Watch Snob Questions the Term Dress Watch
If You’re Asking Watch Snob a Question, Come Prepared
In With the Old, In With the New
I have my heart set on a JLC for my next purchase (having a modest rotation of a Credor Phoenix, Submariner and a Longines Heritage Conquest). Previously my work watch used to be a Longines Heritage Conquest 35mm, but to commemorate my second child’s birth (it’s a girl) as well as sneaking in an upgrade for myself, here we are.
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My question is twofold. My heart aches for the Reverso, but logically to replace the Longines, I should be thinking about the Master Ultra Thin (or so I think). Am I off my knockers about the Ultra Thin?
Second, assuming I’m going with the Reverso, which complication (or not, quite frankly), would the Snob advise as interesting? I am undecided between a pre-owned Reverso Ultra-Thin (yes I know), and a Reverso Classic Duo.
I don’t think you should think so much about the next watch being a replacement for the Longines, as you should think of it as a complement to the Longines. Unless you plan on getting rid of the Heritage Conquest entirely, the next watch will be an addition to your collection, not a replacement. This is by way of saying that there is no reason for you to feel that your next watch should in some sense, tick the same boxes as the one you have now, except perhaps in a more general sense — naturally, if you have a sense of your own personal aesthetic preferences and tastes the next watch should appeal to them as much as the first.
The Longines Heritage Conquest is in my view an extremely underappreciated wristwatch; it is exceedingly beautiful and if not entirely faithful to the original in some specifics, it is very closely allied to it in spirit. It is an extremely pure, classic example of mid-century wristwatch aesthetics.
I say all this by way of pointing out that you do not necessarily need to confine yourself to another round, classic wristwatch. Moreover, unless you are looking for a pre-owned Master Ultra Thin with the caliber 849, you are no longer getting a true ultra-thin watch. The current selection of so-called Master Ultra Thin watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre are many of them very beautiful watches but none of them are what the original Master Ultra Thin was, which was a hand-wound watch based on a true ultra-thin movement.
I would therefore suggest the Reverso as the next logical choice; if you travel much, the Reverso Classic Duoface is a charming timepiece and a wonderful logical evolution of the Reverso design. If not (or even if you do, if you find the design sufficiently compelling; I would) I would suggest the Grand Reverso Ultra-Thin — as wonderfully pure an expression of the Reverso spirit as Jaeger-LeCoultre has produced in many, many years.
Baby Got (No) Back
Thanks for an interesting and enriching column. I work as a library manager. I am in my early 30s. I have a NOMOS N553 (NOMOS Ahoi), which is really great. I chose to go for the sports model, since I also have small kids, which require an active lifestyle, and a watch that can withstand unforeseen rough handling.
In recent years, I have bought many watches, often from Kickstarter, but sold almost every one and [now I’ve] got my eyes on real quality. Next to the watch from NOMOS I also have a Dwiss RC1, which I think is a nice dress watch. I also have a Steinhart Marine Chronograph, but will sell that because [at 44mm] it is too big.
I see several nice watches I would like to buy, which will be at a significant cost, and then everything should be perfect before making the decision. For example, I have a good eye for JLC 1538530, but here there is no sapphire on the back of the watch to look at the movement. And in a way, there is a reason for me to not buy this watch.
Is it right to hide well-decorated movements, and can that be a reason to look elsewhere? And do you have a recommendation for a watch that you think can fit a library manager of almost two meters [or 6’6”] with an active lifestyle.
I have to say, I have never heard of Dwiss before (an unfortunate name; it sounds like a portmanteau of “Swiss” and something both unspecified and uncomplimentary) but with my curiosity piqued by your missive, I unbent myself from my disgracefully battered club chair and hied me to my computer. Without offering an opinion on their watches overall, I will say, I struggle to understand how anyone could possibly characterize these as dress watches but perhaps at two meters in towering height (that is six and a half feet, for my American readers, which are legion) maybe you can get away with considering certain things “dress” that others could not. Certainly you see well-adapted for work in a library; at your height, no volume would be able to elude you.
Now as to the Jaeger. (The watch, to save folks the trouble of looking it up, is the Master Chronograph). I have no idea why Jaeger-LeCoultre declines to offer the watch with a display back; the caliber 751G is perfectly respectable and while it does not offer the highest kind of hand-done finish you would get from, say, Patek, Vacheron or Lange & Soehne, it looks to me as if it would present perfectly nicely through a display back (certainly better than a lot of other movements which other brands show off through display backs).
All I can tell you is that if you find the solid back a deal-breaker, there is nothing more to be said; certainly one could defend the decision to not have a display back, as in keeping with traditional watchmaking and traditional chronograph manufacture, but nowadays there is probably an at least equally valid argument to be made that if you are a company like Jaeger, which takes pride in its history of creating literally hundreds of movements, letting folks look at one might be a more commercially intelligent decision.
For a library manager of almost two meters, with an active lifestyle, there are a whole plethora of watches I could recommend, but I have nothing further to go on than your previous selections. The Dwiss is a head-scratcher (at least for me; if you like it, you like it and there is no accounting for taste); the Steinhart is simply a knockoff of Ulysse Nardin and therefore unworthy of further discussion (I have no quarrel with affordable watchmaking, but blatant lack of originally should be deplored irrespective of price point) and the NOMOS in combination with the others, simply adds to the confusion.
I would suggest certainly looking at the usual suspects — Tudor, entry level Rolex, certainly Seiko, possibly another NOMOS and even that Jaeger if you can get past the closed back — but I have in this case, relatively little data (and I would encourage readers asking for advice to as clearly as possible, delineate your requisites — more interesting and amusing for me, and more helpful for you).
Easy as One-Two-Three?
Hi Snob. I am an avid reader of your blog. After enjoying the Speedmaster for the past six years, I decided that it is time to move on and keep it as my second more casual watch. I am between three watches in pink gold: the Vacheron 56, the JLC Ultrathin Moon and the A. Lange & Soehne Saxonia moonphase (which has now been discontinued).
I know that you like the 56 and the Lange. So between the two watches which one would you choose and why?
Would the JLC ultrathin even be considered by you? What is your opinion on pink gold?
Pink gold is different from yellow gold in being (a) more pink (this is owing to the presence of more copper in the alloy, which gives it its signature roseate sheen) and in being (b) a better material for lending clarity to case geometry, or at least, so it has often seemed to me. It is a fine material under certain circumstances and seems to have a bit more of an impassioned character than yellow gold but as I get older I seem to reverting to a preference for the latter, which seems to me a better expression of the fundamental character of gold: it is golden.
These watches are all close competition, and I can give you an order of preference but again, I emphasize that it is very close: Lange first, Jaeger second, and Vacheron third. However, again, it’s very close — I have against the Jaeger only that they call it an Ultra Thin watch when it really does not fit the classic definition of an ultra thin watch especially well; I have against the Vacheron, only that it is perhaps not what one first thinks of when thinking of Vacheron (but maybe we should be more flexible in that regard; on its own merits I find the 56 Collection overall rather appealing. Maybe it is the contrarian in me but I like several of them very much).
The Saxonia Moonphase, however, is in its own class (I know, I know; I just said that it was very close, and it is, up to a point). The movement is delicious and the overall fit and finish is everything one could expect from Lange, but it is also very much more than the sum of its parts — a timepiece worth seeking out and once found, worth striving to own.
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This post was syndicated from askmen.com