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October 07, 2015

Comments

Lee_K

Dang, both the Sumo and the NB0070 look really, really sharp! I want both of them in my collection, if only to satisfy my Watch Obsessive fascination for all things horological.

So here is my take on the exhortation by some of your readers to "go Swiss". Swiss watch companies make great watches, that is not in dispute. Japanese watch companies make great watches as well, albeit at generally lower price points. The difference I believe comes down primarily to aesthetics and design. European watches have a slightly different look and feel to them compared to Asian watches. Sure there is some overlap through homages and influential design elements that get propagated. That NB0070 certainly has Panerai styling cues. The Sumo owes its layout to the classic Blancpain and Rolex diver watches. But there's that little design twist that tells you that the Sumo and Citizen are Japanese in origin, and that is a good thing. We like all kinds of Japanese consumer goods from Sony Trinitron TVs in the 1970s to Casio G-Shocks in the 80s to Hello Kitty in the 90s to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in the 00s. They all have a quirky Japan-ness to them that makes them endearing to those who appreciate such things.

A similar list can be drawn for uniquely European designs, like a 80s Armani jacket or a 90s E36 BMW 325i, or a 00s Hublot Big Bang. They have their own identity and beauty and a Euro-chic quality. Swiss watches stand at the forefront of this esthetic. So the question is, does one as a Watch Obsessive have to subscribe to the notion that one is better than the other? Or can one appreciate both design schools equally and have examples from both? I know that I can (and do) have both Swiss and Japanese watches in my collection without any prejudice, but I do acknowledge there are WOs out there who can only consider Swiss and look unfavorably at everything else.

Then there's the reliability concern. I've owned four Swiss watches in my life. Two have broken down completely and one has an issue with the crown that is getting worse each time I use it. I've have eight Japanese watches, and only one has ever had an issue and even that was relatively minor. I know this is anecdotal evidence so I wonder if there are hard statistics on reliability for the industry like there is with electronic equipment or automobiles. Their sure seems to be a lot of griping on the watch fora from people who have their Swiss watches break down on them in expensive ways.

Finally, I think it comes down to curiosity. I would love to own a Tier 4 or 5 Swiss watch, if only to be able to experience it myself. In fact, I probably will someday. This comes not from a acknowledgement of superiority, but for an appreciation of all things related to watches.

Ulysses

Personally I have no illusions that Swiss watches are superior to Japanese ones. Take a look at some German watches - they're pretty amazing. Jeff was lusting after some high-tier Swiss watches and I figured it would be better to scratch that itch than keep wondering, that's all. As for the watch featured here, I couldn't stop looking at the nice bracelet it was on.

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