Trying to understand the term "Entry Level VC"

I've been discussing this with some friends because I always hear them use the term "Entry Level" this or that (including VC, PP, AP, Lange, etc.).   I don't like using that term because I think it implicitly puts a hierarchy to watches within a brand, and if I extend the logic to multiple brands...puts a ranking on them.  I guess I just hate rankings and (top 3, top 5, etc.), because they almost always end up being subjective evaluations. 

I totally understand and appreciate the difficulty involved in designing and producing watches with complications, and grand complications.  (In fact, my favorite complication is chiming/striking, besides the challenges in making a repeater, they look very simple from the outside.)

Personally, I like simple watches.  But I don't necessarily consider them "entry level".  To me putting a label of "entry level" on a watch implies that I am at a starting point and wish to move up the scale over time, which is not necessarily true.  Also, I believe most people use the term "Entry Level" as a euphemism for "lowest cost".

My friends say they understand this, but don't know how else to simply differentiate watches within a Brand's product lines.

I usually just describe watches as simple vs. complicated, and simple does not mean entry.  Take a look at this beautiful cal. 1120 which is most often seen in simple watches with only two hands.  Would you consider this an entry level watch?

Trying to understand

Trying to understand

Trying to understand

Trying to understand

Some will say the OS Automatic is an entry level VC.  But for those that want a great daily watch that offers a metal bracelet, the ability to go swimming, and don't need a chronograph or dual-time you say they are buying an entry level?  They are buying something that fits their lifestyle requirements, nothing more/nothing less.

For a Brand like VC, I don't like the term "entry level".  It' like saying, "That's an entry level McLaren or Lamborghini, etc."

What do you think?  Do you use the term "entry level VC"?  If so, how do you define it?  If you don't use this term, do you have other terms?

BR, Dan


Re: Trying to understand the term "Entry Level VC"
03/08/2015 - 16:01

Hi Dan

The work and skill that goes into making a VC, no matter the model or complications involved, makes the term 'entry level' ludicrous.

I am sure that great care is taken with the metalurgy of the springs and all the other parts - just to name one attention to detail. Putting the thing together is a task requiring great skill but all those parts didn't just appear from nowhere and when one considers that these watches must work in all kinds of atmospheric conditions the mind boggles.

As far as I'm concerned a VC is a VC is a VC. And they are made to be used.



Thanks Dave, I agree! :-) (nt)
03/10/2015 - 01:39
Dan you have nailed it. Excellent post. Yes, 'entry-level' VC is often used
03/08/2015 - 16:18

as an euphemism for lowest cost VC (or whichever else brand). But sometimes I feel the so called 'entry-level' VC's (or Lange / PP) are more than one will ever need and are more difficult to get right. They have to appeal to a broader audience and these pieces can make or break a brand.  

I read in a recent interview of Luca Montezmolo (ex-Chairman Ferrari) that they still had not 'perfected' the hybrid system of the LaFerrari, and they sold the early cars to those customers who they could be honest about this with and who would give them feedback. This is a USD 2 million by invitation supercar. But they can never attempt something like this with the 458 or California.  I think one can apply a similar logic with VC (or any other high end brand). For example, VC's new chronograph / split seconds chronograph - even if the early few pieces are not perfect - those customers can give feedback and probably own few VC's, so might not throw a hissy fit should something be right.  But a simple Patrimony or Traditionelle customer might be a lot more unforgiving.  These pieces have to embody all what the brand is about and do it with a bang, or it can make or break VC (or whichever brand we are speaking about). I hope I am expressing myseff clearly here.

I agree that calling a VC entry-level is akin to calling the Ghost an entry-level RR or 458 Italia an entry-level Ferrari.  Some guy was looking for a 'cheap' VC on the Vacheron Constantin FB page, and I wrote to him saying that these 'entry-level' VC's might be cheaper in the VC range, but are still among the most desirable timepieces on earth.

Entry-level does create a heirarchy among brands and I feel it at times. I own two simple time-only VC's - Patrimony ultra-think (calibre 1003, circa 89/90) and Traditionelle, and readng the blogs etc I feel I need to buy a complication to keep up in this game. I have a few pieces on my wish-list. Some are from other brands, but also 'entry-level' for them.

To answer your question - this term 'entry-level' might not be the correct term to describe these pieces, but probably include the most awesome watches of these brands.   

Thanks kk, we are definitely of like mind on this!
03/10/2015 - 01:44

Thanks for the detailed reply,  I can tell you've thought of this before.  smiley

Dan, yes I have thought of this before. No matter where we live, our
03/10/2015 - 04:24

society has become such that it seems that the more it costs, the better.  One THL was founded, I inspired a post which Alex put up - Cost vs. Value and Horological Excellence.  What I tried to say is that a simple time-only watch (whether from VC or even Rolex) can 'cost less' but its Value in context of what it is is much greater.  Very few people get this.

Many watchmakers today should be working for NASA or Boeing or something with the spaceships they are creating.  Despite all the complications / super-complications out there, my favorites are still the time only pieces. This is just me.  My favorite grande complication is also the minute repeater where is most cases the dial side is simple.

