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Discussion Starter #1
O.K., here's something I've always had in the back of my mind, and, after reading this, I'm sure many of you will think it should have stayed there...

How do you view, re-releases or remakes of classic watch designs? Hamilton has maintained many of its classic, history-making designs over the years. But, is a re-release, remake, or even a modern interpretation of a classic watch design somehow less legitimate because it's not one of the originals? Is a Ventura not really a Ventura unless it came from between 1957 and 1969? Are any of the American Classic series or the Piping Rock re-releases less legitimate than their forefathers, either because of their modern origins or their quartz movements?

Some of this is a very emotionally driven perspective. I'll give you that, from a strict collector's standpoint, an original, historical piece, will have greater value and collect-ability than a re-release. If watch collecting is anything like fountain pen collecting, then next in line would be certain, modern, limited editions (because not every manufacturer's limited editions are destined to become collectible).

But, from the standpoint of someone who wears and enjoys nice watches, where do the remakes, re-releases and modern versions fit into the food chain? After all, there has been a Dodge Charger and a Ford Mustang, almost since the original classics came out. They are staples of the industry. But, does anyone who buys one think of it as being less legitimate, or a pale comparison to the original?

Here's how I see it...

The historic original is the mother load for collecting OR wearing. If you can afford to buy it and maintain it, and are not afraid of the rare possibility that you might hurt it (how many watch lovers are that hard on their nice watches anyway?), then the original is the one to have. I will admit I am not one of those people.

Next in line for me is the limited edition. Somehow, a limited edition release of a classic design by a respected manufacturer makes it more legitimate. For instance, in my mind, the 50th Anniversary Ventura Quartz is almost like a direct link to the Ventura of the past (like the gold standard backing American currency). When I collected fountain pens, limited edition re-releases of classic designs were all the rage.

After that would be modern versions or reinterpretations of classic models. The modern Khaki or Ventura, even the Ventura Chrono, because they are like the modern Charger or Mustang of the day.

The ones I have the hardest time with are the American Classics. Historical designs that were originally mechanical but have been re-released as quartz. I think these are for "tourists" and are close to being "fakes". Again, this is just an emotional perspective. I have a modern Piping Rock. I always loved Hamiltons and it was my first. I fell in love with it when I saw it on a friends wrist and told him, when he was ready to part with it, which I new he would be, I would buy it. I didn't care that it was a quartz at the time, but I learned more about the model and became more snobby. While I am regaining my respect and appreciation for quartz, much in the way I did for ball pens after several years of fountain pen collecting, I still see old style watches with quartz movements as somehow less than legitimate. Mind you, I wouldn't want to see an automatic movement in them either. These were hand wound watches originally and I feel they should be re-released as such. To be fair, as I have mentioned in another thread, I see the automatic version of the Ventura 50th Anniversary the same way, because the Ventura was designed as an electric watch and the quartz is much truer to the original.

So, how about you all? Do you have an emotional barometer about this? Are you a purist? Do you have a flexible perspective? Do you just not care as long as it's good quality and looks pretty on your wrist?

Thanks for playing!
 

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Is a 2008 Corvette less of a Corvette than a 1960 model? I don't think so and the same is true with a Ventura, Brooke, Bolton and on and on.
 

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If your game is vintage, then only a vintage watch will do, but for the rest of us "tourists," having one of these great classics with modern technology is just fine.

I don't like all the watches that Hamilton has produced over the years, but I'm glad that Swatch has seen fit to maintain the heritage and quality of the company replete with resurrections of the great designs of the past.

Things could have turned out so much more ugly.

Frankly, I don't see anything heartwarming about winding a watch. I'd just as soon darn my socks by candlelight.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks guys, that's exactly the kind of discourse I was looking for on this.

I do actually agree with Rusty, and intellectually, I agree with Grady. I know that quartz isn't the devil, the same way that ballpoints and rollerballs weren't when I collected fountain pens. But I do think certain watches, by their character, should be mechanical.

Thanks guys!
 

