Sunday Reader - November 1949 US Consumer Reports 'List of Best Watches'

Sep 29, 2019,01:05 AM

Interesting retrospection: 70 years ago the Consumers Union of U.S. did a ranking of watch brands in terms of quality and somehow things do little change, at least at the top end of the spectrum.

'...Not surprisingly, Patek Philippe, Vacheron & Constantin, and Audemars Piguet, were ranked first, second, and third, respectively. ...' Link to Bruce's article
1949 Consumer Reports guide to watch purchasing - with inkcuded scans of the article Link to timezone

The ranking back then:
1 Patek Philippe
2 Vacheron & Constantin
3 Audemars Piguet
C. H. Meylan Watch Co
Touchon & Co
International Watch Co
Cresarrow Watch Co
Jules Juergensen
Hamilton Watch Co
Gruen Watch Co
Girard Perregaux
Lord Elgin

The comment on PP, VC, AP:
... PP, VC, AP are, it is generally agreed, the world finest watches.
However, they have drawbacks. All three have hand-fittet parts. Replacement parts must also be fittet by hand, a task requiring the most expert workmanship. ...

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Comments: view entire thread


Interesting conclusion

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-01:37
Interesting to see the conclusion, that hand refinement or hand-fitting was regarded old fashioned or a deficit. How things could change over the time.

Patek Philippe have been sold via the giant catalog retailer Montgomery Ward

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-01:41
Somehow a predecessor of internet retailing

We are talking about 1949 and before

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-01:52
Because of Rolex I do not much wonder about. Just look at that movements. But more strange things like Omega below Longines. When was the time when Omega was winning all the Observatory Competitions? It might be influenced by what kind of stuff the compan... 

Jaeger-LeCoultre and Rolex activities in US in 1940's

 By: anon438 : October 3rd, 2019-06:24
At that time only Le Coultre branded watches have been sold by the Longines-Wittnauer Watch Company in USA. Therefore they are probably not mentioned separately. Maybe how the Le Coultre business was performed, using imported movements and US produced cas...  

Le Coultre USA cased watches in the 1940's

 By: anon438 : October 3rd, 2019-14:10
What you can find often in this time are cases marked Longines Wittnauer Watch Co (L.W.W.), Longines, Le Coultre all fitted with Le Coultre branded movement, and also calendar watches in steel which seem to have been imported completely finished. The qual...  

i presume in 1949....there 3 were the biggest & pushing hand made watches in the US

 By: maverickmahesh : September 29th, 2019-01:55
thanks for sharing, quite interesting read ! i'm sure this survey would have skewed & Omega would have jumped place right after 'moon landing'. of course quality in perspective of finishing, precision & hand-made are totally looked very differently be... 

If you talk about Haute Horologie

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-02:05
Than that would implicate for me also the continuous tradition which was observed over generations. Therefore the Trinity of Haute Horologie is still untouched and even not touched in any regrads. To many of the 'Independents' observe the rule of marketin... 

I would like to believe that it is exactly in the haute horology

 By: maverickmahesh : September 29th, 2019-04:32
that there are many better than the trinity ! ALS, FPJ, Kari, Laurent Ferrier at least to name a few...I neither think except for ALS the others even run special events even , Best, Mahesh.,

I would like to discover their outstanding skills, but I'm still searching

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-04:39
And as the time goes by, they disappear faster than they could be spotted and hyped. But they all should be supported. If it's your cup of tea, go for them.

Probably you should see for yourself...I wouldn't have to convince you then!

 By: maverickmahesh : September 29th, 2019-05:26
Also, it is exactly how the trinity were when they started & some one believed on their work too just like I believe on today’s independents !! Btw even today I’m highly doubtful of finishing standards of VC & AP. PP standards are varying to price points ... 

The rankings were the opinion of exactly one "watch expert"

 By: reintitan : September 29th, 2019-02:04
according the linked articles. And also automatic watches were considered "unreliable" by this "expert". The watches were not tested, compared, etc. Just one guy's list. Heck, we can all do that right now...LOL! Pretty useless list. I'm surprised Consumer... 

They were right, and they certainly relied on a experienced professional

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-02:09
The relieability of automatic watches was not there in 1949. Or which movement and company you are talking about?

Sorry but the opinion of one person "expert" or no is just that, an opinion

 By: reintitan : September 29th, 2019-02:22
And omitting brands from the list because this expert did not have enough experience with them such as Rolex, etc. and not even comparing the watches listed for accuracy, fit and finish, etc. just goes to show that again this is basically an arbitrary lis... 

