THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO HBB REPS (A work in progress)

Discussion in 'Hublot Replicas' started by jj69, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. jj69

    jj69 Active Member

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    INTRODUCTION
    Over the last couple of years I’ve taken quite a lot from this community. Not only have I learned everything I know about reps here, but I’ve learned more about genuine Swiss watches here than I have anywhere else on the internet. I feel it’s time for me to give something back. I thought about it, and I believe the HBB rep is the one area where I can contribute the most. The HBB is hardly my favorite gen, but it’s probably my favorite rep for a variety of reasons which you’ll read about below. At the time of this writing, I own six of these amazing reps, representing most of the known sources of HBB reps. The purpose of this post is not merely to review this fine rep or to act as a simple buyer’s guide. Rather, my goal is to review the history of HBB reps, and to untangle the complex web of different versions that have hit the market since the very first one appeared just a couple of short years ago.

    THE WATCH
    In April of 2005, the Swiss watch community was hit with a bombshell. Hublot called it the “Big Bang†– a brand new chronograph design that made its debut at Basel and took the watch world by storm. By the end of 2005, the design had won no less than four international watch awards. Fresh from revitalizing Blancpain, new CEO Jean Claude Biver developed the design from the ground up, while still taking care to retain the brand’s identity. Previous Hublot designs shared the maritime-like bolt on bezel (“Hublot†is the Swiss word for a ship’s porthole) and the natural rubber strap, but they looked pale and pedestrian in comparison to the flashy Big Bang. Biver took the brand’s concept of “fusion,†the blending of very different materials like steel, gold, ceramics, and rubber, together to make a harmonious design on a new level.

    Whether he realized it at that time or not, Biver had hit the proverbial jackpot. Not only was his design a massive hit, but it used an inexpensive base movement that left plenty of room for profit. The modular design of the watch also made it possible to introduce an enormous number of different models by simply changing the color scheme of the watch case’s many component parts. Biver eventually purchased a controlling share of the company, and ultimately sold it to LVMH, for what must have been a small fortune. Pursuant to the deal with LVMH, Biver remains CEO and retains unprecedented control of the company.

    THE DESIGN
    While the Big Bang design was an instant hit, it is not without its detractors. First and foremost, while the Big Bang may be revolutionary in design, its horologic value is rather paltry. After all, the watch uses a $400 ETA Valjoux 7750 as it’s movement. The movement may be a well respected workhorse, but the watch enthusiast certainly expects something more in a design that retails for at least $9,000 and is rarely discounted.

    Others have attacked the design itself, claiming it borrowed too heavily from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, and calling it nothing but a gaudy version thereof. While I very much agree with criticism of Biver’s choice of movement, my personal take on the HBB’s design is that these claims are sheer nonsense. The Offshore itself is nothing but a grotesque bastardization of Gerald Genta’s original Royal Oak design. Where the original Royal Oak was elegant and understated, the Offshore is bulbous, overweight, and downright ugly. Many have criticized the design of the H-screws on the HBB’s bezel because the screw heads are not symmetrically positioned, as they are on the Offshore. I, for one, feel quite the opposite. These large, oversized watches are supposed to appear rugged and masculine. Like a piece of machinery, the H-screws on the HBB are functional. Once tightened down, the screw heads are positioned wherever they end up. Alternatively, due to the construction of the Offshore’s case, each bolt head on its bezel is always perfectly positioned. Although these bolts are, in fact, functional, the perfect positioning makes them look like mere decorations on the bezel – something that might look more appropriate on a women’s design. In the end, this makes the Royal Oak’s bezel look just plain silly, especially at the larger size of the Offshore version.

    VARIOUS REPLICA VERSIONS
    There seems to be a lot of confusion out there over how many different “versions†exist of the Big Bang rep. Personally, I believe this confusion largely stems from the use of improper terminology. Many mistakenly use the word “factory†when referring to the different versions of the Big Bang, when they really mean “watchmaker,†or my preferred term, “rep maker.†I feel the use of “factory†is improper because it is very misleading. Each rep watch, much like its genuine Swiss counterpart, is not made in one single “factory.†It may be assembled in one factory, but certainly all of the components that make up a watch are not produced under one roof. This is mere speculation on my part, but I have to assume that the Chinese watch industry is set up much like the Swiss watch industry. Accordingly, Swiss manufacturers that make each and every part of their watches in-house are few and far between. Instead, most Swiss watch “manufacturers†have numerous component parts produced by outside OEM suppliers. For example, movement ebuaches are often sourced from ETA, dials from another supplier, hands from another supplier, leather or rubber straps from yet another supplier, common findings (like bracelet screws, bolts, and clasps) from another supplier, and so on. There are component specialist manufacturers all over Switzerland. It is well known that very few high end Swiss watch manufacturers have the facilities to produce their own ebauches, dials, hands, straps, and other components. All of these parts are typically outsourced.

