Disclaimer: Direnzo DRZ04 pictured above has been on my wrist since Thurs.
This is the fourth 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.
I have been spending a long weekend in Mexico City and have been rocking the Direnzo all weekend. It's a pretty amazing watch that punches well above its weight price wise and is a worthy travel companion in all reapects.
My primary goal for my mini vacation has been to eat my body weight in tacos but Mexico City, particularly the Polanco neighborhood, has also been absolutely awesome for watch spotting. It is the first major city I have been to in a while that I could venture that nonsmart watches significantly outnumber smart watches.
Lots of G-shocks, Fossils, and Seikos (and I will never complain about that!) and even some more unusual watches detailed below.
Seamaster 300M in Black
Seen outside my office building on a busy Monday morning.
Modern Seamaster 300ms are easy to identify, even from a distance so I won't belabor the point but the scalloped bezel, shiny multi link bracelet and ceramic bezels are pretty big give aways.
I think this is as good a time as any to note that Omega vexes me.
Technologically, I think they are best in class, really only rivaled by Seiko. In terms of movement innovation and quality, novel materials implemented at manufacturing scale, Omega might be unmatched. The co-axial escapement is the biggest technological leap in mechanical watchmaking since the automatic rotor. The watch geek in me lusts after Omega.
And yet, Omega is a watch maker that I feel is searching for a soul. My biggest critique of Omega is the fact that their watch designs have simply waffled too much over the years. The Seamaster of today bears little resemblance to the seamaster of 30 years ago which in turn bears little resemblance to the Seamasters of 50 years ago.
Contrast to Rolex/Cartier/Blancpain/Breguet, whose watches are unmistakable regardless of whatever period of time they're from.
It seems sad that Omega, which potentially has as much powerful horological history as any of those watch brands, does not call from its history as much as it could and should. Instead we have the increasingly awkward explosion of watch lines and watches within watch lines. The Seamaster is ground zero for this problem.
Example: A Submariner is a dive watch that looks a very specific way. A Tank is a rectangular dress watch that looks a very specific way.
A Seamaster is
1) a casual dive watch with ceramic bezel (Seamaster 300M),
2) a dress casual watch with a plain bezel (Seamaster Aqua Terra)
3) a professional dive watch with a ceramic bezel (Seamaster Planet Ocean),
4) A vintage dive watch (Seamaster 300),
5) A MORE professional dive watch (Seamaster Ploprof),
6) A dress watch (Seamaster City editions/1948 edition)
7) Whatever the heck the Seamaster Railmaster is
Every single one of these is a great watch. There's such promise. I just wish they'd pick a lane and stick to it.
Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch (I have no idea what version)
Seen outside an office building in SF.
I am fairly certain this was a Moonwatch because I thought I saw lyre lugs and white hands....but almost all speedmasters look identical to me from anything further than 6 feet. Black bezel, electric white tachymeter printing. It's a type of watch rather than a specific watch if that makes sense.
I am actually ashamed to say that don't really like speedmasters all that much from a personal stance. It makes me feel like less of watch collector that They do nothing for me.
That said, the one Omega line that is an exception from my tirade above is the Speedmaster, not coincidentally, their best selling line, containing their best selling watch. Unlike much of Omega's line, we KNOW what a speedmaster is, a chronograph that did a bunch of cool sh*t (not the least, going to the moon a number of times).
Omega, having the heritage that it does, has such potential to build an enduring design legacy. I think any rejuvenation of that starts with the Speedmaster because it is the watch that has stayed most true to who it is.
Worn by a watch friend. I am not the biggest fan of the snowflake hands, paired with the circular hour markers but the smiley dial has always charmed me.
Said friend is a great fan of the 1016 explorer and bought this to scratch the itch. When asked why he didn't want a modern explorer, he said the waiting list antics annoyed him and then, when he eventually got the call, he actually turned it down because he'd grown to love his little Tudor and all the adventures they'd been on together.
I think this speaks volumes to what makes us happy as watch collectors. There's a short term dopamine hit from buying something new but long term satisfaction comes from the memories not the watch.
Orient bambino v 5
Worn by an acquaintance at a social. The story behind this one was that he was looking for a reasonable watch that looked decent enough in the office.
