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Thread: What is the least expensive (new) high end watch in your opinion

  1. #1

    What is the least expensive (new) high end watch in your opinion

    Setting aside such academic arguments as a Seiko 5 is high end, what is the least expensive (MSRP/RPP) watch that you consider high end? I am asking a question that I don't have a quick answer to, I plan to think about it some more and try to come up with my personal answer.

  2. #2
    Big Member Chase's Avatar
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    To me high end isn't about being above or below a certain price point, although cost does come with the territory. For me the Blancpain Bathyscaphe I picked up is right around that cusp. It is leagues above others but isn't anywhere near (at least by price) in the realm of Patek et al. Ergo, it is a cusp piece and that 10-12k figure using this example is that least expensive high end barometer.

    Where it gets dicey for me is something like the 216570. I guess it would fill the upper middle void.

    Now based on the above logic, everything 'above' the BP would be the high end category, which might make it the largest category of all, at least in terms of the range in pricing.

  3. #3

    What is the least expensive (new) high end watch in your opinion

    I think yours is simply another (interesting) way to try and coax out an answer to what "high end" actually means. For me, the last two watches I've bought might bracket the price point, at least for me, in terms of buying new. It also brackets my personal (current) pain point of $10k. My Breguet Marine would have cost more than that new, but I got a good deal on a pre-owned one. My JLC Hometime Aston Martin was well under $10k new. But IMO they are both "high end." YMMV.

    P.S. Perhaps we need a "high end with no precious metals" subclass, then maybe both of my examples would qualify. In fact, a question for the high end cognoscenti (which I am not)--can a stainless steel watch without precious metals or jewels be high end?

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    Last edited by mlcor; Dec 2, 2014 at 06:44 PM.

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    chronometier Matt's Avatar
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    I'd say it's the Seiko GS with the 9F movement or the Citizen Chronomaster with the A660 simply because, IMHO, they are at the very very top of the quartz game and there isn't a better quartz movement than these two out there. I think the 9F shades the 660.

  5. #5
    Over at WUS, most people thought JLC was high-end, Rolex was not. GO had proponents and detractors for that designation, and I don't remember if Zenith was discussed. All the watches more expensive than JLC were considered high-end, even those that most people didn't like for one reason or another (Ahem! Hu-huh-blot! Gesundheit!). Those polls only discussed the brands that are top-most in WIS thinking these days.

    Based on that, if one is going to model what is high-end using price, which is no less arbitrary than any other measure but which is at least a fact, the number would be around $10K or a bit more. But that's in today's dollars and today's market.

    The 1992 retail price of my Ebel Chronosport ref. 1134901 (steel/gold on bracelet, Zenith caliber 400 El Primero movement) was $6250. The cheapest version of that watch--all steel on strap--was in the middle 5000's. That is substantially more than the price at that time of a Rolex Daytona (which used the same movement), and I suspect it was priced similarly to JLC or even a bit more.

    So, if we are asking this question in 1992, is this a high-end watch?



    My inclination is: No. But maybe I'm wrong--the movement has an abundance of interest, the watch is uniquely styled and shows real brand DNA, the execution is really excellent, and the brand heritage is strong. Nevertheless, I just don't think it would be accepted as high-end. (Much as I wish otherwise.)

    The most recent chronograph offered by Ebel (other than limited runs of perpetual-calendar models, or the limited-edition football-team models) is the Tekton, ref. 9137L83. I don't have a good picture of my Tekton, but this is the one I'm talking about (though mine has a silver dial and reflector ring):

    s.51_doctors_tekton.jpg

    This watch retailed at $8950 in its last year of production, which was two years ago. Is it high-end? My inclination: No. It uses the Ebel Caliber 137, which has all the credentials of a high-end movement, even without the extreme levels of finishing found at prices two or three times $8950. It's the same movement used in a Breguet XX (but Breguet added a flyback function). But I just don't think it would be accepted as a high-end watch.

    So, assuming these are fairly priced in terms of comparables (and I think they are despite poor sales), the threshold of high-end must be a bit higher, if we are to use retail price as a surrogate for what makes a watch high-end.

    Rick "trying to answer the question based on actual examples" Denney
    Last edited by Rdenney; Dec 2, 2014 at 07:18 PM.
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mlcor View Post
    In fact, a question for the high end cognoscenti (which I am not)--can a stainless steel watch without precious metals or jewels be high end?
    I only play a member of the cognoscenti on TV, but...

    Absolutely. Examples include the proper steel versions of the classic AP Royal Oak, the PP Nautilus, and the VC Overseas, all of which are assuredly high-end by any measure. The only jewels in those watches are the rubies in the movement.

    Rick "whose tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth when he tried on an Overseas Chronograph with the blue dial a few weeks ago" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

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    I find that the term "high-end" is based on the level of finish, paired with the build quality in the watch. In my opinion, the finest example of this under let's say; $10,000, is the chronometer by pascal coyon.
    Obviously, not my picture.

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  10. #8
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    I'd say it's the Seiko GS with the 9F movement or the Citizen Chronomaster with the A660 simply because, IMHO, they are at the very very top of the quartz game and there isn't a better quartz movement than these two out there. I think the 9F shades the 660.
    Yes, I'd go along with that - and not just because I have a 9F Grand Seiko.

  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Chase View Post
    To me high end isn't about being above or below a certain price point, although cost does come with the territory. For me the Blancpain Bathyscaphe I picked up is right around that cusp. It is leagues above others but isn't anywhere near (at least by price) in the realm of Patek et al. Ergo, it is a cusp piece and that 10-12k figure using this example is that least expensive high end barometer.

    Where it gets dicey for me is something like the 216570. I guess it would fill the upper middle void.

    Now based on the above logic, everything 'above' the BP would be the high end category, which might make it the largest category of all, at least in terms of the range in pricing.

    I consider my FF 5015 JUST over the hump of high-end and while not having any actual loupe time with a Bathy I could certainly see it right there.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mlcor View Post
    I think yours is simply another (interesting) way to try and coax out an answer to what "high end" actually means. For me, the last two watches I've bought might bracket the price point, at least for me, in terms of buying new. It also brackets my personal (current) pain point of $10k. My Breguet Marine would have cost more than that new, but I got a good deal on a pre-owned one. My JLC Hometime Aston Martin was well under $10k new. But IMO they are both "high end." YMMV.

    P.S. Perhaps we need a "high end with no precious metals" subclass, then maybe both of my examples would qualify. In fact, a question for the high end cognoscenti (which I am not)--can a stainless steel watch without precious metals or jewels be high end?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I see the Breguet and JLC both at the tipping point as well, to some degree I use my Master Geographic as my bell weather for the entrance into high end. It is slightly more complicated than some of the other Master pieces but I consider most if not all of them high-end.

    As for for steel I certainly think it can be high end reference the JLCs and BP I have mentioned. You also have the RO, Aquanaut, Nautilus and Overseas (movement origin not withstanding with the last one). It is interesting to note that the steel and titanium pieces from VC, Lange and Patek are often the most sought after in the vintage market which obviously has more to do with rarity than quality but I don't think anyone would question whether a steel 570 is high end.

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