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Becker Pipes: are they worth the price?

(24 posts)
  • Started 4 weeks ago by lyso
  • Latest reply from Bill Nichols
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    lyso

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    I've been thinking about getting myself a Becker. Their design and overall aesthetic is unique and stunning. However, they have a steep price tag. I presume that I could purchase either a Castello or an Ardor for half the price, but with an equal quality in the smoking experience.

    What say you all?

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  2. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    Worth is subjective. Extremely subjective. Also worth is extremely individualized.

    I know that's not what you want to hear.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
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    lyso

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    Well, I want to hear everyone's subjective opinion!

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  4. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    Then my subjective opinion is that, hell yes they're worth it.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  5. mso489

    mso489

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    Most of my pipes are toward the other end of the price scale, but what I have seen of Becker, they are beautifully designed and made with elevated craftsmanship. You're right, you could have two or three upper end pipes for the price of a Becker, so it is a matter of how much a Becker means to you. You're paying for beauty, aura, myth and some bragging rights, so it is entirely your call. Also, so much depends on how you allot your budget. For some, this would be an unimportant indulgence, and for others, a major life investment.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  6. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    My subjective opinion is anything over the $100 to $200 mark is simply window dressing. I bought a $400 Ardor because I liked the window dressing. Does it smoke any better than my Peterson Christmas 999? No. Does it look prettier? Yes. It's all in what YOU think it's worth. If you deem it worthy based on looks and know you're not going to get that same look without dropping coin on a Becker, then buy the Becker, because you'll long for it until you do.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  7. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Most basket pipes smoke as well as $1,000 pipes. But that's just what comes through the airway. Most people have several to dozens of other criteria that gives value to them and hence the prices they're willing to pay.

    Short answer, yes, it's worth it!

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  8. ssjones

    ssjones

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    One of the NYC club members (Dan Silverstone, now left us) always had a few Beckers in his bag. His were all impossibly tiny and exquisitely finished. He loved the classic Brits like I do, and was extremely happy with those Group 1/2 Beckers. So, I assume they performed for him.

    Al

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  9. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    IMHO, Artisan's pipes in general smoke better. I think there is a point of diminishing returns where your money is paying for brands and cosmetics.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  10. warren

    warren

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    The answer is yes if ... you want one and can afford it. It's not worth the price if you don't think it is. I'd have to fondle the pipe before I pulled the trigger.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  11. cachimbero

    cachimbero

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    One of my best smoking pipes is a four diamond Becker. Paolo himself talked me into it when I told him I wanted to buy one of his pipes. I was smoking it when I knew he had died.
    I found the Becker i Musicó shop during my honeymoon trip (19 years ago, we spent four days in Rome after 10 days in Jordan) while looking for the Fontana di Trevi. It was in a narrow street (San Vicenzo) leading straight into the Fontana. I was smoking a group 3 Dunhill Tan Shell billiard. I have always been fond of small pipes (group 3). I felt at home right away. The shop was full of small classic pipes with a certain Italian flair. I spent many hours there chatting about pipes and tobaccos with Massimo and Paolo. Paolo loaded my Dunhill with a mixture they had in the shop: 50% Amphora regular and 50% Balkan Sobranie. I can´t believe almost twenty years have passed by. I went back a few times to Rome and would always visit the Via San Vicenzo shop.
    The Becker is one of my best smoking pipes, side by side are a Peterson, a Castello and a modest Karl Erik. Artisanry does not guarantee better smoking pipes, although my experience is that they usually are well above average. I would never part with that pipe. If it appeals to you, buy it, they are very good and he loved his craft and pipe smoking. I hope his son continues the tradition.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  12. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    A lot of the price of anything is the name attached to it.

    I just bought a new Tudor Pelagos wristwatch (Tudor being the sister company to Rolex) and this watch is often compared to the famous Rolex Submariner. However, here are some facts.

    The Submariner is water resistant to 300 meters, the Pelagos to 500 meters (comes with auto helium escape valve too). The Submariner is stainless steel, the Pelagos is titanium. The Submariner has a 42 hour power reserve, the Pelagos has 70+ hours (whilst maintaining 28,800 VPH). The Pelagos has a silicon hairspring, the submariner does not. I could go on.

    Clearly by the above criteria the Pelagos wins hands down yet the Submariner is about twice the price. Why?

