Watch Snob Returns From Summer Break
Even Our Snob Needs to Take a Break Sometimes
Deep Dive in Shallow Waters
I have loved reading your articles. First I wanted to thank you for your sage advice, as well as the hilarious candor you often express. I think your column here is gold.
Onto my question. I am a man of humble means when it comes to [disposable] income, but I firmly believe that a well thought out timepiece is an important expression. I don’t care much for clothing, and can usually be found in shorts and a T-shirt, but I have pieced together a collection of a few watches that make me smile.
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My first move was to sell my Breitling Super Avenger, and purchase a more modest, yet interesting to me [Omega] Speedmaster Moonwatch which I wear on bracelet, leather and Nato. Next I added a Rolex Milgauss with a beautiful Z-blue dial. I then added a Tudor Ranger to my collection, and finally added a Seiko 5 Sport watch.
I have recently been kicking around another watch style, as I do not own a “Diver” or GMT with blue face, so I have been eyeballing Longines, Tissot, [Christopher] Ward, etc. in the near [or under] $1,000 range. I then came across Certina as an option, and I think this is the direction I am leaning currently. Are there any others you may consider for me to add to my collection to continue my brand variety trend? Not many Certinas here in the USA, which is one of the reasons I find it so appealing.
I have never spent much time with a Certina but based on what little I have seen of them, they seem a perfectly honorable choice. The problem with dive watch in the $1,000 and under price range is that it is relatively easy to find adequate ones and relatively difficult to find one that really seems worth going after.
The Certina is fine; so are dive watches made by everyone from Citizen to Seiko to Orient to Zodiac to Oris (okay, the Oris perhaps is pushing things price-wise) to smaller-and-micro brands such as Unimatic and Baltic, and on and on. This is without getting into the quartz models, which are legion and which include light-powered divers from both Seiko and Citizen, both of which have every right to be considered honorable watches in their own right, given the history both brands have of technical innovation in quartz-regulated dive watches in particular, and dive watches in general.
I don’t know – having written that, perhaps the problem is not so much that there are too many merely adequate dive watches at or under $1,000, but rather that we are spoiled for choice. And the classics from companies like Seiko or Citizen are easy watches to love, and have served probably millions of owners honorably and with great satisfaction given, for decades.
I don’t know that “because you don’t see them very often” is necessarily a reason to go with Certina; it would be better to have something a bit stronger than that to motivate you because while you may not see them very much now, if you buy one you are going to see it on your wrist every day (or at least reasonably frequently) and it needs to be interesting — perhaps asking it to do as much for you emotionally as your Milgauss is asking a bit too much, but given the plethora of choices you have, I would say at least be sure you like the watch on its own merits and not just for its relative obscurity.
S’Amuser Dans Le Noir
What is your view of the Cartier Santos Noctambule? Is it too obtrusive?
This is the sort of question which makes me wonder about the nationality of my correspondent (sometimes I know from things a correspondent has said, and sometimes I don’t). This seems (and I hope I do not betray any prejudice against French culture, which I admire very much and without which modern watchmaking would be very different) in saying this sounds like something a Frenchman would say.
“Alors, cette montre, est ce intrusif?” Or perhaps, “Alors, cette montre, je n’aime pas, est … intrusif” or whatever the best equivalent to “obtrusive” is; you must excuse my exécrable French, j’avais le vocabulaire pour les montres et pour horlogerie and for damned little else, chaps. (One of my tutors liked to say that a gentleman does not need to know Greek, he merely needs to have studied it; I always you might say the same of French).
Anyhow, forgive the digression. The Noctambule (to spare my readers having to look it up, it is a large, black, skeletonized Santos with luminous material on the Roman numerals) is a kooky watch; it is a bit of a gimmick; it is in a word, a bit obtrusive, if I take the sense in which you mean the word correctly. It’s also a rather fun watch, especially after dark.
I am I admit something of a sucker for anything that glows in the dark; for a gent of a certain span of years there will always be something magical about that sort of thing, and if you happen to find it entertaining, pourquois pas maintenant?
Third Time’s a Charming Conundrum
I have been a long time reader and have heeded your advice unwaveringly, and I now find myself at a crossroads for my next (third) watch.
My collection — if you can call it that — consists of an Explorer (14270) and a Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. My next watch will ideally be simple and with a white dial to add variety from the other two — I am not too concerned whether it is formal or casual, date or no date.
Herein lies my conundrum: I find myself considering the Cartier Tank (and tempted by the JLC Master Ultra Thin, but that is out of budget for now). My fear is that my collection is fast headed toward an accumulation of “classics,” with nothing “out there” that shows a little bit of character. I would be very grateful for your thoughts and any other recommendations.
Well, look at it this way. In your Explorer and your Speedmaster, you have two very classic watches indeed in just about every sense of the word, and which represent in many respects the best of mid-century watch design; they are benchmark timepieces which continue to exert an influence over watch design even down to the present day. In fact, my dear sir, with those two watches in your possession an argument could be made that you simply don’t need another watch.
Now, it is a legitimate point to raise that both the Cartier Tank and JLC MUT are indeed a bit more of the same, but it is also true that both of those watches as well, represent excellent taste in design and indeed, an important part of horological history (for slightly different reasons but it comes to the same thing). It is absolutely true that you could go for something deliberately outré but that alone is not a reason to buy a watch — you are a bit like the other fellow this week, who wonders if he oughtn’t buy a certain timepiece because he doesn’t see them around very often; that can be a factor in the decision but you have to like the watch on its own terms as well.
I intuit from the fact that you have not mentioned any specific “out there” watch means you don’t actually want one. Maybe someone told you at some point that you have boring taste but on the strength of your watches, you don’t have boring taste. You have careful, albeit somewhat conservative taste that has served you well thus far. I bet you would have lots of fun wearing a tank — a lot more than you would have wearing … I don’t know, a flaming orange Casio Baby-G.
As a matter of fact, you could get the Tank and the G-Shock and find out just how interested in an “out there” watch you really are; it would be an interesting experiment.
To My Readers:
Some of you have been kind enough to enquire after me whilst I was on hiatus last month, and whether or not the hiatus was anything like permanent; I assure you it was merely a well-deserved and brief sabbatical from my toils here. You may rest assured, I will be here “on the regular” as one of my younger friends likes to put it, moving forward; and at the regularly scheduled weekly intervals. Am gratified and thank you for your interest and concern.
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This post was syndicated from askmen.com