Who came first and what’s the difference? (This will be an ongoing theme, dedicated to homage watches.)
I have several homage watches. For the most part, I really like them all, especially when originals often cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars more. I think of it as a way of test driving a more expensive watch if you are going to buy one someday or just want to own one someday. Also, I feel as though some of these homages might turn into classics in their own right.
Most of the homages (and to be honest many are just knock-offs) come from china, but that is not always the case. My favorite example of this is the IWC Portugieser Chronograph ($7,300 on their website) and the Hamilton Jazzmaster Maestro Auto Chrono 45 ($1,845.00. on their website)
In this instance it’s a Swiss brand (Originally American, now owned by the Swatch Group) clearly knocking off another Swiss brand. I would love to get these two watches together and see if the IWC is 3.7 times the watch that the Hamilton is. Can you put a price on quality? Would love to hear from anyone that has seen these two watches and would like to give some feed back. The IWC defiantly has the history with the Portugieser line going back to the 1930’s, when two Portuguese Businessmen proposed the development of a large stainless-steel wristwatch. (Reference)
And of course, there is the Chinese version in the Parnis Portugal Style Men’s Automatic on Amazon for $99 bucks. I have this watch and for the money it’s a decent time piece, I know it is not made as well as the other two, it has an overall cheap feel. But it keeps OK time as I’m sure the other two do as well. So let’s break this down and do the math here…
Parnis Portugal Style Men’s Automatic
$99.00 on Amazon
Case: Stainless steel case, Diameter 42 mm, Height 15 mm, Water resistance 50 Meters (Supposedly?)
Movement: Seagull Automatic ST25, Automatic, self-winding, Frequency 28800.0 vph, 25 Jewels
Features: Power Reserve and Small hacking seconds, Mineral Crystal
Dial: Silver Dial with Applied Blue Numbers
Strap: Black leather strap (I have it here on a blue suade nato strap, Strap width 22 MM
Hamilton Jazzmaster Maestro Auto Chrono 45; $1,745.00
Case: Stainless steel case, Diameter 41 mm, Height 15.1 mm , Water resistance 3 bar
Movement: Calibre H-21, Based on an ETA 7750, Automatic, self-winding, Frequency 28800.0 vph ,25 Jewels, 60 hours Power Reserve
Features: Chronograph function with minutes and seconds, Sapphire glass, Small hacking seconds
Strap: Blue leather strap, Strap width 22 MM
IWC Portugieser Chronograph; $7,300.00
Case: Stainless steel case, Diameter 40.9 mm, Height 12.6 mm , Water resistance 3 bar
Movement: 79350 Calibre, Automatic, self-winding, Frequency 28800.0 vph (4.0 hz), 31 Jewels, 44 hours Power Reserve, Côtes de Genève, perlage
Features: Chronograph function with minutes and seconds, Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides, Small hacking seconds
Dial: Silver-plated dial
Strap: Blue alligator leather strap, Strap width 20 MM
In reviewing the specifications for theses’ three watches I find it fascinating how similar they are. The cases are all made of stainless steel and are within a millimeter of each other size wise. The IWC is noticeably thinner than the other two, but it also is sporting a fully decorated in house movement while the other two are basically off the shelf movements. The IWC also comes with a genuine alligator strap while the others are simply embossed leather straps, probably also “off the shelf”. Also, the Hamilton and IWC are proper chronographs with separate second hand and minute dial for the stop watch features.
As for each watches accuracy, I can only speak to the Parnis as measured on the ToolWatch.io, which recorded +16 sec. per day when tested at ocean level. IWC’s website lists that there watches are adjusted from 0 to +6 seconds per day, with Hamilton not sighting any accuracy claims. Chronocentric.com lists most modern mechanical watches with deviations from +/-10 to as little as +/- 2, I would assume that the Hamilton falls with in that range. The Hamilton and IWC can be found on Amazon for less than there MSRP, with the IWC range being used time pieces.
A lot of watch blogs I read focus on the high end of watch manufacturing. Which is great, but its like reading a car magazine full of Ferraris and Lamborghinis, while your driving a Ford. I’m sure that a $7,300.00 watch is amazing, it’s a finally crafted, limited edition, work of art on your wrist that also tells time. But I would question whether it is a good value proposition. Will it go up in value, like an investment? Will it open the doors to the corridors of power in governments and corporations worldwide? Will a $7,300.00 watch impress your friends, maybe, if they are into that sort of thing. Personally, I’m not into chasing the Jones or anyone else for that matter. Don’t get me wrong I would love to sport an IWC on my wrist and a Ferrari in my garage, but I’m just as happy with a nice Seiko Prospex and a Subaru WRX STI, or if I’m feeling frisky how about a SINN 103 Ti DIAPAL and a Porsche 911S, for at least half the price of the IWC and Ferrari (depending on models of course).
In this comparison the Parnis is the value winner, hands down. It has no pedigree, is cheap in every way a watch can be. But it keeps OK time, looks just like the other watches costing 18 to 73 times its price and if I lose it, break it or damage it, I could care less. The Hamilton is a bit of an odd ball to me, its not cheap, for that kind of money you can get into a much more interesting watch. Its not unique, clearly knocking off the IWC, and utilizing an off-the-shelf movement. Hamilton has better more interesting offerings than the Jazzmaster Maestro Auto Chrono.
I don’t collect watches for investments, that’s what the stock market is for. I don’t collect watches to impress my friends, if I need to impress them they are not my friends. I don’t collect watches as pieces of art, that is what art is for. I collect watches because I love watches, I love the many varied flavors, styles, sizes and colors. I love all the nuances, the interesting designs, mechanisms and thinking that go into watches. For less than $1,000.00 there are thousands of amazing watches out there that are unique, awesome expressions of time and style. But, they are more than fashion items, they become extensions of who each of us are, every watch I wear empowers me to be something new. Each watch I own, I wear, and each one makes me feel special in a different way, the racing watches for when I want a chronograph, the dive watches for sporty occasions, the G-Shocks for when the going get tough, and my homages are for pretending that I have more money than sense. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to rock an IWC, I’m sure they are AMAZING watches, and if someday my income and wealth rise to the point where $10,000 is the same to me as buying a $1,000 watch is today, then I might go for it. By the way I also like to know what time it is with the simple turn of my wrist.
Keep on a Watching!