Becker Pipes: are they worth the price?

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lyso

New member
Feb 20, 2019
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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?

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,296
176
Worth is subjective. Extremely subjective. Also worth is extremely individualized.
I know that's not what you want to hear.

 

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,601
9,360
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.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
37
Raleigh, NC
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.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,150
6,595
Monterey Peninsula
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!

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,875
1,717
Maryland
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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.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,284
4,506
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.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,855
1,246
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.

 

cachimbero

Member
Apr 9, 2019
165
29
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.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,111
759
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
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!

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
14,996
9,683
United States
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.

 

bassbug

Preferred Member
Dec 29, 2016
867
17
Not really my style, but I'd buy one just because nowhere on his site does he use the word "engineered" :wink:

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,855
1,246
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.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,111
759
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"But, the Rolex was the watch back in my day for serious or working divers."
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.

 

seanv

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2018
1,573
1,881
Canada
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

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,601
9,360
From discussion of Beckers, I'd say most buyers of Beckers find them worth the toll.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,111
759
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
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.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,955
5,541
Outer Space
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.

 

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