Watch Snob on Tudor, Grand Seiko and Omega
Watch Snob Talks About Why Grand Seiko Is a Great First Watch
Movin’ On Up
I am roughly 6-8 months away from my first significant watch purchase. Rather than listing watches I’m considering and asking for your opinion, I want you to help me approach my decision from a more emotional perspective.
But first, the very unemotional parameters: $10,000 max ([less than] $8,000 preferred), open to Japanese, German and Swiss. I am the sort who wants a mix of classics and off-the beaten path pieces, though nothing too oddball. I am a purist at heart and I believe beauty is a profound truth. Authenticity, simplicity and clarity of vision speak to my soul.
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Now, the emotional part: I got a very unexpected and significant promotion recently that will completely change my life and that of my family. It was far beyond anything I could have earned and my wife and myself have been filled with joy, contentment and awe as we’ve entered this new chapter. This first significant watch will be to celebrate and commemorate this magnificent moment in our lives and the blessing it will bring to our daughter and our wider community. What then are the two to three timepieces that both honor the above parameters and in your opinion express a similar sense of deep contentment, awe, unexpected abundance, and joie de vivre akin to what I am feeling right now?
This is a significant moment in your life, obviously and allow me to congratulate you on your unexpected good fortune. The best of luck to you in your new position.
Now as to your question there are obviously a myriad of possibilities. In your situation many folks do the obvious, which is to select a simple steel Rolex as their first good watch and a steel Oyster Perpetual would be both well within your means, as well as a classically proportioned, superbly made watch. The only difficulty, of course, is that steel Rolex watches have become rather difficult to find — in fact the most desirable professional models in some cases, and depending on where you are and who you are, have years-long waiting lists. This means that Rolex, more than ever, has some cultural baggage associated with wearing one — on the assumption that you can find one in the first place.
Another option, therefore, that suggests itself is Tudor. While the company will probably never quite come out from under the shadow of Rolex, this is not necessarily a black mark against them — very few companies can come out completely from under the shadow of Rolex; even Omega struggles to do so. Certainly many of their watches are good in and of themselves but the company is difficult to see in isolation from its long history with Rolex, for obvious reasons.
Now, you have said that you are open to watches from Japan. Moreover, you have said that you are a purist, a believer in beauty as opening, as it were, a window to a deeper truth. For you I think a Grand Seiko would be most appropriate. Certainly they have the merits of authenticity, simplicity and clarity of vision and by God, you could not ask for a more beautiful watch. Some of the models are a bit on the thick side but that is hardly a fatal flaw and anyhow every rose needs a thorn. I commend you to an examination of their timepieces — might I recommend you start with the GMT SBGM221, which is right now the single best value in a GMT watch in the world.
A Need for Speed(master)
I wrote to you earlier this year about an Omega-serviced ref. 165.024 Seamaster 300, and after contemplating your response, decided to sell my Tudor Black Bay to get the Seamaster. I’m happy to say that I have had zero regrets and absolutely love this watch. I’ve worn it diving and often catch myself staring at it at work, even seven months into owning it. Thank you for helping me make this decision!
I recently received a promotion and want to commemorate this occasion with a third watch to complement my Seamaster 300 and Nomos Tangente. For a while, I had my sights set on hunting down a birth-year Speedmaster (which for me would be ref. 3590.50). However, when I shared this intention with some fellow watch enthusiasts (who are much more experienced collectors than I am), a couple of them suggested holding off on the birth-year Moonwatch. Their argument was that the market for vintage Speedmasters — particularly more recent references like ref. 3590.50 — has been relatively stagnant, and as such I could likely buy a birth-year Speedy in a couple years for about the same price as I would pay now. They recommended getting into the Rolex game, as prices for steel Rolex sports watches are continually rising.
Although the Moonwatch was originally next on my list, the ref. 16710 GMT-Master II (non-tritium, because I would want my travel watch to have functioning lume) is a watch I love and definitely want to add to my collection. The main reasons why I had originally planned to get a Speedy next was that I figured my two-watch collection is missing a chronograph, I don’t have a watch with tritium lume/patina, it’s more affordable than the GMT, it’s about damn time I own a Moonwatch, and I was unsure if, at the age of 24, I would be “ready” to own a Rolex. I admit that the last reason is likely the least legitimate.
Regarding the price difference, the GMT is certainly much more expensive, but I could make it work without having it be a risky or stupid financial decision — it’d just be more than I had originally planned on paying for my next watch, but then again potentially less than if I wait longer to obtain one.
Which watch should I go with? Should I stick with my original plan of finding a birth-year Speedmaster? Or do my watch friends have a fair point in that I should go for the Rolex before prices get even crazier, and get the Speedmaster sometime in the future?
What a pleasure to hear from a reader who has acted on my advice and not found it wanting. Now if only the whole world would be guided by me, well, what a harmonious, wonderful world it would be. Certainly the watches would be better.
Your question might easily be reduced to the observation that you are talking about a watch you love and have wanted for some time on the one hand, and one that you appear to regard as a better investment. It is certainly true that the GMT Master II is probably the watch, of the two, which is more likely to appreciate in value (especially given the shortage of all new steel professional models from Rolex) and that it is, taken on its own, certainly a good watch in any meaningful sense of the phrase. And as far as being “ready” for a Rolex at the ripe old age of 24, the fact that you are considering the question at all means that you are more than mature enough for a Rolex; there are any number of folks who own Rolexes who if maturity were a requirement, would have to surrender their watches immediately.
But I would say, get the Speedmaster. The market for older GMT Master II watches is probably not going to ascend out of sight in a time frame meaningful to your collecting habits, if you are getting a new piece every couple of years or so and if you still want a GMT Master II when you are 27 or so I bet you a dozen radioactive Bakelite bezels you will be able to find one. In the meantime the Speedmaster can be highly recommended, for all the reasons you note.
This is a good year to get a Moonwatch anyhow — humans walked on the Moon for the first time, fifty years ago as of this year (as I’m sure you know, Omega has spared no expense to remind us!).
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This post was syndicated from askmen.com