The Collector - case studies #2

Is this one a better buy or that one?

 

Q: I am considering the purchase of either the Jules Audemars Handwind Cal. 3090 or the Grande Malte Classique Cal. 1400. While I have read the available reviews on both the watches, I am still searching for a more defined answer as to which watch is a better buy!!

The Collector's comments:

I would hope that it is obvious by now that

a) ThePuristS are a group of enthusiasts who are well experienced and / or very technically knowledgeable;

b) we respect that all models and brands have their merits and deserve respect.

Though we each have our personal biases and priorities, we also know that instead of imposing our conclusions that incorporate, which sometimes are not so explicit, our personal and subjective criteria, we would prefer to present as much of the "facts" as we can, and let the reader decide for themselves.

This is why we try to avoid "head to heads" (though never say never!) and why we so strongly dislike numerical conclusions on what is a fundamentally qualitative (NOT quantitative) foundation. Ever try to use math to explain the beauty of a fall day in the forest?

Having said all of this, I personally find the cal. 3090 a more compelling movement than the cal. 1400 - more consistent in its modernity, both in its design and its implementation. Of course, someone else may prefer the cal. 1400 for the very same reasons.

In the examples I have personally seen and handled (not only a few) the cal. 3090 is more consistently finished in terms of its quality, though both can stand improvement (what can't? even Lange...)

In terms of the case, I love the Jules Audemars, which to my eyes is one of the most beautiful cases on the market right now, bar none (the Breguet round coined case band case is my other "eternal classic" case that comes immediately to mind) The VC Malte case is attractive, but I am undecided about how it will age; literally, only time will tell. I cannot imagine the Jules Audemars case will not age well.

A shortcoming of the Jules Audemars handwind is the small movement size relative to the case; I don't like the close placement of the sub-second relative to the center of the main dial, necessitated by the smallish movement size.

You will notice that all of my comments are primarily design based and aesthetically subjective; again, someone else may like the Grande Malte Classique more for the very same reasons.

Both have excellent crown and stem feel, though I tend to give the nod to AP again, for consistency of winding and hand setting action and feel.

Both movements should give you years of reliable timekeeping, assuming they are good examples to begin with, and well maintained. I doubt anyone will be able to reliably predict that one or the other will show more wear or prove more unreliable after 50 years. But again, this assumes good examples of each to start with.

Ford 427 sideoiler or Mopar Hemi?

FoMoCo 289 or Chevy small block?

Lamborghini 12 or Ferrari 12?

Consider the reasons, ignore the conclusions, for your own, personal choice.

Hope this helped more than it confused.

Enjoy the process, and respectfully submitted for your consideration.

Regards,

ThomasM

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