On another note, I have been doing some thinking. Watches on their own are not enough. The clothes, the shoes, the wine, the w...n, it all has to add up. Think Alex...:-)

I'm all for adding a bit more spice to the watches so yes let's add shoes etc.. :-)
03/10/2015 - 10:38


Starting a new thread :-)
03/11/2015 - 03:09
the term "Entry Level VC"
03/08/2015 - 18:00

means for me ONLY watch without complication or only 2 hands.

But in fact, it is very difficult to create an elegant Garde-Temps and VC succeeds perfectly in this category.

We have to keep in mind that a dial, just to show hours and minutes, has to be very well equilibrated, no more information than needed and perfectly harmonised with watch-hands lenghts and case design.

Bill reported an interview with Christian Selmoni on this topic on PP:

VC is a Master in this category and from long ago.

It is also interesting to see the new trend without any information on the dial which will be presented at Basel by another brand. You will recognize it without any doubt.

Less is more.

I agree with the fact that term as "Automatic" for instance or "Pt 950" are not relevant on a dial.

the term

Entry level is not really linked with price, even if complication watches have a higher price range due to work performed by VC artists and watchmakers.

Thanks Dan for this topic,



Thanks Liger
03/10/2015 - 01:48

I reda Bill's interview with Christian as well.  One of my favorite VC's also suffers from the "short hands" problem that the very original poster mentioned and caused Bill to ask Christian the question.

I like many of the Moser designs...this one made me first think of Movado devil

An option maybe
03/08/2015 - 19:06

Accordingly to Dante's Paradiso (Paradise) could we switch the periphrasis "entry level" with "heaven's door"?

No intention to sound blasphemous, just collaborative angel

Btw, love your post and pictures Dan, thank you.

Vacheron Constantin Entry Level - The map


Re: An option maybe
03/09/2015 - 23:33

Hi all

What good's a watch that can't be used for email, phoning or checking your portfolio?


PS - Just thought I'd add a bit of fuel to the fire... ;-)

what would I use my phone for then??? ;-) (nt)
03/10/2015 - 01:57
Since the idea of a smart watch has been brought up here...
03/10/2015 - 14:31

Interesting perspective from Benjamin Clymer of Hodinkee as part of TheVerge's coverage.  I think it is also relevant here because it speaks to value.

I see now!
03/10/2015 - 01:54

I grew up in an apolitical and non-religious home environment.

So when I first read Dante's Inferno in high school, I thought the first level in hell, Limbo, was a pretty cool place that I could accept hanging out in.  I guess I'd be just as happy going from Limbo to Heaven's Door.  cheeky

I like that!
03/10/2015 - 10:42


A very interesting topic
03/10/2015 - 14:07

I wonder how much the perception of the meaning of this term differs for native speakers vs. those who acquired English?  I know that people who learn a language take the meanings more literally (generally).

As ai thought about it, I realized that my own thoughts are pretty complicated on this.  Yes, I definitely use entry level to desctibe the least-cost option in a particular line up.  However, I also use it to describe the "easiest to use" of a certain type.  An entry level motorocycle, for example, may be one that one would learn with.  As I think about how this bears on collecting watches, I would think an entry level watch is one with which a collector might start.  This assumes much, of course, about why one collects.  For example, someone with a lot of money who collects for profit, may buy a supercomplication and stiick it in a safe as their only watch.  I am assuming that one collects to wear, to enjoy, and to learn about horlogerie.  For someone starting in collecting, I would always point them to something "simple".  Not just mechanically simple, but simple from an ownership perspective.

I would consider all of my VC's to be entry level, even though my traditionelle (being the platinum version) is not the least expensive.  They are all expressive of the brand, simple to own and care for, a great baseline for leaning about Vacheron and horlogerie more broadly.

So I think there is a strong correlation between relative price and the term "entry-level".  For me, the stronger correlation is to complexity - whether that is watches, jobs, cars, etc.  It also happens that there is strong correlation between that and price.  A little rambling, but that is at least my perspective on the matter.  Great topic - thank you for posting!

I don't think any of your watches are "entry level" :-)
03/11/2015 - 03:04

From an external, aesthetic, point of view: I believe it is much harder to design something that is classic, and simple, than it is to design something that looks complicated.  This is something that I think VC does better than anybody else on a consistent basis. As aesthetics are a very personal choice, there is no right or wrong to it, but it is a major reason for my being such a big VC fan.

From a technical point of view, complexity obviously is much harder to achieve.  Yet VC is also at the top of the heap when it comes to these capabilties as well.  Yet another reason to be a VC fan.  

The combination of aestetcics and technical is something I think VC is the very best at.

In terms of entry level, I would say a simple 500cc (or lower) Honda/Suzuki/Yamaha motorcycle would be more entry level...then if the interest/"bug" bites,  learning about and considering Harleys/Indians, BMW/Ducati, etc.  Depending on what aspects one enjoys.  angel

BR, Dan