Welcome to Three On Three. It's one thing for us to give you an in-depth look at a single watch, to wear it and review it, on its own. But there are always options out there. With Three On Three we select a category, choose three watches that represent competitive takes on a theme, and compare them head-to-head. To kick things off, we went with a basic in any man's watch wardrobe, the manually-wound dress watch. Of course we had to get a little more selective, so we've picked three that all feature in-house movements for under $20,000: A. Lange & Söhne's Saxonia in pink gold, F.P. Journe's Chronomètre Bleu, and Vacheron Constantin's Patrimony Traditionnelle Small Seconds in pink gold. All three are seriously impressive entry points into true high-end watchmaking and here Benjamin Clymer, Stephen Pulvirent, and Paul Boutros dissect them side-by-side.
Let's start with the set-up. For someone looking to get into real in-house watchmaking, a basic time-only watch is a likely (and smart) entry point. A manually-wound movement doesn't have a rotor to distract from the movement architecture and finishing, letting the manufacture show off what they're capable of doing. Without complications, the design must be spot-on as any flaws or shortcomings will come to the fore pretty quickly. Plus these watches are an indispensable part of any watch collection and are often the least expensive choice in a manufacture's stable. Sure, $20,000 isn't a small sum of money, but if you want to step up to the top tier of watchmaking it's a reasonable place to begin.
We selected the three watches here based on a few strict criteria. First, they had to feature true in-house movements, designed, manufactured, and finished in-house by the manufacture – nothing pulled in and branded "in-house" without the work behind it. They had to be manually-wound and feature nothing but the hours, minutes, and seconds, in addition to being dressy enough to wear with a suit when necessary. And, finally, they had to be examples of real top-notch watchmaking – this isn't about finding a rare vintage Submariner, it's about pure modern watchmaking.
Each of us wore one of the three watches for a week and then we got together to discuss the results. We were even able to find examples of the Journe and Lange that had already been worn (the Lange on a daily basis) so you could actually see what these look like after they leave their respective boutiques and spend some time on the wrist.
Alright, let's get into it. Here's Three On Three.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Small Seconds
- By Benjamin Clymer -
The Vacheron Patrimony Traditionnelle Small Seconds is, in my very humble opinion, one of the best dress watches in current production. It is a watch I’ve considered purchasing myself on more than one occasion. What makes this watch so strong is that it is an unrelenting dress watch with patrimony that can not be rivaled by either the Journe or the Lange. What I mean is Vacheron has an extensive history making watches just like the Patrimony, and while both the Chronomètre Bleu and the Saxonia are truly beautiful timepieces from two wonderful manufactures, they are not the Journe or Lange I would choose to own, were price of no concern. The Patrimony is indeed a Vacheron I would own, even if I could afford more.
Priced at $19,990, you are getting one of the most well-rounded high-end watches on the planet for what seems to me to be a very fair price. While not completely without fault, VC’s manually-wound dress watch left me duly impressed and only wanting more.
The Patrimony’s dial is a beautiful mixture of vintage and modern design. The off-white color provides a nice aged feel, and the finish is silver opaline with a fine texture. At 6 o’clock sits a running seconds dial with incredibly subtle snailing. At the outer edges of the dial and the sub-seconds register, you’ll fine a graduated minute/seconds track, in the traditional 1940s “railroad” style. This gives the watch a very balanced, almost Art Deco look to it. The hour markers are solid 18k 5N pink gold and stem cleanly from the inner bezel. At 12 o’clock you will find a solid-gold applied maltese cross and “Vacheron Constantin Geneve” perched above the dial’s center point.
The Patrimony’s hands are solid gold and dauphine-shaped, providing incredible shine when the light catches them. The face of this watch is incredibly legible, understated, and interesting – and just downright perfect. Though, if I were forced to nitpick, I wouldn’t mind seeing the font size of “Vacheron Constantin” reduced by just a few points.
The real beauty of this watch is its in-house, manually-wound movement. Inside the Patrimony Traditionnelle Small Seconds is Vacheron Constantin’s caliber 4400. The 4400 is, in my opinion, the very foundation of Vacheron as a true modern manufacture. One must remember that while VC has always been considered one of the finest watchmakers in the world, they were not a true manufacture until relatively recently. It was the 4400 that took Vacheron’s incredible high-segment expertise and brought it to the masses, so to speak. Work began on the caliber 4400 three years after the introduction of the caliber 1400 – Vacheron’s in-house self-winding movement – in 2005. It was first shown in 2009 in the Historiques American 1921, and since then has been the foundation of the mark’s most elegant timepieces.
