Disclaimer: The Direnzo DRZ04 was my watch this week (pictured here on the plane), an all around fabulous travel and vacation watch. Integrated lugs are for holidays.
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 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 , part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, and part 12.
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 settling back at home after a couple of weeks of travel, capped off with a much needed trip to Maui with the family. We did nothing except go to the pool, then the beach and, exhausting that, walk up and down the Kaanapali boardwalk every day. It was the best kind of boring.
Fortunately for your intrepid correspondent, people wear their coolest watches on vacation! There's a lot to cover so I imagine this selection of holiday watches will continue next week.
Cartier Santos Dumont, Small (two tone)
Seen at a dinner party on the wrist of a lady. No conversation on the watch was had because it simply wasn't that sort of dinner party.
Because this is a safe space, I feel okay with telling all of you that I am a mechanical watch snob. I love the sweep of a mechanical movement.
"But @Edge168n , you own a Spring Drive. How does this fit in with your completely arbitrary and unjustified prejudice."
Ah, I have a response! I believe in the beautiful union between man and machine. I don't service the machine, I POWER it. The barrel of a mainspring defies obsolescence, versus the metal alkaline batteries that are quickly falling out of style and decaying. A spring drive is the perfection of the mechanical movement not a technologically backwards quartz!
Of course, if you ever needed evidence of how stupid and arbitrary this distinction in my brain is, look at how freely I suggest and buy quartz watches for others! And now my lizard brain looks at this Santos Dumont and is wondering just how tasty of a morsel it could be.
The Santos Dumont is one of those watches that knows precisely what it is. The mechanical version has a low and unimpressive power reserve. The brightly polished bezel will scratch if you dare look at it. There's no water proofing to speak of.
However, the Santos Dumont possesses one superpower, there is no situation where you could wear it and feel underdressed (at least in a modern context). Despite it's sporting roots, this would look good at a wedding, a deal closing, or an embassy dinner. It's an absolute killer of a watch that punches well above its weight.
Last I checked, @Ichibunz owns one of these and I do occasionally think about whether one of these or the special editions (copper dial with arabics) might fit in my collection.
As of yet, I find myself having relatively little use for a rectangular dress watch but ask me tomorrow and I might change my mind.
Seen on the wrist of a friend at a coffee hour.
The Tisell is much more a Nomos Tangente clomage than it is homage (in the way of Frederique Constant etc) save for the center seconds and date instead of a small second. And normally clones don't really do it for me but there's a story here.
I initially mistook it for it a Tangente and asked about it, to which he sheepishly mentioned that it was an homage. Said friend is a graduate student (with two kiddos no less) and noted that he loved the Nomos look but 1) didn't have the spare dosh to buy one on a whim and 2) wanted to get one on his graduation, where he felt it could be a milestone watch. The Tisell was to tide him over until he saved up for the original. How could one be cross with that?
And I think this is, perhaps, where clomages like Pagani, Tisell, and San Martin are their best. It's like a demo version of a video game. Sometimes getting a taste is enough to want the real thing.
At any rate, the Tisell is actually a lovely if unoriginal watch. Not the match of Nomos in feel or finishing but at the price it would be surprising if it were. However, it definitely gives a bit of a taste of Nomos in a slim and svelte package (38mm diameter and 10mm high). On balance, I think I like the small seconds more vs the center seconds and date but good design is good design.
I think the only real complaint I'd have is the mediocre stock strap in a croc print. With a grey suede strap, it would be absolutely killer. I think I have a Christmas gift idea!
Citizen Skyhawk Titanium
Seen on the wrist of a gentleman right in front of me in church. I believe it is the same model at @nytime has, with the orange accents on the bezel. It was off the stock bracelet and instead on a fabric and leather strap of some sort that I didn't recognize.
I have tried on this watch just once with a couple of thoughts.
1. It's a big boy. 45mm diameter and 15mm height. I don't have a small wrist (7.25in/18.5cm) and it just dwarfed me.
2. The dial is exceptionally busy but in a way that allows me to ignore half the information I don't need, which is pretty good design.
3. It's actually rather light. Quartz movements and titanium man.
Forget fliegers, this is the epitome of a pilots watch to me. UTC, GMT, Perpetual Calendar, Atomic Time, and perhaps even a coffee maker (though I have not confirmed it). I love the more modernized sword hands (a bit of skeleton, but not too much skeleton) and the mostly black color scheme with pops of orange. I kinda love it all.
This might convince me to overcome my blah feelings towards quartz watches...if it weren't so incredibly large.
Breitling Chronomat in Cobra Yellow
Seen while in line at the airport on the wrist of a gentleman. I correctly identified this as a Chronomat but had to ask about the specific model. Apparently, this Chronomat is a limited edition model, celebrating the aerobatics demonstration team of the Italian Air Force, the Frecce Tricolori.
Apparently, said gentleman is a great fan of aerobatics and spent much of his time (now retired) traveling the world to see high level aerobatic demonstrations. I can only hope I'm that cool when I retire.
