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Thread: A New Year 2021 SOTC

  1. #1
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    A New Year 2021 SOTC

    Well, it’s over a year since I’ve posted a SOTC, and given that it’s New Year’s Day I seem to have been motivated to do so. As for many, 2020 was something of an annus horribilis and as the year drew on I found myself becoming less and less emotionally invested in watches. At times, in fact, I was tempted to chuck this hobby in altogether, although that clearly hasn’t happened despite a few sales posts being drafted and then deleted after a change of heart.

    That said there have certainly been a few changes during that period, not all in a positive sense; for example, having had a god-awful year with regard to work I made the difficult decision to bite the bullet and move on my gorgeous rose gold & blue dialled ALS 1815 Up/Down whilst there was still a market for pre-loved high end watches. One of only 25 in the world, that one smarted a bit. I also sold my old Zenith Rainbow to make way for an incoming Sinn U50; the Sinn was meant to have arrived a month and a half ago but Jura still don’t have a confirmed delivery date from the mothership; hopefully it won’t be much longer now, anyway. Other outgoings to make way for replacements were a perfect and unpolished 16710 and a lightly polished/near perfect 16600, and I've clarified why they were allowed to go below. Finally, a birth year IWC and a lovely GS three-hander also left Chateaux LTF; I’d previously posted a thread indicating that I was only going to keep either one of those two or a gold birth year JLC, and the JLC won the day after a hard tussle.

    So that’s the preamble, and this is where I am now…

    Mechanicals (modern)

    Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda

    Blancpain’s reissue of the Barakuda was released in mid-2019; just 500 watches in all, and it’s actually a pretty faithful tribute (it shares much of the Mil-Spec DNA in that it’s presented in the same 40.3mm case and is driven by the same Blancpain calibre 1151 movement). The matt black dial somehow seems to add depth to the dual-coloured indices featuring the wonderful pops of red seen in the original. Both the crystal and bezel are domed sapphire, the latter being fully lumed albeit not going so far as to feature a minute track across its full radius as per the original (the lume, by the way, is spectacular). I saw a few days ago that there are just 4 of these beautiful watches for sale globally; this one is not going anywhere, especially as I part-funded it with a very lovely 5-digit Sea-Dweller (which in truth doesn't even come close to the Blancpain in terms of quality and "wow factor").



    Rolex Submariner 116613LN

    This was an addition that was completely unexpected, and had I known what 2020 had in store for me I wouldn’t be writing about it now. However, back in February I was out with Bea for a Valentine’s Day lunch, after which we had an amble down Regent Street before heading home again. Anyway, I was looking in the window of WoS when one of the sales assistants caught my eye and started beckoning me in whilst waving something shiny at me. It turned out to be one of two steel and gold Submariners that he was about to put in the window, and no sooner was I inside the door than I was sipping some cold Veuve Clicquot and pondering over blue or black dials. In the end, and after much deliberation, I went for the black dial. I’m so glad I did, as to my mind it’s by far the nicer of the two.



    Glashutte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar 100-02-13-02-04

    This is the 40mm model that was discontinued in favour of its 42mm successor in or around late 2011, and last year year it was sent back to GO for a full movement service and the lightest of kisses with a polishing cloth (in fact, Wempe accidentally quoted me £600 instead of the correct price of over £1k, and then kindly honoured their erroneous quotation). The dial is beautifully balanced, with day, month, date and moonphase positioned in each of the four corners. The dot below the 12 marker is a year “type” indicator, and this is how the perpetual element of the movement does its work. The movement is GO’s top of the line 100 series – in this case the cal. 100-02, which contains 59 jewels, beats at 28,800 vph and provides a power reserve of 55 hours. Typically of all GO watches, the movement is exquisitely finished with the usual bevelled edges, polishing and engraving, a lovely swan neck regulator, and a skeletonised rotor with 21k gold oscillation weight.



    Grand Seiko SBGK005

    The SBGK005 was part of a new line of Grand Seiko “Elegance” models when released (these tend to be dressier and more classic than the other GS collections which, to my mind, can come across as a little too austere and clinical at times). Most of the case is mirror (Zaratsu) polished, with only the central facet of the midcase brushed. The 9S63 movement was Grand Seiko’s first new manual-winding calibre in eight years, and features a small seconds complication at 9 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 3. It boasts 72 hours of power reserve on a full wind, and the accuracy is rated to +5/-3 seconds per day. However, whilst both the case and the movement are impressive this watch is really all about the dial. Whilst it isn’t lacquered like some of the other variants in this range, it shares their finish in boasting a surface that’s intended to symbolise the texture of Japan’s Mt. Iwate. Whilst it’s quite hard to photograph (because of the domed crystal rather than the dial itself) it really is nothing short of spectacular in the metal.



