Early morning thoughts on movements...

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missF
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Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by missF »


The Prompt For This Post

My mark xvi contains- apparently- a ‘highly modified ETA 2892/A2‘ I can’t find any information about what modifications were made. The mark xx contains a ‘fully in-house movement’ but costs a big whack more.

My Unenlightened Opinions About Movements
I think there is too much unconsidered importance placed on ‘in-house movements’. Bear with me here... For the behemoth watch companies who have been working in-house for a long time - great. But for smaller companies trying to catch up and ‘become’ an in-house manufacturer? I’m not so convinced. I’m guessing that there will be industry requirements about how much of a movement is made fully in-house in order to qualify for the label. And what I’m saying is that producing an ‘in-house movement’ then becomes a question of doing the least or cleverest you can to conform with regs, which to me as a buyer is a case of smoke and mirrors, and less about inquisitive and transparent horology for the fun of it. I’d be delighted to have someone explain to me what tinkering IWC did with the basic ETA movement to improve on it before it goes in my watch. Far more delighted than having someone explain the logistics and supply chain they use in order to be able to claim in-house status. I guess I mean that unless there is more transparency around movements for me the unrnlightened punter, I’m being fed marketing that tells me that ‘in-house is best’. And I don’t like marketing at this time in the morning.

(As a quick aside, my thoughts run the same way when it comes to the ‘Made in Switzerland’ tag - I’m sure there will be industry requirements as to what percentage of components need to actually be produced in Switzerland to gain the tag, but that percentage will be less than 100%. We are not really - as punters - in a position to really question whether Swiss is best. We’re dealing again with marketing smoke and mirrors ).

I have no problem that ETA and Sellita and others produce good, time-tested, robust, serviceable movements for the industry. I love it when companies work on tweaking these movements in different ways, adding modules and complications. This is community of shared interest. This holds cache for me actually. In- house movements for the sake of it? I think I want to understand a bit more about the company and why they’re doing it - why they’re really doing it- before I pay far more for the label.

My questions
I’m very uneducated about all of this. I’d be really interested to hear back any thoughts on what I’ve said. Please correct my ignorance and tell me more about how this all works. Is Swiss actually best? Are in-house movements actually better? I have no clue - I have a feeling that for punters like me we’re kept in ignorance. This is the place for me to get enlightened! :wave:
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by Martin »

This is the coffee question, multiplied by a thousand! I did buy some coffee this week as a consequence of the former. The movement in my Omega is more accurate than my eta/sellita powered CWs. It is prettier to look at though this starts to pall after about three seconds. Great question, I look forward to all the answers which, I am sure, will range from the informative to annoying. All enjoyable in their way.
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by Dilbert »

missF wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 6:58 am I think there is too much unconsidered importance placed on ‘in-house movements’ […] I have no problem that ETA and Sellita and others produce good, time-tested, robust, serviceable movements for the industry.
I agree entirely. Plus, I prefer movements that are straightforward and not-stupidity-expensive to service.
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by missF »

Dilbert wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 7:38 am I agree entirely. Plus, I prefer movements that are straightforward and not-stupidity-expensive to service.
So this is part of my question as to why watch companies really want to produce in-house movements. One thing it does offer the company is a revenue stream into the future. I’m not knocking that at all - it’s good business I guess. I’d like to also hear from the industry the more emotional arguments about the building of an in-house movement and why it’s such a satisfying watchy thing to do :D
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by iain »

This is an older article from the late 90’s but explains a little about what IWC did to the Valjoux movements. I believe over time they reduced this somewhat and towards the end of IWC using ETA and Selitta movements many of these modifications were carried out at the factory before IWC received the movements.


http://www.iwcforum.com/uhrenjournal.html
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by iain »

My own personal thoughts, by that I mean I’ve no evidence to back them up.

The move away from ETA to in house seemed to come with the announcement that ETA would no longer supply movements to non Swatch companies. For many of the larger “prestige” brands such as IWC this drove the decision to develop in house movements for their entry level watches. It’s worth noting that for many of their higher end watches IWC was always in house.

