Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?
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  1. #1
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    Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    I am writing to the experts here who could better explain the difference between what ETA describes as its 'entry-level composite' ETA F06.411, found in the Certina DS Action, and the 'high-end brass' ETA 955.652, sold as the Breitling SuperQuartz calibre 74.

    I have been looking through the ETA documents trying to understand what the main difference is that makes one 'high-end' and the other entry-level. My main qualm is that the F06.411 is sold as 'replaceable' rather than repairable. With my limited knowledge of quartz movements, I understand some cheaper movements are designed to be disposable. I would like to think that the movement in my timepiece can be repaired long in the future, and last the long haul. If the movement is designed to be wholesale replaced in the future, that immediately turns me off.

    Besides the obvious i.e. 3 jewels vs 7, and the much larger 3 volt battery in the 955.652, can someone please clarify the differences between the two movements in terms of quality and construction?

    Thank you!

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    Member Tom-HK's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    As I understand it, the entry level models are constructed in such a way as to make them impossible (for all practical purposes) to repair. I suppose the cost savings in pursuing this methodology must be quite significant.

    The higher end versions use different matrials and construction principles that allow them to be serviced. That being said, evidence from owners suggests that for some brands using stock ETA movements without modification, even higher end movements may simply be replaced rather than serviced in the event of a problem arising that isn't simply a hand alignment or battery change.
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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    With quartz movements it's probably pointless to worry about repair vs replace. Assuming that all trace of the movement and its spares hasn't disappeared when it needs fixing, it's likely that economics will dictate the best solution, rather than some misguided sentimental attachment. Some years ago I bought a Longines Conquest VHP Perpetual Calendar from a seller who'd had a full service before selling it. Swatch/Longines asked him if he would accept a new movement, as it would be significantly cheaper than a full strip-down and reassembly. Of course he would! This was an ETA 252.611, certainly Longines' finest offering at that time, and IMO still overall the best they have ever used.

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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris01 View Post
    ...This was an ETA 252.611, certainly Longines' finest offering at that time, and IMO still overall the best they have ever used.
    You're spot on: the lithium-powered ETA 252.611 in the Longines VHP Perpetual Calendar and its non-lithium powered sibling ETA 252.511 in the Omega Constellation Perpetual Calendar are still overall the best high-accuracy/precision analog movements from ETA.
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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    There's almost no pure electronics, at least at commercial levels, that gets repaired. It's going to take much too long to determine the part that's gone south. Oh, and most components are probably soldered in place, so replacing them is risking considerable damage. Which means...you're gonna replace anyway.

    Much of this is economics of scale. Once you can make 1000, making another 10 is nothing. Conversely, the labor involved in diagnosing...even before you get to the aspect that a high percentage of failures will imply replacement anyway...is much more of a standalone cost.

    EDIT: "repair" can mean replacement of a decently large component that can be treated separately, like memory chips. That's still done. But a watch movement's too integrated overall, and generally too cheap, to worry about it.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    I don't think the point is in the repair costs since we are comparing a very cheap movement (<20$) with a cheap one (<50$). The difference is mainly due to the segmentation of the market and to give different products to the customer. Maybe the most important aspect is the possibility to calibrate the watch to get the best performances. About the materials, we have a too short history for quartz watches to understand how much better materials effectively improve the life of the movement. The thermocompensation scheme is more or less the same and for sure it doesn't affect the cost, same is for the IC. The most sensible part is the quartz but still don't know how much a "selected crystal" vs an "ordinary one" could really improve the accuracy.

    So again in my opinion the difference is just to offer to the customers different products in different market segments.
    Last edited by dicioccio; September 12th, 2018 at 14:04.
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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    Quote Originally Posted by dicioccio View Post
    I don't think the point is in the repair costs since we are comparing a very cheap <20$ with a cheap <50$. The difference is mainly due to the segmentation of the market and to give different products to the customer. Maybe the most important aspect is the possibility to calibrate the watch to get the best performances. About the materials, we have a too short history for quartz watches to understand how much better materials effectively improve the life of the movement. The thermocompensation scheme is more or less the same and for sure it doesn't affect the cost, same is for the IC. The most sensible part is the quartz but still don't know how much a "selected crystal" vs an "ordinary one" could really improve the accuracy.

    So again in my opinion the difference is just to offer to the customers different products in different market segments.
    As far as (post-sale) calibration is concerned, the older 955.652 has a documented procedure, available to anyone. The PreciDrive F06.411 does not, and it's clearly possible that it's like most standard quartz and cannot be recalibrated.
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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    Hello chris, that's just as I said ("Maybe the most important aspect is the possibility to calibrate the watch to get the best performances").

    As for today, I suspect that only the Seiko 9F has a very easy procedure for calibration while all the rest of HAQ watches has no chance to get calibrated, even the Citizens that offer PC, IAHH and solar charge.

    As said in other posts (maybe from ppaulusz), in this aspect the 9F has a clear advantage over the competitors because, if absolute accuracy is the main goal, the 9F has the chance to achieve it more easily.

    If we talk about MATERIALS, the 9F and the Citizens A0x0 are probably the best since they are clearly over-engineered.

    I must admit that just a couple of months ago Citizens HAQ were in my mind the clear winners for a future HAQ purchase. However during the last weeks I am starting to reconsider a lot the importance of the trimmer on the 9F. On top of that I have to admit that the easthetics of the GSs are more pleasant to me than the Citizens and the new GMT models are even more good looking to me.
    Last edited by dicioccio; September 12th, 2018 at 16:58.

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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    Quote Originally Posted by dicioccio View Post
    Hello chris, that's just as I said ("Maybe the most important aspect is the possibility to calibrate the watch to get the best performances").

    As for today, I suspect that only the Seiko 9F has a very easy procedure for calibration while all the rest of HAQ watches has no chance to get calibrated, even the Citizens that offer PC, IAHH and solar charge.

    As said in other posts (maybe from ppaulusz), in this aspect the 9F has a clear advantage over the competitors because, if absolute accuracy is the main goal, the 9F has the chance to achieve it more easily.

    If we talk about MATERIALS, the 9F and the Citizens A0x0 are probably the best since they are clearly over-engineered.

    I must admit that just a cople of months ago Citizens HAQ were in my mind the clear winners for a future HAQ purchase. However during the last weeks I am starting to reconsider a lot the importance of the trimmer on the 9F. On top of that I have to admit that the easthetics of the GSs are more pleasant to me than the Citizens and the new GMT models are even more good looking to me.
    I can see the attraction of the GS, and I would have one if they had completed the job. I'm not a precision purist like some others here and, for me, no watch can be an HAQ without an independently-adjustable hour hand. The absence of a perpetual calendar is a serious defect as well.
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    Re: Difference between 'entry-level' F06.411 vs 'high-end' 955.652?

    Quote Originally Posted by dicioccio View Post

    I must admit that just a couple of months ago Citizens HAQ were in my mind the clear winners for a future HAQ purchase. However during the last weeks I am starting to reconsider a lot the importance of the trimmer on the 9F. On top of that I have to admit that the easthetics of the GSs are more pleasant to me than the Citizens and the new GMT models are even more good looking to me.
    Hope you reconsider. The Citizen is such a excellent piece: good size, beautiful dial, perpetual calendar, ultra-lite but hardened Titanium (PTIC). Sorry for the quality of the picture, it is from my cellphone.

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    Cheers,

    Miguel
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