    Rolex GMT Master II 116710BLNR

    I’d been mulling over what to do with regard to the current GMTs as I’d been trying hard to get on a list for the BLRO without success, and had no intention of paying over retail for it. At the same time, whilst I had the most perfect and completely unpolished 16710 you’d ever find I couldn’t escape the fact that I’ve never loved them as much as the older 1675/16750s or the more modern equivalents. Accordingly, when an opportunity to trade for a BLNR cropped up I went for it without any real reservations. I then did what I’ve done before and had the bracelet fully brushed by (the maestro) Paul McRae of this parish and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It feels so much more wearable now.



    Oh, and this is what the brushed bracelet looks like.



    Vacheron Overseas Chronograph 49140

    This was the last of the “Holy Trinity” for me to try, and I must confess that I had no intention of buying one until I had a beer with my good mate Howard some time ago and tried his on. It was about to go off to VC for a full service (and they certainly take their time), but it was eventually returned and (as we often do) we ended up agreeing a trade that suited both of us. This is a Gen 1 from 2001 and arrived in as-new condition again; in fact, it ended up precluding what had been a nagging “need” for a Daytona as I think the VC is a fair bit classier. The bracelet is absolutely wonderful too, which helps. Launched in 1999 and in production until 2004, this was actually Vacheron Constantin’s first sports chronograph. It was made in about 500 pieces in yellow gold and a little over 2000 in steel; the Gen 1 uses the Frederic Piguet 1185 as the base for the cal. 1137 engine but when VC were finished with it, it looked quite beautiful (albeit that you can’t see the damned thing through the solid – and somewhat ornate – case back).



    Panerai PAM512

    I absolutely love Panerai watches, and have owned a variety of beauties in 45mm, 44mm and 42mm guises. The PAM512 is one of the 1940-cased 42mm models, and being a Radiomir (although in a way part of a line that’s separate from both Radiomir and Luminor models) is so wearable on a smaller wrist that it’s easy to forget that it’s actually a Panerai at all. I can dress it up with an alligator strap, or dress is down as it is in the photo below (on an Assolutemante-style Hirsch)… it always looks fantastic and it always flies under the radar. In fact, it’s fitted with the P.999 handwound movement, which on release had the distinction of being Panerai’s slimmest and helped the 512 become the sveltest Panerai to date in all dimensions.



    Mechanical (vintage)

    Rolex 5513

    Well, the 5513 needs no introduction… is it the best ever Submariner, or even the best ever diver? This watch dates from 1981, and when I bought it some years ago benefitted from a NOS Tropic 19 Superdome crystal as well as a period-correct NOS 93150 bracelet; I subsequently added an additional NOS bezel assembly with a mid-font insert for the occasional change of look. It’s a Mark IV maxi dial (perfect, with gorgeous lemon-coloured plots), and wears a beautifully faded Mk 3 fat font insert, which - whilst being a little early to be absolutely correct for the watch - gives it an appearance that I think is quite sublime. Aside from that, it has a really fat case and lugs, which means I don’t have to worry too much if it picks up some marks and consequently needs a tart-up at some point in the future.



    Jaeger LeCoultre Ref. E385

    I’m not sure why, but some time back I went through a period of searching for the “right” birth year watch (yes, a lot of us have done it, particularly those of us who are old enough to start contemplating our own mortality). I ended up with a couple of absolute beauties but, after deciding that one was probably enough, I retained this JLC dating back to 1960 but looking a whole lot younger. It has a solid 9ct gold (34mm) case with smooth chamfered bezel and a satin finished screw-down case back. The dial has a minimalist design with applied, slim gold baton indices and matching hands. It’s powered by JLC’s excellent automatic calibre K880 which has decoratively finished damascened plates; in fact, the calibre 880 was first introduced in 1959, the year before this watch was made. The gold case was made for JLC by the London based case makers, De Trevars Ltd, whose sponsor’s mark of DTE is stamped to the inside case back. De Trevars supplied JLC with a range of high-quality watch cases, including gold cases for some of the watchmaker’s famous Geophysic models which were launched a couple of years before the production of this one. When I bought it the movement had been serviced and warrantied, and all is original save for the crown (which I may replace in due course). Anyway, I do love this watch and wear it on special occasions with a degree of pride for some reason.



