Watch Snob on Skeleton Watches and Going Under the Radar
Watch Snob Talks Cartier vs. Bulgari and the Right Way to Fly With Your Watch
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton
Thank you for answering my question on the Cartier Noctambule. I neglected to ask you a further question. I would like to hear your thoughts on the Noctambule movement.
If I am permitted a second question, since last writing to you I have seen the black skeleton version of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo. I have always been struck by the Octo Finissimo range. The design looks industrial and I cannot decide if I like it or not, but I am put off by the prominent Bulgari branding.
The skeleton watch I find attractive. It looks like the dress watch Darth Vader would own. If you would share your views on that watch I would be grateful.
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And a third wholly different question. I am a fan of Vacheron. If were to purchase one of the range which would it be?
Always happy to hear from a satisfied reader again. I shall take your questions in order.
Firstly, on the Noctambule we have an interesting situation in that the movement essentially is the watch — as you’re certainly aware the plates and bridges are constituted by the numbers and this is basically a highly customized specific version of a skeletonized watch (well, I suppose I ought to say a skeleton watch, as strictly speaking, you cannot call it skeletonized as it was never un-skeletonized to begin with). So you can take my remarks on the watch in general, as reflections on the movement as well; I like it and I think it a characteristically bold and clever design from Cartier.
On the Octo Finissimo watches, my main observation on them is not terribly clever but it is true: I like them. The skeletonized Octo Finissimo watches are bold in conception, design, and execution and they were clearly designed by a person or persons who understand design, not just watchmaking. What you get as a result is an extremely well integrated design, which is successful for the same reason the Cartier is successful: It was conceived as an harmonious whole from the beginning and is not a cobbled together improvisation.
Your question as to which Vacheron you ought to buy is a bit harder to answer as they do have an enormous variety of watches, complicated and uncomplicated, formal and less so (although to my eye all Vacheron watches have a bit of an air of formality, which is part of the fundamental character of the firm). However as of today you have a most interesting new possibility — the company has released a new version of its Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 chronograph in steel (it had heretofore been available only in precious metals at a starting price well above fifty thousand dollars). It is still a quite expensive watch — we are at an interesting point in the history of watchmaking when a $39,000 steel chronograph, however fine, can look like a relative bargain, but as an American friend of mine who’s a newspaper man likes to say, “I don’t make the news, I just report it.”
Last week I was in America and my Lange got very inquisitive and rough treatment from a TSA agent — the 3/4-plate raised concern in particular. I begged the agent to be careful but she was quite concerned it would bring down the plane. To my last plea she grumbled “Relax, I mean, it’s not even Swiss”. Once she decided it wouldn’t explode she casually tossed it in the tray. I want this never to happen again.
If your answer is “Well, I just keep a stash of Langes, Vacherons, and Roger Smiths in every city worth visiting”, perhaps you might suggest a technique for those of us who still comprise the Great Unwashed.
Thanks for the work you put into your column.
There is a part of me – a not especially mature part, I suppose – which in answer to your question, “How do you fly with a watch,” wants to answer, “You don’t, you fly with an airplane.” However much amusement this rejoinder would afford me it would be both brief and uninformative so perhaps we can take this unfortunate bit of levity as read, and move on with a more serious and useful reply.
I confess that in many years of travel with a good timepiece, I have never experienced what you have – usually I (sometimes with some trepidation, depending on the value of the piece) place my watch in the tray, watch it go through the x-ray machine or whatever it is, with more trepidation, and then I pick it up, put it on, and go on with the business of getting becomingly inebriated before hopping in my designated aircraft. I am a practiced but rather anxious flyer so I am usually more worried about getting on the ground in one piece.
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What do sometimes do, especially when traveling with more than one watch, is wear something satisfying but not very valuable on my wrist, and put the other watch or two in a case in my carry-on. This generally does the trick. Perhaps I have just been extraordinarily lucky but in many years of sometimes very frequent flying, I’ve never had any issues such as the one you describe but then, I generally don’t travel with many watches and make a point (usually) of not traveling with anything terribly costly — it’s most often something like a Rolex, or my beloved but battered Speedmaster, or a Grand Seiko (which I am a bit more careful with, just on account of the finish, but it is still not the cause for concern which a Lange or Patek might be).
A Vintage Omega?
Let me first say thank you for your articles, I love to peruse them frequently. I am an avid 23 year old watch fan ever since receiving an Omega Seamaster 300m (non-wave dial) for my 21st birthday. I have decided to commemorate another big milestone in my life — my graduation from university marking the end of my education.
To mark this occasion, I have saved for and ordered a Tudor Black Bay GMT. However I digress as my question is not about this. To get to the point, lately I have found myself yearning to add something vintage to my collection, particularly from the likes of Omega. I would like something on the dressier side but there seems to be a wealth of models available and I am frankly a little daunted. I have looked at a 1973 megaquartz which I like but I have heard the movement is unreliable. I would welcome your suggestions to other models? Ideally no more than £500 as I would not wear this watch frequently but would pull it out on dressier occasions. My many thanks.
Unfortunately for you the time is more or less long past, when one could hope to find a vintage Omega of real interest, in reasonably good condition, for that price. Despite the fact that there are many wonderful watches from Omega which were made in the hundreds of thousands over many years, the demand for ones that are of good quality, and which have mechanisms from the company’s heyday as a real manufacture before the dark times of the Quartz Crisis, is now so high as to make finding and buying one at your budget rather problematic.
The reason that the Megaquartz models are more affordable is not so much an issue of reliability as it is of ease of service should they require it, and of course of relatively much lower demand. The great classic Omega time-only watches from the post-war period often use variations on the 30mm family of movements — some of the finest time-only movements ever made, but rather dear these days, at least compared to what they used to be.
A hint, however — if you branch out a bit in your search, you can still find something in a 30mm movement family watch from Omega roughly in your price range. I would suggest doing a bit of research on the various calibers — avoid searching for the calibers 30t2, 30t2RG and 30t2RGSC as those are the best known and therefore the most expensive, but with a half hour’s worth of research you should be able to identify another couple of equally fine movements with different designations, also in the 30mm family, which are well known to any serious Omega enthusiast, but less well known to more casual shoppers.
I will not mention any specifics here as I think people ought to work a bit for a good thing, and why should you or I make things easy for the intellectually lazy?
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This post was syndicated from askmen.com