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Which automatic chronograph watch should I purchase?

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  • Which automatic chronograph watch should I purchase?

    Bonus time is coming, so thinking strongly about purchasing a new watch. Looking for an automatic chronograph with silver/white dial and brown leather strap (light brown preferred). So far I've located the following:

    Tag Heuer Carrera
    http://www.amazon.com/TAG-Heuer-CAR2.../dp/B007AAKEVI

    Hamilton Jazzmaster Classic
    http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Jazzm.../dp/B009AR1W1K

    Hamilton Jazzmaster Maestro
    http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Jazzm...pd_sbs_watch_3 or http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Jazzm.../dp/B005MFJA7C

    Archimede Klassik
    http://www.archimede-watches.com/arc...-eta-7750.html

    Would love the Tag but not sure I can justify the $4k price vs. under $2k for the other options.

    What are your thoughts, go big or go home, or save the money and still have a nice watch for less than half the price?

    Also, any other similar watches out there that I should be considering?

  • #2
    Based purely on looks I like the TAG slightly more than the Archimede, and both of those more than the Hamiltons. I have no idea on the quality of these watches except that Tag is probably the most well known. If I was going to spend over $1k, i'd probably go big and go Tag. If you are open to used watches you can probably get it at a significant discount somewhere.

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    • #3
      The Tag is in another category than the other watches and should be treated as such. The Omega Speedmaster Professional comes to mind when comparing watches to the Tag. As for the others I like the Archimede and Maestro white with gold.

      Also any reason in particular a Chronograph over other types of watches? The sub-$4K watch area is filled with some gems.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JBarwick View Post
        The Tag is in another category than the other watches and should be treated as such. The Omega Speedmaster Professional comes to mind when comparing watches to the Tag. As for the others I like the Archimede and Maestro white with gold.
        Thanks, I see differing opinions on Tags so just looking to confirm that they are a higher class watch than the others I included, and therefore worth the extra money. I will check out the Omega as well if I decide to spend that much.

        Originally posted by JBarwick View Post
        Also any reason in particular a Chronograph over other types of watches? The sub-$4K watch area is filled with some gems.
        No reason other than I really like the look of the chronographs, and I needed to focus my search somewhere. Just personal preference I guess.

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        • #5
          The website: watchrecon.com is an aggregater of watch sales across different channels. It is pretty easy to use and you may be able to save some $$ getting some higher priced watches second hand.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JBarwick View Post
            The Tag is in another category than the other watches and should be treated as such. The Omega Speedmaster Professional comes to mind when comparing watches to the Tag.
            Price category only. The Tag is closer in quality to the Hamiltons than it is the Speedmaster.

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            • #7
              It's pretty subjective I think, but I like the looks of the Hamilton Jazzmaster Maestro, and the Archimede Klassik the best. They are both fairly similar looking and pricewise. I do like the blue hands on the Archimede, but I don't like the date placement. I think I would go with the Maestro for it's more traditional day/date placement.

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              • #8
                Honestly none of the above.

                Omega speedmaster I think fits the bill. If you want an automatic they make a 39mm speedmaster automatic reduced and also a speedmaster mk4 or daydate auto which is also 39mm

                Personally I saw to manual and get the speedmaster moon watch. Great resale value and also timeless style.

                Hamilton is good quality but a mid tier Swatch group brand plus it's kinda pricey. I've never been a TAG fan

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                • #9
                  Or if you want to save a lot of money and don't really care about the band: http://www.loehmanns.com/accessories...-785602900.htm

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                  • #10
                    If you really want to go bigger, I wouldn't bother with a Tag. Get something like an IWC Portuguese, it's a real classic. http://www.jomashop.com/iwc-mens-watch-iw371446.html

                    But I think both the Hamilton Jazzmaster Maestro and the Archimede Klassik look nice.

                    FWIW, I'm fairly certain all four watches are based on the same Valjoux 7750 movement, if that changes how you are looking at the price difference.

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                    • #11
                      Stowa comes to mind after thinking about it a little more and keeping in your price range.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JBarwick View Post
                        Stowa comes to mind after thinking about it a little more and keeping in your price range.
                        Thanks all for the advice, and especially JBarwick who turned me on to Stowa. After much consideration and way too much time scouring the web, I decided to purchase the Stowa below:

                        Stowa Chronograph 1938 Polished (Middle brown croco strap)
                        http://www.stowa.de/lshop,showdetail...ronograph,.htm

                        A little scary buying a watch based on internet pictures and forum discussions alone, but Stowa seems to be highly regarded and from all accounts this watch is beautiful.

                        Now the waiting begins, Stowa website targets delivery not until mid-March. :-(

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                        • #13
                          There's always a lot of Tag-hating in the forums, but I've never had a problem with mine. I have a WAN2110 that looks excellent, and does everything you need a dive watch to do, with some very nice aesthetics. I can't speak at their line of Chronographs. I also have a Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Sport, which blurs the line between pilot and dive watches (and incidentally functions as a chronograph as well). It's a little more expensive than the other watches you listed but might be something to consider.

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                          • #14
                            I own a Tag and a Hamilton, among others.

                            If it was me I would grab the Maestro. I love the way it looks and it will be just as nice as the Tag.

                            My Jazzmaster is built just as well as my Tag F1, but the Tag has more detailing.

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                            • #15
                              Another vote here for an Omega Speedmaster, or something like the IWC Portugese.

                              You have to ask yourself why you are buying a watch in the first place.

                              If you just want to look stylish, but don't care about watches per se - just find the cheapest watch you can find that has the style and feel on the wrist that you like. It can be quartz, it can be automatic, or solar, or "kinetic". It doesn't matter. You sure don't need to be spending thousands on it.

                              If you want an automatic watch specifically, then presumably you care about the history and craftsmanship of watches, or admire their amazing mechanicals. So things like historical significance (Moon watch! First diver's watch etc), mechanical complexity (features are called "complications" in watch-land, things like chronograph, dual-axles, day/date etc), craftmanship and materials (are surfaces polished, does this brand make their own movements or just put a styled shell on someone elses? sapphire crystal?) and so on make a difference.

                              I think the Tag Carrerra is a gorgeous watch, but they are asking a price that is high enough that you can get something like a Speedmaster, which is just way cooler to me. Historical significance is obvious. Many models are also two dial chronometers instead of three, using coaxial needles on one dial. Geeky features like the tachymetre, and the hesalite crystal face (which wouldn't shatter into sharp shards in space) etc. And all for roughly the same money.

                              Tag is trying to regain some credibility as a watchmaker, but they aren't there yet. Right now, they are basically a fashion house.

                              Personally, I think the $1000-$4000 range doesn't hold much that is interesting outside of some Seiko dive watches maybe.

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