Went to an AD last Friday to compare two pieces that I have been fantasizing over for a little while. I was hoping to compare the 500107 Portuguese Automatic (with blue hands, numerals and croc strap) to the GO Senator Observer with croc strap. The AD did not have the 07 Portuguese in stock, so I ended up using a similar model with golden hands and numerals instead, for comparison purposes. To me, these two watches are very similar, in that they are both interpretations of the same design theme (i.e., "observatory" or "deck" watches), both from highly reputable brands (with a slight exclusivity edge to GO, given their more labor-intensive production processes and smaller annual production).
Wanted to get your thoughts on the pros and cons for both, and I have posted below my impressions of both models, trying to make my mind up.
Size-wise, the two are much more similar than their 42 mm (IWC) vs 44 mm (GO) would suggest. The GO, despite being a tad bigger at 44 mm, has slightly shorter lugs than the IWC, so the two fit about the same on my wrist, perhaps with a very slight advantage to the GO even. The bezel on the GO is a bit thicker, but overall dial dimensions are very similar, at least at regular viewing distances, with the IWC looking slightly larger. One thing that is clear: from the back, the IWC 50011 movement fills the case better than the GO Caliber 100-14, which looks positively puny in comparison. The fit and finish is superior on the GO, but the detailing is more microscopic, whereas everything is much more plain to see, more "in your face" with the IWC. Another difference, which I did not expect, is a rather hefty price difference between the two, at least at retail: the GO retails for CDN$10,800, while the IWC retails for almost $14,000, a whopping $3K difference. I have to say I was surprised by this, as these two watches go very much head-to-head in my view, in terms of quality, brand pedigree, etc., where the strengths and weaknesses of each brand offset those of the other.
Overall, I find it very difficult to choose between the two (and I would need to take a better look at the 500107 (blue) IWC before making a final choice.
Pros: well balanced, refined, tasteful and understated expression of a classic design. Beautiful off-white dial, best "big date" in the business, beautifully shaped and perfectly tinted blued hands, exquisite fit and finish, overall refinement, excellent value/price ratio.
Cons: small movement, elements of finish more difficult to appreciate given tiny size of movement/parts, not so "special" movement by GO standards, slightly more austere design (dressier and not as versatile?), dial comparatively a bit smaller with shiny bezel that may be prone to scratches, smaller power reserve, inset pusher for date correction.
Pros: Clearer (huge!) dial with more pop and beautiful snailing on the subdials, arguably better dial/subdials proportions, 7-day reserve, slow-beat movement, beautiful (gigantic!) movement that fills the case perfectly, a tad sportier (more versatile?), date adjustment via the crown
Cons: More exhuberant design is not as dressy (could be a plus for some), thicker case/bulkier watch despite smaller diameter, hands more bland than the GO's, fit and finish of movement more pedestrian by a small margin, hard-to-justify price 30% price difference, blue colour of indices/hands more "in your face" than the GO's (at least based on pictures).
It is hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with any of those two watches. At the same price, I still can't pick a favorite, as they are both similar yet different in certain important areas at the same time. Surprisingly, as much as I've lusted for a Portuguese, I found myself drawn to the GO time and again, despite it being a bit more "plain". I guess that's where the GO's magic lies: it manages to play all the right notes without being overly "loud" about it. It does everything in a very restrained, tasteful manner, with elegance and flair, and flawless execution. Given the significant price gap, I think the choice may have made itself, however.
Do the experts around here no how much these respective pieces go for a regular "street" prices from preferred ADs or preferred vendors?
I understand that this is the IWC forum, so I would expect people to favor the Portuguese over the GO, but I was wondering if anyone would have insight as to the reasons why one might chose the IWC over the GO in spite of the significant price difference?