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Forum Thread:
Best Way to Write a Watch Review

 

Best way to write a watch review....

Posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: col-md13-41.ix.netcom.com (199.183.45.169)

Hello all,
I am considering writing a review on the Waldan International model 195 Chronograph chronometer and am looking for advice on how to best write a review.
I have read several reviews, but what do people really want to see in a review?
I get the impression that pictures of the face, movement, and case are extremely important. How much technical information is really useful? does it help to discuss the manufacturer in the review?

Thanks for your input....

Jay

Excellent question....

Posted by heb on May 22, 1999 at 20:58:52:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: pm3-1-user-26.cvl.hom.net (216.46.36.26)

Hello JCP,

I like to hear about a person's SUBJECTIVE opinions on the watch's
LOOK -- is it better or worst than in the pictures and why (include your OPINION of its fit and finish); its FEEL -- is it comfortable on the wrist? Do you feel good wearing it? Its PERFORMANCE -- how accurate and how stable is that accuracy? Can you see the hands under poor lighting conditions? etc.

A minute description of the box it came in, the watch's history, the brand's history, a very detailed description of the watch itself, etc. are things I either already know about or don't care. I can do this research on my own. What I can't do is use my senses to "experience" the watch like the reviewer can.

I summary, I want to know the GUT level feeling of the person who owns it -- that is news I can use to make some possible decisions on my next purchase.

Regards and thanks for asking, heb

......and very good points !!...nt..

Posted by Drew L. on May 22, 1999 at 21:23:51:
In Reply to: Excellent question.... posted by heb on May 22, 1999 at 20:58:52:
Posted from Host: spider-tk031.proxy.aol.com (152.163.206.186)

A watch review for Heb:

Posted by tom margulies on May 23, 1999 at 17:57:25:
In Reply to: Excellent question.... posted by heb on May 22, 1999 at 20:58:52:
Posted from Host: ip117.mind.net (206.151.158.123)

Watch: Yema Bipolar

Watch Maker: gone

History: "extremely rare"; aproximately 22,000,000 currently listed on E*bay

Versitility: superb; can be used either near the south pole or the north pole

Accuracy of Watch: on the actual poles it is never wrong. This remains true even if the battery is dead.

Accuracy of the Compass: zero on either pole; can be used only if you see the sun. Under ideal conditions, accuracy is concervatively + or - 90 degrees.

Movement: yes

Box: plastic tent shape

Warranty: Life Time ( the life time of the company, that is )

Street Price: $ 175- $ 1,500

Gut Feeling:
The Bipolar makes you feel like you should be on lithium. You will get nausea from explaining to total strangers what is " that THING on your wrist". Anger- at have purchased the damn thing... or perhaps shame at having stolen something of so little value that you couldn't even get arrested for it.
You may feel that warm, smug, in control feeling knowing the if you're ever near either pole, you'll know aproximately where to go ... if the sun's up.
Mostly though, you will feel violated.

 

That's what I'm talking about Tom, I wouldn't buy it (nt)

Posted by heb on May 23, 1999 at 19:50:25:
In Reply to: A watch review for Heb: posted by tom margulies on May 23, 1999 at 17:57:25:
Posted from Host: pm3-2-user-4.cvl.hom.net (216.46.36.52)

Timely question...

Posted by M. Grosby on May 23, 1999 at 02:04:39:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: melks-an1-dial-175.vic.hotkey.net.au (202.138.34.175)

The practice of writing reviews of watches has taken hold lately and the results are uneven to say the least, ranging from useful and articulate to obscure and self-indulgent.
To be of any use a watch review should conform to some benchmark criteria - 'blueprint'. In this way a person reading a review about watch A can make a decent comparison with a review written about watch X regardless of when either review is written or by whom. There should also be a place for subjectivity in any watch review (what's the use of all this passion if we can't spread it around?) but I suggest there is no place for opinion in the body of a useful review - all the key criteria can be addressed in quantitative terms.
Some reviewers show the ability to write dispassionately and there seems to be evolving an understanding of the main categories of interest. But a concensus has yet to emerge and good reviews usually come from the same sources.
With a 'blueprint' for watch reviews, any interested person could contribute something useful. As it is, a lot of enthusiasm is being wasted and interested readers are having to wade through too much waffle.
Standardisation of reviews in TZ would be a great help to those of us seeking quick, reliable and relevant information. We have amongst us enough talented and experienced people to create a comprehensive database of accurate and up-to-date information for all watch lovers. The more disciplined it is, the more useful it will be.

