Watches in the Wild (Museum Day and NWA, Volume 11)

Disclaimer: Watch of the week for me pictured above, my Grand Seiko SBGA429 Soko Shadow, the finest GADA watch I own.

This is the eleventh 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 9, and part 10.

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 seem to recall saying something about not posting this week but like any good addict, I can't stay away from WatchCrunch and all you lovely people.  The past week has been excellent watch spotting overall with some trips to museums with school aged children.  There's even  small surprise at the end as well.

Hope you enjoy!

Hublot MDM in purple

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Worn in the wrist of a close nonwatch friend who purchased it over eBay.  Fortunately, he remains insulated from the scorn of the watch world at large (all of you lovely folks sadly included if polling on @chronotriggered  's post on saving a Big Bang versus an Apple Watch is to be believed.

My feelings on Hublot are complicated, unsurprising because Hublot is a brand that provokes rather strong reactions.  That said, I did walk into a Hublot boutique for the first time in a couple years to remind myself.

And you know what, it was a super pleasant experience.  They served champagne.  I honestly considered walking out with a Classic Fusion but that would have been a pure impulse buy.

In particular, I am struck by how normal (and even reasonably sized) most of the collection felt to me.  I think this MDM fits into that category.

If you take out the brand name and all the associations it entails, I feel like this watch is absolutely overflowing with personality.  The quality, far from the rumors of sloppy QC and poor alignment, is superb.  I love the royal blue dial and the attitude of power reserve indicator.  The fit would have been wonderful on a wrist an inch bigger than mine or an inch smaller.

I deeply enjoyed my limited time with this watch and am happy my friend owns it.  For those of you who are skeptical, I'd only encourage you to get to a Hublot boutique and try some of it's cousins on. You might be surprised.

Oris Rectangular (black with oyster bracelet)

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Seen in a restaurant on the wrist of a gentleman. I originally thought this was a Tank Francaise in an very rare black dial variant but realized it was just too big (my wife owning a MOP version).  After taking a second pass, I realized that the white numerals were Arabic and not Roman and that the case was a little curved, the bracelet was oyster not Cartier H-link, and there was a day date complication.  Oris!

The Oris rectangular collection is one of those watch collections that is overlooked by the wider community of watch collectors.

The world of rectangular tank style dress watches is dominated by two heavyweights: the Cartier Tank and the JLC Reverso.  And rightly so I many respects.  They are deeply iconic watches that live up to the hype.

But the last time I held one of these watches, I was struck by how different it felt in the wrist (compared to a tank) and how generally competent it was.  It curves to the wrist beautifully (rather than sitting flat) and gives a lot of that sleek rectangular dress watch feel.  It is an attractive watch that looks good on folks if all sizes, from a petite lady to a burly wristed dude (who happened to be the wearer this time around).

I have my quibbles, of course.  I don't like the Franck Muller style numerals (something that was thankfully fixed with later versions of the Rectangular), the guilloche is only okay, and I don't think rectangular dress watches should have center seconds (either small seconds or none at all).  The movement, frankly, is little to write home about.

But that is not and never was the point of a slim rectangular dress watch.  The Oris (among peers such as the Longines Dolce Vita or the Frederique Constant Carree) do a really nice twist on the tank-style watch formula and at prices that feel worthy of taking a chance on.

 

Ambush Gold plated steel "Casio Royale"

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Seen while walking down the street. Sigh.

They wanted $1000 for this thing, making even Sturling look restrained with its gap between real value and MSRP pricing.  

This hurts my soul.

Modded SKX 

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From a watch loving friend who kindly allowed me to take a picture.  Forgive the potato quality photo but I was in a rush.

I have such tremendous respect for people who mod their own watches because my clumsy sausage fingers do not allow for such delicate work.  He noted that his inspiration was the Tudor BB36/41 series, wanting to take a.dedicated tool diver and make into something more field appropriate.

Absolutely love the handset he chose on this one, largely inspired by the Marine Master Reduced with the baton minutes and hours and the red pop in the seconds hand.

This build was absolutely superb.

AP Royal Oak offshore chronograph rose gold

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Seen at a day at the museum at the table next to me in the museum cafe.  As with most times I am with my children, a conversation didn't happen.

I have never worn this watch.  I don't particularly like Royal Oaks (though I respect the quality) nor do I have any particular affection for Audemars Piguet (again though I respect the quality).

