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      01-02-2014, 10:49 PM   #1
ZStig
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Excited about Refined Hardware

I often visit uncrate.com, and don't consider myself a big watch guy, but when I saw pictures of this thing I instantly fell in love. Only 500 pieces being made, and they sold out of their alternate style.

I'm getting married in September, and convinced my dad to order one as my wedding present to wear for the big day. Value/Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to me, this is worth a full $10k

Too bad its a small brand, and I couldn't read any reviews first. Don't think I'll regret it though. I love the modern-steampunk look

http://refinedhardware.com/RH/Robber_Baron.html
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      01-05-2014, 02:46 PM   #2
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ABTW has reviews from some time back. Google Refined Hardware Watch Review and you should find more than just ABTW's review.

Nothing wrong with the watches as goes the movements. Hit or miss on case finishing/execution quality. You'll see stuff like not well polished/machined edges and surfaces and non-parallel alignment of flat pieces that should be in parallel planes. Google some pics of their stuff and look closely at the finishing of the cases. The brand may have improved their quality control since when the pics were taken. I don't know.

I don't know of any other brand that goes to the local hardware store and buys pipes and other plumbing and electrical supply materials that they then re-purpose into watches. If you want exactly their look, you pretty much have to buy their watch. If you are seeking that industrial look there are other brands that are more impressive and cost about the same.

One thing regarding wearing their watches: they are large watches and the lugs that hold the strap/bracelet are strictly horizontal; they don't curve to the shape of a wrist. That can have two practical consequences:
- They can catch on things like shirt cuffs as well as other stuff as they "stick out there."
- They just make the thing "wear" larger.

If you like the look, buy it and enjoy it if the fit works for you. Just make sure when you order it that you can return it if you don't care for the fit.

I don't find it offensive to spend $10K on a unique watch, but I would not do so on a watch with a basic, minimally decorated ETA movement inside without spending a good bit of time looking for other unique watches. I fully understand the point of a novelty watch, and that's exactly what RH make. They are pieces that are about the art not the engineering of the watch. All art is expensive, even artful watches. Like all art, it's best to buy with a full awareness of what else one could have bought for the same sum.

All the best.
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      01-06-2014, 02:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
ABTW has reviews from some time back. Google Refined Hardware Watch Review and you should find more than just ABTW's review.

Nothing wrong with the watches as goes the movements. Hit or miss on case finishing/execution quality. You'll see stuff like not well polished/machined edges and surfaces and non-parallel alignment of flat pieces that should be in parallel planes. Google some pics of their stuff and look closely at the finishing of the cases. The brand may have improved their quality control since when the pics were taken. I don't know.

I don't know of any other brand that goes to the local hardware store and buys pipes and other plumbing and electrical supply materials that they then re-purpose into watches. If you want exactly their look, you pretty much have to buy their watch. If you are seeking that industrial look there are other brands that are more impressive and cost about the same.

One thing regarding wearing their watches: they are large watches and the lugs that hold the strap/bracelet are strictly horizontal; they don't curve to the shape of a wrist. That can have two practical consequences:
- They can catch on things like shirt cuffs as well as other stuff as they "stick out there."
- They just make the thing "wear" larger.

If you like the look, buy it and enjoy it if the fit works for you. Just make sure when you order it that you can return it if you don't care for the fit.

I don't find it offensive to spend $10K on a unique watch, but I would not do so on a watch with a basic, minimally decorated ETA movement inside without spending a good bit of time looking for other unique watches. I fully understand the point of a novelty watch, and that's exactly what RH make. They are pieces that are about the art not the engineering of the watch. All art is expensive, even artful watches. Like all art, it's best to buy with a full awareness of what else one could have bought for the same sum.

All the best.
Thanks for the detailed feedback. The watch is $1250, not $10k. I think for a 500 unit watch, thats a great deal I couldn't find reviews when I searched, I'll look again.

I see what you mean about the design being sharp edged, and I think the one I posted is much better finished than their earlier models.
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      01-06-2014, 03:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZStig View Post
Thanks for the detailed feedback. The watch is $1250, not $10k. I think for a 500 unit watch, thats a great deal I couldn't find reviews when I searched, I'll look again.

I see what you mean about the design being sharp edged, and I think the one I posted is much better finished than their earlier models.
Reviews....not of that specific watch, but of others by the same company. I think it'll tell you what you need to know. It's unlikely, given that RH is a very small company, that the themes the authors discuss would cease to apply to their current model(s). If you really want one of their watches, contact them and speak directly with them about your concerns/questions.

http://www.wristwatchreview.com/2013...-watch-review/
http://www.ablogtowatch.com/refined-...rbinger-watch/
http://www.wristwatchreview.com/2013...are-harbinger/
http://www.wristwatchreview.com/2013...-a-tourbillon/

I'm sure you'll be able to glean whether they are folks from whom you want to buy the watch or not and you can take it from there....ETA inside means the watch will work. Quite frankly, I'm shocked they are able to obtain current ETA movements seeing as ETA is cutting back on movement distribution to vast numbers of companies.

