Let’s talk watches

TSo, a lot of people might know me as the guy who geeks out about laptops, computers, electronics, guitars and such. But some people might not know that I’m also a geek about watches as well. I’ve always liked mechanical watches, in particular, because I’m at heart an engineer and the engineering that goes into something so small and precise is quite fascinating.

I like established Swiss and Japanese brands of course, but I care more about the style of the watch itself. I don’t like sporty looking watches, or chronographs, or watches with too much going on in them. Some complications I do like are date (a must have IMO), day (nice to have), moonphase (looks cool and nice to have), heartbeat (looks cool and nice to have), dual time zone functionality (useful for travelers), tourbillion (useless but looks very cool). I think those are all great looking or useful complications.

After doing a lot of research I can separate different watch brands into the following tiers:

Really cheap (<$100)
Seiko 5

Mainstream / Affordable ($100-$1000)
Raymond Weil
[Misc Fashion brands] like Michael Kors, Fossil, Diesel etc

Entry level luxury ($1000-$5000)
Tag Heuer
Frederique Constant
Grand Seiko
Baume & Mercier
Maurice Lacroix

Mid level luxury ($5000-$10k)
Ulysse Nardin
Universal Geneve
Jaeger LeCoultre
Girard Perregaux
Glashutte Original

High level luxury ($10k+)
Patek Phillipe
Vacheron Constantin
Audermars Piguet
Richard Mille
FP Journe
Jaquet Droz
A lange & Sohne

So because I am not the type of guy to buy something *super* expensive (my dream car actually is only a Genesis G80 which is entry level luxury car), the watches that I go for are also just ‘entry level’ luxury brands.

My previous daily driver dress watch was an affordable Orient Sun and Moon ($300~)

Orient Sun and Moon
Orient Sun and Moon

It was a solid mechanical watch, and Orient is well known for making really good value mechanical watches for the price, and also producing their own movements in house which is impressive.

However, since I just recently got myself a couple ring for my girlfriend (>$1k), I thought it appropriate to up the watches that I wore as well. I went for two luxury watches this time, because both of these watches serve different purposes. My budget was $5k for both watches put together. I liked watches with ‘simple’ looking complications and having a very clean style. After doing a lot of research I settled on these two:

Oris Greenwich Mean Time
Oris Greenwich Mean Time

The Oris Limited Edition Greenwich Meantime ($2000) is a nice watch to use both as a daily driver sporty looking watch, and as a travel watch. I especially liked the subdial showing a second time zone. Since I travel between Korea/Canada/US very often its useful to have this feature. Also note the steel bracelet and date window and power reserve complication here. Oris makes great quality mechanical watches so this is the one I picked.

Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase
Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase

The second watch I picked as a dress watch, is the Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase ($2700). This one was more expensive due to the watch being an in house movement by FC themselves. I looked at a bunch of other cheaper options but I just couldn’t get over how beautiful this watch was. Rose gold plating (I know, not real rose gold but cmon look at the price), beautiful subdial for the date, moonphase complication and alligator strap just won me over. FC are also known for making great value mechanical watches especially when they use their own in house movements and not outsourced ETA movements.

So yeah my total cost came to $4700, which was just under my $5k budget. I know this seems pretty expensive still but I think of it this way – a good quality mechanical swiss watch can actually last several lifetimes. I can pass it down to my kids in the future. When you think about how much I spent on electronics, laptops and guitars, then $4700 doesn’t actually seem as much as you think. Anyways, I’m happy with these two watches and hopefully they will last me many years to come.

Smartwatches over $200:

  1. Apple Watch ($200)
  2. Motorola Moto 360 ($350)
  3. Pebble Time Steel ($250)
  4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 ($200)

Traditional watches over $200:

  1. Oris GMT ($2000)
  2. Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase ($1300)
  3. Junghans Meister Calendar ($1500)
  4. Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 ($800)
  5. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time ($600)
  6. Nomos Tetra ($1500)

Other watches (worth less than $200)

  1. Seiko Kinetic ($150)
  2. Seiko 5 ($50)
  3. Fossil Abacus ($70)
  4. Casio Databank ($50)


My fashion style

People who know me, know that I love to talk about fashion, so yeah today I’ll talk about my shoes preferences. Why not. I have said that for most things in my life, like technology, phones, clothing etc I have no brand loyalty whatsoever, and tend to get whatever is the best value or best looking.

I generally prefer style over brands for everything. I also prefer brands that are not that popular over brands that are massively popular. For that reason I tend to avoid Samsung/Apple for phones and consumer brand laptops in general (preferring business laptops because they are better quality and less commonly seen in public). For technology I guess you can say I lean towards Sony, but thats mainly because Sony’s technology products have great style and are usually not as popular as other brands.

Ok, so for shoes, its a little different. Its pretty much the only I do have brand loyalty for. Why? I don’t know, maybe because I tend to wear them until they get worn out, which I can’t say for anything else.

From high school to university, all I wore were Adidas. I loved the three stripes, and wore them exclusively over other shoes from 2004-2011ish pretty much. These were my ‘Toronto’ shoes.

Adidas shoes

After I graduated university, I switched to mostly Converse and Vans shoes (they are fairly similar quality and style anyways). So from 2012-2014 I wore Jack Purcells alot. These were my ‘San Francisco’ shoes.

Converse Jack Purcells

After I came to South Korea (2015-present), I switched again, to Bruce Lee signature edition Onitsuka Tigers. These babies look really nice, and are good to wear sockless as well (a trend that I’ve taken from Korean men).

Bruce Lee Onitsuka Tigers

So yeah, you can get a sense of my fashion sense there for shoes.

I also like to wear hats alot. All throughout high school, I would wear a NY Yankees Baseball Cap, pretty much all the time. After high school, I only wore hats occasionally, in 2012 me and my friend often wore army-cap style hats. Occasionally I would also bust out the fedora for special occasions like performances.

Was never without this in high school

For my upper wear, I wore a lot of hoodies, jackets and sweaters and just regular t-shirts in high school and university. After I started working, I changed to wearing mostly polo shirts or a t-shirt layered with a collar shirt. I wore plaid shirts alot when I was in California. In Korea, mostly I wore tight collar shirts with the sleeves rolled up (thats Korean fashion style).

This shirt was really common for me in San Francisco

For my bottom wear, I exclusively wore jeans from high school to my time in California. I switched to skinny jeans once I got to California and started wearing khaki’s in addition to jeans once I got to Korea.

Skinny Jeans - cause regular jeans in America dont fit me

For watches – I really like watches as well.
From high school to university, I wore mostly standard Timex/Casio digital watches. Once I got to California, I switched to a Seiko 5, then a Seiko Kinetic (self winding quartz) which I wore until I got to Korea (2011-2015). Once I got to Korea (2015-) I started wearing my current watch, the Orient Sun & Moon (automatic mechanical).

Seiko Kinetic (2011-2015)

Orient Sun & Moon (2015-)

So that’s my fashion sense. Yup – not that different from a lot of other guys, but I have my own distinctive style as well. Nothing overly fancy though – I tend to stay on the conservative side when dressing.