A Beginner with Lots of Questions

Hello Everybody,

I'm Bill and I'm very new to horology. I got a Patek Philippe Calatrava 3468 (manual wind), and from reading the materials about these watches I learned they cannot be worn everyday unless you attend genteel cocktail parties or formal awards dinners and behave yourself. When getting a new band from a Patek dealer, I also learned that the gold case will eventually be ruined unless I get the gold spring bars that had been replaced by stainless steel ones. (That watch is a real wuss!) I'm waiting the arrival of the springs.

So I decided I'd better get a good watch for daily use. (When I belonged to the RROC and drove an '83 Silver Spur, some of the club members would refer to certain cars of the marque as "daily drivers"--that's what I needed a "daily driver watch.") As you can imagine, after sticking my nose into the rarified air of horology I couldn't just get any watch; I'd have to get one that the Patek would allow in the house. This quickly came down to the other members of the Holy Trinity and two maverick choices. Here were the selections and my reasoning behind each:

1. Patek Nautilus/Aquanaut: At the risk of hurting the feelings of others on this list who may have such a Patek, I just don't like they way they look.

2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: I like this watch a lot. I like the looks and everything else about it.

3. Vacheron Constantin Overseas. I like this because of the name, the sailboat etched on the back (that only the wearer gets to see) and the understatement of quality it evokes from the workmanship within.

3a. Vacheron Constantin Phidias: This was my favorite for a while, despite warnings against it and urgings to get the Overseas. The only thing I didn't like about the model I found for me was the mix of stainless steel and gold—a tad too "look at me." But what the heck, it had bezel surrounded by major cities of the world positioned to their relative hour. A little bling wasn't so bad.

4. Rolex (Maverick #1) Datajust: In my quest to new pretentious heights, I suppose this should have been my first choice. However, even though their price is "reasonable" in an unreasonable range and their quality superb, Rolexs have both a commonality and recognition-factor that didn't fit me.

5. Omega (Maverick #2) Speedmaster (manual): Who cannot love the man in the moon watch? Rugged, reliable and NASA rated for moon travel....and about half the price of what the Royal Oak and Overseas were asking.

At some point I knew it was going to be either the AP or VC and if all efforts fell through, I'd go with the Omega. My plan was to make identical offers on both the Overseas and Royal Oak. If both were rejected, I'd go with the Phidias (which was at a much lower price), and after a trip to NYC to look at the Phidias, if I didn't quite like it, I would go with the Omega. After making identical offers for the VC and AP (the VC was slightly higher in the original price but I offered the same amount, ) I was expecting some counter-offer and after horse-trading emails, I'd take the best of the two. Well, the AP guy was pretty abrupt ("We don't negotiate price!" -- who'd he think he was, a Saturn dealer?), and the VC guy came very close to my offer (off by only a smidge...). So I took it.

I suppose I should have come up with some story that led me inexorably to the Overseas, but it didn't quite happen that way. In retrospect, I don't think I could have made a better choice, though. I had heard horror stories about the AP service charges and quality (even owning a Patek, the charges were outrageous). The reviews and discussions of the Phidias just weren't that good. (Again, I'm a noob, and if you own a Phidias, you know for certain one way or the other; so never mind me.) Now I have other questions.

Who Should I listen to?

As we all know, the Internet is rife with misinformation, arguments and noise. So far, I've read and/or viewed a number of different  horological "experts." Being a noob, I'll listen to anyone who knows more than I do. Here's the list:

1. watchuwantinc  A YouTube reviewer, but since they're selling watches, would they have a video that suggested "Don't buy this watch from us."

2. Watch Snob (on AskMen) A cross between Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde, this guy seems to be both knowledgeable and patronizing. Even passes judgement on the questioners use of the English language—and from a guy who uses syntactic expletives.

3. Archie Luxury (YouTube) An Aussie escapee from a mental hospital. This guy is like a bad habit or an unwound watch. I keep watching his videos despite his penchant for wondering what he will say next--often he just repeats himself while making up his mind. Entertaining in many ways, and he knows a thing or two about watches. I worry about Archie.

4. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Watch owners On different blogs, VCO owners often chime in with comments based on their experience. 

There have been many others who have spoken up on the Web in text or video; so if you've got a good tip, I'm all ears.

How should I care for my Vacheron Constantin Overseas?

As noted my 18-caret gold Patek is a drama queen in terms of careful usage, and my VCO represents (to me) a tough customer adorned in stainless steel. However, while not babying it like I have to my Patek, I want to give it every consideration in terms of daily care and service. Of special interest to me is the care of the bracelet, which is subject to wear, tear and breakage itself.