About "limited edition"
There's "limited edition" and then there's "limited edition." That term on the face of things is positive thing most of the time, but there are times when it's meaningless from a collector's standpoint. From the standpoint of one who wants to buy one, be they a collector or not, it always means the same thing: there are only so many being made, so you either get one before they are gone, or you don't.

From the standpoint of the collector however there are several meanings, and one must make certain which ones apply.
  • Limited edition: It can mean the maker is small and buys the raw materials in bulk and once that supply of materials is exhausted, they don't anticipate sufficient demand beyond the quantity of the initial edition to make another bulk purchase of raw materials. This is most common with project watches such as RH''s watches, MKII's watches, and any number of other companies that essentially make project watches rather than having a regular production line that cranks out watches in accordance with demand.

    Another driver to this sort of limited production is economic profit, insofar as any monopolistic competitor (i.e., anyone selling a branded product) sees demand, supply and cost curves that define the point whereat producing one more unit will not yield additional economic profit; therefore, they won't produce that additional unit because to do so would be unprofitable. This trait of monopolistic competition is very evident with small producers.
  • Limited edition: It can mean that the maker is limiting the production quantity because the effort and time required to produce the piece place too much of a drain on their productive capacity (human, equipment, space, whatever) and would compromise production of their bread and butter pieces.
  • Limited edition: It can mean that there are external factors that make continually producing the item makes no sense. This is the type of thing one sees with what I call "special editions" of regularly produced watches, such as Omega's 2010 Olympic commemorative watches.
I say the above not to squelch your pleasure at buying a limited edition watch. It is still a limited edition and ultimately carries with it some of the benefits of being one. By the same token, the term has more meaning when the limit is the result of the second bullet than either of the other two. FWIW, limited editions of 25 or fewer are generally meaningful as goes the long term value of the watch. More than that has no value to the vast majority of collectors, but there will sooner or later be one to whom it means the world.


All the best.
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      01-06-2014, 05:24 PM   #5
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Thanks again!

I think they made this one limited edition to increase demand, and build brand recognition. I asked them today how many they sold, and they said about 20% since December 1st.

I'm really looking forward to getting the watch as my wedding present, and wearing it on the big day. Will report on the quality of the details once its in my hands for a pre-wedding look
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      01-06-2014, 05:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZStig View Post
Thanks again!

I think they made this one limited edition to increase demand, and build brand recognition. I asked them today how many they sold, and they said about 20% since December 1st.

I'm really looking forward to getting the watch as my wedding present, and wearing it on the big day. Will report on the quality of the details once its in my hands for a pre-wedding look
NP

Well, it was just Christmas in California.

I'm sure they have a niche of a customer base, but there won't be wide demand for their watches. That said, if they have their quality control in good order, I wouldn't mind having one at $1200 or so. If nothing else, they are a unique looking style and that alone is worth something. They have ETA inside, so I know they'll work fine and that there won't be trouble getting them serviced as any watch repair shop can service a basic ETA movement.

Congrats on your betrothal. I wish you and the misses to be all the best.

I'd be interested to see your thoughts on the watch once you receive it. I have to say, the model you pictured is far more refined in appearance than their prior pieces. I like how it combines elements of Tiffany and Patek design themes -- blocky Roman numerals and hobnail bezel, respectively -- and it's probably the only watch I've seen that takes advantage of the complimentary pattern and scale of hobnail and mesh, combining them into a single piece.

All the best.
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Last edited by tony20009; 01-06-2014 at 05:58 PM..
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      01-07-2014, 09:08 PM   #7
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I hit them up about their movement, since some people are saying they're made in China. This was the response:

"There were pieces (not the entirety) of our first movement (solely in the Harbinger) made in Asia. However, the movement in this piece is completely made by hand and in Switzerland. I'll have one of our builders send over an image for you showing the proper markings and model of the movement and proving such. Again, please let us know if you have any further questions."


Apparently my dad really liked the design, because he bought one for himself. Makes mine a little less special, but I'm sure that wasn't his intention. I'll probably see it this weekend, it's been delivered in a real carbon fiber box with a red wax seal. based on his cellphone shots, its a bit lighter in color than the (now in hindsight) dark promo shots
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