Wrangling sacred cows

Robert-Jan Broer
April 02, 2007
Wrangling sacred cows

Photo by Valentin Blank

Over at the WatchRap forum, poster ‘pplater’ has started a nice discussion on the sacred cows Nautilus & Royal Oak. Here is a large part of his post:

“I can understand the intrinsic value of great design, be it the ?¢‚ǨÀúclassics?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ of the ancient houses or the cutting edge and confronting efforts of the Independents. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we seem naturally to share a common denominator that allows most to agree that an orchid is beautiful in the way that a potato is not. I can understand the value of robustness to those who look for it ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú cases of submarine steel, water resistance to improbable depths, movements that will withstand an atomic blast?¢‚Ǩ¬¶

I understand the singular merit of engineering innovation and greatness; I appreciate in equal measure complexity and simplicity, rarity and ubiquity, novelty and antiquity, supply and demand.

I also understand that there will always be a gulf between objective and subjective points of view, such that I am already setting myself up for a slap from all directions. What I do not ?¢‚ǨÀúget?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢, though, no matter how hard I try, is the extent of the appeal of just one or two perennial favourites ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú particularly, the PP Nautilus and the AP RO.

I know the following that these pieces have here, and I am just waiting for the hate mail, but – please ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú enlighten me. What is their appeal? Is it commonly thought that they are beautiful (so that it is time for me to get my antennae re-aligned)? Are they fitted with ground-breaking movements? Are they milestones in the horological arts? Do they rightly have a place in the pantheon of modern design? Do they fulfill any particular function better than any competitor? In short, why do so many of you hold them in such high regard?

Please resist the temptation to grant me instant pariah status. I am sincerely bemused, and equally sincerely open to being educated. If you can be bothered, tell me: what is it that I am missing?”

Most forums would probably go down in flame wars, however, the WatchRap forum seems to be civilized enough to produce some great answers.

Click here for the entire thread.

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Robert-Jan Broer
About the author

Robert-Jan Broer

Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more

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