Re: A Beginner with Lots of Questions
02/03/2016 - 06:14

Hi Bill,

I think you have made a good choice.  Though my Overseas is not a daily driver, I find it perfect for my 1-2x a week use. It is less than a year though so I cannot comment  yet on reliability.  Pretty good so far for me.

Congratulations on your purchase.

welcome and congrats on your
02/03/2016 - 14:02


Which model did you choose? And please do post scans

As for taking care of the OS, its a great watch no need to baby it. The bracelet will eventulaly have scratches and scuffs but not a big deal as can be easiyl buffed out and any way its a watch to be worn!


As who you should listed to, I would say the Loungers are a pretty great bunchwink

Re: welcome and congrats on your
02/03/2016 - 18:50

Hi Alex,

The Overseas model is a 20240. I'll get a picture of it as soon as it arrives (Just ordered it yesterday!). In the meantime, I'll add a picture story of watches I've had and how they led to the VC OS.

Here's a newbies question: My OS will be an automatic. I read somewhere that I should wind it 20 turns and then the rest will be automatic. My current automatic keeps ticking unless I forget it and leave it at home, which I rarely do. When it stops, I just wind it; give it a few shakes and it's back to work. 

Kindest regards,


Correction: 42040 OS
02/06/2016 - 15:15

In response to Alex's query, I responded that the model is a 20240. It is a 42040.

Pardon my dyslexia...



I think you made a great choice
02/03/2016 - 16:27

I may be in influenced by the fact that I made the same one.  My OS is my daily driver and it has held up very well.  I have only had it a couple years, but I wear it 4-5 days a week.  I looked at many of the same watches you did (except Rolex) in fact and am delighted with my choice.  I do have an Omega Seamaster that I wear in higher abuse situations (during manual labor!).

These opinions will be quite controversial to some, but they were my assessment.

Here is why I eliminated the others:

Rolex - too cliche'.  Rolex, to me, says "Look at me, I spent a lot of money on a watch."  I am in sales, so this probably informs my perception.  I have developed a more nuanced view of Rolex of late, but this was my thinking a couple years ago.

AP and Royal Oak - Frankly, I think AP killed the Royal Oak by making a billion of them.  Every single person I have ever met that actually owned an AP, owned some version of the Royal Oal.  If I ever get an AP, I will get a Jules Audemars of some sort.

Omega - just not in the same league.  For me, it was a different kind of purchase.  I have one, I love it, but the two do not compete for me.

Phidias - just no.  Sorry.  Not representative of the brand (to me).  I preferred something that felt more in line with VCs modern self or historical self.  The Phidias feels orphaned to me.

Patek - The aquanaut is just not my aesthetic. As for the Nautilus, I would definitely still consider it.  For me, there was not enough differentiation in the product to justify the differentiation in price.  It was a value thing.  That said, a Nautilus is on my list.

So - controversial - probably.  But this was my thinking through the same decision process you went through.  I don't begrudge anyone their love of the pieces I don't love - we all have our own definitions of beauty and of value, but these are my thoughts.

As for caring for it - just get it serviced every few years and try to avoid deeply scratching the bracelet.  That's really about it.  I think you made a great choice.


Meant to include a photo
02/03/2016 - 16:29

Wristshots are beloved here... post one!  Also, to echo Alex's comment, the best source of information on Vacheron - anywhere - is right here.

Meant to include a photo

Re: Meant to include a photo
02/03/2016 - 18:54

Wow, JTodd, that's a nice looking watch!

As I noted, I just ordered my VC OS, but I will add it's picture as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, I'll put together a wrist-by-wrist picture story of how I arrived at my current happy and anxious state of waiting for my Overseas.

Kindest regards,


Welcome to THL!
02/04/2016 - 05:21

I'm biased, but I believe THL is a great source of watch wisdom/experience...obviously for VCs but also for non-VCs as well.  Most of the Loungers have wonderful and varied collections. They are also quite open and up-front about the good, bad, and ugly of VC as well as other watch brands that they've experienced.

I did not know there was a VCOW group or blog before, interesting!

The Patek 3468 is a really elegant,, dress watch.  The cal. 23-300 movement looks wonderful, it's 5-bridge design and thinness make me think VC's cal. 1001/1002 movements were its direct competition during that time period.

Although the watch is gold and thin, I would not consider it to be extremely fragile(?).  I wear similar watches with a polo shirt and doing my daily (non-physically strenuous) activies all the time.

