What exactly do we mean when we say that a watch has an “integrated bracelet” or that it is an “integrated bracelet watch?” As is so often the case the AAA UK replica watches enthusiast community uses the word in both a very specific and a somewhat vague way. “Integrated” has several meanings, in various dictionaries (Merriam-Webster reminds us that “integration” is a procedure in calculus, lest we forget), but none of them offer a definition specific to the high quality fake watches world. Thus, we are all in the fortunate position taken by Humpty Dumpty when he told Alice, “When I use a word, it means whatever I tell it to mean.”
“Integrated bracelet” is used in two ways.
The first and more general use is simply in a situation where a bracelet has been designed to be an integral part of the overall design of Swiss made replica watches – that is, it reflects and to some degree constitutes a continuation and further expression of the design of the case.
The second, narrower use integrates, hahaha, the first but with the additional proviso that the bracelet cannot, at least not without special tools, be dislodged from the case, which will with mute stubbornness resist any attempt on the part of the enthusiast to swap it out for a NATO – generally thanks to the idiosyncratic shape of the lugs.
In this installment of Point/Counterpoint, Jon Bues is taking as his point the narrower definition and I am taking as mine the broader counterpoint, and as always, to quote Don Corleone’s refusal to Virgil “The Turk” Solozzo, “I will give you my reasons.”
To begin the discussion, let’s take a look at a relatively unambiguous case – or rather, one which seems on the face of it unambiguous, and that is the case of the Royal Oak. This is in one sense the example par excellence of the integrated bracelet best copy watches in the narrower sense of the term. Certainly no one in their right mind would attempt to swap out the bracelet on a Royal for a non-OEM (or even OEM) strap by themselves – it’s not worth the risk of scratching the case and besides, where do you even start? And from a design standpoint, it seems equally unambiguously clear that the bracelet is about as integrated to the design of the case as you can get.
However, where there is a will there is a way, and to assume that enthusiasts will not find a way to modify cheap replica watches to taste is to underestimate the ingenuity of the obsessive human mind. There are, as it turns out, several articles easily located with the help of your favorite search engine, which explain how to do it and anyone reasonably dextrous can do so in a matter of minutes. No doubt, I will curry little favor with AP for pointing this out, but there are also a number of non-OEM straps, as well.
Pictures of owners who have changed the bracelet for a strap can easily be found, as well. However, as we have seen in the case of the wholesale fake Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches (which I would submit as a clear case of a watch in which “integrated bracelet” is used with essentially unanimous assent) the ability of an owner to change the bracelet for a strap, OEM or otherwise, does not in fact seem essential to the use of “integrated bracelet” as a description.
There are several other interesting examples – to pick just two, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, and the luxury Cartier Santos replica watches. The Overseas Self-Winding is one of the most straightforward examples of an integrated bracelet watch out there, and yet not only can the bracelet be changed for a strap, it’s designed specifically so the owner can make the change without any special tools. The only choice seems to be OEM straps since the quick change system is a proprietary one, but if someone were sufficiently determined undoubtedly they could make a strap or straps compatible with the Overseas case.
The Cartier Santos super clone watches for sale, likewise, has a bracelet with an integrated design, including the shape of the links and the use of two screws per link, which echo the signature screws on the bezel. And like the Overseas, the bracelet has a quick change system allowing the owner to rapidly and easily change the bracelet for a strap (the same comments about OEM straps for the Overseas applies here).
Of course, we only use the term “integrated bracelet” for specific watches, not for all. Merely having a bracelet designed for a specific watch is a necessary but not sufficient condition.
The perfect replica Rolex Submariner watches, for instance, has never to my knowledge been described as an integrated bracelet watch – this despite the fact that technically as well as aesthetically, the bracelet is very specific to the Submariner and is moreover harder to remove than the bracelets of any of the other watches mentioned so far. (The position of the spring bars requires the use of a pair of adjustable, high-precision spring bar pliers in the same way that removing the back of an Oyster case requires a specific caseback wrench).
It seems to me that the reason we don’t say that the Sub has an integrated bracelet is simply because it does not have the overt aesthetic aspirations that we associate with the term. It is, instead, and through no fault of its own, somewhat generic in design (you can say “classic” if you prefer; some people do) and its overall air of dour practicality is duplicated on dozens of other dive top fake watches. This has nothing to do with quality – Rolex makes some of the best bracelets in the business if you’re looking for comfort, durability, and practicality. The Sub, however, is not generally called an integrated bracelet watch.
“Integrated bracelet” is a term with its origins not in technical specifics, but in the anthropology of watch discourse – it’s usually used to describe a design-forward, generally premium- or luxury-priced watch, often but not always in steel. The list of usual suspects bears out this point: the Royal Oak; the Vacheron Offshore; Piaget Polo watches; the Patek Philippe Nautilus. High price is not a necessary condition, though – the Q Timex Reissue Digital LCA In Stainless Steel is as indisputably an integrated bracelet Swiss movements replica watches as I’ve ever seen (albeit you can put it on a non-OEM strap if you’re inclined, as it uses standard sized-spring bars, though I’m arguing that’s not actually a criterion) and no less so for being 149 bucks.
While the inability to change the bracelet for a strap on the part of the owner seems at first a defensible if narrow definition for the term “integrated bracelet,” I think it’s clear that this definition corresponds neither to technical reality, nor to how the term is used in actual watch talk.
Normally I’m firmly on the side of narrow prescriptivism but in this case, looking at what we actually mean when we use the term in real life seems a lot more illuminating.