Question for the masses - am I overthinking my “grail”?

 By: JV_Zag : May 4th, 2021-11:18
Hello! Wanted to throw a question out here and get your feedback. I’ve posted in the past that I was ready to buy my grail watch, an ALS Lange 1. Funny thing is I sold my GMT Pepsi and a couple of other watches, was ready to buy it, and then decided to do some more research. This is of course a good thing given the size of the purchase, but a couple of sleeper candidates have now come into the fold…And now I’m undecided. I’ll end up buying what I love the most, but was curious to hear the thoughts from those with experiences with the three candidate watches. A little background:

I am a moderate-level watch collector, owning an Omega Speedmaster, another Rolex GMT, IWC Pilot and a few other timepieces within that range (mostly sport). In June I am planning on making my next purchase, a much bigger one than I’ve ever made, for a dress watch that isn’t “simple”, has horological significance and history and I find really interesting and pleasing to the eye. I am specifically looking at the Breguet La Tradition, Vacheron American 1921, and of course the Lange 1 (all very cool watches which I love, at least seeing them online).

I’ve noticed on this blog and elsewhere the ALS seems to get more love than the Vacheron, and the Vacheron seemingly
more so than the Breguet, at least in general observation. Not sure why that is.

For those with experiences with any of these three, how have they treated you? Are they durable and hold up over time? I’m not a believer in having a “safe Queen” and plan to wear mine regularly. Have you ever decided to go for the “grail” only to think about other options before doing it? Any thoughts or opinions please I welcome as it’ll help me though my decision making process. You all are the best!

That’s why it’s a grail watch

 By: Jurry : May 4th, 2021-11:29

The endless deliberations, research, reading reviews, comparing specs, visits to the AD, discuss it on the forum etc etc.

It’s all part of that unique process during which a watch comes to live and turns into one’s personal grail watch.

I can’t remember off hand who it was who wrote the famous words: “the journey is more enjoyable then the destination” (Oscar Wilde?)

So whenever doubt is threatening to become a burden, just remember it’s part of the journey.

The beauty of that journey is that it doesn’t matter one iota if your grail is a $500 or $500,000 watch.

Regarding your remark on the ALS vs VC vs Breguet I recognize it but only partially. Personally I own quit a few VC’s and none of them is a safe queen and none of them ever caused me any mechanical or technical issues.

Enjoy your journey and share your progress with us

You are not supposed to buy your grail ;-)

 By: VinnieD : May 4th, 2021-11:33
If you do, you risk nurturing a desire for another grail.
For me, a grail is something out of one's range.

Interesting thought.

 By: cpbmd : May 4th, 2021-11:50
In my mind it’s the pursuit of the grail watch that keeps horological fire burning. If you attain that grail watch early on then you may be less motivated by And your passion might diminish.
Alternatively, human nature Is that you always want something more. Maybe once you have your current grail watch it will ultimately not stay your grail watch and you’ll find another grail to Chase.

A few thoughts...

 By: CR : May 4th, 2021-13:00
Don't think about this as an irreversible, forced-choice decision. If you buy just about any watch preowned, for a fair price, then you can always sell it without getting hurt too much (compared to buying it new) and get something else. If you're thinking about all 3 of these watches very seriously, then there's a good chance you'll own more than one of them at some point -- just maybe not at the same time, depending upon your financial situation and other preferences such as keeping the collection small.
I love the Lange 1 (especially the older movement -- more aesthetically attractive than the current movement, in my opinion). I've never owned a Breguet or VC, but I've always liked certain models of the Breguet La Tradition. The VC American 1921 never did much for me (though I like that the very first pieces released 100 years ago were for people like me who wore their watches on the right wrist!). Also, the movement-to-caseback ratio on the display backs of the larger 40mm versions of the Americans is way too low for me and would be a dealbreaker -- makes the movement look far too small for the 40mm case -- though movement-to-caseback ratio on the the 36.5mm version looks just fine. As an aside, I've been enamored with the VC Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 ever since it was introduced. That's a watch I've often looked at.

Id personally go for the L1. Imo a more refined choice both technically and in terms of style.

 By: Reuven Malter : May 4th, 2021-13:16

They're all nice watches. Buy what appeals to you most.

 By: quattro98 : May 4th, 2021-15:11
I don't have a Lange, but have pieces from VC and Breguet. I'm familiar with all of them.
All of these are great watches, but the Lange 1, Historiques American 1921, and Breguet Tradition are very different from each other. The appearance, functions, size, and feel of these are dissimilar. If you have time, try to see of them more than once in person. Take some wrist shots and walk away. Then think about the watches and look at them all again. Sometimes this can help determine what really appeals to you in terms of what you want to buy and wear.

Those are all top choices. I think when making such a purchase the question is which one will give you most pleasure in the long term.

 By: als1678 : May 4th, 2021-15:30
Lange 1 is iconic, finishing is great etc. Rationally it should be the number one choice. But I think it is hard not to compare with other Lange offerings - don't you really want a datograph, or a perpetual even if they are out of reach? Also my personal experience with Lange in general is that the excitement wears off pretty quickly ...

The tradition and 1921 on the other hand are truly unique. They are not "perfect" but I think they will be more fun in the longer term. Ideally you should try them on before you decide.

I was going to say that the uniqueness of the 1921 might be a negative factor, insofar as can it be a daily watch or will one tire of the design.

 By: Jay (Eire) : May 5th, 2021-01:45
No question it’s a unique piece, I find it very appealing too. But as a secondary piece.
The La Tradition given its traditional case may work better day to day. It’s also a watch I love and I would say far more interesting than either the VC or AL&S.
Overall it’s a great choice for the OP to have.

I’m sure most of us have agonized over a similar situation. All of your choices are superb. Too bad we don’t get a trial run And have an opportunity to wear one for a while to see if it makes our heart stop. Good luck in your journey

 By: aperna : May 4th, 2021-15:51

I don’t have personal experience with these brands or particular watches — that is I have never owned one — but, the VC 1921 would be at the top of my list. Have fun with the decision!!

 By: orahu : May 4th, 2021-21:50

Try on all three in person. Then you would know.

 By: pongster : May 5th, 2021-06:23
Better if side by side. There might be a dealer where all three are available. Here, the local AD for all three brands is the same. So it’s feasible. 


 By: JV_Zag : May 10th, 2021-19:23
Well that settles that…😍

Perfect! Enjoy this superb Lange, my friend.

 By: amanico : May 10th, 2021-20:34

You really cannot go wrong with any of your choices. We can give you our personal opinions as end users but ultimately it comes down to what you like more and see yourself wearing more often. Don't over think it, go with your gut 😉👍

 By: holdemchamp1225 : May 10th, 2021-21:49