Watches in the Wild (Rain Rain Go Away, Volume 18)

Disclaimer: Putting on the battle armor today.  A big and bold watch for a not insignificant negotiation.  

This is the eighteenth 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, part 16, and part 17.

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.

We are going into our 1000th consecutive day of rain here in Northern California (more or less) and I can't tell you just how sick of it I am.  Give me all the Vitamin D you can muster. Praise the sun!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So5hTxKmPrA 

As every watch nerd knows, you definitely need 200M of WR to deal with all the rain we've been having lately, so it is  perhaps obvious then that this is a dive watch heavy edition (with a few vintage choices sprinkled in by some brave and foolhardy souls).

Cartier Must de Cartier 21

Cartier Must de 21 Quartz Ladies Watch for $1,600 for sale from a Seller on  Chrono24

Seen on the wrist of a friend, a lady who went to business school with my wife.  I asked her about her watch and she mentioned that it was a gift from her parents after graduating from high school and getting a full academic scholarship to the University of Florida.  That would put the watch at north of 20 years old, which is about 10 years longer than I've owned any watches in my collection.  It might even be a vintage piece, a depressing thought for something created in the 90s.

I've lampooned this watch a little bit before when I talked about the Omega Constellation and the engraved Roman numerals on the bezel but somehow I don't really mind it in this application.  I suspect that's because it lacks the framing tabs at 3 and 9 of the Omega so it looks far more cohesive as a design.  Also, the gold painted numerals offer some nice contrast so it even satisfies a bit of a legibility standard.

I don't know how I feel about this watch.  It doesn't offend me but it also makes me wonder if the time telling function is just superfluous.  Would this be just as attractive as a two tone bracelet?  I couldn't even tell if it was running.

But that's just old school Cartier at its best.  The watch is a design object first and a time telling device second.  And perhaps that's just a concession to the quiet truth of luxury watch ownership, that these time telling devices are actually fashion items first.


Omega Seamaster DeVille (maybe a cal 285)

Omega Seamaster DeVille Gold/Stainless Steel Tropical Dial ...

Seen at my second favorite bagel shop in the Bay Area on the wrist of a gentleman who wore it on what I can only describe as a herringbone tweed strap.

Harris Tweed Herringbone Rolling Smoke Watch Strap - Etsy

I am what you would call vintage curious. I browse vintage listings on ebay.  I read extensively on vintage watches, particularly old Omegas, Universal Geneves, and Girard Perrageauxs.  And I tune into every post by both @Aurelian  and @Porthole  describing all the ways buying a vintage watch can blow up in your face.

My own, limited experiences with vintage confirm this.  I have been bamboozled by fakes, frankens, and nonfunctioning watches of all sorts.  It drives one to despair.

But still, when I see a gorgeous Seamaster DeVille no date with a creamy tropic dial, I do feel a lot of untoward feelings about how pretty it is.  

And so, being the odd sociable introvert that I am, I complimented the watch and the strap (it's an awesome combination) and wondered how he came about such a pretty specimen.

He regaled me with the great adventure of buying this watch off of eBay from a buyer in Mexico, it being non-functional and then going through the process of tracking down a watch maker who 1)had access to reasonably authentic parts, 2) had time to do it.  Fortunately, he found one, at a reasonable price who could do it in a month.

And then after receiving it, breaking the watch winding function almost immediately.  So back to the watchmaker for another three weeks.

And even after finding that watch maker, realizing that the winding function didn't work and then sending it back for another month.  And then, suddenly realizing that condensation was beginning to show up inside the crystal, likely because of all the rain we've been having for the past few weeks.  And, so again, back to the watchmaker for water testing and resealing.  

But it was all worth it! Because, finally, after four months, it was finished and functional and ready for its first real trip, a short journey to the bagel shop for lunch where your intrepid correspondent noticed it and complimented it.

I don't think I have ever loved a watch as much as this man loved his watch.  Or it could have been Stockholm syndrome.

Both sound about right.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean (first generation)

File:Omega πλανετ οσιαν.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

From a Seamaster of one type to another.  Seen at the library, in the kids section on the wrist of an associated adult.  I did try to make conversation but was aggressively shushed by a librarian to which I took great insult.  Don't people know how important this forum post is? 😂

I think this might be my favorite era of Omega dive watches. I intend no insult to the exceptionally well spec'd and value packed ceramic Seamaster Professionals and Planet Oceans of today.  Those are truly great watches, worthy of the brand and line names they carry

Yet, I reserve my love for the pre ceramic models, most notably the Omega Seamaster 2254 and the first generation Seamaster Planet Ocean.  The 2254 is the older feeling watch with the sword hands and scalloped bezel while the PO feels more modern and aggressive with the grippier bezel and double anchor hands.  They're both lovely watches and I switch between the one I like more day by day.

