Watches in the Wild (Back to Normal?, Volume 17)

Disclaimer: My watch of this week was the Direnzo DRZ04 on a bracelet and the diver's clasp (faux pas I know, but as Direnzo doesn't do half links, this is the only way I have managed to get a perfect fit).  Still, I do love this watch, far more than I have any other microbrand I've ever owned. 

This is the seventeenth in a semi-regular digest of cool watches I happened to see this week.

Past posts in this series have been hashtagged to #watchesinthewild and you can click through for part 1part 2part 3part 4 , part 5part 6part 7part 8part 9part 10part 11part 12part 13, part 14, part 15, and part 16.

As always, my general policy is that I never ask for wrist shots (because approaching strangers and distant acquaintances to talk about watches is already weird enough) so all pictures below are sourced from the internet. People are mostly cool, I try not to annoy them.

I have found this holiday season absolutely perplexing, largely due to the fact that New Years and Christmas both fell on Sundays.  So instead of the kids going back to school on Monday, they are instead going back on a Wednesday which has meant a little more vacation time taken for yours truly.  

I'm not against this per se, as steady winter rain in Northern California has meant that our dominant activities have been warm drinks, indoor activities and family movie time.  For better or worse, I'm not much of a fan of Frozen (the only movie they seem to want to watch these days), so I get plenty of time to compose my thoughts on watches for you all.

This week has been an odd mishmash of watches, some very functional and some crazy party ones.  I hope you enjoy!

AP Royal Oak Offshore Diver on a teal strap

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Seen while at my New Years Eve party on the wrist of a friend.  He and I have discussed this watch before and he talks about it being a watch that makes him want to rent a yacht with bikini models and party for six days straight.

Unfortunately, my NYE party was not on a yacht.  It was at my house.  Most folks brought their young kids.  We ended well before midnight.  I do hope he found his yacht and bikini models after he left, because we were plumb out.

What can I say about this watch that has not been said before?  No one should listen to me on their tastes in watches (your taste is your taste and as @foghorn always puts it, everyone else can go pound sand) but I generally just don't get the way this watch looks.

It's big and blocky.  It's not particularly capable as dive watches go.  In person it's actually a remarkably low visibility watch because of how many competing lines there are on the internal rotating bezel and the hour markers.  It's really heavy.

Again, if this is your watch, you do you.  I'm just some patzer on the internet.  But if you crave this look, might you consider a modded Casioak?  I think you might find it wears better on the wrist.

CasiOak For G-Shock GA2100 AP Royal Oak MOD Kit Case Strap Bezel Dial Hand  Index | eBay

Oh and if you do happen to be reading this...Pete, buddy, I love you.  I just really hate your watch 馃槈

Panthere de Cartier 1120

Cartier Panthere 1120 One Row Ladies Watch | eBay

Seen on the wrist of an old family friend, a gift from her husband who, sigh, wears an apple watch.

The history of the Panthere goes back to the 80s, where it was designed specifically around two major elements, a modern quartz movement and a five link bracelet that Cartier subbed a mesh.  They mostly copied the Santos Carree head and changed the bracelet and **bam** instant ladies watch.

Surprisingly for what seems like a rather slapdash effort, the Panthere is a design icon and a beautiful watch in every respect.

The example I saw on my friend's wrist was a particularly beautiful version, with a two tone case and a creamy off white dial and the old style Cartier Romans.

I think my only real quibble with the Panthere is the similarity to the Santos.  I think it deserves its own design identity.  

Grand Seiko SBGA211 "Snowflake"

Hands-On: Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211 (VIDEO) - ATELIER DE GRIFF

Seen at the Lawrence Hall of Science (a kids science museum) in Berkeley on the wrist of a gentleman with his toddler.  It felt incorrect to intrude.

I'm not 100% on this sighting but I feel reasonably confident because it was 100% a Grand Seiko (no one's hour markers shine quite like theirs and definitely no one puts a symmetry destroying power reserve on the dial like they do) in cold white.

Does anyone else feel like the release of the Snowflake is just ancient history now?

What I mean is, the number of hype watch releases has accelerated so much that a watch as iconic as the Snowflake just gets buried even though it was re-released with the new Grand Seiko dial just 6-7 years ago.

Hell, even Grand Seiko has done multiple super hype releases a year since then, including but not limited to the White Birch, Omiwatari, and the Lake Suwa.

