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Thread: Fun day out at Bluewater

  1. #1
    Master
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    Fun day out at Bluewater

    A friend of mine (also a TZ member) and I had an enjoyable day out at Bluewater checking out the watch stores at that fine array of establishments. Not quite up to New Bond Street in calibre but there was one stand out piece - see later.

    OMEGA
    What was worrying was the lack of knowledge of some staff - even in the 'Boutique' level. We skipped EJ after having a coffee in John Lewis and headed up stairs to the Omega boutique. One watch that still haunts me is the Orange and Black Planet Ocean Chrono - I just wish I had not sold that one on. Anyway - after trying on the non-chrono 34mm(?) version I realise that is the version I should go for. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted the Apollo 8 Speedmaster and asked for that one to try it on. The assistant tried to convince me of two things: (1) the face had actual meteorite in the skeleton dial; (2) it was an automatic!! Sir - but yes, the rotor is hidden carefully beneath the movement to not hide the meteorite parts. Well after a bit of googling I found - it's laser etched to look like the lunar surface and it IS a manual movement. It also had an MRP of over £7K - I guess mainly because of the ceramic case.





    Nevertheless, I painfully did covet that version. The movement looks amazing and slightly skeleton presentation made a difference to the standard Speedy. The yellow accents set is off nicely + I am an avid Pink Floyd fan so the inscription on the case back, "We'll see you on the other side" resonates with me from, "Dark Side of the Moon", 1976.

    My colleague was trying on the all ceramic PO 45.5mm - but it was an amazing £10K or so - what are Omega thinking? Also this 'Boutique' is not an Omega boutique it is owned by Goldsmith so some pricing deals were possible for cash.

    BREITLING
    Onward we went to Breitling boutique. I am encouraged by the direction Breitling is moving. It is re-issuing some of its core styles. Being more interested in the sport versions by Breitling I asked to initially look at the new style Avenger. These come in a range of sizes: 43mm, 45mm, 48mm. The changes I found was the lugs hug the wrist extremely well and all matt finish. For my wrist, to my surprise - I preferred the 45mm Avenger Chronograph with satin finish bracelet, which has a lovely oversized crown and slight yellow accents on the minute totaliser. The other line was the SuperOcean - and I love the iconic yellow (custard) faced version at 44mm with it's 1000m wrt and integral helium escape valve. They had the version on rubber strap. The ceramic bezel had a matt finish unlike other brands. The have catered for all sizes with the SuperOcean - with 42mm, 44mm, 46mm.





    IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN
    Then my friend wanted to show me a rather special watch he had spotted from IWC. It was rather surprising to find such a high value item nonchalantly poised in the window - bustling with Sunday shoppers with no guards at the doors - in fact no doors at all into the store. Just walk in - sit down take a look and an astounding piece of haut-horology - The "Da Vinci Perpetual Calender Chronograph - that sports not just complications from the name but also a Flyback and an Moon Phase complication - it was a superb piece. With moveable articulated strap horns. All in rose- 18c 5N - gold case. A suitably imposing case - rather like a fob-watch. MRP £36,250.





    More reasonably priced were the Portugieser classic - I rather like the IW371446 white silver dial with blue hands and appliqués with dark blue alligator strap.


    (excuse the camera angle - it looks better proportioned in real-life!)


    So there are some to add to the list of like to have.


    Martyn
    Last edited by MartynJC (UK); 10th November 2019 at 23:04.

  2. #2
    Master woodacre1983's Avatar
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    Great write up Martyn. The yellow faced super ocean was that the 44mm? If so my friend bought one of these and try are truly great watches! Mega impressed with his.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodacre1983 View Post
    Great write up Martyn. The yellow faced super ocean was that the 44mm? If so my friend bought one of these and try are truly great watches! Mega impressed with his.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    yep. Yellow was 44mm. Good size for me too. Agreed on quality.

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    A nice write up as ever Martyn.

  5. #5
    Journeyman Jo Hande's Avatar
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    Nice watches!
    especially the Omega: black and the yellow second hand fitts very well!

    Here my humble Seiko 5 modded: SNK809 in SNXS case and hands from a SNK371 ...


    Jo

    - - - Updated - - -

    Nice watches!
    especially the Omega: black and the yellow second hand fitts very well!

    Here my humble Seiko 5 modded: SNK809 in SNXS case and hands from a SNK371 ...


