Watches in the Wild (On the Road Again, Volume 12)

Disclaimer: Another Grand Seiko SBGA 429 Soko week for me because of a heavy travel schedule.  I tend to not fly with multiple watches (why add another complication.... **ba-dum-tss** to my travels) so my watch choices are very utilitarian.  It's gotta not be too fussy, it's gotta look decent in a meeting and its gotta have some water resistance.  The Soko fits the bill perfectly.

This is the twelfth 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, part 10, and part 11.

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 am bouncing around the country this week on a combination of business and leisure travel so I am writing a quick watch travelogue while I have some spare time in transit.

On the weekend after Thanksgiving, my wife and I took our two girls to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the day.  If you have not been before, I'd encourage you to check it out.  Their work on marine conservation and responsible fishing is legendary. Their jellyfish collection is unmatched globally.  And most importantly, they have some extremely cute sea otters.

The aquarium provided some really cool spots this time around of watches I very seldom see in the wild.

First a couple of resightings to wet the whistle.

Panerai Luminor 8 Day

A Week On The Wrist: The Panerai PAM 560 Luminor 8 Days Acciaio - HODINKEE

Seiko SKX009 on the jangly jubilee

Seiko SKX009 on jubilee bracelet | Simple watches, Seiko ...

Tag Heuer S/EL

Tag Heuer Sel Date 200m Quartz 99.013M Cream Dial Boys Wrist Watch Second  hand | eBay

Rolex Datejust two tone five digit reference

Rolex Datejust 80s Ref 16013 Automatic Gold Two Tone Champagne... for  $4,999 for sale from a Trusted Seller on Chrono24

I don't have a ton to say about these that I haven't talked about in past Watches in the Wild, but they are still notable watches that I've seen and enjoyed on people's wrists.

Bell and Ross BR-03 Carbon Ceramic

Why I Bought It: Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Black Matte Ceramic - Quill & Pad

Seen by the (very cute) otter tank.  I actually almost mistook this for an apple watch with a weird strap given the square blacked out ceramic case.  But once I got a bit closer, the Bell and Ross text on the dial is pretty unmistakable along with the stark white flieger hands.  I think this is the very first time I've seen a Bell and Ross outside of an authorized dealer and mentioned it to the owner.

He seemed surprised that anyone might recognize his watch, asked me about mine (another Grand Seiko SBGA429 Soko day for me) and we dashed off in separate directions after our kids.  I realize, of course, that this is a symptom of the life stage that I am in currently but it sucks all the same.  By and large, my interactions with other watch nerds are positive and I look forward to a time when I can linger over conversation.

At any rate, up until maybe six months ago, I rarely thought about Bell and Ross save for their signature square case shape.  Then I saw the new BR-X5 with the in house movement and thought it might be worth taking a look in store. And you know what?  I think there's something there!

I'm not sure about the price (but then again, I'm not sure of any watch's price point these days) but they're deeply competent integrated bracelet sports watches with a unified design language and exceptional quality and finishing.  That's about as much as you can ask for these days.

The BR-03 is what a pilots watch looks like when reinterpreted through B&R's design language.  I'm not convinced it's for me per se....blacked out watches and I don't really get along but it's striking and well made and a conversation starter.

I can dig it.

Bb58 925 on the OEM NATO 

Tudor] AD called...Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925! : r/Watches

As seen in the aquarium cafe while getting ketchup and malt vinegar for fish and chips.  I did a double take because this is the first time I've seen the silver in person and I think the thing that shocked me about it was just how different the silver case looked in the metal versus a stainless steel.  Warmer, somewhat gold brown tones due to the silver tarnishing.   The grey dial and bezel were stunning too and played off the warm silver tone beautifully.  And before I could say a word, it was gone.

@the.watch.idiot had a great series of videos on the BB925 from his purchase to his tarnishing efforts, to his eventual sale.  I'd seriously encourage you to go take a look at all of them because they are a journey.

https://youtu.be/RUGqJWn5Qx8 

I do have many questions though about the longevity of silver watches.  The tarnish starts out warm and attractive but eventually just gets black and dirty looking.  Tarnished silver also tends to have a pretty aggressive sulfur/garlic smell in my experience.

