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Thread: One “L” of a birthday dilemma...

  1. #1

    One “L” of a birthday dilemma...

    First, the TL;DR version:

    I’ve got a “biggish” birthday in a few months (less than 6) and fancy treating myself to a nice watch, up to a maximum of about £5,000, so I’m looking for some suggestions. Ideally I’d like something new, mainly because I like that “unwrapping”/“no one else has had it” feeling.

    I’d prefer something more robust, rather than too dressy, so I don’t have to be too worried about when/where I wear it. Steel, ideally and not a chronograph. Bracelet, rather than strap, but maybe with the option to change to dress it up (or down, onto a NATO).







    Now the “unabridged” version...

    As above, I’ve got a biggish birthday coming up in a few months, but I don’t have to have the watch on my wrist on the exact date, as long as I know it’s coming. My budget would be a maximum of about £5,000, which I know isn’t that much for something super special, but I reckon it’ll get me something I do like.

    I’ve a bit of an emotional attachment to Omega, having inherited my Dad’s 1956 Seamaster when he died in 1994. I’d even got to wear it on a couple of occasions before then. Financially, it’s worth very little, a few hundred quid at most, but it’s obviously of huge sentimental value and would be irreplaceable whether it was worth £10 or £100,000. That said, there’s nothing really in the current range that I really like. I think the 2254 was the last model that I would have considered, but they stopped being made about 2008, I think.

    I do like some of the older Omega models, like the Flightmaster and some of the yachting/regatta models, but I don’t know enough about any watches to buy second hand. Yes, I could go to a reputable dealer, but I’d end up paying a premium (the counter argument being that premium would/should buy peace of mind). The Speedmasters really don’t do it for me, except maybe the TinTin version, or a Snoopy, but again, a decent one of the latter is out of budget.

    The nearest new offering from Omega would be a Planet Ocean, which almost (for me) has the classic look I’m after. Aesthetically, it’s just about there, in my opinion (I’d like it even more if it had the sword hands from a 2254 - could I “specify” this from new as an option?) apart from the ceramic bezel.

    I’m not a fan of most Rolex. One I’d consider is the 1680, for an arcane reason to do with the number, but a quick Google suggests anything half decent would be way over budget. As above, buying second hand fills me with dread. Five grand is a big chunk of cash to me. If I did get any watch second hand, being a bit OCD, I’d like a full set of watch, box, papers, whichever brand it was. I do like the older Pepsi GMT, but I’m not a fan of Rolex overall. I know they make very good watches, but to me, they have a bit of an image problem. I know, I’m stereotyping all Rolex owners by a very, very small percentage of them, but that’s just my own opinion,

    Current “new” stuff I really like includes the Tudor GMT with the Pepsi bezel. I know it’s way under my maximum budget, but I much prefer the look of the bezel to any of the more current ceramic bezels elsewhere. I’m not a fan of the Black Bay 58, purely because of the gilt hands and markers. I do also really like the Pelagos in black.

    At this point, I should probably have mentioned I’d like something steel. Gold (or gold coloured) just doesn’t do it for me, at all.

    Back to Tudor, I really like the 1926 in steel with opaline dial and blued hands, as well as the “Glamour” model (apart from the hideous name!). The former doesn’t have lume, though, and in reality is too dressy for me. The Glamour does have lume, but a separate seconds dial. It’s probably worth mentioning here that I’m not a big fan of chronographs, although some of the vintage Heuer ones are lovely. Again, we’re back to the risks of lack of knowledge and buying second hand.

    I don’t want anything too jazzy or “quirky”. Of course, I’m going to contradict myself straight away and say I really like the Le Jour Skipper chronograph, which I’ve seen recently...

    http://www.gnomonwatches.com/watches/le-jour-watch...

    But that’s on a leather strap... yes, I know, I should’ve mentioned way before now I want something on a bracelet. Bear with me, it’s a bit “stream of consciousness”, I know!

    A watch I’ve really hankered after for a while is the Sinn 857 UTC, on the bracelet. I really like the understated looks, it’d look fine in the office at work or in my usual attire of jeans and t shirt when not at work. It’s way under budget and I quite fancy actually travelling to Germany to buy it. There are quite a few in the Sinn range I like and I. A similar vein, I’d really like a Seiko Spork (I missed a NOS one recently on TZ UK, because I dithered).

