There are two, in the head of "newcomers", that come to mind when reading several forums out there. The "in-house obsession" and the "screw-down crown mania". I keep getting many questions regarding this either by friends new to watches that read too much forums without getting much clarification.

The first, has become a true pathology that is only recently being addressed by only a hand full of forum moderators. I understand that a watch in the 30's range with a Valjoux 7750 is a bit of a stretch. However there are some modifications out there on the 7750 that well justify that price tag. I guess that a good comparison would be a regular production Mustang and a modified version signed by Chip Foose. Big difference.

Don't kid your selves. The reason why 99% of all entry and mid level chronos use the 7750 is because it's a good movement to begin with. Like in the electronics industry, economies of scale are a determining factor here. The 7750 is relatively cheap not because it is a crapy movement but because it has set itself as a standard in the price range. Yes, can't disagree that it is one of the ugliest chrono movements of all time. True, but there is quite a difference between the finishes that different brands apply to this engine. The time spend calibrating, adjusting, polishing and decorating the movement can make a big difference. The finish can more the triple the cost from brand to brand. Should you compare the finishing of a 7750 in a Sothis (the best I have seen so far...) with that of a Fortis you would not believe that both are one and the same movement. The difference is abysmal.

Unless mass produced, an in-house integrated chrono will set you back around 30k. Lange "Datograph" would be my choice. The Jaeger "Amvox2" for around 15 or the Rolex "Daytona" would be one in this category. The second is only in the 8K range (list that is...). Both are mass produced compared to the others.

First of all, most stuff out there has already been invented over centuries ago. The evolution today consists in applying better materials and improve on the base concepts with the help of precision tools and computers. Most movements out there are either outsourced or based on much older movements. All, even the big brands like Patek and AP have non-inhouse movements and modules. In Patek's case the presence of the Lemania in their perpetuals and their manual chrono are pretty obvious. Ironically they are some of their most demanded models, with the chrono being completely sold out. On AP's side there is the ever popular OffShore. Until recently it had a leCoultre 889 base with a Dubois-Depraz chrono module. Nothing wrong with that. The problem was all the voices that wrongly complained about it not being in-house... Bull Shit if you ask me. Why? Simple, the change from the ultra thin with the slightly thicker in-house 3120 has caused the OffShore to loose the soft iron case. This resulted in the OffShore loosing part of its antimagnetic properties. Bet you "OffShore must be in-house" ball busters did not know that. Guess what? The f...ing minute hand still jumps when the chrono is being activated! The true upgrade would have been an integrated movement. What really sucks inside the Offshore is the Dubois-Depraz chrono module and not the base movement. Just take a look at how the minute hand jumps when you activate the chrono (almost half a minute in some cases). The chrono on the Royal Oak does not, it's an integrated chrono... ups, forgot it's not in-house either! Most of the new OffShores like the Volcano, Navy and Safaris with the new 3120 are more susceptible to magnetism. Pretty stupid if we live in a world where this is an ever increasing problem. If you like one of these I would go for an older one and tune it to look like a Volcano or Safari instead. Man, I can't believe I am saying this! Not long ago I would have asked to be burned at the stake for a statement like this!!!

The second obsession it that Screw-Down-Crown mania. Screw down crowns where a very effective solution up to 10 years ago for Automatic Divers. Today with double gasket crowns they have become obsolete. Furthermore, there are triple gasket crowns now that will ensure waterproofness to depths well in the divers range and beyond. Screw down crowns will give you a false sense of security. If not properly screwed it is actually less waterproof than a double gasket seal. The double gasket crown on the other hand will always be ready (unless you leave it completely pulled...). On top of that, they are extremely annoying on manual 2-day power reserve movements. How long do you think a screw-down crown will be effective if you have to screw and unscrew for winding you watch for an average of every day for a period of two years? After 600 times do you still want a screw-down or would you rather have a double or triple gasket crown?

Chip Foose

New Resource: "Hodinkee"

Vintage is becoming ever more popular. More and more serious watch aficionados are being diverted away from the "bling" to the historical pieces. Rolex was way ahead in this game but due to their unfortunate policy of not guaranteeing repairs on watches older than 25 years... well, how stupid can you be? If you are in this game but have little or no time to surf for interesting pieces than Hodinkee is your answer. The idea to surf the web and post the most interesting deals is surely a first. This is a great service. Obsessive deal surfers would not agree because this attracts unwanted attention on much coveted pieces. Too bad for them I guess.

This new "resource" is, so I am told, non-profit and from what I have been observing there is no self promoting involved. As with all free interesting services, at first there is great excitement. I hope that this will establish itself as a solid resource since they are the only ones that do this service for now (at least that I know of...). Personally I am a bit pessimistic. I see a lot of work and little pay, at least for now. Let's hope that these guys keep the same enthusiasm as the first day. Guys, hang in there, it would be too bad to loose this idea...