Inside A Novice Watch-Buyer’s Mind

Inside A Novice Watch-Buyer’s Mind

I have always loved watches. From the time I was young, I loved the different styles and colors, chronographs vs. dress; hell, I even loved pocket watches. But, it wasn’t until recently that I started to appreciate the engineering that goes into making a quality watch. 

Luckily, I get to hang out with the creator of spazz.com on a regular basis, so I get schooled on the in”s-and-out’s of a variety of different watches. There is so much to learn and understand, and I am taking it all in little by little. 

So, I decided to write this article to help others like me - the guys who love quality watches but don’t have the money to buy the best of the best. The good news is that you don’t always have to buy the best; just buy the best in the range that you can afford. 

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Paul Newman's Paul Newman, Newman... WTF?

Paul Newman's Paul Newman, Newman... WTF?

Hello Newman!

You knew it was going to happen one day, certainly after the idiocy we've seen with recent show-stoppers like the womanizing-country-abanding Bao Dai 6062, or the so-subtle-no-one-would-ever-know-its-a-Patek-under-a-sweater 130, that the ultimate vintage watch that people with far more money than brains will jerk each other off over, would be found.

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Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie Is A Joke!

Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie Is A Joke!

Not too long ago the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), released a white paper that took them over 3 years to complete, which was supposed to define for us all mere mortals what "fine watchmaking" really is. To do this, the established a "Cultural Council" made up of 46 "experts" that would judge all brands and watches across a series of criteria both subjective and objective.

The end result was that only 68 brands managed a score high enough to qualify their watches as "fine watchmaking".

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does: Comparing Watches to Art

Stupid Is As Stupid Does: Comparing Watches to Art

Last weekend we saw an example of the complete and total idiocy within watch collecting when the so-called “Bao Dai” Rolex 6062 sold for nearly $5.2 million dollars, setting a record for a Rolex watch at auction in the process. The reason for this outrageous number was because of it’s supposed rarity and provenance. Bao Dai who was the last Emperor of Vietnam, bought this watch during the Geneva Accords in 1954 not long before he abandoned his country because he realized that actually running it would interfere with his womanizing, golf, bridge, etc. As such, he took his Rolex to the south of France to frolic among other like-minded nobodies until his death in 1997.

Good for him, but for that “provenance”, someone actually paid $5 million. Of course, this did not come without criticism. Many have spoken out against the lack of common sense shown in these prices/values, citing the Bao Dai as the clearest of examples.

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The Bao Dai or Mr. Chow Rolex 6062?

The Bao Dai or Mr. Chow Rolex 6062?

I spent much of last week and the weekend taking deep breathes. The reason for this was the latest Phillips Geneva Watch Auction where the extremely famous “Bao Dai” Rolex 6062 was going to be auctioned off. Among “Rolex Collectors”, this was apparently the best of the best. Some very prominent Rolex collectors have even been quoted as saying if there was just one Rolex they could own, this would be the one. So, the obvious question is what’s the big deal about *this* Rolex?

The reference as mentioned is a 6062. It's the last moon phase Rolex ever made until this year when they introduced a new moon phase movement as part of their Cellini collection. But, this particular 6062 is one-of-a-kind. It's the only one in 18k yellow gold that has a black dial and diamond indices. Thus, making it as rare is it gets, which is one of the 3 main rules of collecting vintage watches. Apparently, there are no records of a second watch just like this one. There are other 6062’s, some in stainless steel, other gold ones too, but only one with a black dial *and* diamond indices.

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How Competitive Diving Helps Judge Watches

How Competitive Diving Helps Judge Watches

“A fool and his money are soon parted.”

That is a famous proverb that seems to be the foundation of the marketing used by watch brands today. In other words, for better or worse, despite the absolute fact that watches are machines, tools, instruments of time, etc., watch brands want us to view and judge watches subjectively like jewelry. This is how you end up with gold dive watches, for example, and people foolish enough to buy them.

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The FHH White Paper Might As Well Be Toilet Paper

The FHH White Paper Might As Well Be Toilet Paper

Yesterday, April 26, 2017, the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) released a white paper on “Fine Watchmaking”. In short, the white paper was created to promote what they’re calling “Fine Watchmaking”, and they defined 4 market segments and 7 areas of expertise by which 46 “independent international experts” used to judge brands against. These people make up what they’re calling the “Cultural Council”. For a watch to be qualified it must score at least 60% where 65% of the score is objective and 35% is subjective.

In total, 86 brands were judged, 68 made the cut, and only 28 were so good they became partners.

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Tudor Submariner 7923 And The Moron About To Pay $350K

Tudor Submariner 7923 And The Moron About To Pay $350K

This past March there was an auction for an old Tudor Submariner. This watch is unique because it is the only reference Submariner made by either Rolex or Tudor that has a manual wound movement. The other thing that is interesting about this particular example is that it really does appear to be completely original and untouched, but also in really amazing condition. As you will see in the photos, it definitely looks old and has signs of aging, but the case is still really crisp and its original finish is mostly there, even the bezel insert wasn’t changed and the lume is still untouched.

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Buy Or Not To Buy: Young Independents

Buy Or Not To Buy: Young Independents

If you ask me, I would recommend against buying a watch from a young independent company. This is my general rule, and this has nothing to do with the quality of the watches, because young independents make some amazing watches, and I do mean amazing! My recommendation is simply based on the economics of the watch industry itself.