And yet, when I think about how important this watch is to Grand Seiko and the watch industry as a whole, I find myself shocked that they let that happen.  The SBGA211 was Grand Seiko's first global mega hit and the first GS that watch snobs drooled over.  Everything about it speaks to the exceptional quality with which they do things (and yes @MegaBob , I even don't mind the bracelets).

Rolex has the Sub.  Omega has the Speedy.  GS has the Snowflake.  

My only regret over seeing it is that I didn't make a watch buddy that day. GS NERDS 4 LYFE. (Oh and everyone go congratulate @Fieldwalker  for joining our ranks!)

Citizen Promaster Tough Titanium "Ray Mears"

The Ray Mears Citizen Promaster Tough - Issue Number 001... | WatchGecko

Seiko spirit SBTR029
 

Seiko] SEIKO Selection SELECTION Watch Men's Chronograph SBTR029 | Lazada PH

One seen at the Lawrence Hall of Science and one at the playground.  

I've lampooned many watch brands over the past few months but I do often think about the characters of watch companies, what their design language and go to market say about who they're appealing to.  

Yet, I do occasionally have a tough time categorizing the two Japanese titans given the breadth of their catalogs but I recently had an idea that occurred to me while looking at Citizen watches for a aspiring collector cousin.

I couldn't, for the life of me, find a Citizen that I genuinely thought was beautiful (aside from the washi dial Chronomasters which are 馃憣).  Whereas, I can think of a hundred Seikos that I find beautiful at all price points.  Why is that?

My conclusion is that Seiko and Citizen are the yin and yang of Japanese watch making.  Seiko is form, Citizen is function.

Whenever I hear people complain about Seiko, it's about alignment issues, mediocre QC, dust on dials...the sort of stuff that drives watch collectors up the wall.

But what Seiko has nailed, what takes my breath away every time I see one in person, no matter the price point, are dials, case shapes and proportions.  They understand how the human wrist works.

Citizen has all the QC nailed.  I have never seen a misaligned bezel or dust on a dial.  They are industry leading in their command of materials science particularly their usage of titanium.  There can be no no doubt that they make an exceptionally rugged and high quality watch for the money.  Yet for me something feels missing with much of the time, some sort of design pizzazz that would take them from a competently built watch to a design icon.  I find their proportions generally off even among smaller diameter watches.  I find their dials flat and unexciting even when they're colored.

The Ray Mears and icy blue Seiko Spirit provide a beautiful example of the different design philosophies.  Both are sturdy quartzes and you can have both delivered to your home for $150-$200.  

On the specs, the Ray Mears is a vastly superior watch at the price to the Seiko Spirit.  Sapphire Crystal vs the Seiko's hardlex, titanium vs stainless steel, 300m of WR vs the Seiko's 100m, screwdown crown vs a push pull.  I should want the Ray Mears more.

And yet.....I would choose the Seiko ten times out of ten because of that soaringly beautiful ice blue sunburst dial.  I know and respect collectors who would make the exact opposite decision

It's a funny thing watch collecting, figuring out what you prioritize.

Omega Seamaster 300m "007 Commander's Watch"

Omega Seamaster Diver 300m "Commander's Watch" Co-Axial 41mm - ZEALANDE

Seen at a New Years dinner on the wrist of a family friend.  Upon conversation, it was said to be a gift from his brother and deeply treasured.

I've talked a lot about the ceramic Seamaster 300M before and this is a pretty similar model, save for the fact that it has a Caliber 2500, one of the earlier versions of the coaxial escapement movements ( basically a modified ETA 2894).

There are a ton of really cool little design elements here.  

1.The bezel is ceramic, save for the  first 15 minutes which is rubberized.  

2. The seconds counter balance is a subtle 007.  

3. The 7 on the date wheel is colored red.  

4. The color scheme is a beautiful Union Jack.

5. The dial lacks the deeply engraved Seamaster 300 wave and is, instead a flawlessly unbroken white ceramic with a wet enamel look.

If I were to own a Bond watch, this would be high on my list.

Longines Lungomare Chronograph

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Seen on my brother-in-law's wrist and mine too, temporarily. 

I am not, what you would call, a handy person.  The last time I tried to fix something in our home, the dishwasher was out of commission for two weeks, had to be reassembled by hand, and my wife nearly divorced me.  We have since learned that it's best if I have a contractor, plumber, electrician, and HVAC tech on speed dial in case I get any ideas.