    Because it has ROLEX printed on the dial.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    BTW this beauty has astonishing accuracy at just under 1 second fast per day!

    ...take up thy stethoscope and walk...
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  13. cigrmaster

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    If you can afford the pipe and have always wanted one, I say go for it. If you don't want to pay the freight for a new one, maybe find a really nice estate.

    Harris
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  14. bassbug

    bassbug

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    Not really my style, but I'd buy one just because nowhere on his site does he use the word "engineered"

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  15. warren

    warren

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    Jay, not to be a pain in the ass but, in my diving days I never spent more than a few hours at depth and decompressing. Rolex was the name most of us trusted with our lives based on reliability. I now wear a cheapo Apple watch. but, you are a collector and look for other attributes. But, the Rolex was the watch back in my day for serious or working divers. There were others, different brands, that worked. Rolex, however, was the trusted name.

    Had to put in my two cents.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  16. mawnansmiff

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    "[i]But, the Rolex was the watch back in my day for serious or working divers."[/i]

    Warren, with all due respect, Tudor watches were selected for use by US, Canadian, French, African and other armed forces. COMEX diver's also used Tudor as their diver watch of choice.

    Rolex today are overpriced jewellery items. Today's Tudor is yesterday's Rolex. The new in-house Tudor Pelagos is 100% tool watch with no 'bling'.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  17. seanv

    seanv

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    Like warren said, I’d have to inspect the pipe in person before making a purchase. For me, that goes for most things, I like to buy in person

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  18. mso489

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    From discussion of Beckers, I'd say most buyers of Beckers find them worth the toll.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  19. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    I'd like to say that my comparison of Tudor watches and Rolex watches was merely to point out that overall cost doesn't necessarily equate to value for money.

    Apologies to the OP for interrupting his thread thus.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  20. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I have three Beckers. Two were brand new, and one was an estate. I find that I love the aesthetic and the attention he gives/gave his bits is exquisite. I have compared the styling of his pipes to Lamborghini. I may never own an actual car like that, but by saving up, I can own the Lamborghini of pipes. But, I won't be buying another. They smoke very well, and I love the button on it, and looking at the pipe and the feel... But, after finding out that Paolo had his son working on pipes, and most likely Paolo didn't even touch my pipes... the magic is gone. It might be that they were thinking of "Becker" as a family based pipe company, but all retail pipesellers had listed them specifically handmade by Paulo Becker. Even the website for him at the time never mentioned a son.

    Are they great pipes, yes.
    Are they beautiful, yes.
    Do they smoke well, yes.
    Are they any better than pipes going for 1/3rd the price, no.

    But, this is all very subjective. My two, were in the over $1000 range, and the estate still cost me over $500. My return on aesthetic appreciation has waned.

    They are unique though. His fame was not built on being a world renowned pipemaker or designer for any major companies, like Stanwell or even Savinelli. He was more in the fashion side of pipemaker fame, based on his father's claims to fame. Then, I had a long post about it http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/what-if-the-removal-of-the-pixie-pipe-dust
    After regarding the whole... he lied about making his pipes, that has been confirmed over and over since that post, that his son was making them... I say screw him. He could have been truthful and put something on the pipe to indicate that his son made it or something. This goes for a few others in the pipe world that I think are being a little too greedy and not disclosing the full truth about who is making their pipes.

    It is subjective though. If you don't care who's hands have actually touched the pipes, they do have great buttons and smoke well. Is it worth it?.. that's up to you.

    Michael
    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  21. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    I have a couple of Beckers and a Becker & Musico. They all smoke well, not better than anything else I smoke, but well. The pipe's only part of the equation. If the smoker is inexperienced, doesn't know moisture levels for his tobacco, doesn't know packing and cadence, no pipe is going to deliver.
    Are Beckers worth the money? Well, let me put it this way. If you love the aesthetic you're going to have to pay for it. So what's the aesthetic worth to you?

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  22. kcghost

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    Of course they are worth it. It is just a matter of whether you can afford it.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  23. tbradsim1

    tbradsim1

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    I have 5 and they are all old estates, 2 were carved by the father, good looking pipes, great smokers, I’m sure Cosmic is spot on at the Son making them later and not informing buyers, not cool.

    The Old Cajun
    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  24. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    buy one just because nowhere on his site does he use the word "engineered"

    Bug, you're killin' me, as usual.

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 3 weeks ago #

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