This watch is emblematic of what I will gently call "The Black Bay Quandary" or alternately "The Seamaster Conundrum".  It is the theorem that when a watch company has a line that's a runaway success, suddenly everything they do becomes part of that line.  The runaway success of the BB Heritage spawned the BB58, the BB Pro , BB GMT, BB Chronograph, and the BB 32/36/41.  And as much as I like many of these watches, I'll be the first to tell you....a lot of them don't really look like they share a ton of common design heritage (aside from snowflake hands).

So too the Royal Oak and Royal Oak offshore.  The Royal Oak is a slim 70s style sportswatch with some decent but unexceptional water resistance.  Mostly, it's there to look pretty (which is does brilliantly if you're into that kinda thing).  A sporting watch rather than a sports watch.

The RO Offshore is.... definitely not that.  To me, the AP RO Offshore is what happens when a luxury watch company decides to pour it's heart and brainpower into creating a tool watch and then, after the watch is already done, let's the designers in the room to sweep up the pieces.

While I have no doubt this is a truly amazing watch, I find this incredibly, unconscionably ugly.  That said, I do have a friend who owns a steel version of this watch and says that whenever he wears it, he feels like he's  ready to party.

To each his own of course, but I don't think I ever want to party enough to wear this watch.

Speaking of the Seamaster Conundrum.....

Omega Seamaster Railmaster

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Seen at a restaurant two nights before Thanksgiving on the wrist of a waiter.  In a prior Watches in the Wild, I lampooned this watch, talking about how Omega just uses the Seamaster line as a dumping ground for the orphaned watches of its catalog.  I mean Seamaster Railmaster.  Really?

YouTuber Elizabeth Grant did a fantastic summary on the history and origin of the Railmaster (as well as a review of her blue jeans dial).  I don't know that I can add much to it, so definitely see below.

https://youtu.be/lji79Ygh9Vs

I should say, I rather like this watch, particularly the subtly brushed dial and the bright printed numerals framed by the vintage case and lyre lugs, and said so to the owner.  He thanked me and said he'd gotten a great deal on it and really enjoyed its field watchy vibes.  I replied that I'd never thought about it like a field watch, but the shoe honestly fits pretty well.

It's a shame that Omega never really saw fit to spin this off into it's own line and consigned it to being catalog filler material.  I think an Omega field watch might have some real potential and the Railmaster seems as good a place as any to start.

Breitling Chronomat 32 (two tone)

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Hey a Breitling!

Seen online (but soon on my desk), a Christmas/milestone present for my wife.  Oh have I got a story to tell you lot.

But that deserves its own post, I think.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  What cool watches did you see this week,?

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Excellent job as always. The Soko remains a fav.

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AllTheWatches

Excellent job as always. The Soko remains a fav.

Just another crazy week of watches 😉

The Soko is just so easy to wear day in and day our 

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The simple fact that people on here voted for an Apple Watch over the Hublot, and many even extolling the virtues of the Apple product over the Hublot was, no word of a lie, a very low point. The simple fact that many don’t know much about the brand, nor have even touched or seen a Hublot, yet just pile in on the hate is discouraging. If you don’t like the look of something that’s fine, but don’t make stuff up, it’s not cool.

I‘ve been stuck in the office again, and everyone is off, so I’ve seen nothing of interest. I’ve had a poor week for buying though, so perhaps this version for me might diverge off into a path of pain, misery and crippling anxiety.

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So from within the hallowed walls of my castle I’ve had a bit of odd week for wearing.

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Some familiar faces, got a new strap for the Omega (slightly more demure for winter). Roamer got a wear, but I think it needs a new owner who will appreciate it. 

The 24hr Polar Raketa arrived from Ukraine… 3 weeks. Not bad, considering the start of the month. After a couple of days… honestly, it’s just “meh”. Despite what I may have admitted early doors to some, having courted one for many years, it’s a little bit underwhelming. It’s in good condition, runs around 5mins fast, and is a bollock to wind, but on the single pass silicone NATO wears well. I think if you want something for so long then you are always running the risk of disappointment. Fuuuck. So, eBay I went.

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Whilst the world wrestled with climate change, I wrestled with whether I wanted one of these from the US. The import tax would just kill the deal. I’m absolutely livid about that. It’s another “helicopter grail” like the Kentucky or Raketa; do I, don’t I, will I get it and just feel shit, will I wear it, why do I need sunglasses to read it, why do I have the sudden urge to gold-plate everything. So, yeah, it’s not happened again.

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Lost out on one of these. No I don’t need it, but I do want it. Lost out on a Rotary Maximus with a bumper movement, lost out on a military Be rus and a Benrus diver, lost out on a Cyma Waterproof. It’s been a proper shit week for watches. 