    In Hublot’s case, it is common knowledge that the Big Bang’s movement ebauche is the venerable ETA Valjoux 7750. However, some may not realize that Hublot has openly admitted that it uses outside suppliers for numerous other HBB components. There are at least two different suppliers for the carbon fiber dials. Hands come from another supplier. Ceramic bezels are supplied by Japanese ceramics specialist manufacturer Kyocera. Any number of these outsourced components may be produced nearby in Switzerland. However, who’s to say many of them aren’t produced in mainland China? An international corporation as large as Kyocera surely has plenty of manufacturing plants in China. Who’s to say the ceramic bezels aren’t produced there? What about hands and dials? Is it really so hard to believe Hublot’s suppliers have them manufactured in China? The fact is, the definition of “Swiss Made†is a very loose one. As long as final assembly occurs in Switzerland, it matters little where the component parts are produced.

    My understanding is that the Guangzhou province of China is set up very much like Switzerland in that the various factories throughout the region each specialize in different watch component parts. For example, the high beat A7750 movements are manufactured by one factory, while the low beat version is manufactured by another. Large Chinese movement manufacturers like DG and Sea-Gull make many of the movements used in other reps. Likewise, there are specialist factories throughout Guangzhou making cases, crystals, dials, hands, straps, findings, etc. As a result, it’s entirely possible for a rep maker to pick and choose different component parts when putting together a rep for sale to the public.

    All of this history brings us back to the various “versions†that exist of the HBB. When we refer to each version of this rep, we really need to use the term “rep maker†or “maker.†The maker of the original HBB rep, sometimes known as the “Ultimate†version, burst onto the rep scene a couple of years ago and shocked us all with his staggering attention to detail and commitment to quality. That same maker has since brought us such other outstanding reps as the Chopard GT XL 7750, as well as the Concord C1 and Chopard GT Chrono, both with an amazing copy of the oversized Valgranges movement. At one point, he even considered repping the incredibly complex Porsche Design Indicator module for the 7750 movement! This original version of the HBB, which we’ll refer to as “V1,†is still considered a benchmark in rep quality to this day, and with good reason. However, that doesn’t mean the V1 is the be-all and end-all of HBB reps.

    Right from the beginning, there were some minor complaints about the V1. First, there are some issues with the dial. The first thing the rep world noticed was that the “20†printed inside the 3 o’clock subdial is improperly positioned slightly higher than the “10†printed just a few millimeters to its right. Second, the font used to print “HUBLOT†on the dial is an incorrect older font never used the Big Bang. Luckily, this little error is noticeable only upon very close inspection with a loupe. Last, but certainly not least, was the V1 rep’s rotor. Rather than engrave the “HUBLOT GENEVE†lettering on the rotor, the maker chose to use decals instead. The alleged reason provided by some rep dealers for this apparent lapse in judgment is that this was done because the manufacturer of the high beat A7750 movement used in this rep refuses to accept returns on defective movements if the rotor has been engraved. In reality, this is hard to believe given that the entire rotor on this rep is custom made to begin with. Nevertheless, this was the reason given at the time. To this day, all V1 HBB’s still use decals on the rotor rather than proper engraving.

    Also with the initial release of the V1 came a barrage of complaints about the high cost of the rep. Even if many could justify the extra cost after examining the amazing quality of the genuine article in the flesh, the rep world had never seen such a costly replica. When fist introduced, the basic SS model of the HBB cost a good 35% more than any other rep on the market at the time. Its price eventually dropped slightly, but the V1 HBB still costs more than most other reps on the market.

