My old partner in horological crime, the watchmaker John Davis, used to write technical 1:1 Swiss replica watches reviews for ThePuristS.com in the early 2000s, and in a review of the Seiko Black Monster, he opened with this memorable observation: “Watches are machines.” He is right, of course – the watch, and the movement, are first and foremost mechanisms with a job to do. And lots of movements are utilitarian in appearance – in terms of numbers, probably most of them. That doesn’t mean they’re not fun to look at – I am firmly of the belief that high quality fake watches movement of any kind is interesting enough as a machine, that someone ought to be able to marvel at them at will, especially if they’re that person’s first foray into mechanical horology. I used to get a lot of pleasure from watching the 7S26 in my first Seiko 5 do its thing.
Commodity mass-produced movements like the 2892, 2894, and 7S26 are certainly designed, in the broad sense, but their design is driven entirely by engineering considerations and everything has been calculated to the micron and the centime for the most durability and accuracy, for the least money in manufacturing. However, movement design can also become, in the right hands, an exercise in artistry. Combine control of proportion, the effects of movement finishing, and the layout of plates, bridges, and gears in the right way and you get a movement that rises to the level of something like a statement of a philosophy, about both time and watchmaking. If movements like the basic version of the 7750 are the MREs of watchmaking, movements like the Dufour Simplicity are the dinner-at-Le Bernardin members of the perfect replica watches world.
This is a stock Valjoux 7750 chronograph, with the rotor removed. It’s a master class in economy of manufacturing and everything is executed as inexpensively as possible, consistent with reliability and accuracy. I’ve written about movement finishing (ad infinitum and maybe ad nauseam) and this version of the 7750 has no finishing to speak of. But what we’re looking at here is movement layout and design, and all the bits and pieces of the movement are designed to hold the moving elements, like the balance, gear train, escapement, and chronograph levers, cams, and hammers in place as securely as possible. In terms of design it has a lot in common with, say, an emergency lifeboat – anything not directly relevant to purpose is absent. To be fair, though, even here – and honestly, this is not a flattering picture of the movement, it looks like I caught it just after getting out of bed before it’s had a chance to so much as have a cup of coffee – you get a sense of some degree of inner harmony, exactly because everything’s where it is for a reason.
In terms of where it sits as an expression of the traditional Swiss approach to movement layout – well, it sits nowhere. This is a modern piece of industrial movement design and the same constraints that determine its layout would exist if it were German or Japanese or Canadian, for that matter. The laws of mechanics are the laws of mechanics and the laws of physics are the laws of physics; a brick falls at 32 feet per second squared, whether you drop it in London or Tokyo or Schenectady. This is design as an inevitable outcome of basic physical laws.
Let’s talk about the Dufour Simplicity.
Functionally, the components of the 7750 and the Simplicity are identical. You have fixed components like the main plate, bridges, and balance cock, which hold the moving components in place and ensure they interact correctly. Obviously, though, the Simplicity has been designed with aesthetics in mind, to put it mildly. The movement finishing’s superb to the point that it’s become cliché to say so but the design – the layout of the plates and bridges, and their relationship to each other – is just as exceptional. To take just one example, look at the boundary between the bridge for the barrel, center, and third wheels, and the bridge for the fourth wheel. They mirror each other exactly at the edge of the movement and then as the gap transitions towards the third wheel jewel, the space opens up as gracefully as dancers separating at the end of a pas de deux. The edge of the larger bridge then dips and rises to a sharply pointed peak like a wave cresting.
The whole movement’s like that. The jewels in any traditionally laid-out, hand-wound movement with small seconds naturally form a sort of logarithmic spiral but Dufour’s genius in the design of this movement was to take that relationship and shine a spotlight on it.
Here’s an interesting take on a specific watchmaking problem from Swiss movements Patek Philippe replica watches – this is the new ref. 6119 Calatrava, which launched earlier this year. The high-end hand-wound time-only movement is a little bit of an endangered species these days (I feel like I say that a lot lately) and developing a totally new one’s a rare event. In this case, you have a layout and design dictated partly by Patek’s own history of movement manufacture and design, and partly by a purely technical consideration, which is that the caliber 30-255 has two mainspring barrels in order to produce a 65-hour power reserve. It’s unlike the Simplicity in that respect, but it does have one feature which is pretty unusual in a new, modern movement – a small seconds subdial. Hold on, I hear you saying, lots of modern luxury copy watches have a small seconds – but they don’t; most of the time, the small seconds hand is actually an extra bit built into a movement originally designed as a center seconds caliber.
Leaving aside the question of finishing again, I think fake Patek Philippe watches for sale did an interesting job with the overall movement design. Despite the size of the mainspring barrel bridges, they managed to preserve a lot of the natural, spiraling beauty of a more traditional layout like the Simplicity’s. The movement’s design is really defined by the mainspring barrel bridges – it has to be because they take up a lot of room – but the shape of those bridges manages to be both contrasting and complementary. I didn’t particularly like the movement layout at first – I thought it looked cluttered and inelegant but over the last few months, it’s really grown on me.
Here’s one, on the other hand, that I still struggle with.
We know what this is. I know it, you know it, and the boys down at the VFW know it – it’s the new wholesale replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 16202 watches, with the new caliber 7121. I’m not going to gripe about the 50th-anniversary rotor again (other than to remark that it bothers me almost not at all in the yellow gold super clone watches shop online with smoked dial, for some reason. Maybe yellow gold just puts me in a forgiving mood).
Taken on its own, the 7121 is a perfectly respectable modern, high-grade, extra-flat movement and I applaud AP for engineering it to be more robust, almost certainly more precise, and definitely easier to service than the 2121. It’s not a bad looker, either, what with the balance bridge and barrel bridge complementing each other – a nice touch. But I can’t help it – I don’t like it. Not only do I not like it, I’m mad at it and as if getting mad at a movement wasn’t irrational enough already, I’m mad at it not for anything it’s doing wrong, but because it is not the 2121. I feel like a kid whose parents have gotten divorced and whose mom’s remarried a perfectly decent guy who’s bending over backward to be nice; I want to yell at it, “You’ll NEVER be my REAL Dad!” and stomp off to my room and slam the door. Is it fair? No, it is not fair. Maybe I’ll come around at some point but right now I can’t forget things like how the 2121 taught me to fly fish and ride a bike and read me a bedtime story every night … I mean, it didn’t but you get the idea.
This is simply to say that some things in watchmaking and best fake watches are objective. Water resistance, precision specs, power reserve, and so on. Finish is semi-objective – it’s very hard to judge without a lot of background and a lot of looking at 2022 replica watches, but you put a Datograph next to a watch with a Sellita SW300 and a chrono module and I doubt there will be any serious arguing over which one’s better finished. Design, however, is almost entirely subjective and sometimes a reaction to movement design is not only completely personal but also totally irrational.
Some things are like that. If you hate spinach, it doesn’t matter if you encounter it in a salad from Sweetgreen or in an haute cuisine dish of grilled woodcock and paté de foie gras. You are, to paraphrase M. F. K. Fisher, going to say, “To hell with it!”