He humorously noted that his wife absolutely hated the Breguet numerals on the dial. I told him, it looked classy as heck.
I've actually been trying to get a close look at this watch for about 4 months now (unsuccessfully until now) and a couple weeks ago had convinced myself this was a Breguet. On closer inspection, of course, it is not but it says volumes about how good this watch is that it can masquerade as something much pricier.
The Bambino is the best dress watch in its price range by a wide margin. I'm personally partial to the models with small seconds and dauphin hands, but the gold and cream dial also slaps (is that what the kids say these days?).
I think it's a wonderful start (and end) to any collection.
Luminox Navy Seal Chronograph Diver
Seen in a restaurant worn by a gentleman wearing a tan beret. As I was with my two children at the time, I did not manage to have a conversation with him about it.
I'm no expert but a US Army Special Forces type wearing a watch called the Navy Seal does not seem to be keeping with appropriate levels of interservice rivalry. I kid because I love but I do have many questions about this watch.
I am not a big fan of Luminox (lack of a positive does not imply a negative) and know relatively little about the brand, its provenance and its designs. My recognition of the watch is mostly happenstance and centered around two things.
1. The very prominent gear like bezel with the white printing.
2. The oyster bracelet pattern rubber strap, a design choice I don't fully get.
Still, it wore well and surprisingly sveltely despite the stated 45mm diameter (perhaps due to the size of the wearer). If I were more into the aesthetic, I could see myself digging a bit deeper into it.
Ga2100 1a (modded)
Seen out of the corner of my eye at a coffee shop after which I proceeded to turn around and ask him about his watch.
It is my experience that anyone who mods their watch is a serious watch nerd. This was a classically modded casioak with the aftermarket metal case (from jinshu watches should anyone have interest) to make it look more like a Royal Oak.
Turns out he's a bonfide accumulator of G-shocks (several dozen by his count) and a frequenter of watch forums, though not WatchCrunch.
I love the Casioak and I especially love the modded Casioak. No watch says "don't take this hobby too seriously" more.
Citizen Promaster NY0040
Worn by an acquaintance at a coffee hour with the original rubber strap replaced with an AliExpress FKM. To my great chagrin, I mistook this for an SKX despite the left hand crown.
I am not a diver guy, by any stretch, but I do wonder why the Citizen never got more traction on this generation of Pro Divers. It shares many of the visuals and wonderfully capable quirkiness of the comparable generation of SKXs.
I may have to grab one of these to fiddle with.
IWC Aquatimer Bronze "Expedition Charles Darwin"
Seen in a taqueria in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City. I attempted to talk to the gentlemen in question about his watch in my exceptionally broken Spanish.
"Eso es un IWC Aquatimer en...er...bronze?"
He looked at me, completely bewildered that this crazy American was asking about his watch, then immediately launched into an enthusiastic and cheerful explanation about what I assume were all the awesome things about his watch. I managed to understand "reloj" and "cronografo" and pretty much lost him from there.
Between my terrible Spanish and his significantly more competent but limited English, we managed to express admiration for each other's watches and I beat a hasty retreat. My wife was not amused.
There's so much personality in this watch. The crowns at 3 and 9, the internal rotating bezel, the absolutely massive wrist presence at 44mm diameter/17mm height, and the patinated lume. It's a beast of a watch that requires a large wristed wearer ready to make a statement.
This watch is not for me but I am ecstatic that it exists.
Everose GMT master ii, AP Royal Oak Tourbillion
Both seen in Mexico City on the wrists of two gentlemen in my hotel.
Grouped together because of how uncertain I am of the identification. These are the hypest of hype watches there are. I texted my AD to see how many of these there are out there in the wild, he responded that he's never actually seen one in the metal. As far as he can tell, none has ever passed through his store.
Given the rarity of both of those watches, I don't think I could truthfully say that I've seen these despite reasonably positive identification. I could be mistaken. They could be replicas.
Or they could be real and I've just seen a pair of unicorns. Maybe it's okay to believe in magic.
This post is already long enough so the other watches I saw in Mexico City will have to wait until next week.
What cool watches did you see this week?
By day, investor and father. By night, Seiko nut