‘Homage watches are ok’ - Hodinkee

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‘Homage watches are ok’ - Hodinkee

Post by Mellons »

"Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
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But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
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Re: ‘Hi age watches are ok’ - Hodinkee

Post by nje2791 »

Interesting article and valid points. I don’t think there is anything wrong with striving to create something as close as possible to the original (as long as you are not looking to to take advantage of someone financially with the result), equally, why not be able to put your own ‘spin’ on a classic design.
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Re: ‘Homage watches are ok’ - Hodinkee

Post by Hypnogagia »

Homage watches got me back into collecting and eventually to repairing, restoring vintage and building.

My first nice watch was a Breitling Chrono Avenger- big, titanium and more or less bulletproof. In house movements were starting to become a big thing, but I knew enough about watches at the time that the 7750 inside gave me reassurance that it could always be fixed, parts would be available and it was a tried and true design that was going to be very accurate and reliable. I wore the hell out of that watch for over a decade, and I didn’t feel like I’d ever need to buy another.

I would still look at other watches and think about what I’d get if I ever bought another, but spending more than I paid for the Breitling seemed financially irresponsible, and nothing under that price point really held my interest. The new sub$2000 market didn’t really have anything too exciting. Sure I could get a beater watch, but the whole point of getting the Chrono Avenger was to have a watch that could take anything I could throw at it, and it did (and still does).

I loved the idea of vintage watches, but I was already in deep collecting and building vintage motorcycles. Old things can be very finicky and expensive.

Then Helson showed up on my radar, and the edge of the rabbit hole I’d been looking over evaporated. The Skindiver was a beautiful and faithful homage to the original, and it took a lot of willpower to keep myself from ordering one. I also fell for the design of the Shark Diver, that looked like a watch that you could go to hell with and it would just laugh it off. The final breaking point was when Helson released the Skindiver Chrono. There was a watch that was exactly what I’d been drooling over in the vintage range, but new, with non-deadly lume, excellent water resistance, sapphire crystal and a Swiss movement. It was almost as much as I paid for the Breitling, but what a gorgeous watch. Not to mention that an original Blancpain Air Command was unlikely to show up for sale, and if it did it would cost the down payment on a house.

Micros like Helson, Armida, Benarus, NTH and Maranez lured me back to buying watches. The Armida A1 45 was similar to the Sandoz Typhoon, but on steroids. The NTH Tropic had all the beauty and elegance of the old super compressors, but wouldn’t drown. The Benarus Pac Man- a faithful homage to a watch that cost $3000, if you could find one. Next thing I knew I had a dozen microbrand watches and they were all solid, well built, excellent lume, reliable and I didn’t feel like I was breaking the bank too bad.

A lot of features like good solid link bracelets with on-the-wrist adjustable clasps, sapphire crystals, reliable and serviceable movements and nuclear toothpaste lume were leaps and bounds ahead of the same price points on Swiss offerings. Helson even made a homage of the Longines Legend Diver that was better in every way that the one that Longines themselves were producing (my opinion, but hold them side by side and look at the specs and tell me what you think).

Is a homage as good as the original? Depends on why you want it and what you want it for. I wouldn’t buy a homage to a Breguet Tradition, because the whole point of that watch is the watch itself. An homage to an expensive, hard to find and fragile old dive watch that is well built and can survive the adventure that it inspires? Sign me up!
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