Currently, buying a watch brand new has never been a bigger ripoff. If one compares prices of watches today to even 20 or 30 years ago, factoring for inflation, watches are one of the few things in our world that are actually much more expensive.

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The Best And Worst Of Baselworld 2017

Now that Baselworld 2017 has ended, we can all take a deep breath, the proverbial “chill pill”, and actually discuss what was released in a (hopefully) objective way. To that end, here is a small list of some of my favorite and least favorite watches from Baselworld 2017.

My Least Favorite Watches

1. Hublot MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis

There were many awful watches at Baselworld 2017, in fact the awful watches represented the majority of the watches shown, but none were as bad as the Hublot MP-09. This is the kind of watch that might have targeted new money Asians or Middle Eastern buyers once upon a time, but even they would probably take a pass at this atrocity. There is literally nothing new here, which I suppose represents Hublot as brand perfectly. But the MP-09 takes bad taste to a whole new level and makes it’s buyer pay for it through the nose with it’s $169k sticker price!

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The Omega Speedmaster Turns 60

The Omega Speedmaster Turns 60

Regardless of industry, companies that make products are always trying to create that perfect product that can translate not only to great sales, but that can actually become an icon.

In computers, think of the iPhone. The first true Smartphone and it literally changed how every single human who has ever held a mobile phone sees mobile telephony forever.

In the automotive world, think of what it must have been like when in the early 70’s Ferrari introduced the 308 GTB. In an era where most cars were the size of small boats, here comes this sleek, wedge inspired design that literally sliced through the air standing still. It defined Ferrari for a new generation and defined what an exotic sports car is supposed to be, having influenced hundreds of designs afterward.

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Meaning of Rolex 'underline' revealed

Meaning of Rolex 'underline' revealed

When it comes to the watch collecting world, specifically the Rolex watch collecting world, the fabled 'underline' has been a mystery.  

A Submariner or Daytona or Explorer with an underline on its dial is worth easily 1000% more than a non-underline version. 

There is absolutely no difference between the watches other than the tiny bit of faded paint, but its value is, as mentioned, very different.  

Turns out it was all an elaborate April Fools' Joke by some Rolex collector! - let's call him Bubba to protect his identity. 

It was easy for Bubba to make 'underline' Rolex dials since no one expects them to be pristine and they can't be authenticated by Rolex. So a faded underline would do.  

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Baselworld 2017: Rolex's Pleasant Surprise

Baselworld 2017: Rolex's Pleasant Surprise

Last year Rolex made a big splash at Baselworld 2016. They did this by introducing a Daytona that most resembled the legendary design of the 60s since the 1960s. And since the Daytona is Rolex's most loved model, the splash was large.

This year, no splash. In fact, most of what was introduced was a disappointment (at least from a purist's point of view): the new Sea Dweller is bigger and thicker and with a cyclops, no thanks!

The new Dayton is now available in a Gold-Rubber combo (wtf?), no thanks!

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The Time Grand Seiko Ruled The World

The Time Grand Seiko Ruled The World

If you’ve lived all your life in the Western hemisphere, your opinion of Seiko most likely is that Seiko makes “cheap” watches. That they are not very high-end.

If you haven’t lived all your life in the Western hemisphere, or you are a true watch person, then you know that is absolutely false!

In fact, the Seiko Credor Eichi II is quite possibly the most interesting and best-finished watch in the world. It goes toe-to-toe, literally, with the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor and the Philippe Dufour Simplicity. Furthermore, the Credor line also contains some higher-end complication watches, such as the Credor Repeater, Credor Sonerie, and the Credor Fugaku Tourbillon. These are complications that only a hand full of companies can compete with. Rolex, Omega, Longines, and many other traditional “big” brands from the 60's can not, and never have!

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When Image And Reputation Matter

When Image And Reputation Matter

There’s an old saying that I love that goes like this: Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

This is so engrained in our psyche as humans, that companies have started to invest more and more money in making us think their products are great, rather than actually making great products. It’s cheaper and they make loads more money, and the watch industry is no exception. Never has the watch market been filled with so many overpriced and boring watches (a reason why the vintage market is so hot), period.

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SIHH 2017: A Look At Our Favorite Watches

SIHH 2017: A Look At Our Favorite Watches

Now that SIHH 2017 has come and gone, lets take a look at some of our favorite new watches. But first, what is SIHH?

SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) is one of the two big watch shows in Switzerland that happens every year (Baselworld is the other). SIHH began in the early 90’s with it’s first show in 1992 when 5 brands left Baselworld to set it up: Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Piaget, Gerald Genta, and Daniel Roth. Today the show has grown to 30 exhibitors. As such, the quality of the watches revealed has also grown immensely, which is never a bad thing.

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Happy New Year! And Materialism As We Enter 2017

Happy New Year! And Materialism As We Enter 2017

Every year we have our "new year's resolutions", but given the holiday season has just ended, which is always filled with the standard commercialism and retail therapy, I thought it might be worthwhile to give my perspective on the subject. Specifically when we refer to a certain type of spending as "materialism" - this ties in nicely with the watch world, since 2016 was officially the worst year on record since the early 80's!

First, what is materialism?

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