The large (for the time – 28.5mm / 12.5’’’) movement was met with warm regards by collectors when first shown, and in a famous Hour Lounge post Kari Voutilainen himself sang the movement’s praises. The 4400 uses a large single barrel with reverser – as opposed to the double barrel found in the Journe – that still provides for a full 65 hours of power reserve, even longer than the reserve in the Journe. Additionally, the Vacheron’s movement is built for lasting use via an abundance of jewels (28), some found in places not normally known to include them. The goal is to create the least amount of friction on the gears so that the 4400 is a long lasting, service-free movement.
The architecture of this in-house movement is traditionally Genevan, and represents nothing but the finest Swiss design. The movement features a Geneva seal, and the watch is just expertly finished. You’ll find all interior angles beveled by hand, with deep Geneva striping across the entire movement.
While so much of the cost of a watch in this league comes down to finishing – and yes, Vacheron spared no expense here – what makes this caliber and this watch so appealing to me is that it couples great design and finishing with practicality. This watch is meant to be serviceable. Sure, average Journe or Lange owners will want to send their watches back from whence they came, and the same is likely true for Vacheron owners, I love the idea that Vacheron has made their base movement serviceable by anybody that has expertise in high-end movements. The other two calibers here require special tools and potentially even training to work on. I own watches from the 1930s and 40s, and I think anyone who is the same boat will appreciate why this matters. You simply never know what will happen in business or in life, and I want to know that if this watch stays in my family for the next 75 years, that it will at least be serviceable. With the Vacheron, I know that to be the case.
Oh, and it’s just beautiful, too. One shortcoming when comparing the 4400 to the Journe is the lack of a free-sprung balance, though Lange’s Saxonia also uses a fixed balance. As Paul mentions in his discussion of the Lange, it’s a minor criticism meaningless to all but the nerdiest of watch nerds.
When this watch was announced, the original press release made mention of the watches Vacheron produced from the 1930s through the 1950s – some of my favorite watches from any brand, from any time period. So, the slim, 38mm size with knurled mid-case feels very much the same as the great watches from Vacheron’s most progressive period of development, without feeling frail at all. The case sits squarely on the wrist and isn’t too demure to pass with an Oxford shirt and jeans on the weekend, though it is certainly best suited for a blazer and tie. The creamy pink nature of the 5N compound used for this Vacheron is just lovely, and no one would ever mistake it for traditional yellow gold. The ribbed midcase and screwed caseback, coupled with the slightly downturned lugs, give this watch a great presence on the wrist, as if it’s really attached to you.
From the rear, the beautiful movement fills the case wonderfully with just the right amount of bezel showing. I also happen to believe 38mm is the absolute perfect size for a modern, thoughtful dress watch.
I can’t say enough nice things about the Patrimony Traditionnelle Small Seconds. I really believe that all three of these watches offer something remarkable for the price, but on a practical level, I think the Vacheron is perhaps the most honest, and the most lasting. I love the Chronomètre Bleu from Journe, but in a perfect world, I’d much rather own the Chronomètre Souverain, or Resonance. I love the Saxonia from Lange, but I’d much rather own the 1815 Up/Down, Lange 1, Datograph, or Zeitwerk. With Vacheron, I believe that this basic 38mm watch that retails for under $20,000 might just be one of the brand’s finest offerings overall.
Sure, I would love a 14-day tourbillon, or a Patrimony chronograph, but Vacheron’s unique history with dress watches tied together with the unique elegance, performance, and styling of the case, dial, and in particular, the movement, make this watch more than the sum of its parts. This isn’t an entry level Vacheron in my eyes, this watch IS Vacheron, and it is downright perfect.
F. P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu
- By Stephen J. Pulvirent -
The Chronomètre Bleu stands out next to the other two watches here in a number of ways – it has a blue dial with numerals instead of batons, it’s the largest at 39mm, and the case is tantalum instead of rose gold. This is not traditional manually-wound dress watch, though it can certainly serve the same function given the right context.