    The V1 maker surely knew that other rep makers would soon issue their own versions of the HBB, likely using his own rep as a model. His solution was to release a “Lite†version of his own HBB rep at a significantly lower cost. These Lite versions of the V1 differ in only two (or three) areas. First, they use the older, low beat version of the A7750 movement. Second, they have no AR whatsoever on the sapphire crystal. Finally, if the HBB model in question has a ceramic bezel, the V1 Lite will have a PVD-coated steel bezel, rather than use real ceramic parts. While these Lite V1’s are significantly less expensive than their counterparts, many feel that the lack of AR is devastating to this particular watch design. There is an extraordinary amount of detail in the dial of the HBB. Without a good AR coating to eliminate unwanted reflections on the dial, much of that detail is obscured. Further, the low beat A7750 movements used in the V1 Lites are notoriously unreliable. These movements often arrive very dirty out of the box. Unless you’re willing to pay for a complete service of the movement, you’re often stuck with a watch that simply won’t keep very good time.

    As expected, it wasn’t long before a second maker began producing HBB reps. This V2 HBB rep was mostly likely created using an HBB V1 as a model (thus making it a “rep of a repâ€). The V2 maker chose to stick with the high beat 7750 movement, and very wisely priced his HBBs to compete head to head with the V1 Lite. However, it also offered the unique advantage of having a properly engraved rotor. In essence, buyers could get a watch that was practically identical to the V1 for a good $200 less. In response, the V1 maker started offering his Lite version with the high beat 7750, albeit with the decals on the rotor instead of proper engraving. Upon release of the V2, it wasn’t long before collectors in the rep community began sourcing their own AR coatings for these HBBs, as well as other reps in their collections. Collectors on both sides of the Atlantic soon started offering other members in the rep community an AR coating service for their rep crystals. The cost of adding an outstanding quality double sided AR to a crystal was in the $50 - $70 range, significantly less than the $200 premium the V1 HBB still commanded.

    Again, not much time elapsed before a third HBB maker emerged. These models were initially offered buy one rep dealer, and have therefore come to be known as the “Silix version†after him. At first, these interesting reps seemed to offer the best of both worlds. They use the high beat A7750 movement, the crystal is coated with double sided AR, and the rotor is engraved. However, it did have some drawbacks as well. First, the crown on the Silix version screws down. All genuine HBBs have a standard push-in crown. This somewhat obvious “tell†bothered many buyers. The Silix version also differs from the other HBB reps in that the date window on the dial is slightly smaller that it should be. The smaller date window does have one advantage, however. Due to its smaller size, it makes the date wheel appear less recessed (a common criticism about all HBB reps, as well as any other rep that uses the tricompax dial layout with the 7750 movement). The Silix version had some other minor advantages as well. The rubber straps on this version are often softer and more comfortable than the straps on the V1 and V2 models. In addition, the deployant clasp on this version is less likely to pinch the wrist than the V1 or V2 clasp.

    From here, the trail gets rather murky. There have been claims by some dealers to have a “V3†HBB. However, there is little evidence to support yet another maker producing a completely different version of the HBB case. Rather, it seems likely that some makers (and perhaps dealers) are commissioning their own HBB reps built from the variety of rep HBB parts being produced in the various Chinese factories that supply the makers of the V1 and V2 versions. The result is mixed and matched rep models with the attributes of several different versions. For example, it appears that V2 cases with low beat A7750 movements are quite common these days. There are also numerous high quality quartz movement based HBBs on the market now that offer surprising quality and outstanding value. These quartz models will be addressed in a separate section below.

    THE QUARTZ REPS
    Of course, no genuine Big Bang has ever used a quartz movement. Frankly, no serious watch has ever used a quartz movement, period. As a result, any quartz HBB is technically a “fantasy rep.†However, all things are not so serious in the realm of rep collecting. Frankly, it’s nice to have a couple of good, reliable quartz reps in the collection for those hurried mornings when you just can’t be bothered to set the time and wind your mechanical movement. A quartz watch is pretty much always set to the correct time, never needs winding, and for the most part, never needs service. They may have no “soul,†but at least they’re reliable.

    Before getting into details, I want to point out which quartz models will NOT be covered by this guide. I’m speaking of those very low-end reps that don’t even make an attempt to look like the genuine article. They are most often sold as novelty items to clueless tourists on big city street corners. Such low-end reps typically use very poor movements, are made of inferior grade steel or even tin, and won’t even impress the clerk at the Wal-Mart watch counter. Of course, with very popular models like the HBB, there can be dozens of different quality grades on the market, making it hard to know were to draw the line between quality replica and low grade fake. Personally, with HBB reps, I draw the dividing line at reps that use standard slot-head screws in the bezel rather than the proper H-screws. This “tell†is so obvious that no one should even consider buying an HBB rep without H-screws for any reason. These models often come with numerous other obvious tells like incorrect straps and deployants, incorrect chrono buttons, incorrect hands, and incredibly bad color schemes.