Still, this is an absolutely killer looking watch and I can only imagine how it shone when new and how settling into the warm goldish silver tone is so satisfying.

I look forward to reports from owners in the future on their experiences.

Milus Archimedes Orange Coral

Hands-On - The New Milus Archimèdes Orange Coral (Live Pics & Price)

Seen at the playground.  When I mentioned this watch, the gentleman in question looked deeply confused that I had recognized it. We never really got past that initial weirdness.

Once upon a time when I was a watch collector that still entertained notions that he had normal tastes, I was convinced that my aversion to diver watches was an issue of modernity.  I reasoned that my dislike of dive watches was actually just a dislike of Rolex Submariners and modern Seamaster Professionals (and their many design descendants) and that the key to my dive watch wearing future was a deep dive into vintage and vintage inspired.

In particular, I was entranced by an outdated dive watch technology from the 1960s, known as a super compressor (generally notable due to the presence of two crowns and an internal rotating bezel).  That, I figured was the solution to my problem, no external rotating bezel means I could wear a diver again!

This Milus was one of the major contenders, specifically in the steel dial.  

Archimèdes by Milus: Silver Storm | Milus Watches - Swiss Made Since 1919 –  Milus International SA

Milus, far from simply being a reference to a legacy Swiss brand, has been in more or less continuous operation since 1919 though under different ownership structures (including a couple of Asian conglomerates, along with a stint as the in house brand of the legendary Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook).  Milus's modern history starts in 2016, when a group of investors led by one Luc Tissot (yes, that Tissot) acquired a majority stake, intending to build a new mid tier watch brand dedicated to reasonably priced updated versions of their old catalog. 

I think they've honestly succeeded.  Their Snow star is a beautifully finished and perfectly sized modern dress watch with strong Grand Seiko vibes.  

And the Archimedes is a more colorf

Snow Star: Sky Silver | Milus Watches - Swiss Made Since 1919 – Milus  International SA

ul funkier Longines Legend diver with better (in my view) on the wrist sizing.   It's a super cool watch with a lot of fun stuff going on.  

I honestly don't remember why I never pursued this watch harder but as it turns out my super compressor excursion was for naught, because I found the internal bezel made the watch look small even though the size at 41mm was quite reasonable.  As it turned out, I couldn't deal with the cognitive dissonance of a watch looking small but wearing regularly (a problem shared by an old Seiko Alpinist I used to own).  

If you ever needed evidence that my crazy collectors brain is broken, let it be known that I couldn't deal with a watch looking smaller than it felt.

Frederique Constant Highlife in Blue

Frederique Constant Highlife 2020 Collection with integrated bracelet.

Seen in the grocery store. Notable because of the integrated bracelet and chopped off lugs.  I offered my compliments to the owner who grunted in surprise and then replied that it was a gift from his lovely wife.  I replied that she had some pretty great taste.

I've never handled the Highlife in the metal, so my experience with it are limited to what I've seen on people's wrists and youtube videos. I honestly go back and forth as to whether I actually like the look of this watch but can' really render judgement until I hold it for myself.

That said Frederique Constant is one of those brands that tends to get homages right. This is just my two cents but the purpose of an homage, in my opinion, is not simple.copy-paste.  Rather, there are truly timeless designs and styles of watches that deserve more than a single version by a single manufacturer (the panda dial Daytona or the Breguet Classique or the Cartier Tank or even, sigh, the Submariner).

FC really leans hard into the Patek and Breguet inspired homages (the worldtimer and the Slimline collection among others) and does so with a bit of its own pizzazz.  The Highlife fits neatly into this bucket.  Of the 3 big high horology integrated bracelet sports watches, it resembles the VC Overseas most  to my eye due to case shape and hands, but with fragments of Nautilus in the hour markers and even a bit of AP RO in the etched globe on the dial (reminiscent of the Royal Oak checkerboard).

