Rank your watch identification skills.

The other week I spent a random Saturday at a vintage car racing event. The day basically revolved around a bunch of guys fawning over outdated relics with no actual function in modern day life... so unsurprisingly pretty much everyone there was choosing to wear an actual watch! I was so excited to see which makes and models everyone was sporting, but then came the crashing realisation that my watch-spotting ability can basically be summed up as: 'Apple watch/Not Apple Watch'.

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Am I the only one with this depressingly poor level of watch identification expertise??

@Edge168n commented in his recent post:

As grabbed the check yesterday, I, as I always do, scanned the room for watches.  True, I saw Rolexes, Submariners and Datejusts mostly.  But I also I saw Omegas and Breitlings, Tudors and Cartiers, Grand Seikos and Zeniths.  I saw a Greubel Forsey, a Habring, and even a very clean looking Dan Henry.

I know that at least @thekris was right there with me thinking...

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Now, I'll be the first to admit, I'm definitely lacking practice with this. When @Edge168n  goes out for lunch we're probably talking....

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...as opposed to my regular lunch time venue...

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Plus it's not like I live in the same kind of neighborhood as @HotWatchChick69 ...

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... Where even the maid wears her Breitling Navitimer to take the bins out.

But honestly, I'm not asking to be able to spot a fake Omega from across the other side of the room, I'd be happy just being able to tell the difference between a Mickael Kors and a Rolex.

Anyone else secretly want to be able to walk in the club and be like @Edge168n with his watchy super power?

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Or can you do it already??
 

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I think my watch spotting skills are probably pretty much in line with yours. As the ravages of time have played havoc with my vision, a casual glance from a few meters away won't do the trick. Even in my younger days, when my vision was better than 20/20, I doubt that I could have been able to "scan the room" and tell what watches people were wearing unless they happened to be holding up signs announcing their watch of the day.

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There are so many watches and the fact the average person gets gifted a department store watch, which are inevitable homages of something else, it can be very hard to tell from a distance or even at 5 feet away. I would like to think I am pretty decent at watchspotting, but just the other day I mistook a white gold bezel YMII for a Skydwellar from about ten feet away. It happens to the best of us. 

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I imagine I'm a 3 or a 4, although much more in identifying brand than model. In the same way that I can just sort of tell a model and trim level of a car in traffic without being able to explain how, there are many watches that I just get a gut feeling of what they are. It's just brute force pattern recognition, I guess. 

On the other hand, there are online photos where I think I know what is being shown, and I'm not even close. Those that can prattle about various reference number minutiae are on the top half of the scale, and honestly I don't think I care to join them.

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No, no, no...  the photo of the home you have in your post is @JaeBust's...  or @JourneID's...  I get confused.  There are only so many Lange's and Rolls and Mclaren's you can see before you start getting them all mixed up - that goes doubly so with 20 bedroom mansions.

No, my house looks like a regular old house.  Kinda like this...

Style Points | The Tudor Cottage « Alameda Old House History

I just happen to have also dug a giant underground swimming pool for these purposes...

Scrooge mcduck GIFs - Obtenez le meilleur gif sur GIFER

With regard to the primary question, here's how I think my brain does the whole watch taxonomy thing:

  1. Apple Watch or not Apple Watch?
  2. If not Apple Watch, what type of watch?  Diver, pilot, field, digital, dress, etc., etc.
  3. From there, big brands are typically easily recognizable from 10 feet away
  • Even though every dive watch looks like a Rolex, you can tell the real deal, because Rolex owners always cover their watches in dessert for Instagram
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  • Pre-Georges Kern Breitling watches are indistinguishable from Invicta for me, because they're all 65mm diameter.  Post-George Kerns Breitling look pretty unique and can be easily spotted because all Breitling owners come straight off the sets of Wes Anderson films...
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  • Omega you can always see from a mile away, because you're saying to yourself, "Why is that frumpy Asian wearing a tux here at Popeye's Chicken?  Oh!  He's got a SMP300 on his wrist!"
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  • Vostok wearers also come with easily identifiable markers...
Top 5 hipster beard styles for Men | Braun UK
  • Grand Seiko owners...
For the first time ever, man falls in love with a pillow ...

There you go!  You'll never have trouble with watch identification ever again!

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My watch identification powers from a distance of greater than 3 feet? 

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I identified a citizen Pcat today!! Had a meeting and recognized the watch!! so I rate mysef about .000000009 

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HotWatchChick69

No, no, no...  the photo of the home you have in your post is @JaeBust's...  or @JourneID's...  I get confused.  There are only so many Lange's and Rolls and Mclaren's you can see before you start getting them all mixed up - that goes doubly so with 20 bedroom mansions.

