Disclaimer: Jaeger LeCoultre Master Geographic pictured above is my most worn watch this week. One of the great underrated references from a great underrated watch Maison.
This is the fifth in a semi regular digest of cool watches I happened to see this week.
As always, 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.
As mentioned in my prior update, I spent last weekend in Mexico City, a city so fruitful for watch spotting that it earned a second go around. Most watches pictured below are from there.
Tag Heuer Formula One Red Bull Racing Chronograph
Observed in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia on the wrist of an American tourist in the Mayan section of the museum. A friend of mine has one very similar to this one.
I am no Tag Heuer expert (@chronotriggered and @SurferJohn are the true experts) I find that Tag is a company that seems content to swim against prevailing Swiss luxury watch company strategy, particularly around usage of quartz and outsourced movements.
For example, what other major Swiss luxury watch brand would create a line of watches which are predominantly quartz Chronographs?
I admit when looking up this watch (I was very aware it was a Formula One but little else) I had no idea just how broad the Formula One product line up was, across all manner of bold and beautiful colors.
And you know what? I actually rather like it. I don't think it's the most interesting thing that Tag Heuer can do horologically, but they're....fun. And if there was ever an overly serious hobby that could use a bit of fun, it's watch collecting.
As the recent thread around the Mario Kart cobranded watch would suggest, I think they can only really fail when they get too conservative design wise. To me, the Formula One line is at its best when it embraces its loopier side.
It made me wonder who in their right mind would spend $2k on a scalper supplied MoonSwatch when they could have one of these at the same price.
Omega Moonswatches (Pluto and Earth)
Observed in a restaurant in Polanco on the wrists of two young parents with two very well behaved children.
Being the father of young children myself, I have great admiration for any parent who takes their below 5 kiddos to a restaurant. It's pretty much a crap shoot as to whether you'll exit the restaurant with any human dignity whatsoever. At any rate, these are fairly recognizable watches, in large part because of the speedmaster shape and bright colors.
On the day these dropped, I, not being on social media in any way, casually dropped by the Swatch store in San Francisco to take a look. I figured I might have some very casual interest in the Mars version. I've never had a red watch before, so I figured $250 was a pretty low price of entry on something that might hypothetically be collectible some day. I was stopped a block away by the police who asked me if I was heading to the Swatch store in Union Square and then subsequently advised me that I should avoid the area because of a scuffle out front. And thus ended my interest.
I won't make any specific comments on the MoonSwatches themselves (they've been beaten to death by others) but I do like that he bought one for himself and one for his wife.
But most of all I hope he bought at retail.
Observed in El Palacio de Hierro Polanco in the kids section.
This watch is so bonkers that even though I've never held one in the metal, I could recognize it instantly.
If Panerais are streakers in the town square, Graham Watches are naked skydivers screaming at the top of their lungs all the way down. The left handed crown, massive overengineered triggers along the side, and bold Graham branding on the a very boldly sized watch, are just lovely little amusements.
I often imagine the stereotypes of people who wear different types of watches. Rolexes are worn by rich Muggles. Omegas are worn by watch tech snobs. Pateks are for royalty, APs for nouveau riche. Grand Seikos are worn by neeeeerrrrrdddds.
To me, Graham Chronofighters are watches worn by people who are overly knowledgeable about merits of specific WW2 fighter aircraft.
(What? No I'm not talking about me. Look, the Vought F4U had the best K-D ratio in the war AND it was carrier capable. Of course you're a P-51D fan. Don't be so basic.)
The gentleman was carrying his daughter through the kids section while she clicked the chronograph trigger over and over again. The look of proud satisfaction on his face is one that I have recognized on myself time and again.
I wonder if he got (or kept) the watch because he knew his daughter would love it. I wouldn't put it past a happy father.
Patek Phillipe Nautilus
Rolex Submariner Batman
Cartier Tank Louis
FP Journe Elegante
Observed within five minutes of each other next to a wall of flowers across from the Berger AD on Masryk Street. Let this point forever more be known as "Hype Watch Corner."
Any opinions I could offer on these watches is awfully loaded so I'll only do a couple of quick hits.
The PP Nautilus is my 2nd favorite of the big 3 integrated sports bracelet watches (in order VC Overseas, Nautilus, with the RO bringing up the rear). But if we're going to share secrets that are going to get me booted from the watch club, I think I'd get more joy out of a Parmagiani or a Piaget Polo and a Mercedes E-class of my choice.
The Batman is my favorite of the recent vintage Rolex GMTs. It nails the bling/toolishness of modern Rolex very well. I occasionally toy with standing in line for this one. Thankfully for my pocket book, I never really find reason to.
I love love love the Tank Louis Cartier. It's the most classic version of the world's most classic wrist watch.
I am, by no means a quartz snob, but it does feel like profit margins in the Elegante must be awfully high even by hype watch standards. Still, a very beautiful watch and I remain a big fan of tonneau shapes.
Seiko Spirit Chronograph (SBTR013)
Observed in an open air restaurant in Polanco on the wrist of an older gentleman.
Once upon a time when I was a less focused collector than I am right now, I owned no fewer than a dozen quartz, mechaquartz, and mechanical/automatic chronographs. At least 8 were Seiko or Seiko powered. This was one of them.
I love Seiko in all of its iterations. Cheap Seikos, pricey Seikos, classic Seikos and weird ones. To me, it is a brand that exemplifies by you can't evaluate watches based entirely on specs. They're fundamentally emotional and Seiko tugs the heart strings better than most.
Ultimately, this is an homage of the steel bezel Daytona. It's well made and an absolute strap monster. I loved this watch well and eventually gifted it to my brother-in-law.
If you're looking at the Seiko Solar Speedtimer but have a bit of nostalgia for the older looking bare steel bezeled chronographs of perhaps a decade or two ago, give this one a look.
Black Bay Chrono reverse panda
Seen at a pizza restaurant after pumpkin patching with my daughter. Had a lovely and short conversation with the owner before running back to my kid (parenting comes first after all).
Said that he got it a couple weeks ago and that he missed the panda version by a couple days. I told him that I definitely prefer the reverse panda to the panda.
Aside from the Pro and the GMT, the BB Chrono is the best exemplar of how good a watchmaker Tudor is and has become.
BB Chronograph has all the awesome attitude of its true design ancestor, the Rolex Daytona ref 6263 "Big Red" and the excellent internals to match, derived from the modern and powerful Breitling B01.
Anyway, it was a lovely conversation with a lovely gentleman who indulged my curiosity. We waved goodbye as we parted ways. I love these small pleasant encounters that are part and parcel of watch spotting in the wild.
What cool watches did you see this week?