It's certainly not the finishing of a VC (and if that's your expectation, I think you'll be a little disappointed) but there's a bit of the flash and glamour that truly timeless designs have and the Highlife captures beautifully.  I think that should be celebrated rather than lampooned.

Also if you missed it, definitely check out @Finnarm's lovely testimonial to the Highlife on Thanksgiving Day.  I certainly enjoyed reading it and imagine you will as well.

I look forward to the chance to get one of these on my wrist in the future.

What cool watches did you see this week?

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Great post and thanks for the shoutout Edge168n!

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Finnarm

Great post and thanks for the shoutout Edge168n!

Absolutely loved your Highlife post.  I live for those watch stories.  Thank you for writing it!

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Saw this on the wrist of a fellow congregant at a dinner party to welcome our church's new pastor.  

Image

I said, "Are you a watch guy?"  I mean, who else other than a watch nerd knows of the existence of Vaer, right?  Dude said, "Yeah, I love watches!"  Went on to show me a great 7750 Valjoux chronograph that he had is eye on.  "I really like this watch," he said, "but I just can't justify spending $1,500 on a watch."  [I slowly pulled the sleeve of my jacket down to cover my GS White Birch.]

I was the Confirmation Mentor to his son a few years ago.  The boy is now a junior in high school, and somehow it came up in conversation that the son really doesn't want to go to college, and instead just wants to go work and make gobs of money.  I immediately perked up!  "Don't send him to college.  It's the biggest conceivable waste of money.  I'm sending you a copy of 'The Case Against Education' right now."  Ordered it off Amazon and had it set for next day delivery to him.  Spent the rest of the night drunkenly telling him and his wife about what all the studies show when controlling for ability bias, and then what it says about college and how it's all just "signaling" as opposed to "human capital formation."  Promised the mom that if they didn't send their son to college, and instead had him do a 12 week coding boot camp instead, I would put him in touch with all the right people to get him a 6-figure salary job at age 18, and then help him make gobs and gobs of money, in tech, without needing a college degree.

Vaer on the wrist...  it can be life changing!  (Though, I think the boy's mom wants me dead now - she really wants her son to go to college.  Oh well!  I have a meeting set up with the kid to talk him through what it's like doing strategy and operations in tech and private equity, and all about how he doesn't need to go to college!)

Also saw this...

Apple Watch Ultra review: A big smartwatch with some little quirks |  Engadget

It was really cool!  I want one now!  Maybe it's time to sell off my GS and get back into Apple Watches?

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HotWatchChick69

Saw this on the wrist of a fellow congregant at a dinner party to welcome our church's new pastor.  

Image

I said, "Are you a watch guy?"  I mean, who else other than a watch nerd knows of the existence of Vaer, right?  Dude said, "Yeah, I love watches!"  Went on to show me a great 7750 Valjoux chronograph that he had is eye on.  "I really like this watch," he said, "but I just can't justify spending $1,500 on a watch."  [I slowly pulled the sleeve of my jacket down to cover my GS White Birch.]

I was the Confirmation Mentor to his son a few years ago.  The boy is now a junior in high school, and somehow it came up in conversation that the son really doesn't want to go to college, and instead just wants to go work and make gobs of money.  I immediately perked up!  "Don't send him to college.  It's the biggest conceivable waste of money.  I'm sending you a copy of 'The Case Against Education' right now."  Ordered it off Amazon and had it set for next day delivery to him.  Spent the rest of the night drunkenly telling him and his wife about what all the studies show when controlling for ability bias, and then what it says about college and how it's all just "signaling" as opposed to "human capital formation."  Promised the mom that if they didn't send their son to college, and instead had him do a 12 week coding boot camp instead, I would put him in touch with all the right people to get him a 6-figure salary job at age 18, and then help him make gobs and gobs of money, in tech, without needing a college degree.