The bracelet on the OS will be really handy during hot humid months and not having to worry about water resistance.  I would have the OS serviced and the seals checked/replaced as necessary to ensure the 150 meters WR rating is intact.  I've never heard of any special care needed for the bracelet or tears/breakage.  The biggest criticism I've heard, and experienced, is that the Gen. 1 bracelet links will "kink" up avery once and a while.  But it has always been easy for me to "unkink" them.

Best Regards, Dan

Re: Welcome to THL!
02/04/2016 - 11:15

Thanks for the information Dan. This summer my wife and I are going on a cruise to Scandanavia, the Baltic states and Russia, and so I'll be spending a lot of time in a sea spray/breeze environment. I've been concerned about the very elements you mentioned, and while I'll still be overly-cautious, I won't have to forego taking my VC and PP with us. I even bought a special carrying case for the Patek. Now, I'll have to get a two-watch case.

Kindest regards,


You may consider a separate thread seeking case recommendations
02/04/2016 - 11:36

Lots of experience amongst the Loungers. I haven't searched for it yet - there may already be a thread. My wife just got me a couple of these. They're really nice. And some Loungers recommended something between during travel to avoid "knocking". I took it to Geneva with me, wearing one and with three packed, and it worked a treat! Lots of other options out there. 

You may consider a separate thread seeking case recommendations

A Man on the Moon?
02/06/2016 - 04:08

Hi Jtodd,

Is the watch on the far left an Omega 'Man on the Moon?' What are the other two VCs? (Be patient...I'm still learning...)



Actually, that is a Seamaster 300 Professional
02/06/2016 - 12:17

And we love teaching each other around here. Some of the people in here just started out geniuses (or, got their watch educations before 2007, when the forum started). Others, like me, wandered in like a naif and learned from the others generosity and kindness - like jb (JosephJ and ticktalk (Dean) and Alex and Dan and flyrobyfly (Roberto) and Radek and... So many others. I know I have missed many and apologize in advance. 

That Seamaster is often known as "the Bond watch) because it was made popular by Pierce Brasnan and they actually made a 007-branded version or it. It is a popular choice among collectors.  Dan has an Omega Ploprof that I have not seen in person, but is a great watch.

the two Vacheron's in that case are a Patrimony Autmatic Date (85180) in white gold and a Traditionelle Small Seconds (82172) in Platinum.

Re: A Beginner with Lots of Questions
02/05/2016 - 17:50

I will say Bill I went through much of the same dialogue that you had in your selection.  I had been researching and prepping to buy the AP RO 15400, I absolutely love the design, however I tried it on and was left deflated.  It looks gorgeous off my wrist but not on.  This was right around the time SIHH had started and I got turned on to the VC overseas.  To me the VC was an easy choice compared to a Patek, a stainless steel sport watch to me needs to be in a competitive price range (not that I have anything against their prices or people who buy).  Went to my AD saw the overseas and contemplated it over a weekend and pulled the trigger, even got a nice discount.  

Having worn it the last couple of weeks I can say that I absolutely love it and have had no issues with it, keeps time well and the power reserve will not run out if you wear it often.  


Insofar as who to listen to, I would say watch the forums that is where are plethora of knowledge exists, and it exists in terms of everyday use and years of experience.  As much as a watch reviewer can tell you about a watch an owner with a history will be able to give you more.  Not only that but the aggregate data within a forum will give you an idea as to how common or uncommon something is.  I believe every watch brand had service horror stories and crazy costs, but they tend to be the exception to the rule.  


Overall I think you made the correct choice sir!  Enjoy and congrats! 


(P.S. wristshot of my OS) 

Justin's beautiful watch
02/05/2016 - 19:05

Hi Justin,

Your OS is quite a beauty! I very much like the date window at the 4-5 position, and I'm glad to hear that my good fortune sent me to OS instead of RO. As warned, I'm already looking at other models in the marque, but for now, I'm awaiting the arrival of my 42040 OS (tomorrow if our snowstorm today didn't delay it.) The Maltese cross is the perfect emblem—the Knight Templars ofHaute Horlogerie.

Kindest regards,




Hi Justin, Welcome to THL!
02/07/2016 - 00:20

That's a great looking OS and wristshot! 

Re: Hi Justin, Welcome to THL!
02/07/2016 - 03:32

Thank you, much appreciated!  I am very excited about VC and my new OS!

welcome to the Lounge Justin and thanks for sharing
02/07/2016 - 10:37