After complaining in the comments to @MegaBob and @Aurelian for the past couple of weeks about not seeing any Breitlings, they seem to come out of the woodwork (more to come next week). I guess that's the benefit of travel! New sights, new watches.
There's something pleasantly anachronistic about this era of the Chronomat. It might be the aggressively raised tabbed bezel or the gigantic size but I always have imagined that if General Flagg from GI Joe were to wear a watch, this would be it.
It's an absolutely cool as hell watch to be clear but I have two personal problems with it.
First, 44mm diameter x 54mm lug to lug x 17mm in height makes my Roadster XL look petite. I have tried on cousins to this Chronomat and it is not within my ability to pull it off.
Second, I am not a man who counts yellow among his clothing choices or color palate. Should my eldest daughter grow up with enough of a wrist to sport this watch, it would match her wardrobe completely.
Seen on the wrist of a gentleman while strolling on a boardwalk in Maui. When I saw it, I might have been shouting at my girls to slow down and, upon seeing this watch, might have forgotten my volume control and also bellowed "SARB033!" I got a thumbs up. Flawless victory.
Have you ever had a moment where you literally can't remember that you owned a watch once? This is me and the SARB033. I've owned so many black dial Seikos over the years that they all blend into one another for me.
Two matters make this worse.
1. Ever since it was discontinued, the 033 has become a folk legend in the watch community, a sign of how Seiko doesn't care about collectors anymore (they never did, but that doesn't mean they don't make good watches) and a mythical lost era of Seiko being the value watch king (I guess? Seiko had a massive grey market problem that's now being resolved so I think true pricing is somewhat higher than what it was from 2008-2016). Anyway, I feel like I see this watch constantly which makes me feel like I owned it even if I didn't.
2. I am absolutely terrible at taking and saving photos of my watches.
At any rate, I did eventually find a sales receipt as evidence that I did own this watch about 6 years ago (this is the sort of crazy watch collector I am. I don't have a picture but I have traceable financial evidence!)
A good thing too, I have many opinions about this watch. Not the least, it is beautifully sized (38mm diameter x 44mm lug to lug x 11mm height) and beautifully spec'd. It's flexible, attractive and worthy of any watch collector looking for a flexible watch for office and weekend.
It's not all roses of course. The bracelet, as I recall, is terrible with poorly fitting endlinks and jangly even by Seiko standards links. The dial is anonymous without those specific quality markets that
Recent pricing, at around $500, is silly. At $250, it punches well with anything outside of AliExpress. At $500, buy a Hamilton Intramatic or a Tissot gentleman or hell even a cocktail time for the visual interest. Times change and the competition has advanced.
In the terms of @mjosamannen's poll, is it a legend? Yes. But overrated? Also yes.
Rolex Ceramic Sea Dweller
Seen in Lahaina at a smoothie stand on the wrist of a gentleman. I originally mistook this for a ceramic submariner (they all look alike to me) but noticed the helium escape valve and red text. There is no ceramic Submariner which has red text ergo....
I offered my compliments to the owner who claimed, quite indignantly, that it was a submariner. This happens to me entirely more often than I would like, though the preponderance of incidents seem happen with Rolex owners. I didn't have the heart to correct him but even from a distance, I can tell the difference between a submariner with a 13mm height and a 18mm tall Sea Dweller with a helium escape valve.
The most perplexing aspect of the entire incident is that Sea Dwellers are rare, much rarer than submariners. So how did this guy, who can't be bothered to learn the proper name of his watch, get a Sea Dweller instead? Did he buy it off the grey market and just not look at the listing? Or did he get it from his authorized dealer? If so, how did he get allocated a Sea Dweller instead of the clearly easier to get Submariner (from an AD who failed to correct him on the name)? I have so many questions.
Anyway, I get the point of this watch (super capable dive watch hooray?). But it does, fundamentally, look like a submariner that could use a bit of a diet. Contrast to the original Pelagos which genuinely looks different from the BB58 from the markers to the handset.
Ultimately, I find this watch very good but very frustrating. Another Rolex missed opportunity.
Pasha De Cartier(41mm three hander)
Seen strolling down the beach in Ka'anapali. This is an unspeakably cool watch, especially when seen walking down the beach.
I won't go into the history of the Pasha or anything like that. I only know it tangentially and it frankly doesn't interest me all that much. Some rich guy commissioned a watch in the 40s and then Cartier relaunched it in 1985 with great fanfare and a new Gerald Genta design. I do regard it as one of the most unique of the Genta descended designs but one infused with strong Cartier DNA.
The dial is a stunning starburst guilloche, with old timey sword hands. The lugs are absolutely bizarre, with a quick change but fully proprietary strap change system. They have a, as far as I can tell, completely unique crown system with a fully screw on and off swing out outer crown over a push pull inner crown. It's utterly whacky and utterly unique.
Frankly, the only design choice i don't realize agree with is that 4:30 date window.....I don't understand why manufacturers do this. Still, with an inhouse movement and a completely unique design, the Pasha doesn't get nearly enough love from watch dorks.
I offered a quick comment to the wearer but I don't think he heard me...but if you're on here, your watch is so cool!
What cool watches did you see this week?