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Advice regarding Audemars Piguet service proposal for "not so" Classique watch

  1. lucreative

    lucreative Sep 16, 2019

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    Hi OF knowledge-filled collective. I have an interesting dilemma for a "birth decade" AP watch of mine. It is an Audemars Piguet Huitieme 18K Chronograph that was made in the 1980's. Unfortunately, I "lightly" dropped it and the time/chronograph stopped working. However, it was already 30secs to 1min off per day, which meant it needed service anyways. I sent it to AP in Clearwater, FL for a full maintenance service request and they stated they no longer had parts for the caliber 2126/2840 (which was in the original ROO). Instead, AP would replace this caliber with the new caliber 2326/2840 for approx $700 more. The "normal" service request for an AP Chronograph is $1500. However, AP quoted $1900 for the new caliber and $270 for water resistance/partial service (not optional) for a total of $2200. This is not including tax.

    I'm torn since I was already debating the high $1500 AP service vs. using my regular watchmaker that would charge approx $1000 to repair. However, knowing they no longer make parts for the watch I wonder how hard it would be for him to find replacement parts.

    This piece does hold some sentimental value since it was made within a couple years of my birth year and I wanted to keep it as original as possible. So knowing they would replace this caliber is another issue. The 2126/2840 runs at 21600, but it was in the very first batch of Royal Oak Offshores. The 2226/2840 runs at 28800 and is much more stable, but no longer original to the watch.

    The last option is to keep the watch, as is, not running, for historical purposes and invest in a ROO. Here is a pic of the watch below for reference. I think it's a beauty and a keeper.

    Thanks in advance for all your help! This is a really hard decision for me.

    768898-a07845a7642d3f7e68958ffddc9adfb0.jpg
     
    Edited Sep 16, 2019
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  2. Evitzee

    Evitzee Sep 16, 2019

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    I'm surprised AP can no longer service a Cal. 2126 movement, but it's their call. But I'd be interested what part(s) are no longer available, they always state if a part isn't available any longer they will make a replacement, but maybe it just isn't cost effective in this case. If you want a functional watch you'll have to accept their offer of replacing the movement with a Cal. 2226. The price quoted is not bad, and you'll have a new movement with better timekeeping potential, the chrono module (2840) will just be moved over to the new movement. To me it's a no brainer. It would make little sense to leave it 'as is' and have a non-functioning watch. What's the point in that? I also wouldn't get hung up on this 'birth year' thing, it's way overblown imho. Anyway, the appearance of the case and dial is what you see, and that will not change, and the chrono mechanism will be the same. It wouldn't bother me too much to have an upgraded movement powering the watch. Spend the money and have it done right. The Huitieme's are becoming collectible, it's worth getting repaired.

    You have to expect higher costs for factory service for higher end watches, that's just the way it is. You don't take a vintage Porsche 911S to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change, at least I wouldn't. You can use a local guy, but if he has to source parts I'm not sure this will work in this case. He may get it running but if it needs new parts how successful will that be in the long run?
     
    Edited Sep 16, 2019
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  3. Dan S

    Dan S Sep 16, 2019

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    See if your watchmaker can repair it. Personally I wouldn’t invest $2200 in that watch, but that’s partly because it doesn’t really appeal to me aesthetically, particularly the bezel.
     
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  4. lucreative

    lucreative Sep 16, 2019

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    Hi!

    Thank you for your thorough response. It's actually the 2326 caliber they will be putting in this AP, when they thought I already had the 2226. Supposedly it's the most up-to-date caliber for this watch size. The AP in-house for the current ROO are much thicker. I personally like the aesthetics of this watch. I think it's classy and dressy. Just as the other poster stated, hard to fathom spending $2200 on this watch when I spent just under 3x for this watch in the first place.

    Do you think AP will return the original caliber to me with the watch after service?
     