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Re-re

I don't have a problem with remakes, re-releases, or re-interpretations - so long as they are ones I like!:thumbup:
 

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Great thread pelikan3....I do not like any of the quartz American Classics that Hamilton has issued EXCEPT for anything that WAS electric. If they were mechanical, I'd be all over them. IMO if you are to do a re-issue...it should be as close to the original as you can make it. Even if it is "modern version" re-make I would like to see the movement resemble the original. I had a prejudice towards the Ventura with the automatic...I asked, would you paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa? I have changed a bit since printing that and feel that it COULD be a special watch since it's the only one in 50years in an automatic....

I agree that they are all what they are born as, ie a Ventura is a Ventura no matter when/how made. But NOTHING replaces the ORIGINAL versions. Let the market and the future take care of everything else.
To answer your question, I would say I have a flexible perspective.
 

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I agree with mgiraz and rusty.

IMHO, if the original vintage version was an Electric, which was the the first take on a quartz movement, then the new ones should be quartz. If the original was a mechanical, then the new one should be a mechanical, or at least an automatic. I love mechanical watches, so I prefer them, but for the masses at least make it an auto. At least it's not like they're just knocking off their own watch. Some thought and dignity prevails through.

I feel it cheapens the design going from a mechanical to a quartz. Probably because I've seen so many cheap quartz watches for sale for $1-$5 on the streets of Chinatown in NYC that I don't have too much respect for them. I own a few Swiss quartz models, and they're great, and I would buy a quartz watch for certain reasons, but subconsciously it doesn't do them justice IMHO.
 

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I almost fell out of my chair when I saw an Accutron with an automatic movement.

I could certainly see a watch named Accutron going from a tuning fork to a quartz movement as quartz is a step forward in technology.

I even understood when Bulova adopted the tuning fork logo for both lines as both had excellent accuracy. One was just more upscale.

Then when I heard of the Accutrons with automatic movements, I was flabbergasted.

But here we are in a world where the race for accurate timekeeping has reached the point where extreme accuracy is, well, tacky and cheap.

It's an odd paradox, but here I am with a drawer full of quartz watches and which watch to I wear each day no matter whichever other one I might also wear? Yeah, the automatic. My arm is cheaper than a winder.

Personally, I don't see anything unethical with Hamilton reissuing these watches with whatever movements they choose.

They aren't misrepresenting their products and you can't really blame them for wanting to make watches that sell.

Only a vintage watch is a vintage watch.

Even an exact reproduction of a vintage watch is just a reproduction.

I don't have any of these old Hamilton styles yet, but I'm glad they're being made, because even if I am nostalgic about the old styles, I don't see the advantage of limiting them to the technology of the era.

I like the style of the cars from the thirties and forties and I've often wished that someone would build these old cars with modern materials and technology, because as cool as the old cars look, I'd like some of the comfort that modern materials can offer for the interior, plus the plastics and composites that make the cars lighter as well as the more powerful and fuel efficient engines we now enjoy, not to mention better tires and brakes and dozens of little amenities we now find indispensable, like cup holders. It would be the kind of car the PT Cruiser only pretends to be.

I'd like to have a car like that and maybe a lot of other people also long for sedans with massive interiors and tall ceilings, except with modern appointments, but I wouldn't expect the real vintage aficionados to come calling.

That's kind of the way I look at the watch industry now. The old styles have a lot of appeal, but not everyone wants to see them issued with what would now be considered inferior technology by most consumers.

I just don't see any comparison with a watch company making these reproductions with a Chinese company that makes, say, Rolex counterfeits with quartz movements.

Rolex did delve into the quartz arena and still might, but nonetheless those watches are Rolex through and through.

http://tinyurl.com/yoawrd
 

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I wasn't comparing them to Chinese watch companies per say. I agree, vintage is vintage and should stay that way and it'd be nice to have a '57 Chevy built with modern specs if that's what you're into. Everyone has an opinion as to what they want. The company will produce what they feel will sell the most.

