I am not someone who buys a watch primarily for the movement that is ticking inside. I did that once of twice, but those watches ended-up not being worn. I recall a Bulova Spaceview Accutron, an electronic Omega Constellation and a Sinn 142ST with a Lemania 5100 movement. Although all those watches had nice or at least collectible movements inside, none of them had a design that was fit for me. If I had unlimited financial resources, I would probably still have all of them. But reality is that I only want to buy / keep watches that I can wear. On the other hand, I don’t want to buy watches with a movement that is not ‘good enough’ for my taste. I realise that this requirement is quite subjective, because I don’t have the watch maker skills to judge if a movement is good or not. And some times this requirement that I made up does not even make sense. For instance, I would be very reluctant to buy a Panerai (or any other brand) with a movement based on a valjoux 7750. However, I did buy a Panerai with a Unitas handwound movement. Both movements are not very highly thought of and are considered to be ‘cheap’ by some collectors. However, I still bought this Panerai because I really like the design, dial, originality and history of the watch / brand. Since the price was right and the movement, although it is quite basic, has a nice optical finished and has been given a swanneck regulator, I didn’t have too many problems convincing myself that the inferior considered movement would bother me too much. Maybe I would have done the same if I would have cared for a Panerai watch with a valjoux 7750 based movement inside. Just maybe.

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I have found that other collectors or enthusiasts have the same train of thought. Perhaps based on different criteria or brands, but great minds seem to think alike. 🙂

There are also a few watches, of which I think they have the best of both worlds. Most of the time, these watches are considered to be classics by a whole bunch of people anyway. Like the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Great timeless and well-though-out design and has a Lemania handwound chronograph movement which is considered to be superior to the valjoux 7750 movement and some of the pigggy backing chronograph movements. Same goes for Rolex. The classic design suits me perfectly, and the movement is considered to be one of the most solid and reliable ones around. Due to the looks of the rotor the movement might look like it has no optical finish at all, this is not the case. A lot of people seem to think so, and a few weeks back a poster on TimeZone referred to this as the TimeZone-myth. Upon which I agree. I have seen the movement without the rotor through via sources (magazines, websites and in real life) and it has at least my sign of approval 🙂 The list of other watches that have a great combination would get too long to post here, but if you are an avid reader of my blog, you probably are aware of my taste for watches.

On the other hand, there are watches which I really like for its looks, but wouldn’t dare to buy them. As I wrote before, a Panerai based on a valjoux 7750 is already on the edge for me, but a watch that really makes a good example is the IWC Portugieser Chronograph. I really adore the classic chronograph look on this watch, and think the lack of a thick lunette make it a very clean design. However, the valjoux 7750 movement ticking inside is an absolute no-no. I wouldn’t care too much about the valjoux 7750 if the watch was priced on a more realistic level (instead of +/- 5500 Euro), but I would expect at least a bit better finish on this movement. The close-ups of this movement in a German watch magazine (Chronos or Armband Uhren) showed a wire edge on several of the movement parts. In the used market, this watch ranges from 2500 to 3000 euro, it is at least a bit more interesting. But this doesn’t make up a 100% for the sloppy finish.

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Maybe, just maybe, one of the best buys is the Omega Seamaster Professional. Original (Gerald Genta, for those who didn’t know) design, solid bracelet, saphire crystal, very nicely finished case and caseback, clear and original wave patterned dial, helium gasvalve as a ‘special’ feature and a common, yet nicely finished movement based on an ETA2892-A2. These movements seem to be real work horses and have been given a nice Omega-touch. Not only optical, but also construction wise (a heavier rotor and an extra jewel have been added). Just for a mere 1600 Euro. Sold mine a few years ago to add some (!) money for a Sea-Dweller which was at least twice as expensive. Twice as good?

Photo by me.

Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • gerlof

    thanks for this thorough comment. i am a newbee and orientating in the fiels of mechanical wristwatches. can you tell me were i can find more about backgrounds of the movements? i realise that comparisons between the different movements is difficult (there are lots of them, and of course there is also a subjective element). but is there a list composed what best movements are?

  • Howdy from Texas! I consider my Seamaster Pro (mid-size auto, black dial) to be the best watch in my personal collection, and one of the best values we sell at our watch shop… But I’m really commenting to ask about the Gerald Genta connection?! The Patek Aquanaut, the Audemars Royal Oak, yeah, we know that, but I’d never heard of his involvement with the Seamaster. Out of deep curiosity, what’s your source on that?

    Warm Regards,

  • Robert-Jan


    Howdy Cory from The Netherlands! 🙂
    The source is Chronos or Armband Uhren, German editions. I will try if I can find it again in my archive (piles of them).


  • Marcel

    I also consider the Seamaster Pro is best value for money. I own it for about a year now, and it hardly leaves my wrist. I still love the watch’s looks. I can hardly imagine the Rolex to double the quality of this watch… Anyhow, Rolex has never been my cup of tea. The Seamaster is a true classic and probably will always be my favourite…

  • Robert-Jan


    There are not much reviews on movements alone. Most of the time it is in combination of a certain watch. This makes it hard to compare, because brands tend to modify or add their own finish to these ebauche movements.


    Good for you. The Seamaster Pro is a great watch. However, mine left my collection to make some space for a Rolex and I have to admit that the Rolex magic is even more addicting. These watches aren’t probably twice as good, but once you have tried one for a while… you are hooked! I have learned and witnessed that some people have to grow towards a Rolex. Especially when they are quite rational buyers 🙂

    Anyway, the SMP is a classic indeed! I prefer the 2531.80 or the America’s Cup Limited Edition with white gold bezel (the original one, not the one that got mass produced afterwards).

  • Simkar

    Whats wrong with the tried and true valjoux 7750?
    Its a great chronograph. Have you worn one for any serious length of time? Iam very happy with mine..

  • daisysdad

    I belive IWC strip most of the bits out and change the caliber to 7922 it looks great all Shiny and gold?¢‚Ǩ¬¶. I love my IWC GST ?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ Keeps good time looks great. am I just easily pleased or am I not as rich as you boys?¢‚Ǩ¬¶?¢‚Ǩ¬¶?¢‚Ǩ¬¶?¢‚Ǩ¬¶

  • Val from NY

    IWC indeed modifies a base 7750 movement into a completely refreshed and more refined one. That`s where the price comes from. You can see more details here:
    As for Omega SM, I had one, chronograph with a polished bezel. The watch is truly superb, and for the price is an excellent value. I sold it cause it was a bit bulky to be a all-rounder. I consider one without a chronograph a better choice, but I`m looking for a large one with a polished bezel. The one with a blue bezel is too much associated with James Bond, something more of a cliche than a fashion statement.
    Tomorrow my IWC GST finally arrives, can`t wait!
    Also I already arranged for a very exclusive chronograph watch Philipp Charriol Super Sports, for the price I can`t hardly beleive i`m getting. Cheers 🙂