    Cabot Watch Company W10

    I have to say at the outset that I’m not really a military watch enthusiast, but for a while I’d been feeling a kind of embryonic love for the W10; something about its simplicity and “honesty” was drawing me in, so when an opportunity to acquire a really nice one arose I decided to go for it; I’m so glad I did because I’ve developed a real affection for this watch that’s hard to explain. This is a 1979 army-issued watch that was serviced by John Senior back in 2017, when along with the mechanical work it also got a new crystal and a light polish. It’s therefore in gorgeous nick and looks particularly good on the hand-made bund strap shown in the photo below that was sourced from the Ukraine by a previous owner. At the moment I have it on a nice Haveston NATO which also looks the business, and is probably slightly easier to wear.



    Quartz

    Breitling Aerospace Evo Night Mission

    I have to admit that I’ve gone through a number of Aerospaces in my hunt for the “right” one, and I loved them all. However, there’s something about the Night Mission that struck a chord and – having initially bought the LE Cobra dial – I traded for the Volcano Black and have decided that I’ll not be able to do any better. I love the DLC case and the military canvas strap combination and it really is the perfect grab & go watch with the additional benefit of being nice and stealthy. The ETA-produced Breitling calibre 79 inside the Night Mission is a thermo-compensated Superquartz which is accurate to within seconds per year. In addition to being a COSC Chronometer certified Swiss quartz movement, the cal. 79 also features a range of complications such as a chronograph, countdown timer, perpetual calendar, alarm, second time zone, etc… in other words, it’s a really functional watch. Finally, I’m not sure if many people know this but the Night Mission was actually produced to mark the 30th anniversary of the Aerospace model. It’s a great watch.




    Seiko Tuna SBBN007

    With a heritage that goes back some four decades and a shrouded case that just screams “I mean business”, if ever there was a marmite watch it has to be the Tuna. When I first joined TZ I literally couldn’t believe that anyone would wear one these “monstrosities” but over the next few years I grew to love them in a way that was completely inexplicable. I’ve now had many (both modern and vintage) but the SBBN007 is the one that I’m particularly fond of, with its unique hour markers and toolish, almost brutal appearance. The '007 is big – the case measures 48mm in diameter, not including the crown, 14mm in thickness and has a 22mm lug width. That said, the lugs sit pretty much underneath the case, and as a consequence it wears surprisingly small on the wrist considering its dimensions. Internally, it’s powered by the respected 7-jewel Seiko 7C46 quartz movement and, overall, the look and feel is one of quality. This is, after all, a Prospex model and it enjoys a cult following on merit.



    Yema LED

    I have to admit that this one was pure impulse but for the time being I’m enjoying popping it on every now and then and immediately being time-warped back to the 1970’s (who loves, ya, baby?). YEMA stayed true to the original concept of this watch, with a case featuring two slabs of brushed steel framing a horizontal LED screen complete with red tint. That screen remains blank until activated by a press of the button at the 3 o’clock position, meaning there is nothing at all on display during normal wear; the button at 4 o’clock is used for adjustments to the time and format, which can be set to 12 or 24 hour display. The case itself is octagonal, with a polished chamfer running from the screen to the bracelet serving as the only break point in the otherwise uniform surface. At 37.5mm in width, 42.5mm from end to end and 11mm in height, it’s certainly not a large watch, but it has a real presence on the wrist and oozes retro loveliness. Please excuse the “stock” photo of this one, as I’ve not yet taken any shots of my own other than very Q&D ones on the wrist.



    G-Shocks: GW-5000-1JF and Riseman GW-9200-1

    Now, I wouldn’t normally include G-Shocks on my SOTCs but having thought about it I’m not really sure why that is. I love them for what they are and always have at least one in the collection. These are two of the very best so, without offering a specific model write up I’ll just say those that know, know. The King of G’s and the venerable Riseman… is there a better duo?



    So, that’s it then… lots of changes belying what has actually been a year of relative indifference to the hobby; a year in which, more than ever, I’ve felt a reassessment of values and a focus that’s shifted to things that seem to matter a little more. That said, I’m beginning to feel my interest rekindling again, and that’s really what prompted this post. Let’s hope we all have an easier year, that we kick this horrible virus into touch and that we settle into a new normal that allows us to enjoy life again. And watches.
    Last edited by learningtofly; 9th January 2021 at 12:18.

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    Just stunning watches and photos. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Master
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    Some sublime watches there, as always.

  4. #4
    Master
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    A really lovely collection and fantastic photography.

  5. #5
    Craftsman
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    A wonderful write up and gorgeous photos, as ever, Tony. Your musings on the year chime very much with my own experiences. Iím so pleased you have made it through and with a broad and ever interesting collection still in tact. I couldnít agree more with your gshock choices - both longtime favourites of mine. But Iím personally gutted that your ALS has moved on - I was hoping to take that off your hands at some point in the near future - dare I ask: Is it still on the forum?