  5. Evitzee

    Evitzee Sep 16, 2019

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    Sorry, you are correct, the new movement will be a 2326. When you bought the watch you probably knew it would require an overhaul so even $1,500 shouldn't have been a big surprise, and should have been in your calculation when buying. So now it is $2,200, not an unreasonable extra cost considering they have to replace the movement. Obviously you would never, ever, be able to buy a NEW AP Cal 2326 movement for $700, so in this respect you are getting a bargain. You'll just have to decide if you want to spend the money to get it back to factory spec'd condition or not. To me it is worth it, the design is a slice of 80's design, some don't like that era but I think it is attractive in its own way. These run about $9k or $10k today, so keep it in mind when you make your decision. If you decide not to go ahead you have a watch that is not useable and will be really hard to sell on the open market, if you fix it you'd at least be able to recoup most of your investment if you decide to sell down the road. The joys of vintage investing.

    Knowing AP I would guess they would not give you the old movement, but you can always ask. I've never received any used parts on the numerous AP's I've had them overhaul, it's not their policy.
     
    Edited Sep 16, 2019
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  6. lucreative

    lucreative Sep 16, 2019

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    Sorry, it was my mistake and the lady from AP who gave me the quote. I have the original 2126/2840 in this Huitieme and they will be putting the 2326 movement into this watch, so technically 2 calibers newer. The 2226 has been out of production since 2007. I am an 80's child, so that's the appeal for me, and the fact that it's precious metal, Madoff owned one, etc. I think I'm leaning towards a decision, but it really hurts, haha. Especially since I may be the one partially at fault for needing the service/replacement done sooner.
     
  7. pongster

    pongster Sep 17, 2019

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    You got me at “birth decade”. :)

    If it were me, i would want it working. So if that’s the cost, then it is what it is.
     
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  8. lucreative

    lucreative Sep 17, 2019

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    So this is the decision I am facing...which may be a easy for some people, but a kinda difficult cost/value comparison for me:

    1.) Was able to get a small discount from AP Service that made replacing the 2126/2840 caliber with a NEW 2326/2840 caliber and water resistance/partial service for around $2000. Comes with the AP 2 year warranty and AP Service bells and whistles.

    Or...

    2.) My watchmaker (who is pretty well-known in my area) could repair, assuming he could get the part (which for the JLC 889 ebauche he should be able to easily) for $1000 +parts. Which is the unknown factor, it's $1000 min. He could repair/service my AP Huitieme within a few weeks, while AP would take 9 weeks currently.

    Waiting time isn't too much of a factor. Originality (I won't be getting the 2126/2840 original ROO caliber back) is somewhat of a factor. Getting a movement that is upgraded (21,600 A/h JLC 889 vs the 28,800 JLC 899 ceramic ball bearings, etc.) is somewhat of a factor. The ultimate cost/value is getting this watch up-to-spec. I decided that I do want to get this AP Huitieme working, but at double the cost for a new caliber vs repair?
     
  9. Dan S

    Dan S Sep 17, 2019

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    I'm really only a vintage watch guy, but in my world, replacing the movement would actually hurt the value.
     
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  10. lucreative

    lucreative Sep 17, 2019

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    Yup. But this watch technically isn't too vintage (1983). Knowing this is the 2126/2840 caliber from the first 200 batch of ROO Chronographs makes this tough. This isn't truly a "must have" caliber, since it's JLC 889 with a Dubois Depraz chrono module that is 36 years old. And the new 2326/2840 would run for another 5-10 years a much better specs and performance and in many many current ROOs that cost twice as much as my AP Huitieme.
     
  11. Dan S

    Dan S Sep 17, 2019

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    Yes, it's a performance vs. collectibility question, I understand.
     
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  12. ConElPueblo

    ConElPueblo Sep 18, 2019

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    How about sending it to your watchmaker and get a quote? From what you are writing, I don't see AP saying that it is broken and NEEDS to be replaced, only that they as a SOP will change the movement as they no longer service this caliber.
     
