“It is very distinctive, it is very stylish – it is very Louis Vuitton… wherever you go in the world you will see people carrying the distinctive Louis Vuitton brand… whether it is a little bag or a huge suitcase. It talks of distinction and taste” – Cherie Blair at the London Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison Opening.
I have just bought myself a classic Patek. It is the classic gents Calatrava in 18K yellow gold. It has the classic black strap with the 18K Patek buckle. It has the hobnail bezel. A classic white enamel dial with Romans, a date at 3 and a second's hand. This is truly a classic Patek.
But wait..... There is 1 major flaw.
IT IS QUARTZ.
Yes -- I just bought a quartz Patek Philippe Calatrava. Reference 3944.
Did I make a serious mistake? I think not.
Patek Philippe lives in the commercial world. In the early 90s a major luxury brand like Patek needed a quartz solution for retiring businessmen.... For yuppies on the rise. These are people who had gotten used to the ultra precision of their Omega Constellation 2 tone in quartz. Patek filled this niche easily with the 3944. At the time it was similar in pricing to the mechanical 3919.
You might think anyone who bought a quartz Patek is a fool. However in the 90s it was not quite that clear. The quartz was presented as the evolution of the modern age with one of the best quartz movements ever made. See the old advertisements for the 3944 and it was sold as the way of the future BUT with the tradition of the past.
Patek is not a new comer to quartz. NO -- Patek was one of the founding fathers of the quartz invention. Infact Patek quartz was so technologically advanced Patek had a big market for ships chronometers. YES -- many an ocean liner, super tanker from the 70s/80s/90s will have a Patek Quartz Ships Chronometer.
To describe this phenomenon it is similar today how the market is for oversize watches. But you say Patek would never do this... But Patek just killed the 3919 33mm watch in favor of the 5119 which is essential the same watch but with a clumsy 36mm watch case.
BUT hang on..... Isn't it foolish to make a watch larger than necessary? I thought old watch making class was to make the watch as thin/small as possible. BUT Patek lives in the commercial world. So they killed the 3919 ...... add 3mm and called it the 5119.
In 10 years time will people say the 36mm watch is rubbish?
Will collectors crave the 33mm 3919?
I have no idea. However I don't think it really matters as it is still a Patek. Just like my 3944 is a Patek.
Because I bought a quartz unloved Patek model I got a substantial discount. I paid US$3800- for this watch with Patek box. If I bought a 3919 on the used market I would pay twice that price.
So buying the 3944 Calatrava I already got a huge discount. Is it really a watch without soul? I think not. It is a known fact that sex is 90% in the head and 10% physical. Perhaps you should reread those 90s adverts and regain the passion for the 3944 quartz model.
The 3944 has the potential to become wanted in the futre. I seem to remember that the Rolex Explorer 1 was not really a loved model! Even the Milgause was looked down upon. Does this mean the Patek 3944 will become the next Plastic Red Seadweller? I have no idea nor do I care.
I have a bargain Calatrava on my wrist and I am not going to think it is rubbish because somebody on a watch forum thinks I am a fool.