Priced at $19,890, the CB comes in just under our $20,000 limit and is essentially Journe’s Chronomètre Souverain without the power reserve indicator and in a non-precious metal at about two-thirds the price. Its fans include J.J. Reddick amongst others, and it offers extremely avant garde watchmaking in a package to match. That doesn’t come without its problems, but overall I found a lot to love about the Chronomètre Bleu.
We’ll start with that name-sake dial. It’s blue – and I mean very blue. To call it iridescent would be an understatement. Instead, “mirrored” or “reflective” seems a much better adjective. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the lighting. In extremely bright light, the color really shows through but can make the dial appear almost too bright, while in more moderate conditions the color appears very deep and shifts as the light moves across it. The effect here is incredible, plus it makes reading the dial easy in low-light situations, even with no luminous material to be found anywhere.
The numerals are off-white and printed concentrically inside a minutes chapter ring (also printed). Officially, the color is “cream,” though it appears just soft enough that it’s not obviously bright white. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the numbers 7 and 8 are slightly smaller than the others, allowing space for the seconds register without cutting off the bottoms of the numbers. It’s an interesting treatment, and one that I didn’t like at first and grew to appreciate. The guilloché and beveling on the subregister adds some texture to the expansive dial, something I found very welcome.
The hands match the registers and are Journe’s signature shape. These painted hands and printed dial markings might bother some who are looking for a really high-end dial treatment. The printing is clean and well done, but both the other watches here have top-notch applied indexes and faceted hands, bringing some richness to the table.
The dial sets this watch apart visually for the competition here, and the movement does exactly the same thing. While the Vacheron Constantin has a quintessentially Swiss movement and the Lange abides by traditional Saxon techniques, this movement is something all its own. The caliber 1304 is designed and manufactured in-house by F.P. Journe and is made of solid 18k rose gold. It is 30.4mm across and 3.75mm thick, but appears to have a ton of visual depth.
Of the three watches here, the CB is the only one to have two mainspring barrels, here run in parallel for better chronometric performance over the full duration of the power reserve. But, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t give it the largest power reserve of the three watches – at 56 hours, it’s outperformed here by the Vacheron’s large single barrel.
The architecture of this movement is incredible. It’s very modern and unlike anything else you’ll find on the market. Looking through the sapphire caseback you’ll find the barrels held up by a large bridge on the left side by the winding crown. A single wheel of the going train is visible and then there is a chasm separating the barrels from the balance cock. It appears as if the balance is floating off on its own on the other side of the gap, but actually the gear train is hidden between the mainplate and the dial, creating this illusion.
In that gap between the two parts of the movement, the mainplate is decorated with elaborate barleycorn guilloche and some perlage as well. The bridges are all striped and have deep beveled edges with internal and external angles. The sinks for the 22 jewels and the slots for the mirror-polished screws are chamfered and add that little extra level of finishing that is hard to find. There’s no doubt this is a very high-end manufacture movement.
But, that comes with some problems. The unique architecture is going to make this a tough movement to have serviced down the road. I’m obviously not speaking from first-hand experience here, but when the CB needs work, I would imagine that it will need to go to F.P. Journe and not a typical watchmaker. That concealed gear train alone would likely prove confusing. Additionally, Journe uses proprietary screwheads on the caseback, again meaning this will have to go home for service.
Performance was good during the entire week I wore the Chronomètre Bleu. I set the watch at the beginning of the week, and it was still spot on at the end. It did bug me though that the seconds hand does not hack, meaning setting the watch precisely to the second is difficult. For a watch with Chronomètre in the name, I fully expected this feature.
So, in the caliber 1304 you get a unique movement that you’ll want to stare at all day. It does come at a cost however, with service options being somewhat limited down the road. It's worth noting here that the Chronomètre Bleu is the only watch tested here made by a true independent brand. While both Vacheron and Lange fall under the Richemont umbrella, Journe is independent, making around 900 watches per year right in the heart of Geneva.
The CB is the largest of the watches reviewed here at 39mm, but at 8.6mm thick it wears very slim. The lugs are short and curved, and the case back is relatively flat, which combine to keep this watch tight to the wrist. The supplied blue alligator strap is thin in a great way and just amplifies the effect.