Vaer on the wrist...  it can be life changing!  (Though, I think the boy's mom wants me dead now - she really wants her son to go to college.  Oh well!  I have a meeting set up with the kid to talk him through what it's like doing strategy and operations in tech and private equity, and all about how he doesn't need to go to college!)

Also saw this...

Apple Watch Ultra review: A big smartwatch with some little quirks |  Engadget

It was really cool!  I want one now!  Maybe it's time to sell off my GS and get back into Apple Watches?

Vaers are watch dork watches, that's a 100% fact, though I am seriously confused by the dial and bezel combo.  Did they need another minute track?  

I admit, I really rather like the new Apple Watch Pros (though i'll never buy one).  They stopped trying to make them anything but what they are, which is a massive wrist computer.

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Glad to hear you enjoyed the journey of my 925! I do miss it every once in a while but I'm happy knowing that the new owner is giving it an active life that just wasn't happening with me😁

Also really awesome series you've got here and it's cool that you run into so many people with interesting watches in the wild! I'm always staring at people's wrists lol but I rarely see anything unfortunately. I'm off to reading your other posts!

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HotWatchChick69

Saw this on the wrist of a fellow congregant at a dinner party to welcome our church's new pastor.  

Image

I said, "Are you a watch guy?"  I mean, who else other than a watch nerd knows of the existence of Vaer, right?  Dude said, "Yeah, I love watches!"  Went on to show me a great 7750 Valjoux chronograph that he had is eye on.  "I really like this watch," he said, "but I just can't justify spending $1,500 on a watch."  [I slowly pulled the sleeve of my jacket down to cover my GS White Birch.]

I was the Confirmation Mentor to his son a few years ago.  The boy is now a junior in high school, and somehow it came up in conversation that the son really doesn't want to go to college, and instead just wants to go work and make gobs of money.  I immediately perked up!  "Don't send him to college.  It's the biggest conceivable waste of money.  I'm sending you a copy of 'The Case Against Education' right now."  Ordered it off Amazon and had it set for next day delivery to him.  Spent the rest of the night drunkenly telling him and his wife about what all the studies show when controlling for ability bias, and then what it says about college and how it's all just "signaling" as opposed to "human capital formation."  Promised the mom that if they didn't send their son to college, and instead had him do a 12 week coding boot camp instead, I would put him in touch with all the right people to get him a 6-figure salary job at age 18, and then help him make gobs and gobs of money, in tech, without needing a college degree.

Vaer on the wrist...  it can be life changing!  (Though, I think the boy's mom wants me dead now - she really wants her son to go to college.  Oh well!  I have a meeting set up with the kid to talk him through what it's like doing strategy and operations in tech and private equity, and all about how he doesn't need to go to college!)

Also saw this...

Apple Watch Ultra review: A big smartwatch with some little quirks |  Engadget

It was really cool!  I want one now!  Maybe it's time to sell off my GS and get back into Apple Watches?

The Vaer solar quartz diver (ds4?) has been on my list for a long while but I just don't seem to get around to actually buying one!!! One day soon hopefully. 

Also the Apple Watch Ultra is awesome I've had it for nearly 2 months now and it's a joy to wear. The main thing that struck me about it is that as an object it's just so cool and weirdly well finished AND it actually feels like a watch. To me regular apple watches feel like small gadgets/fitness trackers whereas the Ultra feels like a modern day tool watch that doubles as a wrist computer. I don't say this often but Apple has done well with this one!

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the.watch.idiot

Glad to hear you enjoyed the journey of my 925! I do miss it every once in a while but I'm happy knowing that the new owner is giving it an active life that just wasn't happening with me😁

Also really awesome series you've got here and it's cool that you run into so many people with interesting watches in the wild! I'm always staring at people's wrists lol but I rarely see anything unfortunately. I'm off to reading your other posts!

Have really enjoyed your content over the past six months and am honored that you enjoy my little watch travelogues. 

I enjoy writing them but it's always nice to know that people read. Being in a major city and often in social situations, I feel like I come across interesting watches enough to want to share.

