This statement is quite a brave one, especially by one such as myself, an unqualified watchnerd who gets excited by pretty much anything.
Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin are the Holy Trinity of watch brands in the world of horology. The most sought after, arguably the most successful and some of the best looking watches available are designed, engineered and assembled in the hallowed halls of these three brands. Super expensive pieces are also the proviso of the three brands which boast some of the finest complications and finishing to have ever graced metal. They at times profess to have the most skilled crafstmen, the best of everything, not to mention exclusivity as well.
The One is a Legend in the field of watchmaking. A single man and his workshop. Who finishes almost every aspect of every watch by himself, by hand or on extremely old mechanical equipment. I am of course, talking about Philippe Dufour. Interestingly enough I recently came across a thread, a very old thread in fact, on the timezone forum. It showed simply how the varying degrees of finishing that can be seen through magnification. If I am not mistaken the pictures on the forum were taken either with an exceptional macro lens on a camera or with a microscope camera setup, as the detail that is picked up is simply incredible. It shows starkly the difference between a number of big brands and the quality of finishing from Monsieur Dufour. To say the differences are astounding, is a massive understatement. How rough, irregular and just how terrible some of the finishing on the watches in the pictures set my jaw agape.Certainly not something I had ever expected to find from these big brands.
This shatters the assumption that something from a well known brand is necessarily the best, even if it does cost tens of thousands of dollars and is ‘stated’ to be the best! Go take a look at the forum post anyway and then take another look, to sate your desire to know what I am talking about. All I will say is this, a picture can truly paint a thousand words. And now it is time to pick your jaw up from the floor.