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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IWC Is Making A Statement

IWC Is Making A Statement

A couple years ago I wrote that IWC was back! That was when they introduced their revamped Portuguese collection, even renaming it to Portugieser. It included a slew of brand new in-house movements, and the revamping of other pre-existing movements. To refresh our memories, this is the list of what became the latest Portugieser collection:

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Bang-For-Your-Buck: Zenith El Primero 36000 vph

Bang-For-Your-Buck: Zenith El Primero 36000 vph

Quite possibly an ongoing series, today’s bang-for-your-buck is the Zenith El Primero 36000. Specifically the 38mm version that is branded “original”, as in the original case specs/design from 1969.

The history behind the El primero is legendary. It was one the first three automatic chronograph ever made. The Heuer c.11 and the Seiko c.6139 being the other two and all were released within months of each other in 1969. The Zenith is named “El Primero”, which means “the first” in Spanish, because Zenith released their prototype before either Heuer or Seiko could release theirs (although both the heuer and Seiko were available for purchase before the El Primero).

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Bang-For-Your-Buck: Rolex Explorer 14270

Bang-For-Your-Buck: Rolex Explorer 14270

New watch prices have dramatically increased over the years. Even when factoring for inflation, watches cost more today than any other time in history. This is why when we come across a watch that is a good deal, we like to mention it asap!

Today’s bang-for-your-buck is the Rolex Explorer ref.14270 (or even the 114270, which had minor changes: a slightly upgraded caliber 3130, the addition of solid end links, and the subtraction of lug holes), which can be bought on the pre-owned market for just over $3,000 to about $3,500. An excellent value, especially when you consider that a brand new Explorer will run you close to $7,000.

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Top 10 Most "Attainable" Watches

Top 10 Most "Attainable" Watches

A little while ago I put together 'The Ultimate Watch Collection'. A collection where money is no object.

But, what if money is an object?

In other words, if we wanted to build a watch collection of 'attainable' watches, where attainable isn't necessarily cheap, but that a person making an average salary could, with time, save up to buy at least a couple, what would that look like?

Well, I'm about to tell you (in no particular order), and yes there are watches in this list that overlap with the "ultimate watch collection", and thats because money isn't everything.

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More Money Than Brains: $11 Million Steel Patek 1518

More Money Than Brains: $11 Million Steel Patek 1518

I love watches, but if you read my posts you also know I'm not one of those Horological Douchebags (HDs), that is constantly pushing the pissing contest many people with more money than brains tend to have with great regularity.

And without repeating myself (you can read older posts for that), let me present to you the most recent example: the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in stainless steel.

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Icons: IWC Portuguese

Icons: IWC Portuguese

The IWC Portuguese is a watch icon.

And has been, since it's inception.

But how did it come to be? Why the name 'Portuguese'?

As the story goes, a couple of Portuguese business men commission IWC for a wristwatch that had the "precision of a marine chronometer".

This was back in the 1930s, and by 1939 IWC launched the first ever Portuguese.

What makes this watch such an icon can easily be identified by the process IWC followed to get it made. And as you will see, the idea that 'form follows function' is at the core of this wonderful watch.

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Summary

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Summary

Today, a convenient summary!

I think the following summary, in chart form should be a lot of fun. And as you will see, it makes it real easy to visualize alternative combinations. I.e., if you prefer the Calatrava to the Reverso, cool. In your personal chart/list, you could just swap them, and it'd still make sense...

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Beater Watch

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Beater Watch

If anything is the exact opposite of last week's Ultimate Complication Watch, this would be it.

The Ultimate Beater watch!

But sometimes this is also the most fun you will ever have with watches.

In other words, imagine what it would be like to have so much money that buying million dollar grand complication watches would be like spending no more than a couple hundred dollars.

Well, this Beater Watch category can provide exactly that kind of feeling/fun (see my post about Seiko).

In fact, all the contenders here, in some way or form can even be considered disposable.