Maybe some more experienced watch lovers could suggest such a 'blueprint'.

Marshall Grosby

Check BB for "Ludwig's" review of JLC Reserve de Marche...

Posted by Ray Purkis on May 23, 1999 at 04:29:13:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: cnj1-03-150.eclipse.net (207.207.243.150)

Check BB for "Ludwig's" review of JLC Reserve de Marche and others. I think he does a great job of combining the subjective and objective. I like to get a bit of the reviewer in the review. How many engine turns in the bezel is nice, but how does the watch make the reviewer feel is more interesting.

My $0.02 - Ray

What I like in a review. (more)

Posted by MJ on May 23, 1999 at 08:12:23:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: den-co65-31.ix.netcom.com (206.214.76.31)

In addition to what others here said, I also like to hear the story of how you came to want the watch, buy it, etc. -- in other words, something to personalize the story. (TimeFlies's review of the Omega X-33 is a great example of this.)

Also, listing the pros and cons, as Ludwig does, is a good idea, to summarize everything at the end.

If you have several watches, letting us know where the watch being reviewed fits in among them, and how it compares, is also helpful.

Some things I like to see...(more)

Posted by Paul Delury on May 23, 1999 at 08:35:42:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: proxy-ext1.omen.net.au (203.8.107.182)

G'day Jay,

I don't think you really should try for a standardised, comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the watch. That can tend to be a little long winded & dry to read. I find the reviews in the Bulletin Board and Archives that are really enjoyable and informative are reasonably concise, and don't spend a lot of time on aspects of the watch that are readily obvious.

I like to see a bit of the reviewer come through in the writing. Subjective impressions, combined with informative/technical details, works well. The trick, of course, is to get the mix right.

Don't forget humour. This is important to me, and after all, we're only talking about watches here!

Good, clear, scans/photos/illustrations are very helpful, and they should support and be relevant to the text. However, unless it is a photo essay, the writing is the thing that holds the review together. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a picture combined with good writing is worth ten thousand words. A picture often can't impart the quality or feel of a watch, or tell you of the hidden shortcomings.

It's often interesting to learn of the reviewer's train of thought in choosing that particular watch, and also why some other contenders were not chosen. A review written from the perspective of several months ownership/wearing of the watch can often be more revealing than one written upon the opening of the box.


Paul.

Take opinions into account, but please yourself (more)...

Posted by Dish on May 23, 1999 at 10:30:10:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: 1cust117.tnt10.sfo3.da.uu.net (153.37.28.117)

Hi Jay,

I posted my first-ever watch review earlier this week (the Ulysse Nardin 1846), and this is the process I went through in preparing the review.

First, as a long time TZer, I had a pretty good idea of the kind of info people like to read (or at least what I like to read), so I had a mental checklist of things to keep track of as I lived with the watch for a few months. The check list included things like timekeeping accuracy, fit/feel on the wrist, "toughness", real life performance items like does the bracelet pop open, things that bug you about the watch and can you read it at night. In other words, a combination of subjective opinions and true life experience not presented in company generated descriptions.

I also decided early on that top quality photos were very important (at least to me). I couldn't produce them, so I hired Paul Schliesser, TZ's top photographer, to take the pics. I shipped my watch across the country to Paul and let him keep it for a week. I also sent Paul a list of shots/angles I wanted, and of course I invited Paul to be creative, because he's so good. As you may have seen, the results were outstanding. My personal feeling is that Paul's pictures made about 80% of the review, because Paul really captured the watch much better than any magazine photo I'd seen.

Next, I went back and looked at about a half dozen really good reviews (i.e. ones I personally liked) and took notes on what information was included and why I liked the reviews. From that, I created an outline for my own review.

Then I bought a comprehensive book on HTML, because this review was also my first ever HTML document. (The book is "HTML 4 for the World Wide Web" by Elizabeth Castro, Peachpit Press 1998. ISBN 0-201-69696-7). It was very helpful.

In actually writing the review, I was guided by my own idea of what makes a good review. You simply can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself. I'm sure my review omitted info some people might like (I did not have all the specs in one place), and spent too much time on things others don't care about (e.g. the shape of the hands). But I liked it, and that's what counts.

