Tuesday, 9 June 2009

THE ULTIMATE Haut de Gamme Sports Watch

[ before i begin this review, please note i WILL BE slagging off certain brand's watches. now this is not to say i dislike ALL the watches in these brands ranges, there are many that i like and love in these brands ranges, its just stating my view of these specific models in their stable, all in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner...as i would really be fine wif owning all of them if i had the dosh :) so even though the criticisms may sound harsh at times, take a chill pill, relax and just read on ;) ]

i admit it, i am biased :) i like my own watches the most which is why i own them. but at the same time i can try to be objective... the question posed is this, which is the ultimate haut de gamme sports watch... of course the contenders will be audemars piguet, patek philippe and vacheron constantin. the rest of the big name houses do try but they're not really anywhere are they? oh and for this head to head, its not how deep u can go in the sea with it that matters yuh. the 'how much of a head turner factor' comes more into play ;)

the contenders in the 70s, 80s would be the standard Royal Oak Jumbo 15202, the Patek Nautilus and the VC 222, all designed by Gerald Genta. of this lot the royal oak is the king. the rest are trying to beat it and get a slice of its crown but hey, they'll always remain contenders regardless how high u price them.

in this day and age it should be the Royal Oak Offshore(updated by Emmanuel Gueit originally with subsequent dial updates), the Patek Nautilus 5712 and the VC Overseas Dual Time(the vc overseas chrono just is a bit of a minger). Each sport a complication, chrono for the offshore, moonphase and PR for the Patek and dual time and PR for the VC and each are larger than their classic styled cousins and offered in steel as well as other metals. a wild card thrown in is the Richard Mille 005/10, base time and date only RMs but at the price of these watches only coming in golds and titanium make it a logical contender. at the extreme of it all is the countless number of AP limited editions wif a focus on one of the more recent, overly-aggressive, over-the-top piece, the Audemar Piguet Survivor... so lets get to it...

first then... the defender :) the 'base' royal oak offshore

whats good about it?
1) its got a great look. a fantastic upgrade from the lovely royal oak. a winning design enhanced the right way.
2) its not soo extremely oversized like some watches out there. interestingly if you compare it with the oversized brigade that came after it, it doesn't wear too huge... or it may be just me having gotten very comfortable with the size :)
3) good bang for buck as compared to others here

whats bad about it?
1) its got a teeny tiny movement in an oversized case for the movement. they got round this by saying its got the anti-magnetic iron cover but we know dats just some justification... not that we need it mind you :) [for the other watches, i don't think their movement are all that big too yuh so this point applies for some of the others...]
2) the movement is not a great chrono movement now is it. the base time calibre JLC 889 based AP is fine but its mated with a dubois depraz chrono module and because it ain't integrated, it has a magnifier over the date which isn't all too great. modular movements are also known to have some pecularities eg. stuff jumping on start/stop/reset of chrono... again, does it really matter? if u want your fine movement pieces go for your classic pateks, langes, dufour and voutilainens :)
3) the biggest problem is its the base model in a successful lineup. if you're going for flash, this won't do now will it? :) at S$20+k its just not expensive enuff... but of course this only matters to those who buy it to be showy and not because its really really good lookin and a great haut de gamme sports watch... which it is...


loved it when i got it and still lovin it many watches later...
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a good design enhanced the right way...
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next up... the rich playboy contender... the patek philippe nautilus

whats good about it?
1) looks... well it looks alright. not damn i need to get it now for the steel and the white gold pieces and maybe just a little, 'its nice and i would like one but wont die without it' in the rose gold :)
2) its got patek class and its got nice details, which is important

whats bad about it?
1) its too slim... its thin and lacks oomph thats needed in sports watches... it feels kinda limp. like a refined gent playing paintball or something...running around all upright and uppity and getting shot up badly by the real meanies in this group... noe wot i mean? :)


sports watch? uhm ok...
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nice to look at movement but is that key in a sports watch?
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this one is the best of the lot for the nautilus range in my books...

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the ostentatious boys... richard mille rm005/rm10

whats good about it?
1) its loud. c'mon now... u don't buy these watches to be discreet now do you? for that u go with the classic styled pieces... for this, you want people to stare at your wrist and go "DAMN! he's got an RM on. thats freakin cool... must hv cost a bomb!' this sorta reaction puts a smile on the RM wearers face as he pulls up to the club in his yellow lamborghini... discreet... very discreet ;)

whats bad about it?
1) its loud. everyone who sees you will be thinking 'look at that wanker with his flashy RM. u think only u can afford an expensive watch?' but pay no attention. some will have more wealth than u and some won't but does it matter now really? of course if u had real $$$ u would not buy a base RM, it has to be the RM4v2 at minimum now, doesn't it ;)

ok a felipe massa limited edition rm005 and a rm10 rg...
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wasn't impressed by the finishing(if u can call it that) or the quality/materials of the movement...
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interesting movement aesthetic... but dats about it...
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super light and feels toy like... easily smashed against stuff as you will hardly know its there... ouch...
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upsized case so there some transparency thing going on... also making all rm005s undesired and for the smaller wristed boys..
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the try... vc overseas

whats good about it?
1) the styling of the bracelet and the generous doses of the maltese cross logo styling all over. nice guilloche dial on the steel pieces, cool dual time function. gorgeous in rose gold and choc brown dial.

