not a tangent at all.
Computer controlled manufacturing & the ensuing increase in precision it can offer vs. the older (non computer controlled) methods of earlier years. Indeed that has been one of my questions - do the newer production methods really result in more uniformity than older methods (thus, leading to a more uniform - and higher level of quality)? This question arose in my mind after reading about the Seiko engineers "hand picking" parts to go into the highest tiers of '70s GS models (like the VFA's). If highly precise, computer controlled production methods (with their tighter tolerances) had been in place back then, would there have even been a real need to "hand pick" superb specimens of parts out of a production run? And, wouldn't that also mean that even the "lower tiers" of GS would have had almost the same (or exactly the same?) quality level as even a VFA? [IF you are talking strictly about the "components" going into the movement, not the fine adjusting, etc.].
Does this mean that even a modern non-"elite" model from a reputable manufacturer has almost the same quality level as even an "elite" model? [Unlike prior generations when more primitive manufacturing methods led to greater variation in the production run] Of course, I'm talking about the movement performance & durability itself here. Casing and presentation are other matters where "quality measurements" can also involve "richness" of the material used though that may not have any positive effect on the functionality of the watch. For example, in the Breitling chronograph line-up over the last decade, there has been the "elite" Montbrillant line and the less elite Navitimer line. The Montbrillant movements are (for example) more highly jeweled than Navitimer (which are close to their ETA/Valjoux 7750 base; the Montbrillant models movements may have come from a different ETA base, like 2892-A2 & design had been heavily modified by Kelek). But, really - how MUCH better is a Montbrillant triple register chronograph than a Navitimer triple register model from the same year [with same basic functionality - again, trying to compare apples-to-apples]?? Breitling never really gave much in the way of hard facts in its catalogs to answer that question.
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