I would trust them more, then your opinion

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-02:30
Even if Rolex is not listed - there is an explenation for it. It is a US market study, and I don't think you could judge the marked back then better than the cited expert.

Looks like I hit a nerve? Are you actually trying to insult me over my opinion on a list that's 70 years old?

 By: reintitan : September 29th, 2019-02:39
Did one of your relatives write the article? Scratching my head on the aggression. Oh well. It's easy to attack people on the anonymous internet. And just for your clarification, I'm not adding my opinion on the best watches of 1949. I am disputing the va... 

The approach is not at today's scientific standard, but still used more often...

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-03:27
But nobody wonders if a company is not on the list if it was not present in the marked in a lager scale. I don't think that your opinion is right, that this historic document is irrelevant, it's not that easy. The document is relevant because the expert i... 

According to the methodology they used

 By: reintitan : September 29th, 2019-03:37
if Consumer Reports asked a different "watch expert", say one who never had any experience with PP, VC, or AP and only knew American brands and some Swiss marques other than the "big 3" such as stalwarts like Touchon and Co. (#5 on that list) and that oth... 

No need to argue the common sense

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-03:47
That the Top 3 have been winning even against the US competition. What is your alternative message?

You may be lacking common sense if you still think I have any "horse" on or off that list

 By: reintitan : September 29th, 2019-03:55
I have no alternative message nor am I advocating any brands over any other, especially back in 1949. LOL! What I have been saying is that that "best watches" list that Consumer Reports published has no objective criteria such as timing the watches agains... 

If you asked 12 US experts at that time...

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-04:30
The list won't be the same that's most probably right, but the top 3 would stay as it is. And that those expert employed by the Consumers Union of U.S. has no experience and no standards is certainly wrong. Do you have any experience in this institution? ... 

You still don't understand the argument I'm making

 By: reintitan : September 29th, 2019-04:50
It may be over your head or English may not be your native language (which is not a problem) so I'll just answer your latest reply and then leave it at that. My example was to ask 12 different "watch experts" not necessarily US experts as you suggest in y... 

+1 [nt]

 By: maverickmahesh : September 29th, 2019-05:31

My personal summary

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-06:01
Some of you wonder about the brands listed, - it's explainable other stated it's no more relevant or would look different today, - that's true others put the Consumers Union publishing irrelevant at all. - what's pointless For me as a vintage aficionado i... 

Not to forget

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-07:13
Read the whole article first, then come up with your opinion about it. Probably some very useful information for the normal consumer in it - if we think about 1949, very well state of the art in consumer information. Or could you spot any point of importa... 

Content of the article

 By: anon438 : September 29th, 2019-21:06
- Pocket vs. wrist watches - Swiss vs American made - Need of jeweles - Need of adjustments - Quality of watch cases - Other watch features: Stop-watches, self-winding, waterproof, shock-resistant, non-magnetic - Prices, taxes, tariffs - Tips on watch car... 


 By: Jurry : October 4th, 2019-03:38
Probably not smart to jump in a discussion like this but can’t resist to do so. I belief one should place the 1949 survey in the context of that time: - there was no widespread distribution of knowledge as we know today - automatic watches were unreliable... 

No Discussion Jurry

 By: anon438 : October 4th, 2019-05:14
I don't think there was a discussion, not at all. For a discussion you need educated and well informed people. What I recognize in internet are manly opinions, more often sliding into hate speak if you don't agree with the ultra limited point of view of t... 

👍 [nt]

 By: Jurry : October 5th, 2019-03:58

LeCoultre activities in US in 1940's - cases and movements

 By: anon438 : October 4th, 2019-09:03
At that time only Le Coultre branded watches have been sold by the Longines-Wittnauer Watch Company in USA (beside other brands). Therefore they are probably not mentioned separately. Maybe how the Le Coultre business was performed, using imported movemen...  

The high grades V&C // AP

 By: anon438 : October 6th, 2019-00:42
The position ratings in the list are difficult to justify - a lot of pro's and con's -, also at the top end. PP, V&C, AP always called 'The Trinity of Haute Horlogerie'. But there have been some others come close by. ...  

No Cartier or Jaeger Le Coultre?!

 By: everso : October 21st, 2019-06:13
Both of those companies were kings of the watch world in 1949 and either CR didn’t have access to their watches or were holding some kind of grudge. I am not a big Rolex fan but it’s undeniable that Rolex was innovating then and I find it hard to believe ...