Another defining feature of the CB is the case material – tantalum. It’s a dense, inert metal that sometimes serves as a substitute for platinum in industrial applications. It serves much the same purpose here. You get dark grey colors with slight blue tinges, the heft of platinum, and durability even greater than steel. I personally love platinum cases but hate how badly they scratch, and I quickly fell in love with tantalum.
The design is pretty simple, with a flat bezel, simple caseband, and the very flat F.P. Journe crown. On a manually-wound watch like this, this crown design is a bit annoying It can be difficult to wind and is all but impossible to work with while the watch is on the wrist. I didn’t mind it for the week, but I could see this getting annoying after a while.
The overall effect of the simple case is letting the dial do most of the talking. Until a recent change to larger sizes, F.P. Journe’s watches were available in either 38mm and 40mm cases, and only the CB comes in at 39mm. It’s a great size if you want a watch that can bridge the casual-formal gap. I wore the watch with a sportcoat and tie one night to a nice dinner and it felt perfectly appropriate; going to a neighborhood bar in a sweatshirt just a few days later, I still felt the watch looked spot on.
The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu is a very idiosyncratic watch – mostly in great ways. The dial design and movement architecture are both unique and modern in a way that isn’t garish. I found myself staring at both the dial and movement while wearing the watch and enjoyed the versatility as well – if you’re looking for your first piece of really serious horology, it’s a nice upside that you can wear it in a variety of settings. Additionally, while both Lange and Vacheron are owned by the enormous, publicly traded luxury group Richemont, Journe is a true independent making just 900 watches per year from a small manufacture in downtown Geneva. To many, this will be appealing, just as it's appealing to me. Still, it is worth noting though that future service costs could be higher than usual and you’ll want to take this into account up front. Ultimately, I just flat out enjoyed the Chronomètre Bleu and can heartily recommend it.
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia
- By Paul Boutros -
The moment I set my eyes on the Saxonia, I knew it was every bit a serious, high-end watch. The Saxonia is the entry-level offering from A. Lange & Söhne, but in no way is it entry level. Consistent with my experiences with other Langes, I was immediately impressed by the Saxonia’s wonderful heft. The weight is striking, especially when comparing similar dress watches from competing brands – it feels solid, assured, and oh so luxurious.
Retailing for $18,600 in 18 karat rose gold ($19,800 in white gold), the Saxonia is the lowest priced model in Lange’s collection (and the lowest priced watch discussed here). Produced in its current form since 2007, this version replaced a smaller, 34 mm Saxonia launched as part of the brand’s rebirth in 1994. Now measuring 37 mm, it was completely redesigned with a minimalist aesthetic that reminds me of elegant dress watches from the middle of the last century.
With the out-sized date of its predecessor eliminated, the Saxonia displays its only functions – minutes, hours, and seconds – with exceptional clarity. Made of solid silver, the expansive dial is adorned with beautiful and very fine, faceted baton markers and associated spherical “dew drops” at each hour. The top surface of each solid-gold marker features four mirror-polished facets, while the sides are vertically brushed. The result is brilliant reflections of light off these tiny surfaces.
I’m a big fan of Lange’s signature “lancet” hands. Also made of solid gold, I appreciated that they’re non-luminous. Each is finished immaculately, with perfectly executed bevels at the centers and wonderfully rounded tips. The tip of the minute hand extends precisely to the outer edge of the minute track. Similarly, on the sunken sub-dial at 6 o’clock, the seconds hand extends precisely to the end of each seconds mark. The attention to detail is wonderful.
Even the sapphire crystal is of the highest optical quality as it’s treated with anti-reflective coatings on both sides. Since the crystal is slightly curved, I would have liked to see the tip of the minute hand curved downwards towards the dial to correct for parallax error. A minor, and very personal, issue here.
Turn the watch over and an exhibition case back exposes an immaculately finished in-house, manually-wound caliber L941.1. It’s the same base caliber that was used in the original Saxonia from 1994, re-engineered without the date function. Measuring 25.6 mm in diameter with a height of 3.2 mm, it’s a bit undersized for the updated case diameter. This didn’t bother me much, but out of the three watches reviewed in this comparison, the L941.1 is the smallest by nearly 3 mm. Using one mainspring barrel, it provides 45 hours of power reserve on a full wind.
