured out that mechanical chronographs are generally more expensive than their quartz counterparts, especially when you begin to consider the cost of servicing a movement at some point in the watch's life (and as it was pointed out, a vintage watch may be in need of a service from the get-go). There's certainly nothing wrong with having a quartz chronograph; I have three of them, with the newest just received as a Christmas present. The build quality of a quartz can be just as good or better than an automatic; it's all in the brands and models you choose. Looking at your budget, the first watch that comes to my mind is the Victorinox Swiss Army Chrono Classic -- a Swiss-built quartz watch from a company held in high regard by many WUS members for their quality and styling. Here is one example (it happens to be a ladies watch, but at 41mm in size it rivals many men's watches):

    (model 241258, photo courtesy Amazon.com)

    There are many more dial colors in the series, but this one seemed close to your Fossil example.

    I hope we haven't confused you too much with all of our comments and recommendations. I have found it's best to read through the postings, look at the pictures, do your research, and above all don't hesitate to ask questions -- many WUS members are very devoted collectors, and we are all eager to share our collective knowledge with new members...sometimes going a little overboard, but always meant in a good and positive spirit.

    Oh, and one last thing: we all love pictures. When you finally make a choice and get it home, be sure to post a few pictures of it here -- they may be what gives one of us an idea for a future purchase!

    Mike

    The Collection: Too many to list
    The Wish List: Still too many to list
    The Grail: Bremont ALT1-P (blue dial)

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