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Complication Watch

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Complication Watch

This is the category where only the best of the best can participate.

If you're a watch company and do not have a watch in this category, you are not a top-tier watch brand. Period.

You may make no-nonsense, reliable, tough, even beautiful looking watches. But to be even considered part of the truly top-tier, you must have a watch in this category.

Of course, what makes it so hard to compete in this category are the technical requirements in general. And this is why only the best of the best compete. It's the category, in other words, that really does separate the men from the boys.

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Tool/Dive Watch

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Tool/Dive Watch

I combined the categories of "Tool" and "Dive" watch, which are usually separate, because of the fact these are essentially obsolete categories in our modern world.

So much so, that I even contemplated referring to this as the "Vintage" watch category.

In other words, gone are the days when any given military or air force division, etc., would call a luxury watch brand to make them a watch, fine tuning the hands or the dial for their specific needs, which led to some iconic watches like the Submariner, Mark IX, W10, etc.

Today, there's only one choice for any non-civilian use and thats a G-Shock. There are some rare exceptions, but not really.

A G-shock will make any Submariner seem fragile, and is so cost effective they're almost disposable.

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Luxury Sport Watch

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Luxury Sport Watch

It's inconceivable to think that this category didn't even exist until the 1970s.

Up to that time, Stainless Steel was used in the typical "Tool" or "Dive" watches. Dress watches were also made in stainless steel, but then those would never have been considered "luxury" dress watches.

So, when Audemars Piguet decided to create a new watch, one that would deserve to be called an Audemars Piguet, one that would merge "Sport" and "Luxury", and in essence create a whole new category of watch, a Stainless Steel case must have been an obvious choice.

But, given the fact the future of the company (arguably) hung in the balance of this "new watch", it must have also been tense times at AP.

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Chronograph

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Chronograph

The chronograph is one of the most desirable complications around. 

And it's an expensive and time consuming process to research and develop a chronograph movement in-house, especially an automatic one. 

As a result, the history of the chronograph is quite fascinating.  

To put it into perspective, the first automatic movement was developed by Parrelet or Breguet (depending on whom you ask), back in the 1700's.  

Harwood developed the first commercially viable and reliable automatic movement in the 1920's.

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Dress Watch

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Dress Watch

Of all the categories, if I only had one great watch, it'd be in the Dress Watch category.

This is for a few reasons.

First, a dress watch today isn't just a dress watch. It can definitely cross over. As such, it can be quite practical for most people.

Second, it's the most likely of watches to transcend all generations (in my opinion). Dress watches are usually simpler, so their overall design tends to be the kind that will most likely still be relevant in the future.

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The Ultimate Watch Collection: Overview

The Ultimate Watch Collection: Overview

If you've ever caught the bug to collect watches, or if you're a watch lover in general, the question of what would be the ultimate watch collection always comes up. And this is true even if you never actually end up owning that collection ($$$$).

And many blogs and publications have written about this subject. The truth is, it's fun!

For the most part, owning such a collection is just a dream. There aren't too many people (or their wives) who can justify more than a couple "great" watches let alone anything close to an 'ultimate watch collection'.

But again, it's fun to even discuss it.

And when considering the ultimate collection, how to determine the logic behind the collection, or the theme, can be just as difficult. I'd say there is never a shortage of collection themes.

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The 'Holy Trinity" plus 1

The 'Holy Trinity" plus 1

Traditionally speaking, a trio of watch brands from Switzerland have been referred to as the "Holy Trinity" of watch brands.

They are:

  • Patek Philippe (PP)
  • Audemars Piguet (AP)
  • Vacheron Constantin (VC)

...and the 'plus 1', has always been Jaeger LeCoultre.

But referring to Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) as a 'plus 1', is not giving JLC the proper respect it deserves. Because in many ways, JLC not only belongs in that group, it could be argued that group wouldn't even exist if it weren't for JLC.

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