Went to buy a Dan Henry 1945 to cheer me up… Brexit means hidden import taxes as we are no longer EU (not a new thing but it’s usually covered in price, now it’s not). No DH for me. No cheering up for me.

Agreed an offer for a vintage military watch, seller said he would accept… then he changed his mind. I won’t buy it now out of spite. Why won’t people just take my money!?

Went to Ernest Jones to pick up a jewellery repair (got to love warranty). There was nothing of interest… it was the most uninspiring display of timepieces you have ever seen. The highlight:

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36mm (Ladies) Zenith Defy Midnight. There were a couple of El Primeri (plural 😉), but this was probably the nicest watch in the whole shop, and it’s shiny. Daddy wants shiny.

I bought some additional straps for my Maharishi Christmas present. The Mrs is bored of this now. ”What watch will you wear to the meet-up?” she asked over a cheeky coffee… and then to her horror had to watch the complete existential breakdown of her husband as he stared at his wrists and just whimpered like a hungry puppy. 
 

I keep seeing this Rolex:

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I‘m beginning to feel sorry for it. This is dangerous territory. I’d buy a new crown though. Jewellers up the road have a 34mm Air King 14000M, and it’s nice, but I’m not sure what’s good anymore.

Sod watches… stupid hobby. I’m going to buy a FitBit and retire.

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chronotriggered

The simple fact that people on here voted for an Apple Watch over the Hublot, and many even extolling the virtues of the Apple product over the Hublot was, no word of a lie, a very low point. The simple fact that many don’t know much about the brand, nor have even touched or seen a Hublot, yet just pile in on the hate is discouraging. If you don’t like the look of something that’s fine, but don’t make stuff up, it’s not cool.

I‘ve been stuck in the office again, and everyone is off, so I’ve seen nothing of interest. I’ve had a poor week for buying though, so perhaps this version for me might diverge off into a path of pain, misery and crippling anxiety.

Image

So from within the hallowed walls of my castle I’ve had a bit of odd week for wearing.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Some familiar faces, got a new strap for the Omega (slightly more demure for winter). Roamer got a wear, but I think it needs a new owner who will appreciate it. 

The 24hr Polar Raketa arrived from Ukraine… 3 weeks. Not bad, considering the start of the month. After a couple of days… honestly, it’s just “meh”. Despite what I may have admitted early doors to some, having courted one for many years, it’s a little bit underwhelming. It’s in good condition, runs around 5mins fast, and is a bollock to wind, but on the single pass silicone NATO wears well. I think if you want something for so long then you are always running the risk of disappointment. Fuuuck. So, eBay I went.

Image

Whilst the world wrestled with climate change, I wrestled with whether I wanted one of these from the US. The import tax would just kill the deal. I’m absolutely livid about that. It’s another “helicopter grail” like the Kentucky or Raketa; do I, don’t I, will I get it and just feel shit, will I wear it, why do I need sunglasses to read it, why do I have the sudden urge to gold-plate everything. So, yeah, it’s not happened again.

Image

Lost out on one of these. No I don’t need it, but I do want it. Lost out on a Rotary Maximus with a bumper movement, lost out on a military Be rus and a Benrus diver, lost out on a Cyma Waterproof. It’s been a proper shit week for watches. 

Went to buy a Dan Henry 1945 to cheer me up… Brexit means hidden import taxes as we are no longer EU (not a new thing but it’s usually covered in price, now it’s not). No DH for me. No cheering up for me.

Agreed an offer for a vintage military watch, seller said he would accept… then he changed his mind. I won’t buy it now out of spite. Why won’t people just take my money!?

Went to Ernest Jones to pick up a jewellery repair (got to love warranty). There was nothing of interest… it was the most uninspiring display of timepieces you have ever seen. The highlight:

Image

36mm (Ladies) Zenith Defy Midnight. There were a couple of El Primeri (plural 😉), but this was probably the nicest watch in the whole shop, and it’s shiny. Daddy wants shiny.

I bought some additional straps for my Maharishi Christmas present. The Mrs is bored of this now. ”What watch will you wear to the meet-up?” she asked over a cheeky coffee… and then to her horror had to watch the complete existential breakdown of her husband as he stared at his wrists and just whimpered like a hungry puppy. 
 

I keep seeing this Rolex:

Image

I‘m beginning to feel sorry for it. This is dangerous territory. I’d buy a new crown though. Jewellers up the road have a 34mm Air King 14000M, and it’s nice, but I’m not sure what’s good anymore.