    Possibly slightly over budget would be something from Dornblüth (or a similar maker, but I’ve no idea who else there might be). I really like the thought of having something made just for me. I know the lead time for a watch from Dornblüth is around 12 months, but that wouldn’t bother me at all and I think the wait/anticipation would be part of the fun. Being able to have something “bespoke” for “off the shelf” (or Rolex) money really appeals. I like the thought of it being something actually “hand made” by a bloke in his shed (or cellar). I know there’s probably more assembly than manufacture, but I’d be dealing with the guy actually putting it together.

    However, more recently, I’ve been having second thoughts about a Dornblüth. Part of me thinks it would be much too nice to wear every day. I’m also a bit of a “lume we” and something beautiful like a Dornblüth just wouldn’t look right with lumed hands, I don’t think. I don’t have any descendants to leave it to, so it could end up being an expensive paperweight. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked myself out of this option.

    Then there’s something like a Max Bill chronoscope, which again, contradicts my “no chronograph” specification. However, I’m a right clumsy fker, so I’d be permanently worried about wearing it day to day and smashing it to pieces. What else is there that’s similar, but maybe slightly more robust?

    Style wise, I do like a pilot/diver and I’ve got a few of these already. Nothing high end - Seiko, Helm, Dan Henry, Maranez... I really like stuff like the Fortis B42 or the Eterna Kon Tiki, but are they special enough?

    Again, in the “is it special enough” category is something like the Farer Aqua Compressor Hecla... way under budget, but not at all common.

    https://farer.com/products/hecla

    Grand Seiko don’t really do it for me. It’s almost reverse snobbery, the opposite of Rolex, but this time, “It’s just a Seiko”... the recent snowflake dial is beautiful, but... it’s a Seiko. I know, the watches themselves are special and well made, it’s just me not “getting it”. I’m also not a fan of a power reserve indicator.

    So, over to you lot for any and all suggestions (and ideally links/pictures). Broad specs are no more than £5,000, steel, on a bracelet, “diver” or pilot, non-chronograph, something I can wear every day and with some lume.

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    IWC Pilot's watch? They have several models that might suit you. How about a pre owned 2254? I know you said you'd prefer new, but if it's not an absolute then a 2254 could fit the bill - it looks good, isn't too thick, is nicely proportioned & you already said you like the sword hands. additionally you can put a leather strap or NATO on it to ring the changes if you tire of the bracelet.
    Have fun looking!

  3. #3
    What about the retro vibe of the Seamaster 300? At 41mm and 300m w/r it should stand up to day to day wear. Looks like it'd go well with a strap if you want to tone down the polished bracelet.


    https://www.beaverbrooks.co.uk/00084...c-Mens-Watch/p

  4. #4
    what's in your current collection?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy2254 View Post
    IWC Pilot's watch? They have several models that might suit you. How about a pre owned 2254? I know you said you'd prefer new, but if it's not an absolute then a 2254 could fit the bill - it looks good, isn't too thick, is nicely proportioned & you already said you like the sword hands. additionally you can put a leather strap or NATO on it to ring the changes if you tire of the bracelet.
    Have fun looking!
    I do like the Mark XVIII (and the previous iterations), in fact I prefer them to the Pilot watches.

    The 2254 is a very good shout, to me, it just looks “right” and the proportions are spot on, I think. I certainly prefer it to the current Planet Ocean, particularly with ceramic bezels.


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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mylofitz View Post
    What about the retro vibe of the Seamaster 300? At 41mm and 300m w/r it should stand up to day to day wear. Looks like it'd go well with a strap if you want to tone down the polished bracelet.


    https://www.beaverbrooks.co.uk/00084...c-Mens-Watch/p

    Another option, definitely. Although I have to say I prefer the NOS Watchco ones if I’m honest.


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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jonny View Post
    what's in your current collection?
    A little bit of everything, but nothing too exotic.

    My most “valuable” watch (to me, it’s sentimental value rather than monetary value) is my late Dad’s 1956 Omega Seamaster.