whats bad about it?
1) its quite weak in the metal. the whole idea should work but somehow its not something that grabbed me and said u gotta get me... with a bracelet in gold it weighs a ton which means it feels like a million bucks but you'll get a proper workout from wearing one. just not worth it and the weakest amongst these lot (please note i really really like other VCs :) do check out their 2009 lineup for the patrimony traditionelle chrono and small seconds... those are VERY COOL or VC get it :) kekekeke [sorry about the corniness :) ]

the minger... vc overseas chrono... i dun have any pics of choc dialled dual time rg handy unfortunately...Photobucket

the wrong kind of evolution... the AP royal oak offshore survivor

whats good about it?
1) its got some royal oak offshore styling... meaning it is built off a good base but then it goes pretty awfully wrong very fast...
2) people who buy this are saying very clearly... i am able to get a hot limited edition from AP and i have money, i am a boy who likes his toys but don't necessarily have a lot of taste. (oops i think that last part is in the category below)

whats bad about it?
1) have you seen the gun barrel of a crown???!!! and the shiny things on it to make them seem like night sights!! Gawd! its a watch designed by a teenager with an army fixation. buzz haircut and loadsa gi joe toys... its just sooo wrong.
2) over-the-top, over-designed, overkill, extremely contrived and just not an End of Days(i.e. the right way to do an LE ;) of course not at current prices which are 4x what it was released at)
3) a thousand pieces and its limited? limited used to mean 50 or 100 pieces... a 1000 pieces!? if u wear it on your yacht in monaco during the f1 race, 6 out of your 10 neighbours could have one on and we cant have that now can we... even if the ladies on your boat are way finer than theirs ;)
4) AP ROO limited edition?... like it matters as theres gonna be another 5 RO/ROO limited editions next year and the year after that and the after that year etc etc etc... its kinda takin the piss or killing the goose that laid them golden eggs... over milkin it in a big way...

the wrong end of a gun barrel... ok ok it ain't that bad... or is it... hmm...Photobucket

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a much better recent LE... but some may also find it over-designed in some way... it was nice to me initially but its desirability has also worn off with me somewhat...
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every year new alinghis as long as AP is tied with them... whats so hot about that? Photobucket

ok so after the pluses and minuses, the praise and the rants, the bad jokes and taking the piss out of some of these boys, whats my conclusion?
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get ready for it...
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the answer is... drumroll please.........

the non-limited edition Audemar piguet Royal Oak offshores :)

these watches are not loud for the sake of it. there are so many fine pieces in the range. they are not sucker watches(eg. 5-10k more for a color change and some words to say why its an LE) and they work. from the white rubberclad to the rose gold rubberclad. the black themes to the safari. these are just very nice watches and if you are going for balanced design, not extreme design stylings and OTT flashiness, then this is the watch for you (and for me it seems ;)


the patek may cost more than twice but the ROO is just nicer to me...
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hope u enjoyed the post as its all for fun and all of it is subjective anyway right? cheers, raph :)

12 comments:

Ck said...

i believe the best looking hh watches would be the ROO as well.

patek - boring case design. yawn. patek, please do something about your aquanaut as well :-P

vc - this is far too dressy..to be a sports watch

rm - yes its so unconventionally beautiful :)

survivor - overdone, and it looks way too complicated..probably meant for army regulars in the deep jungle..but i guess they'll rather wear a g-shock.

i would suggest another 2 more watches...

hublot big bang and jlc master com diving pro geographic..excellent watches, and they are excellent lookers, only at a fraction of what others charge..

Ck said...

hey bro,

oh yeah, before i forget ;P
probably there's 1 watch which might be able to..top the ap roo.

The $50,000 sgd, Rolex Yachtmaster II.

not to forget it comes in an 18k wg case. :P and perfection comes in no other than the reigning king of sport watches itself, Rolex.

haha,thats my opinion bro.
cheers! :)

Perpetuelle said...

well....I don't see a whole lot to argue with you on, so I'll just say nice reviews!

raphmeister said...

Thanks perpetuelle, glad u liked it :)

Hi Ck, I am all for people having and sharing their opinions and though i disagree with your watch suggestions i am happy to have your comments posted. I am of course aware of the 3 models noted and they are in my humble opinion, below the ones i have reviewed.

Cheers, raph

Stefano said...

