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Do we love watches from Japan?

Some people say Japanese cars are fantastic, others would not touch them. Personally I have never had a Japanese car so, perhaps, I am not really qualified to make comments. Nevertheless it seems that some of us prefer “our” Skoda, Seat, BMW and Renault rather than Japanese’s Mazda, Toyota, Subaru and Lexus.

 

Is this attitude present in our choice of a favourite watch too? Are we more inclined to revere European watch’s brands rather than those brands made in the Far East?

 

A number of Swiss brands are, in these days, very much made in China. Past laurels and the name is all of which is left Swiss of such brands. However we still pay £500 - £1500 for these timepieces only because we place our trust on a brand when, unbeknown to us, the company has gone bankrupt on several occasions and has been bought by other manufacturers (although the old brand name has been kept alive) - it is amazing how often this happens.

 

When we buy Swiss or German timepieces, we think we buy into quality, craftsmanship and tradition opposed to new and perhaps “cheap” technologies from the Far East. How true is this?

There are not many Swiss or German brands that will be able to meet quality, craftsmanship and tradition and keep the cost of their watches below £10,000.  Only recently I looked up those watches that have a perpetual calendar built into their automatic movement. While it is somewhat easy to make a quartz movement sing and dance, it takes more for any automatic movement, with all of its mechanical components, to make even the “simple” chronograph module work accurately.

 

For this reason, my respect goes to those able to produce “works of art” which, as Heute Horlogerie, are fantastic manufactured timepieces at exclusive high prices.

 

Where do we stand on Swiss and German £3000/£5000 watches or even those that cost £700?

Very few are fairly priced, most do really take us for a ride (and they are the one laughing all the way to the bank).

 

To be impartial I do not favour one brand against an other; admittedly, it is not easy. I however consider many aspects about a product (something that is completely neglected by the media) and most watches have their own merits and appeal. In my opinion an Oris Carlos Coste is much superior in value for money against many other brands and models.

 

Taking aside quality of steel, dial and sapphire crystal which is identical on watches with a price range from $50 to $5000, we are left with the movement. This is where we can find substantial differences.

 

The movement should seriously bring us precision and even if we have the Swiss certification (COSC) on such accuracy, very often there are wide margins with timepieces that are even up to 10 minutes a week out of time.

 

With all of this European tradition and facts I am faced with my unbiased judgment and have to ...“eat my hat”. We have recently looked at Citizen, Seiko and Casio watches and, for the price, they are undoubtedly good value for money and it seems excellent quality too. I am not talking about the basic £29.99 watch bought from Argos but the more expensive models. These, as much as I would like to find at fault, are definitely first class watches and I, undesirably, have to own up that their quality and design are very much a challenge against the more expensive Swiss and German timepieces.