Finally, though I agree a "stanardized" format would facilitate comparisons, I don't see that as workable here on TZ. First, there's such a wide range of writers, technical knowledge, HTML skills, photographic ability and equipment limitations that I don't see how we could adopt a single format standard for everyone. Also, I like the idea that each reviewer has the freedom the create a review that reflects themself. I value creative freedom. What we might do is try to create a list and say all reviewers should attempt to convey the info on the list, but let each reviewer choose how the info is conveyed.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Mike Disher

Contribute what you can (more)

Posted by phoenix on May 23, 1999 at 17:31:11:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: hagar.jfleming.com (202.40.36.34)

Hi Jay,

We are all from different backgrounds and with different levels of watch and computer skills. Everyone should be encouraged to contribute whatever they can, whether it is some pure subjective comments about a watch (something I value and cannot get from published promotional materials), how they chose it or whatever they feel they would like to say. I do not have anywhere near the horological knowledge of TZ's best, and never will. I am also not yet prepared to buy the equipment and devote the time to learn how to include my own pictures. I still hope I can contribute something useful to some participants.

TZ is unique. The contributions are unique and so diverse. I respectfully disagree with a post below advocating a blueprint. What was that punk tune quite a few years back - "I'm and individual and I'm OK"?.

I also am very much a subjectivist here. My personal opinion is that objectively a watch should be judged on accuracy, comfort, legibility, durability etc. If that was it for me I would be probably owning and wearing 1 quartz watch. Ah but it is the subjective joys that make my heart race when I take the time to really appreciate and look into that indescribable silver face of my Lange 1 - the Germanic clarity of the blued steel hands on that silver face, the asymmetric order of the dials, hands and double date, the contrast of the white enamel background of the double date to the silver face, and the knowledge that underneath beets one of the world's finest mechanical mechanisms.... Whoops out comes that naughty passionate subjectivity again.

One of the great things about TZ is that it enables us to come together and share a common passion and joy, and see many different view and opinions of these little things that we spend so much time/money on and so love. From that we learn to appreciate them all the more.

Enjoy writing YOUR review.

Regards

phoenix

I agree!! nt

Posted by Danny on May 23, 1999 at 18:59:01:
In Reply to: Contribute what you can (more) posted by phoenix on May 23, 1999 at 17:31:11:
Posted from Host: sdn-ar-006nynyorp084.dialsprint.net (168.191.121.172)

Thank you for your comments....

Posted by JCP on May 23, 1999 at 18:42:58:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: col-md13-60.ix.netcom.com (199.183.45.188)

Hello,

Thank you all for your comments. I am most likely going to follow Ludwigs format since, in my mind, it is logically organized and will give the reader a wealth of information.

Well, its time to start writing....

Jay

What I like to read in a review

Posted by JMR on May 23, 1999 at 18:50:56:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: chi-qbu-nvr-vty226.as.wcom.net (216.192.172.226)

I agree with everyone else that subjective responses to the watch are important. There may be some technical info, though, that may be hard to find (such as case size and different variations of the models available. I also like to read how the purchased watch compares to expectations and to other watches you "almost bought instead."

Great question, what I like to read in a review is

Posted by ei8htohms on May 24, 1999 at 02:52:15:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: spider-wi054.proxy.aol.com (205.188.197.44)

impossible to generalize about. I certainly want to know as much technical information as I can get, even more than most people could ever give, like Walt Odets' reviews. I also like lots of pictures: different angles, dial details, movement, movement details. Mostly though I want it to be enjoyable to read and that could mean anything from witty to touching. Honesty is most important, not that anyone is gonna lie in a review but honesty about your own authority. Don't say it's the best built watch you've ever owned if it's your first watch, you've never taken the back off or you're trying to ease your conscience for spending thousands on it (unless of course you qualify your claims). Oh yeah, don't review a watch that I don't like.
-John

Here's what I like (MORE)

Posted by dl on May 24, 1999 at 06:17:48:
In Reply to: Best way to write a watch review.... posted by JCP on May 22, 1999 at 20:06:01:
Posted from Host: dia5.chase.com (207.24.87.25)

Very good question Jay.

I personally like to see these things in a review:

1) Discussion on why/how you came about making that particular purchase. Then, describe in detail what your purchasing experience was like.
2) Discussion on the Watch particulars: Case, Dial, Bracelet, Movement, Water Resistance Rating, what you paid, etc.
3) Discussion on Pros and Cons of the watch that you have discovered.
4) Photo scans or link to a scan of your watch. Get a scan of the watch on your own wrist so that we can see how it looks on a wrist.


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