Old School


There is a wave of new-old classic watchmakers gaining in respect and acceptance amongst collectors. In the much appreciated classic style of the already highly revered Philippe Dufour or Kari Voutilainen, these "new-old" comers are much cheaper but still just as exclusive. Dornblüth, Mosser, Lang & Heyne, Montres Normandes, etc... are a few in this new classic wave, more concerned about doing the stuff that has been working fine until now, only better. The goal is not to waste any time trying to reinvent new ways to do what has been done for the better part of two centuries (and very successfully if you ask me). Using modern tools to reach unknown quality standards at unseen prices is just another way to interpret what modern watch making should be. The new school revolution is undoubtedly led by Richard Mille. His major contribution was to push the limits by including materials and advances that nobody has until recently dared to include in their watches. Who is right? Why not both? I guess this reminds me of the childish feud between those that swear their allegiance to the "Nouvelle Cuisine" or the classic no frills cooking. The T-bone steak versus the Fillet Mignon... personally, I like both. To me, this is a non-issue. I have no problem owning a Philippe Dufour or a Richard Mille. Both horological approaches are respectable and correct in my view. Just because one is right the other must not be necessarily wrong. Another thing is one's personal taste and choice.


It is more than likely that the current economic situation is somewhat responsible for a resurrection of this philosophy. Don't be mistaken, despite sales being back to figures 10 years ago, watches are still selling. However, buyers are still willing to pay big money for watches but more discreet things are in demand. Gold, diamonds and oversize chunky burgers are shoving the first signs of drops in sales. Even markets that were historically strong in the "bling" are starting to change their consumption habits. To be honest, discretion is not the only reason for this sudden drop in the yellow metal. One of the reasons behind this is that many that have been buying watches these last years have been mostly doing so to be seen with the watch. Completely the opposite of watch lovers, aficionados and collectors. Discretion was always a major concern for these buyers. Plus, if the shit hits the fan like it did... real collector still like watches. Granted, cheaper watches if your personal economy is hurt, but you are still in the market. It's like any other hobby that you are passionate about. If you have less money you are likely to just do it less and not completely stop. If on the other hand your purpose was to bee seen with a big shiny thing on your wrist that springs attention and admiration mostly with the wrong people, then you will have no problem in drastically cutting back on watch expenditures to zero.

The only and very unfortunate problem with small sale manufacturers is their poor or in some cases complete lack of proper pictures of their products. Selling their product becomes a difficult task if they don't even communicate on their strong point, like the movement finish. Quite a big handicap if your idea is to transmit emotion. As you can see from the pictures posted here, it's just not what it should be. Trust me, these are the handful of acceptable pictures. The others are well bellow even amateur photography standards. I understand that communication departments are expensive but there must be an effort made or else it will be very complicated to adequately reach customers. Pictures already have a hard time transmitting the full impact of most watches.

A word of advise; If you are interested in "old school" you should make the effort to see these pieces in the flesh. Believe me, they are worth a detour.

Philippe Dufour...
Kari Voutilainenr...
Dornbüth & Sohn...
H. Mosser...
Land & Heyne...
Montres Normandes...



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I must make a confession: I have been collecting watches for most of my life as did my father and his. I'm a bit bored with spending 6 digit numbers on watches that just don't work. I'm all in favour of going "old school simpicity".

raphmeister said...

cool post :) agree with most(if not all) of it. like some of the brands pointed out but not all... cheers, raph

christina viering said...

I love the simplicity also of old watches.