Nearly everything in the movement reflects the uncompromised and costly approach taken in its design and construction. The result is a movement that dazzles with hand-applied Glashütte ribbing, gold-filled engravings, solid-gold chatons, jewels, and blued and polished screws. There are 166 finely finished parts; bridges, plates, and screw edges are anglaged and mirror polished, holes are chamfered, and flat surfaces are mirror polished or perlaged. This is an extremely well-made and well-finished caliber, explaining why this “simple” watch has a retail price approaching $20,000.
Like every Lange, the movement uses a robust, three-quarter plate design – a traditional approach introduced by Ferdinand Lange, the brand’s founding father, in 1864. All bridges and plates are untreated German silver, an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc. Stronger than brass, this alloy develops a creamy, golden-hued patina over time that serves to protect the movement from further oxidation. However, working with German silver is difficult and the oils from your fingers will leave permanent marks. This means any watchmaker who services the watch must be extremely careful, or you’ll end up with a marked movement forever.
Four visible jewels are mounted within polished, solid-gold chatons, each secured with two or three blued screws. No longer necessary for modern watches, chatons were a high-quality feature used in Lange’s historic pocket watches to ease the replacement of jewels during servicing. Here they’re a flourish that indicates quality and an adherence to tradition.
In a similar nod, a screwed balance wheel with a beautifully finished swan-neck regulator is used for the escapement. It oscillates at a relaxed and leisurely 21,600 beats-per-hour with a crisp, quiet ticking sound that brings a smile to your face. The balance cock to which they’re secured is hand-engraved – a pleasing, traditional feature that adds a touch of uniqueness to all of Lange’s timepieces. A stop-seconds function stops the balance wheel when the crown is pulled out, allowing time to be set to the second. I’d prefer the use of a free-sprung escapement (capable of higher accuracy over a regulator-based escapement) as found in Lange’s higher-priced watches, but this is a minor criticism.
The Saxonia is housed in a three-part case measuring just 7.7 mm thick – well proportioned with its 37 mm diameter. Generous use of solid gold on case components makes the watch feel much heavier than you’d expect. The rose-gold case is mirror polished on all surfaces, whereas there’s be a mix of brushed and mirror polished surfaces on the white-gold version. Claw-shaped lugs, chamfered at every edge, are positioned exactly in the center of the caseband. They’re elongated and extend low. Combined with a flat caseback, this allows the watch to fit very comfortably on my wrist.
A thin, curved bezel surrounds the dial, making the watch appear larger than 37 mm. The knurled crown is embossed with “A. Lange & Söhne.” Although comfortable to wind, the crown is slightly undersized in my opinion, and may prove difficult to wind for those with larger fingers – especially when the watch is on the wrist.
The Saxonia ships with a large-grain, crocodile strap fitted with one of the best tang buckles in the business. Made from a solid block of gold, it incorporates a lower crossbar near its base that optimizes the curvature of the strap for maximum comfort. This might sound minor, but it’s one of the little details that adds to the overall package here.
I liked the Saxonia much more than I expected to. The criticisms I mentioned – smaller movement, lack of a free-sprung escapement – in no way affected my practical enjoyment of the watch, especially while it was worn. They’re more intellectual quibbles than anything. It’s a superb dress watch that skillfully blends traditional watchmaking with modern yet classic styling. It’s elegantly balanced, magnificently constructed, and impeccably finished. At just below $20,000 retail, it puts Lange’s uncompromising approach to high watchmaking within the reach of many.
When it comes to the dials of these three watches, the Chronomètre Bleu is the obvious stand-out. The chrome blue is beautiful and certainly non-traditional, plus it makes the watch distinctly more casual in overall appearance than the other two. But, the applied gold markers and elegant gold hands on both the Vacheron and the Lange beat out the printed numerals and painted hands of the Journe without a doubt in terms of overall quality and detail of finishing.