At first glance, the PO can come off as a bit humorless (it's the very trope of a black dial diver) but the pop of orange on the seconds hand injects needed personality into it.  The black aluminum bezel is a little subdued but the big silver inner ring makes it a much more stated presence.  The numerals have a bit of the sandwich style to them and the sum of all the parts is that it's a just a big, good looking dive watch.

The movement is even pretty darned good, being the first generation of coaxial escapement built on the modified ETA 2892.  

On wrist, it's a decent wearer (48mm lug to lug mitigates the size of the 42mm diameter and for a 600m diver just 14mm tall) and the bracelet is among the most comfortable Omega bracelets out there.  You hear that Omega? Go back a generation, the bracelets are better!

It's even a deal used!  I'm seeing nearly flawless versions online for $3k or less.  

If it's not there already, this has future classic written all over it.

Marathon GSAR on bracelet in the Standard black dial

Marathon] GSAR...I have a tank on my wrist : r/Watches

Seen at the ice skating rink.  You should go read @rowiphi 's awesome review of the Arctic dial of this watch if you actually want to learn something about it.  I'd just be plagiarizing his work.

If you ever feel the need for a workout, try taking your 5 and 2 year old to the ice skating rink.  It's like Keystone Cops except less humor and more gut wrenching fear that your child is going to give themselves a concussion on a block of ice.

In a world where I find near all black dial dive watches fairly anonymous, this watch feels like an attention getter.  Not in the way of Seiko with case shape or color but instead due to the very sunken in dial, stark white printed numerals on the face, very grippy bezel, and the tritium tubes on the hands.

It's a watch that says without irony "I'm a tactical watch!" And that's fair enough, it manages the look really well with no small amount of real history behind it (founded in 1941!)

I think this is one of those quietly handsome watches that you (and by you I mean me) never really think about because there's virtually no chance you'll encounter it in an authorized dealer and also rarely on watch social media.  I am not even fully convinced that Marathon understands that they are a watch brand beloved by enthusiasts.  

**Beginneth Aside**  I am reminded of an experience with a Marathon Navigator and, upon measuring the lugs, realizing that they were 19.5mm wide.  Marathon cares not for your stock NATO straps! Don't worry though, if you're using this watch as intended, it's not going to survive long enough to worry about a cosmetic strap change. **Endeth Aside**

Normally this is the point where I'd complain about the GSAR's 14mm height but I am quietly wondering if my prior insistence on slim dive watches has been the source of all my dive watch troubles.

I've been wearing a drunkenly purchased San Martin diver that measures 14mm ish high and I've been pleasantly surprised that I have enjoyed having such a tall and bulky watch on the wrist.  Maybe that's just how dive watches are supposed to be.

Speaking of....

San Martin SN007- V4 (NWA!)

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Purchased on a somewhat intoxicated New Years Eve by lobbing an insultingly low offer to a seller for a used version .  Also potentially the responsibility of @the.watch.idiot  whose wonderful videos on it definitely influenced the impulse purchase.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgNqg1O1Kwc 

Yes, it's a dive watch.  Yes, it's an homage (maybe even a clomage) of the original Seiko 62mas (and I guess more recently the SLA017). But it puts a stupid grin on my face when I look at it so I think I can give it a pass.

This is the second San Martin I've owned (the prior being the excellent 62mas Chronograph.  Clearly I've got the 62mas on the brain) and San Martin continues to excel in the ways that matter: QC and executing on a simple design brief.

The case shape is very simple but well finished with a nice circular brush along the top and a high polish across the midcase.  Zaratsu it is not, but it's well done.

The bezel is exceptional, especially for the price.  It is far superior to any Seiko bezel I've ever owned, and there's some Tudor quality clickiness there which is absurd.   I'm not even sure I believe myself when I say it.

Everything aligns (are you paying attention Seiko?) and the applied hour markers and logo are bright and clean to the eye.  The lume is great and continues to blaze through the night.  I even love the rectangular bar hands.

And the dial!  I'm a sucker for a good sunburst dial and this is an exceptionally well done one in the cool anthracite grey.

The design of the midcase hides the bulk really well and it wears very closely to the roughly 40mm watch it is.

That said, I do have some complaints.

There's that same old confused San Martin branding.  I don't mind the hexagonal logo but the weird digital currency S on the crown is just an odd choice overall.  The shark in the case back is nicely done but also a bit childish.

The AR is fine but could use a couple more coats.

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The ceramic bezel has some very small visual flaws (nothing worth making a stink over given the price) but it's there.

The bracelet is...not my thing.   The quality is high but it's not the best design.  The edges are sharp and the rounded side links and diamond cut center links feel like a design mistake.  It doesn't integrate with the case well (not that anyone figured out how to do a bracelet with the skindiver style case well) and with a bracelet on, it is a heavy wear.