Just lucky I guess 😉

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the.watch.idiot

The Vaer solar quartz diver (ds4?) has been on my list for a long while but I just don't seem to get around to actually buying one!!! One day soon hopefully. 

Also the Apple Watch Ultra is awesome I've had it for nearly 2 months now and it's a joy to wear. The main thing that struck me about it is that as an object it's just so cool and weirdly well finished AND it actually feels like a watch. To me regular apple watches feel like small gadgets/fitness trackers whereas the Ultra feels like a modern day tool watch that doubles as a wrist computer. I don't say this often but Apple has done well with this one!

Damn, dude, I was mostly just joking about getting one!  But, yeah, holding it in my hands yesterday, it felt really nice.  

But, you're potentially pushing me over the edge!

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HotWatchChick69

Damn, dude, I was mostly just joking about getting one!  But, yeah, holding it in my hands yesterday, it felt really nice.  

But, you're potentially pushing me over the edge!

Looool yeah you sold the joke the moment a GS was put on the chopping block for the Ultra😅

Weirdly enough it's experience made me buy a cheap apple watch to wear opposite of my real watches and it's timing capabilities could potentially allow me to indulge in time only watches instead of wearing divers all the time! 

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Edge168n

Have really enjoyed your content over the past six months and am honored that you enjoy my little watch travelogues. 

I enjoy writing them but it's always nice to know that people read. Being in a major city and often in social situations, I feel like I come across interesting watches enough to want to share.

Just lucky I guess 😉

That really means a lot to me! I gotta say it's nice to read about real watches from real people as opposed to full on reviews (although they have their place of course😁). Sometimes it's nice to know that watches are actually being bought and worn in real life! The big watch publications should take note! 

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Wow! Two of my favorite watches in one post, one of which (GS Soko) is on your wrist! The other is on mine, the Panerai Luminor. Please continue posting these! Very enjoyable content. 👍

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the.watch.idiot

That really means a lot to me! I gotta say it's nice to read about real watches from real people as opposed to full on reviews (although they have their place of course😁). Sometimes it's nice to know that watches are actually being bought and worn in real life! The big watch publications should take note! 

Hah, I can't imagine that anything I write here could ever be monetized as content.  I would be a genuinely horrible watch content creator.

That said, I do like shining a bit of light on watches that people who aren't necessarily in the crazy watch collector echo chamber wear.  Its generally been really cool chatting with folks who enjoy and like their watches but don't obsess over them

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FreshPots

Wow! Two of my favorite watches in one post, one of which (GS Soko) is on your wrist! The other is on mine, the Panerai Luminor. Please continue posting these! Very enjoyable content. 👍

Happy you enjoy them!

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Really like the Milus story. 
 

At a work dinner a few weeks ago I spot a Big Bang Ti in blue. 

Image

These are hard to miss even from 4 seats away. I eventually asked him how “How do you like your Big Bang? Even in a large size, it looks great.”  to which he responded “uh, I don’t really watch that show.“ 

Even though I clarified the statement we never really got past the initial awkwardness and he honestly knew nothing about the watch or brand either. I had to quickly finish pleasantries and find the bar ASAP. 

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valleykilmers

Really like the Milus story. 
 

At a work dinner a few weeks ago I spot a Big Bang Ti in blue. 

Image

These are hard to miss even from 4 seats away. I eventually asked him how “How do you like your Big Bang? Even in a large size, it looks great.”  to which he responded “uh, I don’t really watch that show.“ 

Even though I clarified the statement we never really got past the initial awkwardness and he honestly knew nothing about the watch or brand either. I had to quickly finish pleasantries and find the bar ASAP. 

First, great spot!  Rarely see Hublots in the wild myself which is a shame.  They are always interesting when I do.

Second, I get the weirdness all the time.  You get over it, because the times when folks are weird are vastly outweighed by the times when someone is absolutely ecstatic that you got their watch and they're dying to talk about it.