    I’ve a couple of SKX007s, a smallish (~38mm) “dress” Oris on a brown leather strap, a (currently non functioning) Seiko 7A28 chronograph, a dead G10, Suunto Core, a couple of G shocks, including a GXW56, a Maranez Kata on brown leather (with a rubber waffle strap too), a Dan Henry 1973 “Compressor”, two or three bog standard Seiko 5s, a sterile “Flieger” about 45mm... I’m sure there are a couple or three others tucked away as well, but nothing particularly exotic by any stretch of the imagination.

    I do like the Stowa Flieger (the type A, I think it is, without the “inner” minutes ring)...

    And I read a thread a few days ago on PistonHeads about Dornblüth, which has me wavering that way again (there was a link in it to a Swedish board/forum, who did a group buy).

    And as much as I like the Tin Tin speedmaster, I’m veering away from chronographs/anything too “fussy/busy”. I see Andy Tim’s has his orange PO for sale. I used to like them, but now I wonder if the orange is a bit “too much”.

    And of course, the Tudor Pelagos in Black (although I prefer the older versions with just two lines of text) and the Black Bay GMT are still lurking in the wings as “potentials” - but are they “special” enough?

    It’s a tricky balance, finding something I could wear every day, which will take the odd knock, but being special enough for fifty runs, not (yet) out.


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  8. #8
    Apprentice
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    Quote Originally Posted by mylofitz View Post
    What about the retro vibe of the Seamaster 300? At 41mm and 300m w/r it should stand up to day to day wear. Looks like it'd go well with a strap if you want to tone down the polished bracelet.


    https://www.beaverbrooks.co.uk/00084...c-Mens-Watch/p
    +1


    Sent from my SM-G950U using TZ-UK mobile app

  9. #9
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    JLC Polaris? You should be able to get a new one from a grey dealer for £5K-ish.


  10. #10
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampoc View Post
    JLC Polaris? You should be able to get a new one from a grey dealer for £5K-ish.

    Good shout

  11. #11
    It sounds like you want to spend 5 grand so this suggestion might fall on deaf ears but have you considered a micro brand like Farer? They produce some extremely nice and distinctive watches and you'd save yourself 4 grand or so which would go a long if not all the way to a fabulous holiday or whatever takes your fancy. They have ETA elabore movements so you should get performance on a par with any of the more expensive brands but with far cheaper servicing costs.

    The "trouble" with a 5 grand budget is that, in order to spend it, you have to put yourself in the hands of the luxury brands and their farcical premiums.
    Last edited by ColDaspin; 14th February 2019 at 20:44.

  12. #12
    Apprentice aksd's Avatar
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    How about a Bremont Supermarine or the Martin Baker (possibly the GMT)?

  13. #13
    How about 2
    Seiko mm300 on bracelet
    BB gmt on a strap
    5k should just cover it


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  14. #14
    Master
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    With a budget of £5k there are many many fine watches....

    I’d be looking at zenith...


  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by aksd View Post
    How about a Bremont Supermarine or the Martin Baker (possibly the GMT)?
    I was going to say the same. If the OP is determined to spend around 5k then I think Bremont would be a much more interesting option. They run tours of their facility in Henley from time to time and this could be combined with the purchase to give a far more enjoyable, memorable and personal experience than at some generic high street AD or boutique.

  16. #16
    Apprentice aksd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColDaspin View Post
    I was going to say the same. If the OP is determined to spend around 5k then I think Bremont would be a much more interesting option. They run tours of their facility in Henley from time to time and this could be combined with the purchase to give a far more enjoyable, memorable and personal experience than at some generic high street AD or boutique.
    Yes and if you can't make it to their facility they have the regular meet-ups at their boutique in London which is fantastic. Both the Bremont brothers are fantastic as well and meeting them at the event makes the whole so much more personal.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Lampoc View Post
    JLC Polaris? You should be able to get a new one from a grey dealer for £5K-ish.