    The quartz models worth considering unfortunately are sold by only a handful of dealers. Considering the very different case backs and bezels used in these quartz reps, they appear to be constructed by at least two or three different rep makers. All of these high end quartz models borrow most of their parts from the A7750 automatic versions. These parts may not be identical to the V1 and V2 reps discussed above, but they are certainly made to the same specifications, likely using parts from the V1 or V2 reps for a model. Judging by the quartz HBBs I’ve examined in person, it appears that for most models, the case, crown, chrono buttons, bezel, strap and deployant are all identical or nearly identical to those parts used on the V2 models. That means that for all intents and purposes, the only parts that differ are the movement, dial, caseback, and in some cases, the crystal. I’ve left the hands out of these lists on purpose. That is because the hands on the quartz models appear identical to V2 hands. However, because the quartz movement likely uses different sized mounting posts, the mounting holes in the hands are probably a different size. Most of the quartz HBBs use mineral glass crystals that are cut exactly the like the sapphire crystals used in the automatic versions. A few models even claim to use quartz crystals, albeit at a price premium.

    One thing all of the quartz HBBs do have in common is the Miyota OS20 quartz chronograph movement. This respected Japanese movement is used in many genuine watches. It has long been praised for its accuracy and reliability. Use of this movement obviously results in some significant changes in the appearance of the HBB dial. The subdials are spaced slightly closer together than they are on the genuine HBB or the automatic A7750 based reps. The date window is also slightly smaller, and it is located slightly closer to the center of the dial.

    The actual functions of the 3 subdials on the watch differ in the quartz models as well. While the 9 o’clock subdial on the gen HBB and the A7750 based reps displays the running seconds, this function is moved to the 6 o’clock subdial on the quartz models. The quartz models use the 9 o’clock subdial as an elapsed chronograph minutes counter instead. The quartz models also use the 3 o’clock subdial to display the hour in 24 hour time. Although these functions are different, the quartz rep makers have chosen not to re-label all of them, likely for fear that the appearance of the design might suffer. The elapsed chrono minutes counter at 9 o’clock contains no markings, as it is on the gen
    HBB. The 24 hour counter at 3 o’clock is actually labeled properly on most quartz models.

    Compared to a genuine HBB, the most obvious difference on the quartz HBB reps is the movement itself and the different subdial functions and placement as a result of the use of the quartz movement. Beyond that, there is very little about these quartz models that differs from the genuine article.

    All said, many of these high end quartz HBBs can be very, very impressive watches for the price. In fact, one dealer even carries numerous quartz models for just $108.00 US, including the shipping fees! At that price, these models may just represent the most “Bang†for the buck in the entire rep world (pun intended). Placed side by side with one of the famous “Noobmariners,†many non-WIS would be hard pressed to choose one over the other. Pitting the flashy HBB vs. the understated Noob makes for quite a fun comparison. The Noob may gain points for its automatic movement, but it loses just as many for its questionable reliability compared to the rock solid performance of the Miyota quartz movement in the HBB. The Noob also scores points for its near bulletproof sapphire crystal, but the HBB catches up with its chronograph features and the incredible detail in its complex case. In the end, the winner comes down to personal taste.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. jj69

    jj69 Active Member

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    This post is obviously a work in progress. I’ve been working on this for a few days, and I thought it was time to finally post this so people can get some use out of it. My intent is to update it constantly as time permits. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are no photos. The primary reason for this is that I’m a horrible photographer. I’d love to have good, quality photos interspersed with the text to illustrate some of the points I make. At very least, I’d like representative photos of each version of the HBB, preferably of the same rep (i.e. the standard SS version of the HBB). If anyone out there has one or more these HBB models and is willing to offer their photographic services to this post, please feel free to PM me. I didn’t want to steal photos from other threads or use stock dealer photos without permission.

    Furthermore, I believe the factual information I posted above to be correct, but I do not profess to be infallible. Much of the above is derived from my first-hand experience, but I have also relied on some dealer information as well as some buyer reviews. If anyone believes something I’ve posted is factually incorrect, please PM me immediately. The last thing I want to do is mislead anyone out there shopping for one of these reps. I’m also happy to accept input from other self-professed HBB rep experts. The next segment I hope to write will be devoted exclusively to the quartz HBB models, specifically those offered by WatchEden. I believe these models to offer by far the most bang for the buck (pun intended) of practically any rep on the market. They may not be 100% accurate to the gen, but they are truly stunning watches for a peanuts price.