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  13. lucreative

    lucreative Sep 18, 2019

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    I had another watchmaker take a quick look after I initially dropped the watch and the balance wheel had stopped when the hairspring got tangled. He was able to quickly untangle the hairspring at no charge, but he stated there were other major issues. Mainly, the rotor would spin on it's own when the watch was hand wound and the chronograph would not work. He quoted me $1500 - $1700. This is before I took it to my main watchmaker to take a look. My main watchmaker stated it would be $1000 min, but that depends on how much the parts would cost that was broken. Something had definitely broken.

    So I sent it to AP Service as a normal full service maintenance request (because the estimate would be free) without mentioning it had stopped and only that it was 30 secs to 1 min fast each day. This was originally correct, before I "lightly" dropped it. The estimate came back stating a need for "Change of caliber: Movement parts not available". I called the AP Service rep to ask what more can be done and can she talk to the estimator again for repair instead of replacement. This is when they were able to offer me the small discount because this caliber could not be repaired. She even stated that I was already getting a significant discount on the 2326 caliber itself.

    So the issue is whether or not I try to get my watchmaker to attempt the repair without knowing how much or availability of parts for this caliber or just replace it with a newer and upgraded one from AP. It's like having a 1980's sports car and decide whether or not it's better to repair the engine that already has wear and tear or put in the latest model engine and have it perform better. Later resale value aside.
     
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  14. ConElPueblo

    ConElPueblo Sep 18, 2019

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    Cheers, thanks for the explanation!
     
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  15. lucreative

    lucreative Sep 18, 2019

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    What would you do from your vast experience (much much more than mine)? This watch is becoming more of a collector's watch, but not quite vintage. I don't have the box or papers. This AP Huitieme is a watch I would actually keep long term since it checks off what I like in a watch.
     
  16. ConElPueblo

    ConElPueblo Sep 18, 2019

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    I'm not really the one to go to for advice on high-end watches, but I guess I would send it to cjnwatch.co.uk and see how far Chris could go with it. If he got to a dead end, I would probably bite the bullet and send it to AP.
     
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  17. michael22

    michael22 Sep 18, 2019

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    I would find out what parts supply is really like for this calibre. You may just be fighting the inevitable by fixing the old movt.
    I get the impression that originality isn't a driving factor for you. A significantly upgraded calibre has its own benefits.
     
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  18. Geezer

    Geezer Sep 18, 2019

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    I suggest you go with AP and let them change the movement to the new version. Although expensive, at least you will be able to count on them in the future. If you decide to keep the movement the same, you might find yourself in the same position again in another 5 years.

    While I have no direct experience with AP in the US, I think you can trust the quality of their work and also hold them fully accountable for their work.

    Having said all of this, it is kind of ridiculous that AP don't want to repair a watch that I wouldn't even consider vintage. I wonder whether AP in Le Brassus would also decline to repair the movement and opt for a replacement (although my guess is that the service center is following directions for AP Switzerland)...

    Regarding the originality of the movement, I wouldn't worry about this too much. Just keep the papers from AP that document the work that was done on the watch. Although yours is a nice watch, I would be very surprised if these watches will become highly collectible.
     
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  19. Rasputin

    Rasputin Sep 18, 2019

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    @lucreative If AP allows you to keep the old movement then having them replace it would allow you to optimally retain your watch value and functionality.
     
    Edited Sep 18, 2019
  20. Martin_J_N

    Martin_J_N Sep 18, 2019

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    I know nothing about vintage watches but if I were in your position I would send the watch to AP and ask them to upgrade as discussed.

    The rationale behind my thinking is that you state that you like the watch, have no plans to sell the watch, intend to keep the watch. Taking these points into account and the fact that a short term fix today may lead to a long term problem tomorrow, if AP are willing to upgrade the calibre then you have future proofed the watch for the foreseeable, and avoided any cannot get the parts issue at a future service.

    Just 10 cents worth of opinion from a watch enthusiast stuck firmly in the modern era.
     
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