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Breitling Chronomat 44 GMT vs IWC Portofino

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Hi y'all!

I've just joined watchuseek and I'm here with a dilemma. You see, I have a fixation for robust, big-cased, watches, especially ones with a chronograph.

As an entry-level watch consumer, I am interested in spending around $8000/$9000 for a watch.

Now while I was perusing watches on Ebay, I chanced upon a Breitling Chronomat 44 GMT (model# B042011/C851 - pictured below) with Breitling's in-house B04 movement, and I fell in love with it. (goes for $5700).

Now I know what many of you may say about the Breitling brand, some analogizing it to a "Ford" compared to the "Ferraris" and "Porsches" in the $9000 realm, like the Rolex Submariner, or the IWC Portofino or Portuguese, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic, or perhaps the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, and yet, the Breitling still has its spell on me.

Now as of yet, I am not a good judge of quality when it comes to watches, and so I am turning to you all with my question: Are the above-mentioned brands indeed miles ahead in quality and craftsmanship then the Breitling, and why so? And if that's the case, it is worth it to forget about the Breitling, in the presence of the real watch 'greats'.

Your feedback will be very much appreciated.

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Based on your description of the general style of watches you like, seems like the only choices in the pictured options are the Breitling or the Omega, with the Rolex a distant third at just 40mm and a non-chronograph. The IWC's and the JLC are either too small or too dressy, regardless of their other merits. I've never been a fan of Breitling, but the brand obviously has a loyal following. If that's the watch that has a spell on you, I doubt you'd be happy with any of the others. I think the Omega is a better looking watch, but I can't get past the cheesy (and useless) helium escape valve. I suggest you also take a look at the JLC Master Compressor Chronograph, which you should be able to find used in good shape for around 8k or maybe even less.

 

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Thanks for the sound advice.

Although I'm generally into large chronograph watches, I am also interested in gaining more knowledge on the quality of the different watches and brands you hear about often.

That is why I'd like to know quality-wise what makes the higher end watch brands - IWC, JLC, Rolex etc, better then Breitling - as evident from their starting price, and popularity.

 

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Well, that question is fairly broad and involves a variety of objective and subjective factors, including caliber innovation, design, watchmaking legacy, quality of materials, level of finishing, and so on. Since I am unacquainted with Breitling insofar as details are concerned, I can only speak with some rudimentary familiarity with the other brands you mentioned. JLC is one of the most highly regarded brands, in no small part for its long history of caliber innovation. Many high-end brands have used a JLC caliber to power their watches at one time or another, which speaks to their quality. I do not own a JLC, but someday hope to. I have owned an IWC, and I can vouch for the quality, high finishing, and attention to detail. And given how new watch prices have skyrocketed, I wish I had kept it. Of late nearly all IWC models have grown too large for me, but that would not pose a problem for you. As for Rolex, it uses a better grade of steel (or so it claims) for its cases, durable and reliable calibers that undergo frequent incremental improvements, and for a company that cranks out about a million watches a year it's amazing it maintains such high quality. I'm not a Rolex guy and have no plans to own one, but I appreciate the quality and understand the appeal, especially of the Explorer I and II and Submariner.

Regarding prices of high-end watches and luxury goods in general, that's a rabbit hole with endless twists and turns and involves how a brand trades on its popularity, marketing budgets, quality of materials and craftsmanship, customer target base, and other economic and emotional factors, some which make sense and others little to none. One last point: generally a manufacture movement (the term is subject to varying definitions), especially a complicated one, will cost significantly more. Yet often a brand will pop in a fairly pedestrian in-house movement and significantly jack up the price. A few brands have shown that it is possible to design and build in-house movements and keep prices reasonable (think Nomos and now Tudor). I will be interested to see how IWC prices models housing its upcoming "entry-level" manufacture caliber 42110, whenever that happens.

 

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If u like the Breitling get it, I have owned if few watches of all the brands u have mentioned except JLC, I am a big Rolex fan and at that price point would be my first choice it is a bit small but wears well plus 5 year warranty and 10 year service interval. The Omega is nice but I am not a fan of the coaxial movement. IWC would be my second choice but I would opt for an Ingenieur AMG ceramic which could be had for $8-$9000 or the titanium for $5000, which I got myself today.

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