    Lastly, I want to point out that what I do NOT want to receive in PMs is criticism of the opinions contained in the above guide. The opinions in the guide are mine and mine alone. I do not expect everyone to agree with me. If you disagree, feel free to post your retorts in the thread so that everyone can consider your points. I’m sorry, but I just HAD to take a jab at the AP lovers – I’ve been bottling it up inside for far too long. :)
     
  3. Spirit

    Spirit VIP ♛ Rolex Connoisseur..
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    holy shi... :shock:
     
  4. jj69

    jj69 Active Member

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    Thanks. This is what happens when I take time out of work without planning anything specific to keep me busy. :)
     
  5. Spirit

    Spirit VIP ♛ Rolex Connoisseur..
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    ...Then I hope you can get alot more of time out of work, my friend!
    Nice write up!

    Hoping you can get some pictures together along with this later, so it would be a hell of a help for most of us illiterate on HBB´s.. (a.k.a. myself..)
    Thanks for your effort :D

    Cheers,
    Spirit.
     
  6. SD4K

    SD4K Member

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    Amazing achievement already. I think there are many in this fine community who will support you with their pictures (including me).
    Keep up the great work! :D
     
  7. wilshire888

    wilshire888 Member

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    So who has the best bang? :)
     
  8. Pix

    Pix Tar and feathers !
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    That was a great write and a really nice read, thanks for taking time to put the story together. :D

    You're right, there is no V3. The V3 came from the intention of Mark (from Timesshops) to create an ultimate HBB with manufacturer 2, project to which I participated at my humble level. And it made sense for him to call it V3, whereas it was technically wrong. I would rather call it V2 improved. And although visually a bit better, it's still under the V1 level and unaccurate, especially as far as dials and casebacks are concerned.

    I currently own 2 HBB I would be glad to display in the gallery you intend to create. And would of course be proud to see my already existing shots here too.

    I trust your thread will not wait long until it's pinned. The HBB belongs to the great reps family, and really deserve a special focus on them, as any Rolex or Omega does.
     
  9. Pix

    Pix Tar and feathers !
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    An other point : I have never been able to figure where Silix's versions come from. They indeed look different from V1 and V2. Look at the knurled bezel of some versions : it's flat, whereas it should have a more pronounced pattern.
    Good spot on the datewindow, it's an other proof that silix has an other source.

    Important to know, hope it brings something to this thread : the H screws of V1 are not compatible with the V2 case and vice-versa. I suspect that some other parts will have the same problem. So be careful when you look for spare parts.
     
  10. guru

    guru ADVISOR
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    This is a very good write up about a nice watch. Thanks for this posting, finally another value for this forum.

    I love the HBB's have 3 off them and can also help out with some pics.
     
  11. cowboyfan

    cowboyfan Member

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    Hey guys,

    Who's the best dealer to buy a HBB from? And without spending more then 350$$
     
  12. guru

    guru ADVISOR
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    try Hont after CNY
     
  13. nielsen

    nielsen Active Member

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    jj69: Thanks for the great writeup. Fascinating story. I don't yet own a Big Bang, but it is right up there among my favorites, so the day is approaching. Thus I'm leaning heavily on your excellent post. I hope you will talk a bit about the ceramic cases and whether there are differences in quality with them too. I am curious to hear what a 'reasonable' price should be for these--as opposed to the $750! Also, with the A7750 presently coming in for so much flack, is it not a serious risk to pay big bucks for something likely to die within a short period of time?

    Very much looking forward to the next installment.
     
  14. jj69

    jj69 Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, Nielson. Right now, I'm about halfway through writing a section on the quartz models. A section on the ceramic models won't be ready for a while. I don't own any full ceramic model yet myself, so I'll have to rely on input from other members. I'd especially like to hear from anyone who has handled both the $750 "Ultimate" version and the $400 version that comes with the low beat movement.

    Exactly what "flack" are you referring to regarding the A7750? The only A7750 movement that is problematic is the low beat version. As long as you buy an HBB with the high beat 7750, you have little to be concerned about. Considering that some dealers are now offering high beat models with real ceramic bezels and single-sided AR for under $300, I don't know what's holding you back. Considering the quality of the HBB reps, and the prices of many lesser reps on the market right now, that's hardly "big bucks."

