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Watch Out: New Spring Timepieces That Would Be Welcome On Any Wrist

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Timepiece Indecision


Dear Watch Snob,

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I am struck with indecision over the choice of a new watch for my growing collection. I have a Monaco and a beautiful old hand wound Bernex left to me by my grandfather, that I hardly wear for fear of breaking it (it is nearly 60 years old, but keeps good time). I have long admired Seiko ever since my father gave me a Seiko 5, which I wore for 25 years until it was stolen. I was at the point of taking the plunge and buying a Seiko Snowflake when I was distracted by the idea of a Reverso (I would prefer one with a long power reserve). Then I came across the Glashutte Senator Excellence Date Moonphase, which seems to have an exciting newish movement and I find the blue face appealing (at least it looks blue to me, I am pretty color blind).

Hopefully, the next watch I buy will not be my last, but I am planning to build a collection over the years of no more than six pieces (one of which will be an ultrathin at some point).

If I can be indulged one further question, I know boxes can be bought which keep watches wound by vibrating, and I have also heard tales of them doing terrible damage. Are there any particular models you would recommend?

I think in this situation the first question you should ask yourself is probably whether or not you want a conventional mechanical watch or a Spring Drive. This is not merely an abstraction — the Spring Drive’s silently gliding seconds hand gives a rather different experience of the passage of time than the crawling forward of the seconds hand of a conventional watch. If you do want a conventional mechanical watch, then I think the Reverso is far the more interesting of the two — Glashutte Original does some admirable work, but they’ve unfortunately produced a few too many designs derivative of Lange & Sohne over the years, which diminishes them. So often in watchmaking, we see that a brand’s most serious wounds are self-inflicted.

I’m not sure what you mean by “keeps watches wound by vibrating.” Watch winders do exist, of course, but generally, they work by having the watches on rotating carriages driven by an electric motor; there’s no 'vibrating' going on. I don’t particularly care for them myself, although for some things — difficult-to-set automatic perpetual calendars, for instance — they might be worthwhile. I find them as a rule unnecessary — if a watch is unworn long enough to require a winder to stay running, chances are it will need to be set to the correct time anyway when you put it on, in which case what are a few extra seconds winding it and setting the date?


A Wedding Watch


Dear Snob,

I have been an avid reader of your column for a number of years and so must firstly thank you for your entertaining and informative insights. While in the past I have been able to simply enjoy reading your column I am now at the point where I am in need of your expert horological guidance. I am getting married next year and wanted to mark the occasion with the purchase of a suitable watch. Something that I can wear on the big day and for years to come, but equally be able to pass on one day. I was looking at the JLC Ultra Thin Moonphase in Rose Gold, which I think is a stunning watch, but would welcome your opinion on it.

To complicate things, I have recently been considering an alternative option: purchasing a pocket watch with the intention of having it engraved with my wedding date; and an idealized motion that future generations can do the same as it is passed along. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find as much advice or guidance in your columns on worthy pocket watches compared to the vast amount available on wristwatches. Any advice you can give would be gratefully received, particularly any models you would recommend (or avoid!). To prevent this from being too open-ended, and because I will have less opportunity to wear a pocket watch compared to the JLC, could you please limit your advice to something costing less than £5,000 or, if this is unrealistic, something less than £10,000?

Finally, which of these two options would you choose if you were in my shoes or, dare I ask, would you go for something else completely different?

A pocket watch is an absolutely lovely idea and I have always felt too few people are interested in them, although here the advantage is to you, because they are much easier to collect than wristwatches. Why, with some vigilance you should be able to find, at a dealer or at auction, something from even as elevated a company as Patek or Vacheron. Now the cost of servicing such a watch might add considerably to the cost, but at least theoretically you could get something really worthwhile for a fraction of a comparable wristwatch. Omega and Longines are two other excellent choices (vintage, mind you, the modern Longines does some entertaining stuff but they have as much to do with vintage Longines as a rubber ducky does with a dreadnought). Just remember: look for the best condition you can find, both inside and out, and do make sure you factor the cost of service into your budget.

The Jaeger is a reasonably attractive watch, but horologically and historically, far the less interesting option. It does have the advantage of being wearable on your wrist. 


A Rolex Verse


Hi,

Currently I own 4 Rolexes

1)Rolex Coke Ref 16710 (3yrs)

2)Rolex Sub Ref 116613LN (7yrs)

3)Rolex Sub Ref 14060 (1yr)

4)Rolex Datejust White Gold w/Textured dial Ref 1601 (1yr)

Thinking of letting go of one or two pcs (..probably thinking to keep some cash in hand)..), which of the above pcs would you suggest that I let go?

Thank you.

They say brevity is the soul of wit, but here, I think brevity is just brevity. Also your missive such as it is, is delightfully devoid of any full stops; is this a kind of horological blank verse? I’ll respond in kind:

Two Rolex Submariners, who

Needs two Submariners, I’d

Keep the 14060

It’s

More versatile than the two-tone which

Seems a little redundant

I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear my trousers roll’d

Cash is nice


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Watches Mentioned In This Article: Rolex Sub Ref 14060 ($5,729), JLC Moonphase ($16,679), Reverso (Find out more)


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