    Jo

  6. #6
    I love the Apollo 8, just wish it was a touch smaller. Can't decide if it looks ok on me or not.

  7. #7
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN
    Then my friend wanted to show me a rather special watch he had spotted from IWC. It was rather surprising to find such a high value item nonchalantly poised in the window - bustling with Sunday shoppers with no guards at the doors - in fact no doors at all into the store. Just walk in - sit down take a look and an astounding piece of haut-horology - The "Da Vinci Perpetual Calender Chronograph - that sports not just complications from the name but also a Flyback and an Moon Phase complication - it was a superb piece. With moveable articulated strap horns. All in rose- 18c 5N - gold case. A suitably imposing case - rather like a fob-watch. MRP £36,250.



    I lust after these IWC perpetual calendars. I first saw one with this movement in a tonneau case. Whether round or tonneau, absolutely fantastic.

    As you say, surprising to see one in a shopping centre. ;-)

  8. #8
    Journeyman
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    My God that IWC

  9. #9
    Brilliant post, thanks. I like the Fraser Hart shop in Bluewater. Nice manager

  10. #10
    Master shalako's Avatar
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    If it’s any consolation Martyn it’s in good hands, I’m actually contemplating getting the bracelet for it.....
    I had a look at that Apollo 8 at Heathrow recently and was disappointed, the DSOTM next to it looked much nicer IMHO.





  11. #11
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by shalako View Post
    If it’s any consolation Martyn it’s in good hands, I’m actually contemplating getting the bracelet for it.....
    I had a look at that Apollo 8 at Heathrow recently and was disappointed, the DSOTM next to it looked much nicer IMHO.




    You are such a tease Steve. I think the steel bracelet wouldn’t work - the orange accents on the strap really work well. Like I keep saying - it’s on loan right (I can only dream).

    M

  12. #12
    Master shalako's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    You are such a tease Steve. I think the steel bracelet wouldn’t work - the orange accents on the strap really work well. Like I keep saying - it’s on loan right (I can only dream).

    M
    Your right about the bracelet I think Martyn, it just looks so good on that strap, no better holiday watch for me....that’s why I would be reluctant to let it go, I would no longer be able to go on vacation. :)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    A friend of mine (also a TZ member) and I had an enjoyable day out at Bluewater checking out the watch stores at that fine array of establishments. Not quite up to New Bond Street in calibre but there was one stand out piece - see later.

    OMEGA
    What was worrying was the lack of knowledge of some staff - even in the 'Boutique' level. We skipped EJ after having a coffee in John Lewis and headed up stairs to the Omega boutique. One watch that still haunts me is the Orange and Black Planet Ocean Chrono - I just wish I had not sold that one on. Anyway - after trying on the non-chrono 34mm(?) version I realise that is the version I should go for. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted the Apollo 8 Speedmaster and asked for that one to try it on. The assistant tried to convince me of two things: (1) the face had actual meteorite in the skeleton dial; (2) it was an automatic!! Sir - but yes, the rotor is hidden carefully beneath the movement to not hide the meteorite parts. Well after a bit of googling I found - it's laser etched to look like the lunar surface and it IS a manual movement. It also had an MRP of over £7K - I guess mainly because of the ceramic case.





    Nevertheless, I painfully did covet that version. The movement looks amazing and slightly skeleton presentation made a difference to the standard Speedy. The yellow accents set is off nicely + I am an avid Pink Floyd fan so the inscription on the case back, "We'll see you on the other side" resonates with me from, "Dark Side of the Moon", 1976.

    My colleague was trying on the all ceramic PO 45.5mm - but it was an amazing £10K or so - what are Omega thinking? Also this 'Boutique' is not an Omega boutique it is owned by Goldsmith so some pricing deals were possible for cash.

    BREITLING
    Onward we went to Breitling boutique. I am encouraged by the direction Breitling is moving. It is re-issuing some of its core styles. Being more interested in the sport versions by Breitling I asked to initially look at the new style Avenger. These come in a range of sizes: 43mm, 45mm, 48mm. The changes I found was the lugs hug the wrist extremely well and all matt finish. For my wrist, to my surprise - I preferred the 45mm Avenger Chronograph with satin finish bracelet, which has a lovely oversized crown and slight yellow accents on the minute totaliser. The other line was the SuperOcean - and I love the iconic yellow (custard) faced version at 44mm with it's 1000m wrt and integral helium escape valve. They had the version on rubber strap. The ceramic bezel had a matt finish unlike other brands. The have catered for all sizes with the SuperOcean - with 42mm, 44mm, 46mm.





    IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN
    Then my friend wanted to show me a rather special watch he had spotted from IWC. It was rather surprising to find such a high value item nonchalantly poised in the window - bustling with Sunday shoppers with no guards at the doors - in fact no doors at all into the store. Just walk in - sit down take a look and an astounding piece of haut-horology - The "Da Vinci Perpetual Calender Chronograph - that sports not just complications from the name but also a Flyback and an Moon Phase complication - it was a superb piece. With moveable articulated strap horns. All in rose- 18c 5N - gold case. A suitably imposing case - rather like a fob-watch. MRP £36,250.





    More reasonably priced were the Portugieser classic - I rather like the IW371446 white silver dial with blue hands and appliqués with dark blue alligator strap.


    (excuse the camera angle - it looks better proportioned in real-life!)


    So there are some to add to the list of like to have.


    Martyn
    Nice write up Martyn,

    I'm generally at Bluewater once a month, and always like to view the watch choices on offer (when the other half allows), also lucky to have a few on my high street even if I find the staff not great. Just my views on a few (if you don't mind me hijacking)

    Bought my Panerai from Watchfinder a few years back, service wasn't great more get the sale, good variety but poor sales staff every time I've been back.

    Goldsmiths is where I bought my BB58 this year from, once treatment, other staff not that knowledgable but the main sales person was helpful. May but more stock there to build up a good AD history.

    Chisholm Hunter - recently went to view Nomos as not seen the brand much, sales person was good, atomically offered discount for the sale, and on 0%. They also stock Grand Seiko which you don't see everyday. Store seems nice after the recent refit.

    Breitling - staff always helpful and like to chat, seem to be knowledge watch guy, always end up speaking about the Panerai I'm wearing.

    Omega - pick of the stores and staff for me. Friendly approachable and like to talk watches. Been a few times whilst I decide on Speedy or Seamaster (still cannot decide), also got offered some nice coffee when just talking - bonus for me!

    Lakeside isn't too far, and if like me you have to go to Essex a few times a month (in laws) they have a few watch shops. Watchfinder hidden & staff even more unfriendly than Bluewater, not much on offer either apart from Rolex.

    Tag boutique, small and mixture of staff, 2 sales ladies very good, older gentleman not so. Did manage to try the Calibre Monaco 11 on, again cannot make my mind up.

    Emson Haig - staff seem very rude IMHO and judgemental - however the Omega branch of the store very good staff who seem to be watch guys.

    My High St on the other hand, Burrells - seem to have a huge turnover of staff, and not that helpful/ approachable when discussing/ queuing watches - one reason I bought the BB58 from Bluewater. Also a Mappin & Webb, but the Rolex guy seems selective. Patek/ Cartier store also - note had much dealings with. Plus a new one David Carpenter which I have not had a chance to visit.

    Often makes me wonder, if a career change onto watch sales would be more enjoyable - least I know more than these youngsters!

    Sorry for the long reply, but some pictures as most enjoy these:







    Brad
    Last edited by McBeardy; 12th November 2019 at 23:43.

  14. #14
    That Apollo 8 has been calling me since it was launched in 2018. Almost bought it a couple of times. Will definitely get it one day and it'll go straight on a yellow NATO strap :)

    Sent from my SM-T835 using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Craftsman
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    Sean at Omega in Bluewater has an excellent team & runs a great store in my view. Tellingly, other staff at Omega boutiques where he's worked also speak highly of him.

  16. #16
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy2254 View Post
    Sean at Omega in Bluewater has an excellent team & runs a great store in my view. Tellingly, other staff at Omega boutiques where he's worked also speak highly of him.
    Well that’s good to hear. He needs to have a word with the staff though about Speedmaster Apollo 8 features and specifications (See above).

    Brad - thanks for your post. Will need to go back or see the GS.

    Martyn.

  17. #17
    Journeyman
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    Love that Apollo 8 - hadn’t seen one before and it’s gone straight on the “want” list!


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  18. #18
    Master Tazmo61's Avatar
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    Nice write up with some great pictures , thanks for posting .

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