    HNY
    TPT

  6. #6
    Master Kirk280's Avatar
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    Stunning collection. That Blancpain is the first one Iíve liked the look of (it has the date window in the correct place!). Love the 5513 too.

  7. #7
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Thanks all.

    Quote Originally Posted by tenpasten View Post
    A wonderful write up and gorgeous photos, as ever, Tony. Your musings on the year chime very much with my own experiences. Iím so pleased you have made it through and with a broad and ever interesting collection still in tact. I couldnít agree more with your gshock choices - both longtime favourites of mine. But Iím personally gutted that your ALS has moved on - I was hoping to take that off your hands at some point in the near future - dare I ask: Is it still on the forum?

    HNY
    TPT
    You're not as gutted as I am, I can assure you, but yes - still on the forum.

  8. #8
    Master
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    An interesting read. I doubt there is any need to worry about losing interest. Most people who wander off, come ambling back after a while.
    As for the awful 2020, I tend to think of the medieval wheel of fortune. Sometimes we go down, but then we rise. And so it goes...always changing.
    Of your collection, I like the Baracuda best: what a handsome watch. Shame about the 1815 though. That makes me go straight into Ďwantí mode.

  9. #9
    Thanks for sharing your SOTC. I really enjoyed reading this and I learnt a lot too! Happy new year to you all.

  10. #10
    Master daveyw's Avatar
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    Itís nice to see you still have the GO perpetual and the Radiomir, both lovely pieces. Great read and photos. Thanks

  11. #11
    Journeyman
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    I really do enjoy your photography and an outstanding collection!

    The BP just pips the rest for me.

    Happy New year to all!

  12. #12
    Fantastic collection and absolutely stunning photography as usual Tony.

    Appreciate your thoughts and musings about each individual watch. Thank you


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  13. #13
    Master
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    Wonderful collection and as others have said, the BP is the star of the show for me.

  14. #14
    Craftsman Go Big's Avatar
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    I'll echo what everyone has said; great collection shown off with equally great pics.

  15. #15
    Very nice.

    Particularly like the Barracuda, 116613LN, 5513 & the Night Mission.
    Andy

    Wanted - Damasko DA38 or DC80 Green - not the black versions. Bell & Ross BR03-92 Nightlum

  16. #16
    Journeyman Watch_Collector's Avatar
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    Wow, thatís a great collection you have there


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  17. #17
    Thatís a great read and a superb collection Tony. The brushed bracelet on the BLNR is excellent.

  18. #18
    Craftsman TonyAFC8's Avatar
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    Great collection, read and photography. That FF is beautiful


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  19. #19
    As always you spoil us with your collection and photography. They're all great, especially the GW-5000, ;)

    Have a great New year Tony!

  20. #20
    Craftsman
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    Great sotc, great pics and a great write up.

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  21. #21
    Master Pitch3110's Avatar
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    Stunning pics and words as always buddy.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Paul

  22. #22
    I am quite surprised you let the ALS go over some of those youíve kept. Still a rather nice bunch you have left.

  23. #23
    Craftsman sammyl1000's Avatar
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    Every single one stunners in their own right but together makes a magnificent collection!

    I can't replicate myself but I can replicate one of the straps I like! Could you let me know which Hirsch the Panerai is on? I've looked and can't quite get it, I think it would suit my Captain Cook.

    Sent from my XQ-AT51 using Tapatalk

  24. #24
    Lovely collection Tony, if nothing else just appreciate it and rotate and wear those fine timepieces!

  25. #25
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for the comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Case View Post
    I am quite surprised you let the ALS go over some of those you’ve kept. Still a rather nice bunch you have left.
    I explained that decision so it shouldn't be surprising. The best part of £20k tied up in a single watch coupled with zero work in a worsening economy = unacceptable risk.

    Quote Originally Posted by sammyl1000 View Post
    Every single one stunners in their own right but together makes a magnificent collection!

    I can't replicate myself but I can replicate one of the straps I like! Could you let me know which Hirsch the Panerai is on? I've looked and can't quite get it, I think it would suit my Captain Cook.

    Sent from my XQ-AT51 using Tapatalk
    That's the Hirsch Heritage. As an aside, Hirsch also make the Asso strap for Panerai.
    Last edited by learningtofly; 9th January 2021 at 12:30.

  26. #26
    Master
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    As always an interesting and informative write up of a lovely collection.