I know this supply issue hasn’t turned out exactly as expected when it was first made, but if a company such as IWC had invested a lot in R&D already, then it made sense to just continue on that path.

If ETA had never made that announcement would this still have happened? I suspect not.
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by missF »

@iain - that’s a great article thanks!

Also - *’Exclusivity’ has entered the conversation...
I come to this discussion as someone with very finite finances, and so it’s hard or impossible for me to answer this question- ‘if money were no object would you choose to pay for exclusivity?’....,. Just another thought to Chuck into the mix :lol: :thumbup:
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by iain »

How exclusive is exclusive?

By wearing a mechanical watch you are already in quite exclusive company compared to the general population.

By wearing a modified IWC ETA movement you are in an smaller exclusive club outside the general ETA wearing enthusiasts.

Do you want to go further with IWC in house? Precious metal? Limited editions? Or the individually made to order with the star chart bespoke to its owners location IWC siderale scarfusia?

Where do you want to draw that exclusive line?
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by missF »

iain wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 8:08 am If ETA had never made that announcement would this still have happened? I suspect not.
Good point. I always think that sharing was the best least-mean option. The move was a bit like a kid in a playground taking his football away from a game that everyone was enjoying and deciding to play with only a select group of his friends :lol:

Maybe that’s another conversation for another time! :lol:
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by missF »

iain wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 8:20 am How exclusive is exclusive?

Where do you want to draw that exclusive line?
All totally valid points. It helps me to see grades and nuances in a discussion that often gets boiled down to comments on watch forums like:
That’s way too much for a Sellita....
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by missF »

Here’s another question that I gleaned from the article Iain posted above. If IWC required a high level of modification to the base ETA movement to go in their mark watches of a few years ago - but ETA themselves made all the modifications BEFORE shipping to IWC - does that give me as much of a warm glow as thinking about IWC making the changes they want within their own company? It doesn’t. But that might be me being emotional about it. Who knows! :lol:
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by iain »

^^^^ That would depend on whether IWC either decided that their required modifications could be made by ETA to the same exact standards as IWC but at a lower cost? Or whether IWC decided to reduce those standards to allow ETA to do the work.

I suspect we’ll never know the answer to that.
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by Noush »

I have a particular point of view when it comes to 'in-house'.
For me it matters when there is actual benefit(s). So when for example Tudor moved from ETA/Sellita to the Kenissi 'in-house' there was an accuracy improvement, longer PR and improved anti-magnetic ability. That matters and I will (probably) pay for it. With the BB58 I did.

One of the stumbling blocks to the Santos de Cartier for me was in fact the 'in-house' movement which is in fact 'in-Group' and offers no real benefit over the 2892-A2 for which it is a drop-in replacement, same PR although some minor anti-magnetic advantage. Independent from ETA now but for the user....

IWC Mark is a different thing again. I have a friend with one and he took it to be serviced to a local watchmaker on the basis that it's a 2892-A2. The watchmaker looked into it and said if he serviced it as such, the parts replaced would make it no longer an IWC movement, as sufficient of those parts were unique to his Mark. An Adrian Barker video told a similar story. I agree it matters nought in whose factory the mods were made.

At the high end, the story in my view is on a different plane entirely. You are buying the watchmaking craft of the Great Houses, specialty independents and so on.

There are plenty of folk here with a far wider and deeper level of knowledge and experience than I do. I look forward to their input.
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by missF »

Noush wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 9:05 am IWC Mark is a different thing again. I have a friend with one and he took it to be serviced to a local watchmaker on the basis that it's a 2892-A2. The watchmaker looked into it and said if he serviced it as such, the parts replaced would make it no longer an IWC movement, as sufficient of those parts were unique to his Mark.
That’s good insight thanks. So ‘highly modified enough’ to need IWC servicing and parts.
And your point of whether an in-house movement actually offers anything more than a base movement is well made, thanks :thumbup:
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Re: Early morning thoughts on movements...

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

Does it do its job efficiently, reliably, consistently and within the parameters stated, or else to your satisfaction? If not, can you get it fixed?

All mine seem to do that. I’m fine.
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