As mentioned above, the caliber 4400 is one of the best manually-wound movements being made today and an absolute benchmark for Vacheron Constantin. It has traditional architecture, fine finishing, and bears the Geneva Hallmark – it can be worked on by almost any skilled watchmaker, making ownership easy long-term. In contrast, both the Lange and the Journe house beautiful movements that might present servicing hardships down the line. The Lange caliber L941.1 is made of German silver, meaning it cannot be touched without protection, and the three-quarter plate construction makes reassembly tough without proprietary tools. Though it does offer a beautiful view through the case back, the totally modern architecture of the Journe caliber 1304, including 18k gold construction and hidden gears, is going to make the movement difficult for anyone but F.P. Journe to service. Each of these movements comes with tradeoffs, though the Vacheron 4400 achieves the best balance here.
We tested both the Vacheron and the Lange in pink gold, though they're available in other metals as well. Identical in thickness and only 1mm different in diameter, the two wore similarly on the wrist. The Vacheron has some extra finishing details, like knurled edges, that added a little interest, but both were great. The Chronomètre Bleu has a unique tantalum case, which combines the durability of titanium with the heft of platinum. It's easy to dress up or down, and even though it was the largest of the three (in both diameter and thickness), it wore the most comfortably. Winding with the thin crown was a bit fiddly, but otherwise it was the best fit on the wrist.
These are certainly not the only high-quality time-only watches out there, nor are they the only good values under $20,000.
One watch that you're probably already thinking about is the Patek Philippe Calatrava, arguably the gold standard when it comes to simple dress watches. First off, it's not under $20,000. The Calatrava closest to the watches we examined here is the ref. 5196, with a 37mm case and a sub-seconds register on the dial. Retail price is $21,500 for yellow gold and $23,600 for both white and rose, so it could not be considered in this Three On Three. Additionally, it uses an older Patek Philippe movement, the Caliber 215 PS, which is only 21.9mm in the 37mm case. Here we wanted to focus on watches more contemporary throughout.
But what else is there under $20,000? Well, there is always the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar in stainless steel. The watches above are all about distilling out complication in favor of getting the details exactly so, while this is more about giving the owner a lot of complication for their money. You get a full perpetual calendar from a true manufacture for the same price as the time-only watches found here. This doesn't come without trade-offs though. The case and dial details on the Jaeger are not handled quite as nicely and overall there is a more industrial feel. Additionally, while the movement is complicated, it is not decorated or finished even close to the same level as the Lange, Journe, or Vacheron. More on this watch here.
The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Small Seconds offers the modern incarnation of an extremely traditional Genevan dress watch. The case and dial are expertly appointed, the 38mm size is perfect for a dress watch, and the caliber 4400 is one of the best manually-wound movements out there today. In additional to being beautiful, the 4400 is traditionally constructed and will be serviceable by any well-trained watchmaker, making this an easy watch to maintain for generations. Even against the manufacture's more expensive and complicated offerings, this is THE Vacheron to own.
The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu is a modern dress watch that can work in a variety of settings due to its unique styling. The chrome blue dial has to be seen to be truly appreciated and the tantalum case combines the best qualities of a technical material like titanium and a precious metal like platinum. The case sits beautifully on the wrist and at 39mm the CB can do double-duty as a casual watch. The 18k gold movement is beautiful to look at, but no one but F.P. Journe will be able to service this for you, a potential frustration for owners. Still, to own a watch this interesting for under $20,000 is really something special.
The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia is a distinctly German take on the basic dress watch. The case is slightly more angular and less ornately appointed than that of a Swiss-style watch. However, it wears well at 37mm – not as small as you would think – and turning the watch over reveals the beautiful Lange caliber. The three-quarter plate construction, gold screwed chatons, and German silver components are all stunning, but difficult for a non-Lange watchmaker to handle. The Saxonia is the least expensive watch from A. Lange & Söhne, and is at the cost of using an older movement without the free-sprung balance you'd find in the manufacture's pricier movements. Regardless, the Saxonia is every bit a Lange and a beautiful entry-point into a dream brand.
Although we purposefully selected these watches because of their similarities – manually wound, in-house, work as dress watches, and under $20,000 – they each offer unique ups and downs. We set out on this project thinking we might crown a "winner," but that really wouldn't be appropriate here. There are good reasons to purchase each of these watches, and good reasons why each might not be right for you. At the end of the day, each is a great entry point into one of the best modern manufactures, offering a great combination of aesthetic pleasures and true craftsmanship.