I agree with you, Raph. The regular production ROO's are perfect IMO. I like the RBII, but the price you pay for the same movement and slightly different case doesn't justify it for me.

Nice review of these sports watches.

Cheers!

Stefano

raphmeister said...

Hey Stefano, thanks for chiming in :) glad u liked the review :)

cheers
raph

darth-khips said...

agree with you mostly.

RM5 is entry level RM,movement not even made in house. with the RM 10 replacing the rm5, just bigger casing, and price goes up 50%.

VC is one of my gfav brand, so i kinda disagree. i like the understated nature of the VC, not to mention its price point. can safely say, go to any event, for every 5 x AP ROO, there will be 1 x VC being worn.

PP 5712 RG or the SS version both i like, esp the SS version. try to wear a AP ROO with a suit and see how to slot itunder your cuffs. the PP will just nicely slide under, as such, IMHO, there is no other SS strap that can beat the flexibility of the 5712.

AP - go for basic models, or even discon models. this unending churning of AP ROO LEs is just getting stupid. i limit myself to just one APROO LE at any one point in time. wanna get new one, then have to rid of the older one...simple rule.

the Survivor, however, i feel has a relevent place in the AP legacy. its both subtle and stealth, yet LOUD and eye catchy....thus, i give a thumbs up. much better then the useless dribble of Sing GP LE or Orchard LE etc. justsold my Bintang LE, replacing it with non LE bumblebee. however, the only LE is like is unlike your choice, which is the end of days...for me, its something close, but its the New York boutique edition,..all PVD.

hublot and others are just clones....even the Corum Admirals cup has got a longer history then the big bangs.

if all else fails, stick to trustly zenith daytonas, cant go wrong.

raphmeister said...

Hey darth, thanks for sharing your view and we can agree to disagree on some watches.

I like VC for their classic dress pieces and the new American 1921 is gorgeous(I will be doing a post on this sometime this week with some live pics) but their sports watches aren't cutting it impo, which is maybe why there are 5 x AP ROO for 1 x VC overseas worn. Not to be smug but i believe there is typically higher demand for nicer looking things. i am not one who bothers how many others wear the same line of watch as me, so this doesn't matter though. Eg if i go to a watch event and 3 other guys are wearing various versions of the Freak, I would be happy to know that I am in the company of other enlightened watch enthusiasts wif a similar taste on that watch.

I know many like the 5712 but as i said for me it lacks oomph and feels kinda limp. I also don't believe anyone would want to wear an AP ROO with a suit. I believe thats why dress watches were made. If it has to be a bracelet steel sports watch in a suit, all standard 40mm Rolex oyster case sports watches can do that, eg the daytona, the sub to gmtii, milgauss etc not the dssd of course, so your statement that 'there is no other SS strap that can beat the flexibility of the 5712' doesn't really hold.

The survivor i don't like so our view clearly differs on this piece. Take hand grenade + M16 + innocent ROO, blow it all up wif the napalm used in apocalypse now and u get the survivor after the billowing black clouds clear. The new york la boutique i agree is very nice but the EOD wins out for me between the two.

Thanks again for sharing your opinions and wear your watches in good health.. Oh n congrats on the Bumblebee :)

Cheers
raph

Salman said...

Hi Raph,

I really enjoy your blog enteries and I wholeheartedly agree with you that the non L.E ROOs are the way to go.

On the topic of EODs vs. NYLAB, I was a happy owner of an EODs for 5 years but eventually felt the watch was too loud and have replaced it with the NYLAB since, discreet and low key ;-)

S

raphmeister said...

Hi Salman

Thanks for dropping a line n I m glad u enjoy the blog. Oh n good taste of course ;)

If i am not mistaken (n i may very well be) your end of days was on a bright green strap some of the time (not sure how much time) which would make any watch very loud :)

the EOD is interesting as it is a pretty stealthy watch by itself being mostly black in stock form but people who know of it(i.e. most watch nuts n rich folk who dabble in expensive timepieces) would definitely be staring at it and its owner (probably checking if u're a celebrity or a well paid footballer or on the forbes list) so its loud from that perspective. It is also of course bigger than the nylab which would be stealthier from both aspects.

Enjoy the Nylab. I would actually be happy with either or both in my collection... but purchsed at their original list prices :)

Cheers
raph

Anonymous said...

just chanced upon this article and now I'm reading your writings all the way back from 2007.....amazing!

happened to have bought a nautilus and and RM005 recently so this article is really relevant! and yes, the RM is really what you say about it! haha!

Got me all interested in the AP ROO black theme now. Shall go look for one this weekend!

keep up the good work!

raphael too said...

thanks for your comment. gosh that's some time back. I don't go backwards and change stuff I posted from before so some of my views may be different now of course as it is a journey.
whatever the case, I hope you find what you're looking for ;)
cheers
raph

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