Disclaimer: For the engagement! A simple Soko day.
This is the fifteenth 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 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 , part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, and part 14.
In the few months that I've been putting together this watch travelogue, one of the constant comments has been questioning just how it is possible that I see so many watches on a daily basis. Much like Richard Nixon, I remember all who slander me and vengeance shall be mine.
It is my experience (though I am not unwise enough to argue that my experience is universal) that there are simply more watches out there than people generally acknowledge. Many of them are more functional than interesting (nothing wrong with that) and I do see a very large number of Timex Easy Readers and Casios (more on these in a bit).
While I am predominantly an office animal, but I do spend a good amount of time in situations where I will see people and therefore watches.
In the past four weeks, I have been to
1. Five formal dinner parties (all work or workish)
2. Six airports and 5 hotels (it's been a rough travel season though not wholly unpleasant)
3. 22 restaurants (oy)
4. And probably 30+ meetings.
This is frankly only slightly atypical for me. In every single one, there is the chance of meeting someone new and having a conversation about a watch.
In truth, I couldn't possibly identify every single watch I see on a regular basis. There's just too many and some editing is probably warranted just to keep things sane.
But just for funsies, I did try to record every single watch I saw during my vacation in Hawaii.
It broke me, not the least because so many people wear similar watches. There's no way I could do a proper writeup of every single one so I'm opting for a few quick hits to clear out some watch spotting backlog.
I'll be back to my usual in depth snark post the holidays.
A Roll Up of Rolexes
Rolex, by far, is the most common luxury watch I see on a day to day basis. A significant majority of them are OPs, Datejusts or Submariners with a few GMT Masters and Yachtmaster 40s sprinkled in. I only rarely see Day Dates and almost never see Daytonas. I have never seen a Sky Dweller or a Yachtmaster 2 in the metal.
What's that? No, I have no idea what a Cellini is. This is a forum for watches, not musical instruments.
And if there was any doubt about the rarity of Rolexes...this is, by far, the longest section.
Rolex Yachtmaster 40mm (grey dial)
Two separate examples: one seen on a flight to Maui and another at my resort. See here for my thoughts on Yachtmasters.
Two tone submariner
At least four observed in total. Blue and Black Ceramics and Blue and Black Aluminum bezels.
There were half a dozen other two tone submariner style watches that may have been the real deal but also could have been homages. I refuse to believe that I've seen ten two tone submariners.
Rolex Datejust two tone oyster bracelet
On the wrist of a lady next to me in airport security.
Rolex Datejust silver
On the wrist of above's husband.
Probably like a dozen of these across both aluminum and ceramic bezels. I lost count and though this is a beloved watch by many, it is not by me.
Seen at a resort in Kaanapali.
Rolex OP green
Seen in a food truck park in Napili.
Rolex Day Date (Onyx dial with diamond markers)
Seen in the Kahului Costco. Had a nice conversation about my daughter but didn't bother asking about the watch. Didn't feel appropriate at the time.
There is a part of me that has always wanted to own a mechanical Day Date (currently already owning an Oysterquartz version passed down from my dad. It's more heirloom than wearing piece.).
But then, I remember that I'm not actually Tony Soprano, don't even wear the current one I own, and should just give it a rest.
There is something so effortlessly Miami about the Day Date. It says, "I'm rich brah! I could be running a private equity firm but I could also be importing cocaine by the ton."
This Onyx dial is a particularly beautiful version and I even like the diamond baguettes on the hour markers. This is a silly and beautiful watch and I'm 100% here for that.
Perhaps I should just give my own Day Date another shot just to see if I'd like it.
A Corner of Casios
I lose count of the number of Casios that I see daily. They all blend into one another for me and the number of in production models is frankly endless.
Still, this is a wide gaping hole in my watch knowledge and I am determined to address it...someday.
I suppose the best way to start is ownership and that, in itself, is a crazy decision tree (though @ElizabethGrant 's Casio Oceanus S100 looks absolutely killer).
Casio F-91W plus metal variants
Too many seen to count.
Casio G shock GSTB100GC-1A
Seen in the airport on the way out of Oahu
Casio calculator watch
Seen while walking down the street in Honolulu. What a stone cold classic this is.
Casio Duro (many variants)
At least six seen across a variety of places including a couple of dive shops in Oahu. Absolutely fitting that I saw them here.
Casioak GA-2100 "Red"
Seen at the San Francisco International Airport.
I've written about the Casioak before and there's been plenty of ink spilled in general but I do love this colorway. I think these watches (along with most things in the price category) have the MoonSwatch beaten hands down.
An Outfit of Omegas
I think Omega has taken the role of Rolex as that first (and maybe last) luxury watch purchase someone should make.
I love Omega. I love that Seamasters and Speedmasters are luxury items but not unobtanium. I appreciate a watchmaker that produces to roughly demand rather than sticking a finger in the air and then decides to restrict things anyway.
I just wish there was a modern one that I liked enough to buy and keep around forever. I have detailed my personal shortcomings with dive watches, my tepidness towards the Speedmaster, and my torrid but ultimately short encounter with the Aqua Terra.
I remain hopeful though. I'm pretty sure I just bought the wrong Aqua Terra (go for the strap, not the bracelet you nutter) and the Globemaster Annual Calendar always beckons from afar.
"I Think There's an Omega Out There For Me" is probably as good a musical coda to my rock opera as anything else I've thought of lately.