Can you see these five sausage fingers?

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But despite my deficiencies, I do occasionally fiddle with my watches.  While I've not undertaken a serious effort to mod or regulate anything, I do make it a point of pride to cover the basic stuff.  I adjust my own bracelets, swap my own straps, and change my own batteries.  

So when my brother in law asked me to adjust the bracelet and change the battery in his watch, I was happy to oblige.

A bit on my brother in law.  He is a giant, tattooed, muscled teddy bear of a man who is an accountant by trade but a competitive archer by passion.  So he could zero you at 70 meters but also sous vide you a prime rib.  My kinda guy.  He has, so far as I can tell, modest interest in watches.  If we're going by wrist wear, he is a proud Timex Ironman wearer.

But he does have his one nice watch that he wears occasionally on dates with his wife and due to some recent weight loss, his wrist size shrunk enough for him to want to have it sized up for some New Years parties.

And so, I came to have in my (temporary) possession a circa 2007 Longines Lungomare Chronograph. 

The Lungomare is a 2004ish release, one of those neo vintage watches that is going to be lost to history for another 10 years and then be rediscovered by some watch content creator and hailed as a long lost classic from a bygone era of watches. 

I don't think it's that per se but it is one of those watches that I periodically come across that chisels away at my sense of how much it is worth paying for, for a watch.

The Lungomare is a beautiful, dressy sports watch with the first 2-6-10 layout Chronograph whose dial layout I actually really like. The subdials fade into the white dial really well and you only really need them when you want to see them.  

The dial itself has a nice bit of striping down the center, reminiscent of a the placket of a pleated tuxedo shirt and it's framed by a on-the-thicker-side but generally good looking chapter ring.   The buttons, while typical mushy quartz chrono standard, are really attractive and well integrated with the case.

It doesn't even have those crazy long Longines lugs that tend to make 42mm watches wear like 46mm ones.  It feels weighty and substantial on the wrist, without being bottom heavy (as many quartzes on bracelets can be).

Now, I could get behind a nice quartz chronograph at the right price (and let's be honest, I have many times in the past) with decent water resistance (100m WR according to the back). But even here, Longines had a bit of a surprise for me.

Ticking inside is a jumping hour hand, center seconds, center minutes and tenth of a second subdial. What the heck Longines!?!?

It's not often that a quartz movement blows my mind, but this one floored me. This is some real enthusiast shit here.

Not only did Longines put together a nice little Chrono, they also made it a solid travel watch! All for maybe $1k at original pricing and just around $500-700 today.  

Do you ever get the sense you spend too much on this hobby?  Sigh.

What cool watches did you see this week?

Nice range of watches this week! I barely left the house and when I did it was to see family, none of whom wear watches. So, I saw my wife鈥檚 two watches, and one of our friends, who has the Save the Ocean Manta Ray Seiko.

AllTheWatches

Nice range of watches this week! I barely left the house and when I did it was to see family, none of whom wear watches. So, I saw my wife鈥檚 two watches, and one of our friends, who has the Save the Ocean Manta Ray Seiko.

I have been hosting a lot of parties this season so I get folks to come to me 馃榿

A Manta ray Seiko is pretty cool though! 聽Samurai or King Turtle?

Edge168n

I have been hosting a lot of parties this season so I get folks to come to me 馃榿

A Manta ray Seiko is pretty cool though! 聽Samurai or King Turtle?

The Samurai, it was a big one, almost 44mm.

My neighbor was wearing this...

CRW2SA0016 - Santos de Cartier watch - Medium model, automatic movement,  yellow gold, steel, interchangeable metal and leather bracelets - Cartier

When I asked her about it, she said that her father originally bought it, and then recently gifted it to her. 聽She said that he somehow got into watches some time ago, and ended up buying a Patek upon retirement for something like $30k. 聽He'd recently had it appraised for insurance purposes, and it was valued at $100k now.

Wish my parents would gift me stuff like that. 聽Instead, this is typically what I get from them...

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HotWatchChick69

My neighbor was wearing this...

CRW2SA0016 - Santos de Cartier watch - Medium model, automatic movement,  yellow gold, steel, interchangeable metal and leather bracelets - Cartier

When I asked her about it, she said that her father originally bought it, and then recently gifted it to her. 聽She said that he somehow got into watches some time ago, and ended up buying a Patek upon retirement for something like $30k. 聽He'd recently had it appraised for insurance purposes, and it was valued at $100k now.