Sod watches… stupid hobby. I’m going to buy a FitBit and retire.

After the Hublot poll, I walked into a boutique just to see if I was off somehow...and it was one of the nicer experiences I've had in a brand boutique in a while.  Tried on a Big bang Chrono (which I like the look of but wears too big for me at 44) and a Classic Fusion 38mm (which is honestly tempting).  I do think people should just walk in to see for themselves.

Sod watches… stupid hobby. I’m going to buy a FitBit and retire.

You know, I've had this feeling once or twice (and ended up selling the vast majority of my collection and starting over).  Its a bit of a slippery area.

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Edge168n

After the Hublot poll, I walked into a boutique just to see if I was off somehow...and it was one of the nicer experiences I've had in a brand boutique in a while.  Tried on a Big bang Chrono (which I like the look of but wears too big for me at 44) and a Classic Fusion 38mm (which is honestly tempting).  I do think people should just walk in to see for themselves.

Sod watches… stupid hobby. I’m going to buy a FitBit and retire.

You know, I've had this feeling once or twice (and ended up selling the vast majority of my collection and starting over).  Its a bit of a slippery area.

This is the issue, the Classic Fusion is the MDM, and the MDM is an iconic watch with a design spanning 40 years. I know they get shit for things like “Hublonium” and what not, and the multiple limited editions, but the hate is not really justified. There are watches you like and watches you don’t, that should be it. Unfortunately people blindly follow the joke without actually trying to challenge the relevance. 
I’m just having a bad week… I’m just tired of a lot, including watches. 

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I have to agree about the Hublot. I tried one on from a colleague a few weeks ago, also not a “watch guy” and largely insulted as well. I was pleasantly surprised at the feel on my wrist. Lots of douche bags wear lots of brands... can’t define the brand as a whole. (See me eating my words with recent Tudor purchase)

The RO Offshore comment about the designers being let in at the end

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Look forward to the Breitling story. 

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Saw this on a friend's wrist last night!

New or Old Aqua Terra? | Omega Forums

I was finally able to recognize a watch on the wrist of someone at a glance...   because of the lyre lugs!  His wife bought it for him for his 40th birthday.  Reminded me why I used be "omeganut."

I also saw this last night on the wrist of one of my neighbors...

279174-0011 Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 | TheWatchAgency™

The reason I was able to recognize this one was because I bought it for her.  It's a fake from China!  She loves it!

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HotWatchChick69

Saw this on a friend's wrist last night!

New or Old Aqua Terra? | Omega Forums

I was finally able to recognize a watch on the wrist of someone at a glance...   because of the lyre lugs!  His wife bought it for him for his 40th birthday.  Reminded me why I used be "omeganut."

I also saw this last night on the wrist of one of my neighbors...

279174-0011 Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 | TheWatchAgency™

The reason I was able to recognize this one was because I bought it for her.  It's a fake from China!  She loves it!

Some solid watchspotting there!

The lyre lugs are very signature to relatively recent omegas so it's often the place I start when looking at things at a glance.  I love all these recent model Aqua Terras.  I feel like I should never have sold the last one.

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valleykilmers

I have to agree about the Hublot. I tried one on from a colleague a few weeks ago, also not a “watch guy” and largely insulted as well. I was pleasantly surprised at the feel on my wrist. Lots of douche bags wear lots of brands... can’t define the brand as a whole. (See me eating my words with recent Tudor purchase)

The RO Offshore comment about the designers being let in at the end

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Look forward to the Breitling story. 

Hey I can finally see this comment! Bizarre little WatchCrunch bug.

No judgement on brands based on who wears them....otherwise we're all in terrible company.

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Edge168n

Hey I can finally see this comment! Bizarre little WatchCrunch bug.

No judgement on brands based on who wears them....otherwise we're all in terrible company.

I’ve had comments drop in others too.. there’s a glitch in the Matrix. Agreed sir. 

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valleykilmers

I’ve had comments drop in others too.. there’s a glitch in the Matrix. Agreed sir. 

Usually mine disappear because I upset the powers that be... the dreaded shadow ban. I usually know this had been the case when my bio gets wiped. 

You are right though, I’m seeing more and more comments not appear from people that I haven’t muted, which is concerning, especially during discussion threads.

I’m glad more and more people are giving Hublot a fair crack, despite certain aspects of their marketing, and the fact they would be there at the opening of a crisp packet with a limited edition, some of their catalogue is decent.