Nubie questions

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  1. #1

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    Nubie questions

    Hi,

    I have been lurking a while and trying to educate myself about mechanical automatic watches. I hope some experts can help, I am thinking of buying my first mechanical (automatic) watch and I am a bit confused about the movements (and other things!). Many watches claim to use the same movement (e.g., the ETA 2824-2 25 jewel movement seems very common). Are these actually the same in the various watches or am I missing something?

    For example the following are my top watch candidates (to date) both clain to have ETA 2824-2 movements, sapphire crystals, super-luminova hands, etc. Would one with the ostensibly the same movement be expected to keep better time, be more reliable, etc? I guess what I am asking is: do manufactures "tune" the common movements to achieve better preformance?

    Two I like:
    Hamilton Jazzmaster viewmaster (~$545 on line at Right Time International)
    Stowa Airman automatic date (~ $680 + shipping direct from Stowa)

    What I am looking for is something like these watches - simple, not too expensive, easy to read, not too big (40-41mm dia, < 12 mm thickness), with date, non-scratching crystal, and good luminous hands/numbers. Suggestions for other bands of these type (pilot?) watches in this price range?

    Thanks,

    Tom
    (soon to be retired professor)

  2. #2
    Member Denizen's Avatar
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    Re: Nubie questions

    yes, a great many different brands all use either the same stock movement common in the industry or a variation of it. the more exclusive brands purchase ebauches which are incomplete movement 'kits' and then add custom fabricated components to build the complete movement.

    however, be aware that most stock movements are manufactured in several different price grades. the higher end grades usually incorporate design modifications/improvements such as enhanced shock-absortion capabilities, components with tighter or finer tolerances, etc.

    what can make things confusing for many consumers is that some watch companies seek to cloud movement details or try to artifically enhance their brands through tactics such as not revealing the grade of the movement used or replacing a handful of movement parts and then calling the movement an 'in-house movement' (which carries its own prestige) or giving the modified movement a different calibre name to make you think that their movement is not a comment stock movement.

    the best thing for consumers to do is determine what your budget range is and then do as much research as you can to see what is out there. don't limit yourself to a specific brand or to whether a watch is purchased new or pre-owned.


    Quote Originally Posted by tomw View Post
    Many watches claim to use the same movement (e.g., the ETA 2824-2 25 jewel movement seems very common). Are these actually the same in the various watches or am I missing something?

  3. #3
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    Nubie questions

    Hello Tom, and Welcome!!

    Wow, you've asked a mouthful ..... the easiest way to answer this is ....

    The 2824/2 has no idea which watch it's powering. So, as long as the builder of the watch does nothing to the movement (decoration, adjustment, et al), then the movement will operate the same in all of the watches it's applied to.

    Having said that, there are various "levels" of finish on the 2824/2; the lowest grade is the least "adjusted" by the factory, the top-of-the-line much more so. Between the low-end and the high-end versions you *may* experience differences in time-keeping abilities, or not ......

    My DOXA has a low-end 2824/2, and after three weeks without adjusting the crown, it's running -1 second off of my atomic known source. Pretty respectable for a "low-end" finish on a movement, eh?

    There are others on this forum that can explain this far better than I, and hopefully someone will chime in. I will offer this though; either of the two watches you are looking at will deliver stellar performance for quite some time. I can't see you going wrong with either. As I'm a dive watch nut, I'm not well versed in pilot watches, so I can't offer help there.

    Whichever you go with, be sure to share some pics ... we like pics!

    Cheers!
    Bill
    All who wander are not lost ...
    Be a traveler, not a tourist.


    A traveler doesn't know where he's going,
    a tourist doesn't know where he's been.

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  5. #4
    stuffler,mike
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    Re: Nubie questions

    The ETA 2824-2 is the most common swiss automatic movement. Known as very reliable, a work horese. The movement comes in different grades which determine the price of the watch (standard, elaboré, top, chronometer). You may use the search function of our fora which will lead you to tons of threads.

  6. #5
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    Re: Nubie questions

    The Hamilton could be a good choice Its part of Swatch Group and I have a feeling that most of them get their movements from ETA pretty much finished and probably at a good price.

    I think the key is to spend over a certain amount as ETA movements are not expensive but they still cost something.

    I think Mid Range Swatch group members Tissot, Hamilton, etc can provide exceptional value over a certain cost, and if you know what movement you are getting.

    Swatch group also own some of the best watch component manufacturing companies and will have a group discount on these high quality parts.

    I would prefer an ETA assembled movement or save up for one that is assembled by someone like Breitling.


    If you do the maths $500 watch say $200 to the dealer =$300 then $200 for profit and overheads off manufacturer = $100 or less for components of watch. (If you include a distributor in the chain then even less).

    In short to get a good movement you have to pay over a certain amount and buy from a group that produces a large quantity of watches and economies of scale, or pay lots for hand assembly by Swiss White Coats.

    This is also why the top end Swatch group Brands have the potential to be excellant, they have inside info on the movements as well as access to best quality components and innovations from Nivarox etc as well a owning (ETA-Valjoux Lemania etc).

    John

  7. #6
    Member Nick1016's Avatar
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    Re: Nubie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Denizen View Post
    what can make things confusing for many consumers is that some watch companies seek to cloud movement details or try to artifically enhance their brands through tactics such as not revealing the grade of the movement used or replacing a handful of movement parts and then calling the movement an 'in-house movement' (which carries its own prestige) or giving the modified movement a different calibre name to make you think that their movement is not a comment stock movement.
    This is an excellent point, and in fact there is another thread up right now that helps illustrate this issue, particularly with regard to Tag Heuer's calibers: https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=98643

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