    Something like that is a definite possibility. I’ve always like the JLC brand, but my initial thought when someone mentions JLC is always the Reverso - which I wouldn’t be averse to either.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ColDaspin View Post
    It sounds like you want to spend 5 grand so this suggestion might fall on deaf ears but have you considered a micro brand like Farer? They produce some extremely nice and distinctive watches and you'd save yourself 4 grand or so which would go a long if not all the way to a fabulous holiday or whatever takes your fancy. They have ETA elabore movements so you should get performance on a par with any of the more expensive brands but with far cheaper servicing costs.

    The "trouble" with a 5 grand budget is that, in order to spend it, you have to put yourself in the hands of the luxury brands and their farcical premiums.
    £5,000 is the maximum I’d want to spend. Certainly, one of my favourites (the Sinn 857 or 856 UTC are considerably less than that and as you rightly say, that would leave a nice chunk of cash for a holiday with my lovely GF.

    I really like Farer and did mention them in my (admittedly rather lengthy) original post. The Hecla Aqua Compressor is another definite front runner.

    I know something like a Dornblüth is around £5,000, but to me, it seems like you’d get a lot more for that money than buying an “off the shelf” Rolex or similar, with the additional benefit of being able to be involved in certain (minor) elements of the design and finish.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by aksd View Post
    How about a Bremont Supermarine or the Martin Baker (possibly the GMT)?
    I do really like some of the Bremont watches, particularly the Martin Baker - BUT, the propeller logo puts me off. I know it’s part of the Bremomt “look”, but it’s the one thing that puts me off Bremont. For me, £5,000 is a fair chunk of money, so whatever I get, I want it to be as right (for me) as possible. I have a similar issue with other brands - the lines at 3, 6, 9 and 12 on some Damaskos, the font on some Zenith watches... I’m picky, I know!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Enoch View Post
    With a budget of £5k there are many many fine watches....

    I’d be looking at zenith...

    I can appreciate that as a timepiece, but it’s not for me. I don’t think I’d go for a chronograph, the less “clutter”, the better (I know I said I like the Tin Tin spe day, but I wouldn’t have one of those, either).

  21. #21
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    If you can push the budget a bit, for around £5600 grey dealer, my choice would be the Blancpain Bathscaphe. It is more “special”, well finished with good brand heritage. Comes in black, blue and grey I think!

    BW,
    Chi Kai


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  22. #22
    Craftsman
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    Not sure if I'm being a help or hindance here, but I would strongly advise you to not discount the Dornbluth option.
    I have accumulated far more watches than I should over the past year. Since discovering this place. One of them a Dornbluth.
    Some have cost me significantly more, most less. It is perhaps the watch for which I had the lowest expectations prior to arrival. Yet it immediately became my most reached for watch and has seen off all new comers since.
    I'm still not quite certain why this is. I suspect that it is the way it sits so nicely between smart and casual. I tend to wear it with chunkier leather straps than the Dornbluth supplied one, which is dressier. It has looked good on all the straps I have tried though, so is very versatile. I am lucky enough to have the seriously substantial steel bracelet as well which adds a whole other dimension. I believe very few were ever sold with this option, so much so that Dirk stopped offering it sometime a go.
    In short it really is a watch that needs to be seen in the flesh. It has a special something about it that I was not expecting. Yet without any flashyness at all.
    Regarding your broader spec. It is a steel, non chronograph with an exceptional bracelet. Even has lume on the hands and numbers. Only compromise would be on a point which you don't seem to have set in stone. That it would unlikely be able to be this spec, new and in budget. However, if you were to find a used one it would likely be comfortably within your budget.
    Dependant on your location, you are most welcome to try it.
    I will try to upload a piccie for you later, once home.
    Probably should have mentioned earlier it is a black dial, brushed steel 99.2

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    Last edited by Holy Moses; 15th February 2019 at 16:30.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ctam View Post
    If you can push the budget a bit, for around £5600 grey dealer, my choice would be the Blancpain Bathscaphe. It is more “special”, well finished with good brand heritage. Comes in black, blue and grey I think!

    BW,
    Chi Kai


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I just had a check and on a steel bracket (which is what the OP prefers) it would cost significantly more......


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  24. #24
    It's well under 5K, but a very niece piece:

    Longined Heritage


  25. #25
    Omega Globe master is a superb watch and can be dressed up or down with bracelet/leather.

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