    If you're really strapped for cash, just wait a few days for the quartz section. You won't be sorry.
     
  15. russianhockeynut

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    So which version does puretime and timeshop sell?
     
  16. SLK55

    SLK55 Member

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    I would like to chime in here if I can. I have never liked the BB design - I was more of an AP kind of guy and I thought that BB stole their design from AP - especially with the screws on the bezel. Having said that my dad really liked the BB King - it was simple, large and looked different. I ordered the platinum BB King from a fellow member for my dad. When it arrived, I unwrapped the package and stared in disbelief....I have over 30 reps - of almost every make a model....and yet, I do not have a single rep that was built with such high quality as the BB KIng. It felt...solid, well made, beautifull and, well...REAL.

    Although I gave it to my dad, he ended up not liking the size and I got a new rep out of it. I wear it almost every other day now and it has quickly become one of my favorite reps in my collection. The double ar coating, the size, even the comfortable smooth BB strap. It is also virutally indistinguishable with the real thing - I held one next to my rep for almost a half hour and did not see one difference. The salesmen was VERY confused as to why I would want to buy another one of these. With the solid back, the stickered rotor is not a problem. The rep keeps excellent time and the lume is superm for a rep. Everything I could ever ask for.
     
  17. jkwhyd

    jkwhyd Member

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    jj69:

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I have always liked the Big Bang but didn't want to spend the big bucks for it. IMHO, when are you spending > $750, you are into gen territory with real 7750 engines. Also, in my experience, most reps are of poorer quality and utility than some cheap gens due of lack of quality control.

    After reading your piece, I am seriously considering buying a BB. The information you've provided is very helpful. Thanks again.

    jk
     
  18. thehorse

    thehorse Active Member

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    Thank you for writing this. I used to own a V1, but sold it for a Cousteau. Sometimes I regret that decision... :(
     
  19. cazIRL

    cazIRL Member

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    :shock:
    Wow... really informative post especially for a HBB noob like myself :)

    Thanks for writing made for an interesting read jj :D

    Look forward to more posts like this from you 8)
     
  20. jj69

    jj69 Active Member

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    New section on "THE QUARTZ REPS" just added.

    Again, I find myself apologizing for the lack of photos. The quartz section really suffers without them. I own two quartz models myself. They are true "daily beaters." I know few other people here own them, so I'm going to take a stab at my own photos. I'm just too lazy to do it now.

    Thanks for the positive feedback, guys. Just to respond to some of your notes:

    1) I won't be covering the King models. I'm not surprised that they are pratically 1:1 perfect reps. It's a fairly simple design to begin with, and I believe all of them are being produced by the Ultimate V1 factory, so you will definitely get a quality watch. Personally, I loathe the King as much as I love the HBB. To me, 48mm watches are just cartoonish looking. I had the 48mm Ti Corum Admirial's Cup on my wrist for about 10 seconds before I decided it was going up for sale. Why would you want to walk around looking like you have a late 70s alarm clock strapped to your wrist? Anyway, I find the whole King concept pretty absurd. First off, it's supposed to be a diver's watch, yet it's not available in SS. Unless you're the Sultan of Brunei or the Prince of Monaco, why would you dive with a gold or platinum watch on your wrist? Second, the bezel has faux screw heads on it. WTF is that supposed to be? They just scream: "We don't know how to design a watch and we had some empty space so let's put a fake screw head on the bezel." Seriously, I've seen better designs from the boobs at Invicta. Add the cartoonish size to that, and you have my opinion on the King.

    Okay, enough King bashing. I will probably pick up a King myself at some point if I see a used one cheap enough. Who knows, I may like it more if I see it in person...

    2) I really didn't want this guide to be full of dealer referrals, but people keep asking here, so... Angus at Pure Time is known to be very good dealer for V1 Big Bangs. Hont at Hontwatch can source pretty much anything and he usually beats anyone else's price, especially if you're willing to pay him through WU. He was also the only dealer who could get me an HBB on one of the new (truly amazing) bracelets before CNY. Finally, I got both of my quartz HBBs from WatchEden. They do not list ANY of their HBB's openly on their site, but if you e-mail them, they will provide you with direct links to all models available. Specifically ask for the quartz models if that's what you're after. Most of them come to $108, shipping included, after the $20 coupon!