Omega Seamaster chronograph steel bezel (ref 2598)
Seen at the Kahului Costco on the wrist of a gentleman buying sausages. I complimented him on it and received a surprised look, then a friendly nod but no further conversation.
I have a question that occasionally bugs me and I hope someone can give me an answer. Do divers actually use chronographs underwater? Like, even though it feels like one of those crazy engineering challenges to design a Chrono that doesn't immediately flood when pushing the pushers, I do wonder if it's a solution in search of a problem. I can't imagine trying to track a tiny little seconds hand in anything but broad daylight much less the twilight gloom of 40 feet down.
Of course, this is irrelevant because no one wears dive watches to dive (lol). I certainly don't.
Despite my continued questioning of its design brief, I do kinda like the way this watch looks though not the way it wears. I simply don't have the wrist for it.
Omega Aqua Terra Blue
Seen at the Honolulu Airport. See this for my thoughts on this watch. I can't say they've changed much.
Omega Seamaster 300m ceramic great white
Two separate sightings, both in meetings. One on rubber and one on the bracelet.
While I like this watch, I am the sort of deeply flawed person who 1) doesn't really like divers and 2) questions a big white sportswatch on my wrist. Yes, I own a white Direnzo and, no, I don't feel the need to explain myself in the slightest. I contain multitudes.
I think this is evidently the most popular of the Ceramic Seamaster 300m models out there and I can see why.
One of my minor complaints about the new Seamaster 300Ms (versus the older bond and post bond models) is how aggressive the wave pattern is laser cut into the dial. I think, on balance, I prefer the subtler pressed pattern of previous Seamaster models.
But on older white Seamaster models, that subtle wave is washed out in even modestly bright light so having a deeply engraved pattern actually works really well. These are absolutely killer watches, well priced (as luxury watches go anyway) and stuffed to the gills with heritage, technology and performance. It's a diver with personality.
I don't know if it's better than a Submariner but I certainly like it more than the Submariner.
Bond Seamaster 2531
Seen at a Farmer's market in Napili. Definitely the automatic version of this watch.
See what I'm talking about with the subtle wave? This watch is probably the originator of the much maligned Helium Escape Valve which I mostly think is....fine? It's not in a particular spot that bugs me and is mostly covered by my sleeve anyway when I look at it.
I won't go much into the history or associations of this watch (gallons of ink has already been spilled) but I think it's an attractive well proportioned watch. I don't like the skeleton hands or the bracelet but that's the 90s for you!
This is a true classic on the way to becoming a legend....because of a fictional British secret agent. What a world we live in.
A Bushel of Breitlings
This is my complaining coming back to bite me in the bottom. No Breitlings for weeks (so much so that I had to buy one for my wife to spot one).....then endless Breitlings!
As a chronograph lover, I am always surprised that I don't really love Breitling more. As I've mentioned in the past, I find their watches a little large and their marketing a little cringey.
But I did force myself to walk into a boutique the other day just to see what I was missing. I tried on a Chronomat GMT (killer), the ice blue Navitimer (amazing), and a new SuperOcean (it's a dive watch, I guess?).
Is a Breitling in my future? Unlikely, but I also once said that about Grand Seiko. And look at me. LOOK AT ME!
Breitling Colt Black
Seen on the wrist of an exceptionally bold gentleman near the Nakakele Blowhole in west maui.
A small bit of trivia. The Blowhole is a subterranean tunnel that is connects directly to the Pacific Ocean with a small opening just above sea level on the cliffs edge.
And when the surf hits just right, it floods the tunnel and water shoots up out of a small opening about the size of a manhole cover like a geyser.
It is obviously dangerous. People have been dragged into the hole before and drowned. And it never fails to amaze me that people decide to risk their necks for literally no gain by leaning over for selfies.
The colt is one of those funny Breitling watches that doesn't really have a strong personality of its own. The bezel is very chronomatty, the bracelet is a pretty standard oyster (though with that Breitling slant), and the dial is pretty close to that of a last gen superocean. Still, the combo of the different elements is nice and the watch has 200m of WR.
The gentleman in question might have needed it.
Breitling Chronomat (white) on a five link bracelet
Seen in Airport Security in Kahului. A fully white version with a crazy shiny bezel.
I have talked endlessly about a version of this Breitling Chronomat here but I gotta ask....does 17mm high feel comfortable to anyone here?
I feel like Breitling has these amazing, durable, exceptionally well crafted chronographs that look like they're going to report me to the authorities if I stray outside a set of invisible boundaries.
Just me? Alright then.
Breitling Navitimer on the five link bracelet
Seen in Airport security in Kahului. A beautiful reverse panda with the classic busy aviation dial and the tricompax version of the soon to be legendary B01 movement.
This is one of those watches I always seem to admire on other people's wrists. I love the reverse panda look, the slanted five link bracelet and the entire stance of the watch from pushers to dial.
But having had this on my wrist before....I got annoyed with how much stuff there is on the dial.
This is the problem, of course, with liking chronographs....everyone seems to want to slap a tachymeter or a fuel indicator or a slide rule bezel or something else that just makes things feel cluttered, in a watch type that already has quite a bit of dial clutter.
It also wears massive at 44mm and high at 17mm. Another Breitling dream deferred.
And that's probably it for me until 2023. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas (should you celebrate) and a Happy New Year (if you don't).
What awesome watches did you see this week?