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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you see a watch, what features would be indicative of an above average quality watch*? :001_unsure: Without checking the brand name which obviously has a bias effect on perception.

* my definition being a modern watch you would expect to retail for >$1500/£1000 based on quality regardless of brand premium. I know that's not all that expensive by WIS standards, but it's an expensive amount to spend on a watch by normal person standards and should reflect an above average quality for the money.

I am thinking maybe including the following?...:confused1:

Sapphire crystal
Applied indices
Case contours & curves
Mixture of polished & satin/brushed finishes
Precious metal
Blued hands (heat blued, not painted)
Exhibition back revealing a decorated movement
Or a nice relief engraved caseback
 

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Attention to detail. Things like the logo on the crown lines up when it's tightened down, the way the bracelet integrates into the lugs, etc.
 

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Attention to detail. Things like the logo on the crown lines up when it's tightened down, the way the bracelet integrates into the lugs, etc.
That would make my Planet Ocean a poor watch. The Omega logo does not line up when tightend.
 

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Then they certainly are not paying to attention to all the details they could. The thing is, the chances the logo will line up just randomly are pretty slim. It's easy to cut the threads such that it will, but you have to do it on purpose.

I answered the question from the point of view, if you knew nothing about the watch/brand, how could you pick it up and know whether it was something special or not, for example at flea market. You won't have time to see about the accuracy, the smoothness of the second hand can be misleading, it would be hard to tell if the case is truly plated, filled or solid precious metal, you won't be able to take off the back and see the movement (unless it's a display back).

Obviously, the PO is a fine watch from a great brand, and has many other touches that show it as a quality piece.
 

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Allowing that there are exceptions to every example-
Most definitely a...
Genuine sapphire crystal
Nicely displayed movement
Damascening on the movement
Real hand-engraving rather than machine stamping
Accuracy long after the purchase date.
Companies that withstand the test of time. (the ones that make junk go out of business quickly)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That would make my Planet Ocean a poor watch. The Omega logo does not line up when tightend.
My Rolex does not line up either. The crown logo screws down oriented at 5 o'clock. But I actually like it like that.

I really don't think that it's a sign of poor quality or even poor attention to detail, maybe it's simply not regarded as important?:001_unsure:
 

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The better the watch, the bigger the differences will be under magnification. The dial is usually a pretty good indication of the rest of the watch's quality, although it isn't the definitive measure. How good does the ink look - does it stay crisp under 5x power? A real engined turned dial is another decent indicator and can be spotted over a machine stamped pattern with a loupe too. What kind of detail do the hands and indices have - are the edges crisp? Are they solid gold or gold plated? (not obvious but another decent indicator)

Is the movement highly polished and do the parts mesh with an even tolerance? Does the watch have a free sprung balance? Is there shock protection not only on the balance staff but also on the escape wheel's axle? All of these are hints at the quality.
 

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Is the movement highly polished and do the parts mesh with an even tolerance? Does the watch have a free sprung balance? Is there shock protection not only on the balance staff but also on the escape wheel's axle? All of these are hints at the quality.
Here's a shot for illustration:




That's my VC Malte Grande caliber 1400. It's a very good movement but not totally top echelon. The plates are all finished with the Genèva wave and the chamfered edges are high polished as are the screw heads. Both the balance and escape wheels are shock protected. If it had a free sprung balance it would be even better.


Don't expect this in a $2000 watch however. You can expect a movement that has decent tolerances - both physically and timekeeping wise. My IWC Portofino gains less than 30 seconds a month and has an ETA 2892-A2 inside. It had a list price of $2700 new, and regularly sold for between $2000 and $2250 from an AD. Had a Tiffany's Mark Coupe with the same caliber that was crazy accurate. It could put a quartz watch to shame. I think that was the same list price as the Portofino was.
 

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Just to follow up on Dennis's comment and excellent photo-a high grade movement speaks for itself.

I usually like to look at the execution of all of the steelwork-not just the screw heads. The regulator arm(if not freesprung) and associated hardware can reveal a lot. In Dennis's photo, look at the hairspring stud cap also. If you can, look at the keyless works under the dial too. In Dennis's photo, you'll notice that the steelwork is highly polished(black polished) and note the beveling on the edge of these two parts.

Probably one of the best indicators of a watch's quality is in the finish of the escapement. The lever and escape wheel should both be highly polished. Many better watches will bevel the edges of the lever, which reduces the mass(for improved performance) and also looks very nice. I've not seen it on any modern watches, but some watches used pallet stones on which the top(non-functional) surface was rounded. This doesn't add anything, but looks really nice and is generally an indicator of quality. I have a personal preference for rounded spokes on the escape wheel-I don't think this is seen much more either.

One really high grade feature not seen often is the so-called recessed hub escape wheel, where the tips of the teeth on the escape wheel are thicker than the rest of the wheel. This maximizes oil retention on the sliding surfaces of the teeth(very important for stable timekeeping) while also minimizing the mass of the escape wheel. It's also VERY difficult to execute, so is rarely seen now and was only seen in the past on truly high grade watches.
 
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