No, my house looks like a regular old house.  Kinda like this...

Style Points | The Tudor Cottage « Alameda Old House History

I just happen to have also dug a giant underground swimming pool for these purposes...

Scrooge mcduck GIFs - Obtenez le meilleur gif sur GIFER

With regard to the primary question, here's how I think my brain does the whole watch taxonomy thing:

  1. Apple Watch or not Apple Watch?
  2. If not Apple Watch, what type of watch?  Diver, pilot, field, digital, dress, etc., etc.
  3. From there, big brands are typically easily recognizable from 10 feet away
  • Even though every dive watch looks like a Rolex, you can tell the real deal, because Rolex owners always cover their watches in dessert for Instagram
Image
  • Pre-Georges Kern Breitling watches are indistinguishable from Invicta for me, because they're all 65mm diameter.  Post-George Kerns Breitling look pretty unique and can be easily spotted because all Breitling owners come straight off the sets of Wes Anderson films...
Image
  • Omega you can always see from a mile away, because you're saying to yourself, "Why is that frumpy Asian wearing a tux here at Popeye's Chicken?  Oh!  He's got a SMP300 on his wrist!"
Image
  • Vostok wearers also come with easily identifiable markers...
Top 5 hipster beard styles for Men | Braun UK
  • Grand Seiko owners...
For the first time ever, man falls in love with a pillow ...

There you go!  You'll never have trouble with watch identification ever again!

See, I wish I'd known this sooner.  You identify the wearer, not the watch.  You should change your name to HotandSmartWatchChick69.

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One time I was helping my friend cater a wedding, and I asked a guy if he was wearing a Sea Dweller. He said "idk, wife bought for me". Wife looked at me and said in a snooty tone "Submariner... rOwleKs". Since then, I've pretty much stopped asking people about their watches lmao.

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Thanks for this post, I'm getting some valuable tips.  After identifying the basic type of watch, identify the wearer, that will tell you a lot.  Second, where are you?  If you're in fancy town, that's a Rolex, if you're on the wrong side of the tracks it's an Invicta.

This should take my watch ID game from a -2 to at least a +3.

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Yeah I too can't tell the difference between anything unless I'm close... like watch in my face close. 

Even watching TV shows, my wife is always like "what's HE wearing?"

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I’m not even sure I could tell type of watch. I still sometimes get pilots and Field mixed up. 🤷‍♂️

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I think I have a 50% accuracy rating. That said, I'll either be able to ID your watch perfectly, or I'll think your Breguet is a Diesel watch. Junghans be mistaken for a G-shock. Not a lot in between. 

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street.credor

One time I was helping my friend cater a wedding, and I asked a guy if he was wearing a Sea Dweller. He said "idk, wife bought for me". Wife looked at me and said in a snooty tone "Submariner... rOwleKs". Since then, I've pretty much stopped asking people about their watches lmao.

Right!? 

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I move in similar circles to @Deeperblue so I don't get any practice because everyone seems to be wearing smart watches or stuff you buy at Argos. I've identified a couple of MoonSwatches, real or fake I don't know, but otherwise I'd struggle to tell an Invicta from a Rolex unless it was within a few feet. 

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I feel like my ID abilities are being hyped up beyond what they actually are.😆

I'd rate myself a solid 6 of 10.  I am very good with major brands, okay with very unique independents, and mostly hopeless with microbrands. I am also generally clueless as to references though with more common watches I can generally determine era.  If you ask me to I'd a pilot's watch or a field watch, I might scream.

My brain loves the little guessing game of watch spotting and I actually generally start with the bracelet clasps because it narrows it down so much.  Obviously non comprehensive but....

Rolex clasps have the little crown either on the fliplock or the clasp body.

Omega clasps literally say Omega unless they're older and then it's the Omega symbol.

Tudors have the little shield on the fliplocks.

JLC has the J and the backwards J.

Seiko always says Seiko. Rado always says Rado.  IWC always says IWC.

GS has the raised GS on a clasps that are always too small for the watch.

Glashutte has the G and the backwards G.

Cartier hates people who like bracelets and always has a butterfly clasp.

Once you get down to the brand, you can start narrowing.  Like once I figure out it's an Omega, you can rule out tons of watches.

If it has a helium escape valve, then it's either a Seamaster 300 or a Planet Ocean.  If it has arabics, it's a planet ocean.  If the bezel looks dull, it's one of the pre ceramic ones.

A lot of Rolex references can be boiled down to three questions.

"What color is it?"

"Can you turn the bezel?"

"Is there a cyclops?"

I'm not going to pretend that I'm flawless at it but my brain enjoys the process of elimination.