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Re: seamaster vs constellation

: Hey,
: I have this chance to purchase a 1975 Omega Constellation, very
: good shape but service required and for a similar price a
: Seamaster aqua/terra (I think) around the similar year with
: day/date. Can't remember which one is quartz or auto.
: I am new to Omega and I like the vintage idea as I have new Panerai
: right hand Luminar (manual 54 hours)and Zeno pilot Chrono
: automatic (40 hour reserve. My question, which of the those two
: Omega's would you recommend each about 400-500 USD in Hong Kong.
: Thanks for the thoughts...
: jm

The Constellation (likely) has a better mechanical movement than Seamasters of that era. Generally speaking, all Constellations were chronometer tested and will have "Chronometer" on the face. Seamasters that were chronometers in that era were uncommon.

The quartz movements in either Constellation or Seamasters were identical.

To some extent, your question is really "do I want a quartz or a mechanical?", since one is quartz and one is not. A few data points and then my opinion:

>> Any quartz watch is going to be more accurate than a mechanical.
>> The difference in accuracy between very expensive and very cheap quartz movements are trivial, if both are functioning properly.

>> Mechanical movements will easily outlast a quartz movement, given proper service.
>> Mechanicals are more expensive than quartz and cost more to and require more service.
>> The service most commonly performed on a malfunctioning quartz movement is to throw it away and replace it.

>> The Seamaster is not an AquaTerra, which was not introduced into the Seamaster line until the 2000s, if it dates from the 1970s.

If the price of the mechanical and the quartz are the same, the quartz watch is probably overpriced.

I own quartz watches, because they are utilitarian and keep good time. They are soulless and efficient little computers. They are a device like the clock in the oven that tells you the time if you happen to look at it. I seldom wear them.

I own and regularly wear a variety of mechanicals, because they tick with a mechanical heart I can hear and feel in quiet moments, require regular attention from me to ensure they are accurately set when I put them on (after a period of not wearing) or in some cases manual winding when I put them on to run. They are tools to tell time, with which you have to give attention to ensure they work efficently and properly, and the ritual of attention-giving appeals to me.

Which appeals to you should guide you to making your purchase . . . . .

Two analogies from writing instruments:

Regular old-fashioned wooden pencils require you to sharpen them daily or more often, and the extent of your quantity of writing is reflected in how often you have to sharpen and replace the pencil. Mechanical pencils require much less attention and the lead is changed so rarely as to be a major annoyance when it occurs. The latter is surely more efficent, but the smell of pencil shavings and the ritual of sharpening appeals to many. Ritual versus efficiency . . . ?

Less commonly experienced these days are fountain pens. They require filling every couple of days and maintenance and cleaning. They demand attention to be used effectively and to prevent accidents. There is vast difference is the writing experience of an expensive pen versus a cheap one (based on micro-machining technology and metallurgy -- just like expensive versus cheap mechanical watches), and as used, the pen adapts and changes to the owners writing style. Filling these pens and using them includes rituals associated with their use and care.

Modern ink pens -- ballpoints, rollerballs, gel pens, are used and then thrown away or the cartridge contained within is. You can put a very good cartridge in a very cheap pen case, and it writes just as well as the same cartridge in an expensive case. In this, modern ink pens are much like modern quartz watches -- they all basically have the same cartridge (or movements that vary little in performance, in the case of watches), and you mostly pay for the case. They are efficient and can be inexpensive.

Rituals versus efficiency . . .


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