Wish my parents would gift me stuff like that. 聽Instead, this is typically what I get from them...

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You know it was a similar story for me for years. 聽I got packages of ginseng and white rabbit candy until I was 36. 聽They missed every single birthday from age ten on.

And then one day, he showed up and dropped this off at my door in a grease stained paper bag.

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I guess what I'm saying is, just wait? 聽Maybe there's a good watch somewhere in it for you 馃ぃ

Awesome spot!

Great week! 聽I love bikini model Pete! 聽Don鈥檛 ever put him in the presence of that blue Gshock , he鈥檒l burst into tears.聽

I need a watch that summons yachts and models. 聽Weirdly, none of mine have even resulted in groupies, wtf 馃し鈥嶁檪锔?

This series is a wonderful re affirmation that watch guys exist beyond our virtual club and IRL. 聽- thanks for that.聽

And thank you a for the shout out. 聽I鈥檓 already considering a GS NERDS 4 LYFE tattoo and I鈥檝e not received my first GS yet. 聽馃槀

Yes, 100% : the snowflake is the GS icon. 聽Will forever be special for it. But I can鈥檛 help think they should retire it for decade and create a little scarcity.聽

Fascinating point re citizen and Seiko. 聽Of course lots of exceptions but I鈥榙 agree it鈥檚 broadly accurate. 聽
My dad got given a ~$400 citizen from my sister. 聽Not dissimilar from the price paid for my Seiko turtle. 聽
Dad鈥榮 Citizen is a war-pig from hell aesthetically, Hard to look directly at without wincing. 聽
My basic turtle : 馃グ

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Forgot to mention - also was intrigued at the Direnzo intro - very interesting micro I鈥檒l keep an eye on!

Fieldwalker

Great week! 聽I love bikini model Pete! 聽Don鈥檛 ever put him in the presence of that blue Gshock , he鈥檒l burst into tears.聽

I need a watch that summons yachts and models. 聽Weirdly, none of mine have even resulted in groupies, wtf 馃し鈥嶁檪锔?

This series is a wonderful re affirmation that watch guys exist beyond our virtual club and IRL. 聽- thanks for that.聽

And thank you a for the shout out. 聽I鈥檓 already considering a GS NERDS 4 LYFE tattoo and I鈥檝e not received my first GS yet. 聽馃槀

Yes, 100% : the snowflake is the GS icon. 聽Will forever be special for it. But I can鈥檛 help think they should retire it for decade and create a little scarcity.聽

Fascinating point re citizen and Seiko. 聽Of course lots of exceptions but I鈥榙 agree it鈥檚 broadly accurate. 聽
My dad got given a ~$400 citizen from my sister. 聽Not dissimilar from the price paid for my Seiko turtle. 聽
Dad鈥榮 Citizen is a war-pig from hell aesthetically, Hard to look directly at without wincing. 聽
My basic turtle : 馃グ

Image

Forgot to mention - also was intrigued at the Direnzo intro - very interesting micro I鈥檒l keep an eye on!

I have heard back from Bikini Model Pete, lurker that he is. 聽He thinks the Casioak is an abomination but acknowledges that the APRO offshore is very heavy (could be solved by a quartz movement. 聽Just saying). 聽He is not pleased with me, but this wouldn't be the first time 馃ぃ

As for Seiko/Citizen, I'm pretty sure I'm into something here. 聽I tend to think that watches are acceptable male jewelry, it of course follows that I adore Seiko. 聽

Definitely take a look at Direnzo. 聽It took me maybe two months to fall in love with the watch, but I'm totally in now. It feels like a watch that could sell for 3x the price.