  27. #27
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Happy New Year Tony

    An amazing collection, and equally amazing photography. Your camera skills were entirely responsible for my own Aerospace NM, and my SBBN007 come to think of it.

    I knew you had lost the horological love a bit, not at all surprising with whatís happened in the world, and beyond covid, lack of availability has been quite a turn off. Although last year was an opportunity to refocus on the really important, there is always a little space for passions and interests, including watches.

    My top pick from your collection, the 512, itís probably your photography again.

    Iím glad you are on your way back.



    Very best

    Dave


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  28. #28
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Excellent write up and photos and hopefully you will get your watch mojo back in 2021. Doing a STOC is certainly a good place to start. The Glashutte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar and the 5513 are my pick, the dial layout of the GO is just perfect.

  29. #29
    Master
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    Very impressive collection. I wouldnít know which to wear.

  30. #30
    A narrative to match the quality of the collection, as usual. I know what you mean about a naturally depreciating level of emotional investment, and share the feeling, but I suspect a core will remain in your collection (5513, 512), come what may. The U50 will, no doubt, take a good portion of available wrist time (mine does) when it arrives, leading to a resurrection of some of those draft sales posts (hopefully one of which is for the W10!).

    All the best for 2021, Tony.

    Regards
    John

  31. #31
    Sorry to hear about your tough year work wise Tony - hope 2021 gets back to some normality for you.

    Your collection is still a thing of beauty - 5513 (especially) is sublime.


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  32. #32
    Master
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    Well if that was a annus horribilis i would hate to see your collection in a good year.

    Love the FF which as previously mentioned has the date in the right location.

    The stand out for me is the VO as it makes the Daytona look like an ugly sister.

    Hope 2021 gets better for you.

  33. #33
    Master Tazmo61's Avatar
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    That is a very impressive collection . Great pics and read , thanks for posting .

  34. #34
    Craftsman
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    The GO, 5513 and Blancpain stand out for me, they are all very nice though and beautifully photographed. I wish I had the ability to take pics like those of my watches. A joyous thread to see.

  35. #35
    Master Nono's Avatar
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    Fantastic collection and impressive photography mate!!!

  36. #36
    Journeyman
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    Wonderful and sounds like some very hard decisions taken in relation to refining the collection.

  37. #37
    Craftsman
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    A fantastic collection and photos Tony.

    I find myself looking at two tone Submariners quite often on Chrono24. I wonder what it would be like as a daily wearer? Have you tried it on different straps by any chance?

  38. #38
    Craftsman
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    Lovely collection, especially liking that Blancpain.

  39. #39
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Another thank you for the very kind comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joppers View Post
    A fantastic collection and photos Tony.

    I find myself looking at two tone Submariners quite often on Chrono24. I wonder what it would be like as a daily wearer? Have you tried it on different straps by any chance?
    Iíve not tried it on anything other than the bracelet but Iíve certainly worn if for quite a few days on the trot. I think it would be fine as a daily wearer and, indeed, as an only watch.

  40. #40
    Master raptor's Avatar
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    Fantastic pal
    I wish you health for the new year and remember my words.. You always had in front of you what you were looking for :)
    Money and watch wise i wont wish you anything, it will all come if you are healthy.

  41. #41
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    What can I say Tony, a collectors collection. You're photography as always, is sublime. Good to see the 2021 collection

    Martyn

  42. #42
    Master Chinnock's Avatar
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    Cracking collection Tony.

  43. #43
    That's a super collection, I'm sure you enjoy them

  44. #44
    Still a great collection. That 5513 is still the pick of the bunch for me. Makes sense to sell the ALS under the circumstances.

  45. #45
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you Tony.

    Wise (albeit difficult) decisions - still love the posts.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  46. #46
    Craftsman
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    Fantastic collection, really drawn to the w10 myself

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  47. #47
    Master
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    A wonderful collection Tony. Love that particular GS - a nice subtle variation from the more popular GS models. All the best for 2021, and I hope things pick up again workwise for you.

  48. #48
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    As per usual, a really nice collection and spread of watches, Tony.

    Can't say that I'm not a little peeved that the 16710 slipped through my fingers, but here's wishing you a great 2021..

  49. #49
    Master
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    2,802
    I'd echo the comments above with regard to the photos and narrative, it's hard to imagine your passion dwindling but this year has been extraordinary in so many ways.

    The VC continues to be the star for me and I hope to try one some day. Hope 2021 proves to be a better year for you and everyone else.
    Last edited by deepreddave; 3rd January 2021 at 11:46.

  50. #50
    Cracking collection
    Great pics and write up as always
    Hoping for a better 2021 for everyone

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