It's okay though, take all the money you've saved, take that and buy a good waffle strap to complete the old school Seiko look.  I've personally been wearing this on my Artem Sailcloth and really enjoying the look.

A note on homages/clomages.  People often forget that the original 62mas case was largely just a skindiver case, most of which were modeled off the original dive watch, the fifty fathoms.  So if you'd like, all I am doing is taking an homage of an homage and making it instead an homage of the original by slapping a nice sailcloth on it (the fifty fathoms being famous for coming on sailcloths).  That's called cutting out the middleman!

It is watches like this that convince me that we are at the precipice of a major revolution in watch making and buying.  All San Martin needs to do is hire a couple of designers and invest a bit in a social marketing campaign.  I think they could make a run at being the next Seiko.

I wouldn't celebrate yet.  I've been known to buy a watch, wear it for few months and then immediately flip it when I come to my senses and realize that I don't actually like it.  And given that its a dive watch, odds are stacked against it.

So, you may see this up for a charitable auction at some point in the coming months.  But then again, you might not! 

I am very much enjoying my time with this watch.

What cool watches did you see this week?

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Daytonas, DeVilles, and Divers - what a week, oh my! We haven't been hit as hard with the rain down in Southern California but it's still too wet and dreary for my taste. Try to stay as dry as possible @Edge168n!

P.S. This is the coolest watch I saw this week, on my husband's wrist at the Bulgari store. 

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celinesimon

Daytonas, DeVilles, and Divers - what a week, oh my! We haven't been hit as hard with the rain down in Southern California but it's still too wet and dreary for my taste. Try to stay as dry as possible @Edge168n!

P.S. This is the coolest watch I saw this week, on my husband's wrist at the Bulgari store. 

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Daytonas, DeVilles, and Divers - what a week, oh my! 

And this is why I'm not a writer.  What a title that would have been for this post!  I bow to the superiority of your word choice.

I admit I struggled a bit with this one.  Rain makes it hard to spot watches and I've been down with a cold for a bit so it's been tough to get out and see things.

I only complain in jest of course.  As you well know, we need the rain badly....if it didn't come with land slides, falling trees, and loss of life, I'd take even more.

Perhaps next week!

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celinesimon

Daytonas, DeVilles, and Divers - what a week, oh my! We haven't been hit as hard with the rain down in Southern California but it's still too wet and dreary for my taste. Try to stay as dry as possible @Edge168n!

P.S. This is the coolest watch I saw this week, on my husband's wrist at the Bulgari store. 

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BTW, how did he find the watch?  I've tried the Octo Finissimo before and I could never quite get it to sit properly on my wrist.  A few too many sharp angles perhaps.

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Edge168n

BTW, how did he find the watch?  I've tried the Octo Finissimo before and I could never quite get it to sit properly on my wrist.  A few too many sharp angles perhaps.

He thought it was so so cool but couldn't get over the thinness of it - I think, funny enough, it was too slim to be comfortable on his wrist. He kept thinking he was going to break it 😂  

Then again, we were there to fix the rubber strap of his Bulgari Diagono chronograph that I gave him 12 years ago, which is a giant thick watch so his perspective is probably skewed. 

I can totally see what you mean about it not sitting right.

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Hah… vintage Omega with problems, been there. Yes, it tests your nerve…

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Porthole

Hah… vintage Omega with problems, been there. Yes, it tests your nerve…

It is how I imagine the owner of a 60s vintage E-type feels.  The steering is awful (not atypical of the period), the engine is hyper unreliable, there's rust everywhere and it spends more time at the shop than on the road.

But when you look at it on the side of the road you marvel at just how pretty it is.  

I'll dip my toes back into vintage some day, I'm too stupid  to quit but it is nice being able to pick up a watch and have it, you know, work.

Que sera sera.

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Edge168n

It is how I imagine the owner of a 60s vintage E-type feels.  The steering is awful (not atypical of the period), the engine is hyper unreliable, there's rust everywhere and it spends more time at the shop than on the road.

But when you look at it on the side of the road you marvel at just how pretty it is.  

I'll dip my toes back into vintage some day, I'm too stupid  to quit but it is nice being able to pick up a watch and have it, you know, work.

Que sera sera.

The first 48hrs are everything. If it survives it gets worn, and then the next 48hrs cement the relationship. If the watch gets through the process, it can easily make its way into my deepest of affections. Not many watches make it that far.

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Thank you for the compliment @Edge168n ! And for this great edition of Watches in the Wild! I've seen a few 80's Rolexes (Rolexs?) DJ in steel/gold in my Spanish class this week. If I ever have money to burn and feel ironic enough, I'll buy one! Jubilee bracelet!