Another good week 馃憦 but not just for you.聽

I saw such a cool watch too

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The gentleman wearing it seemed bored and I figured there is no way he isn't a nerd. so I did what I have never done before and complimented it ... but he ignored me 馃槄 ah well.聽

Regarding GS bracelets, I just think they have to do better given how good the watches are. They are jiggly which might be a consequence of how they are finished. I am not sure what they do to the interior of the links, if they zaratsu them it might remove too much metal depending on the pressure applied and nothing can he done as the skill level is max'd out here. but they could at least give us a JLC/VC like pop out thingy in the clasp. Given how the pin that holds the clasp shut has zero play whatsoever I'm inclined to believe they have the ability to make tiny stuff in the clasp with a high degree of precision. As you say, instead of releasing soon many hype watches and "diluting" the OG they should refine their product. If they keep doing it at this pace it will get old soon, quality on the other hand doesn't get old. Then again, what do I know 馃槀

And for the love of all things in this world... give us screws on the titanium bracelets 馃檮

MegaBob

Another good week 馃憦 but not just for you.聽

I saw such a cool watch too

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The gentleman wearing it seemed bored and I figured there is no way he isn't a nerd. so I did what I have never done before and complimented it ... but he ignored me 馃槄 ah well.聽

Regarding GS bracelets, I just think they have to do better given how good the watches are. They are jiggly which might be a consequence of how they are finished. I am not sure what they do to the interior of the links, if they zaratsu them it might remove too much metal depending on the pressure applied and nothing can he done as the skill level is max'd out here. but they could at least give us a JLC/VC like pop out thingy in the clasp. Given how the pin that holds the clasp shut has zero play whatsoever I'm inclined to believe they have the ability to make tiny stuff in the clasp with a high degree of precision. As you say, instead of releasing soon many hype watches and "diluting" the OG they should refine their product. If they keep doing it at this pace it will get old soon, quality on the other hand doesn't get old. Then again, what do I know 馃槀

And for the love of all things in this world... give us screws on the titanium bracelets 馃檮

A Kurono! 聽That's a unicorn right there!

I don't disagree on GS clasps. 聽I don't mind the flex on the bracelet, that's charming to me for some reason but I find most brands don't really put a ton of R and D into the clasp and Seiko less than most. 聽A GO or IWC on the fly adjustment isn't hard to make and it's so wonderful when you get it...and no one markets them well either! 聽

Maybe it is just a mismatch in what muggles value versus watch dorks.

Edge168n

A Kurono! 聽That's a unicorn right there!

I don't disagree on GS clasps. 聽I don't mind the flex on the bracelet, that's charming to me for some reason but I find most brands don't really put a ton of R and D into the clasp and Seiko less than most. 聽A GO or IWC on the fly adjustment isn't hard to make and it's so wonderful when you get it...and no one markets them well either! 聽

Maybe it is just a mismatch in what muggles value versus watch dorks.

Yeah I was shocked to see a Kurono but it really stood out with that dial color. sadly I didn't really get close, I didn't want to appear weirder than I already was but I have never seen one before and probably won't any time soon so I thought I'll say something nice. I probably need to practice saying nice things a bit more before that works out 馃槈

Not the week for Breitlings, only one of these:

Rolex Stainless Steel Date Submariner with Blue Dial Blue Bezel

Ten years ago this guy wore a Casio. So, much has changed.

Got to see this:

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I was amazed that 42mm could be so small and light.

Aurelian

Not the week for Breitlings, only one of these:

Rolex Stainless Steel Date Submariner with Blue Dial Blue Bezel

Ten years ago this guy wore a Casio. So, much has changed.

Got to see this:

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I was amazed that 42mm could be so small and light.

I assume a non ceramic steel one, right? 聽Not a ceramic white gold one? 聽I don't see the former very often and have never once seen the latter.

Almost all versions of the Speedy wear really well for a 42mm watch. 聽I'd love them more if I didn't feel the face was so utilitarian.

Awesome spots!

Edge168n

I assume a non ceramic steel one, right? 聽Not a ceramic white gold one? 聽I don't see the former very often and have never once seen the latter.

Almost all versions of the Speedy wear really well for a 42mm watch. 聽I'd love them more if I didn't feel the face was so utilitarian.

Awesome spots!

Yes, steel. The lug to lug is impressive.

I concur with your thoughts on Citizen and Seiko being Ying and Yang.

I can't tell citizens apart for the life of me, but this week I saw something like this ...

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And this...

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Honestly, I'm seeing far more mechanical watches than smart watches currently, but maybe that's due to my mostly >60yrs clientele.

I saw a variety of watch wearing styles this week too. One lady was double wristing (same wrist) her watch and her personal fall alarm.

Another lady wore her watch on her Zimmer frame.

They care not for your 'watch rules'.

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I should get better at spotting Citizens but the catalog is massive and I somehow, like you, find them incredibly anonymous.

And now that I've insulted all the Citizen owners here....