Above: Hamilton Powell, Founder of Crown & Caliber, an Atlanta-based company that is quickly becoming the preferred method of selling a luxury watch. I am a watch guy. There are many reasons I am a watch guy. These reasons range from the superficial (watches look cool) to the philosophical (watches measure the scarcest thing we all have). Being a watch guy, I like to be around other watch guys. We like to pontificate upon each other’s prized timepiece possessions, noting meticulous details. Phrases like “Speedy”, “patina”, “tropical dial” as well as other seemingly nerdish comments are normal at such gatherings.
Above: Some of the many watches we receive from customers on a daily basis.
The bond of horological brotherhood centers around watches – but its really more than that. It centers around what the watch represents, namely the human engineering feat that has allowed mankind to harness time. This is why the enthusiasm of a typical watch guy is geared toward the engineering of the watch – namely the movement. Much like a car guy loves his engine, a watch guy loves his movement. I have seen grown men discuss their various opinions of a favorite movement for hours. Nothing can ruin a party faster than a debate over whether the 2892 can even be compared with the popular 7750 movement. I digress. So with all of these watch guys out there that love tradition and engineering – it is predictable to think what their consensus will be when something new comes out like the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. They hate it. It represents everything they despise. There is absolutely nothing traditional about it. It isn’t even a watch. There is no movement, no craftsmanship, nothing special. It’s a piece of technology – not a watch. And you know what – I agree. However, I have been taught to have an open mind. So instead of being one of the many talking heads on the watch forums I thought I would do something about it. So I went out and bought a Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. I wore it for a week. I inspected it. And below represents the findings of this “watch” from an actual watch guy. I wanted to treat this like any other watch – so I reviewed the three things typical in any watch review: Look, Functionality and Movement. In order to bring the point home, I have compared it tone of my favorite watches – the Breguet Classique 7137BA/11/9V6, cal. 502.3 DR1.
The Price Samsung Galaxy Gear Watch: $299.00 Breguet Classique 7137: $22,500.00 Though skeptical, I went over to Best Buy and purchased the Samsung. At $299 (plus tax), it is clearly a more economical purchase than just about any luxury watch out there. Alternatively, the Breguet Classique will cost you anywhere from $20,000 – $25,000. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ The Look First of all, it’s interesting to see that Samsung has taken the time to mimic the look of the box that some of the higher end brands utilize. The faux wood box that houses the Samsung is very similar in look to how most high end watches are housed, as you can see from the Breguet. Another important note is that Samsung decided to put a deployant clasp on its watch, similar to many high end watches, such as our Breguet. This was a nice touch, as a simple buckle would have been easier for them to have used. In terms of the watch itself, the Samsung GGS looks like it performs – extremely efficient. It lacks any engineering flare or hand-engraved patterning. It is simple and to the point. There are no hands, no dial, no cool strap. It looks like a machine. The main features of the Breguet are the moonphase, date, and power reserve functions. These are typical of a luxury watch, and certainly can be replicated on the main screen of the Samsung. However, the hand engraved dial cannot. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Functionality The Samsung can do just about anything – so long as you have a compatible Samsung phone. The way it works is there is a Bluetooth connection between your Samsung Phone and the watch. Because it is so diverse in its functions, and those functions exceed those of a traditional watch, one person from our team stated that handing a watch enthusiast such a watch was like “giving a caveman matches.” After playing with it, here are the major Pros and Cons:
_____________________________________________________________________________________________ The Movement In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of a luxury watch is the movement. This is the engine of the watch – and is where some of the greatest engineering of the watch is displayed. Think about it – mankind has been able to turn metal and jewels into a machine that can accurately capture time. This is an incredible accomplishment that is celebrated by watch enthusiasts. In fact, one of the recent trends occurring in the watch industry is “open casebacks” where the watch movement is visible to the wearer. We thought it would be fun to open up the Samsung and show its “movement” and compare it to the movement of the Breguet. This is the main reason why the Samsung is $299 and the Breguet is $22,500. There are many other reasons (18k gold case, brand importance, rarity, etc), however, this photo shows you the difference between a computer and a watch.
Above: the “movement” of the Samsung as compared to the incredible 507 caliber movement of the Breguet.
Above: Our watchmaker inspecting the “movement” of the Samsung (front), as compared to that of the Breguet (back). When I brought the Samsung to him, the look on his face was priceless. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Final Thoughts The Samsung Galaxy Gear Watch is not a watch. It is a computer. It can’t be compared to a luxury car. Much like a SmartCar cant be compared to a 1969 Mustang. It’s a really cool device – and I will probably keep it just because it is such a cool piece of technology. It has a lot of great features – but it’s not a watch. So a word to all watch guys out there – don’t worry, don’t be scared, this shouldn’t frighten you. Luxury watches are here to stay!