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rowiphi

Thank you for the compliment @Edge168n ! And for this great edition of Watches in the Wild! I've seen a few 80's Rolexes (Rolexs?) DJ in steel/gold in my Spanish class this week. If I ever have money to burn and feel ironic enough, I'll buy one! Jubilee bracelet!

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It was an awesome review!

This is probably my favorite era of the datejust.  The movements are fundamentally modern and serviceable and the case shapes are so much more graceful with the long thin lugs.  I don't love the new bigger lug on the six digit reference cases.

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Great watch spotting.

I own two models similar to what you found in the wild, the first is the Arctic MSAR, the 36mm version of the 41mm Arctic GSAR that @rowiphi own and reviewed. I can confirm that everything he wrote about his watch applies to the MSAR as well, which by pure coincidence is the watch I'm wearing today.

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The second model is the San Martin SN007-G-X which is the 37mm of the SN007. It's an almost perfect re-creation of the original 62MAS and it can hold its own against the Seiko SPB14X. I know it can because I own a SPB147 and IMO the SN007-G-X is the better value here.

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Awesome selection of watches in the wild, although I have to catch up on your last few posts. I absolutely love that generation of seamasters I used to own a current gen 42mm SMP300 and sold it bc it wasnt getting enough wrist time at that moment. Selling that was my only true watch selling regret of the 30+ that I've sold off and its the only watch that I would ever consider rebuying. BUT the 2254 makes me rethink the situation bc of the slightly smaller case alongside the unique and old school dial and handset. And of course the bracelet on the 2254 is far superior to the current non tapering variation. That PO and the variant with the orange numerals are in the running as well. This conundrum will be on going for god knows how long lol! All I know is that I need an Omega diver back in my life at some point.

Also I'm so happy to see that your are enjoying the SM 62MAS so much! It really is an incredible watch and it was my 2nd most worn watch of 2022, losing out to the Black Bay Pro by only a few days! I agree with all your thoughts, whenever I see it close up i simply cant believe that it costs about $250 only. The bezel feel and the definition of the hands and indices are what really gets me. I hope it keeps bringing you joy as you continue to wear bc mine keeps bringing me joy to this day! 

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Catskinner

Great watch spotting.

I own two models similar to what you found in the wild, the first is the Arctic MSAR, the 36mm version of the 41mm Arctic GSAR that @rowiphi own and reviewed. I can confirm that everything he wrote about his watch applies to the MSAR as well, which by pure coincidence is the watch I'm wearing today.

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The second model is the San Martin SN007-G-X which is the 37mm of the SN007. It's an almost perfect re-creation of the original 62MAS and it can hold its own against the Seiko SPB14X. I know it can because I own a SPB147 and IMO the SN007-G-X is the better value here.

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Love both these watches!  I have been tempted by the MSAR a couple times but never really make my way back to it.

As for the SN007 vs the SPB143, it's an interesting comparison.  Despite the more toolish face of the Seiko with the brush steel bezel, I find that it's a bit dressier as a wear just because of the chamfers and edges.  Its a more refined watch in most ways, but that somehow defeats the purpose of what I'm looking for in a diver (if only because the rest of my collection leans dressier).  I feel both can coexist in a collection.

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the.watch.idiot

Awesome selection of watches in the wild, although I have to catch up on your last few posts. I absolutely love that generation of seamasters I used to own a current gen 42mm SMP300 and sold it bc it wasnt getting enough wrist time at that moment. Selling that was my only true watch selling regret of the 30+ that I've sold off and its the only watch that I would ever consider rebuying. BUT the 2254 makes me rethink the situation bc of the slightly smaller case alongside the unique and old school dial and handset. And of course the bracelet on the 2254 is far superior to the current non tapering variation. That PO and the variant with the orange numerals are in the running as well. This conundrum will be on going for god knows how long lol! All I know is that I need an Omega diver back in my life at some point.

Also I'm so happy to see that your are enjoying the SM 62MAS so much! It really is an incredible watch and it was my 2nd most worn watch of 2022, losing out to the Black Bay Pro by only a few days! I agree with all your thoughts, whenever I see it close up i simply cant believe that it costs about $250 only. The bezel feel and the definition of the hands and indices are what really gets me. I hope it keeps bringing you joy as you continue to wear bc mine keeps bringing me joy to this day! 

I think the 2254 and the 2201 (the PO) are rare birds design wise.  Movement wise, robust, nearly completely modern.  I doubt you'd have to worry about magnetizing them or shock or any of that stuff. But they call back to much older divers in real and interesting ways.  Obviously they are quite well known these days but I still think they're underrated for how good they look and are.

As for the SN007, I'm honestly shocked how much joy it brings me!

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Porthole

Hah… vintage Omega with problems, been there. Yes, it tests your nerve…

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Congrats on the San Martin homage of an homage 

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I wish you would‘ve made your drunken purchase and subsequent review prior to my SPB143 pick up. Looks great.