I think there are several schools of thought here about preferences that are personal choices and observations. I've been scarred by seeing too many cheap quartz watches in my day. To me PERSONALLY I don't feel the same kind of appreciation that I do with a mechanical watch. As a child, I was fascinated by the small engine that moved when I turned the crown. Watchmakers and their craft is an art. I consider them artists and associate mechanical movements with watchmakers even though most movements are made with machines and computers. If I had the financial means I would buy hand-made watches by real watchmakers. That's my preference. If you like quartz then so be it and enjoy them. I don't think any less of you or your collection. The key here is that they're watches and we all have the same passion. My collection is different than yours which is different than others here.

A few years ago I wrote to Hamilton asking why they didn't make a mechanical version of the Ventura. The vice president of marketing assured me that Hamilton would NEVER make an auto version since it's history was electric-based. Guess what? Not only did they make an automatic version, but they made the 50th Anniversary Edition automatic! Talk about changing strategy and going for what the consumers want.

I didn't mean to degrade anyone's collection or choice with my reply. It was a question asked and I answered it truthfully for my personal taste, IMHO.
 

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Keep in mind that watch companies are in business to SELL watches. If you want history, visit the watch museum.

You know, I think that I would like to be a "purist" to quote pelikan3. . . if I could afford to be one.
Wouldn't it be great to be able to afford to buy vintage watches and not have to wrestle with re-make, re-issue, or copy. But I am pretty much priced out of the market on vintage. So new versions of old models is what must make me happy, unless I win the lotto.

That said, quite an interesting and timely thread especially as it relates to Hamilton. Because of the rich history of the brand, that is what has generated a little traction on this question. It is a good healthy discussion and debate and will probably have no winners. . . . . or losers, just WIS'.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Many of you have done a better job of stating my feelings than I did. I am all for modern continuations of classic designs. I think the only thing wrong with the PT Cruiser is that it has a Dodge Neon chassis. If not for this, it would be the amalgam of the classic '40s car as '50s roadster. And, as I said earlier, nobody buys a Ford Mustang and thinks, "man, I wish I had the original." They appreciate the modern one for what it has to offer.

I agree with Rusty. Vintage watches are the ideal goal if you like them, but many are priced out of the market. So, modern renditions are the logical way to go. But, part of the charm of a watch is what goes on inside or WHY it goes on inside. If you like classic or vintage designs, an American Classic is ideal. And for an every day person, a quartz version may be fine. But, for someone who appreciates watches beyond just an esthetic level, a modern representation of a vintage mechanical watch, AS a mechanical watch, is the proper way to go. Sure, use a more updated movement with more modern materials and greater accuracy. But, make it mechanical if it was originally. In the same way a Mont Blanc or Pelikan fountain pen has remained basically unchanged for years, except for updates in materials and internal design. And, here's where I disagree with some... don't make it an automatic. You have to build a watch way too large to do that. Classic vintage watches were sleek and small. Don't make them oversized to make them automatics. I understand the concept of "giving the people what they want" and I get that companies are in the business to make money. But, certain esthetic principles should be maintained. So, when Hamilton said they would never make an automatic version of the Ventura because the original was the first electric, they shouldn't have compromised for the 50th anniversary. The flagship of the 50th should have been the quartz version.

The Ventura is the hardest one for me to reconcile. The two big deals about the Ventura were the ultra modern '50s Art Deco design, and the fact that it was the first electric watch. Once it was done, it was done. Even the follow on electrics were a pale comparison (except for the Pacer [or Ventura II, as it was sometimes called]. This made a slightly simpler, gold filled version for the mass market and was actually the largest selling of the electrics). While the design of the modern Venturas is true to the original, and the chronos are an innovative homage, it's still just a fancy quartz watch. Even though the original was electric and a quartz is electric, it's like I have to draw a historic line in my head from my watch to the original in order for it to not be just a quartz watch.

I think that's it. The Ventura had a unique place in history. Maybe if they actually built a mechanical watch with a battery operated motor to drive it, like the original, even with modern materials, this would seem more true.

Does this make sense? Do I think way too much?
 

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@pleikan3,

I echo your sentiments. It'd be great to have Hamilton using hand-wind mechanical movements again.
 
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