Categories
General

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)
Timex
Casio
Swatch

Mainstream / Affordable ($100-$1000)
Seiko
Citizen
Bulova
Shinola
Orient
Victorinox
Tissot
Hamilton
Longines
Frederique Constant
Raymond Weil

Entry level luxury ($1000-$5000)
Tag Heuer
Oris
Grand Seiko
Bremont
Baume & Mercier
Sinn
Mido
Rado
Tutima
Maurice Lacroix
Montblanc
Junghans
Nomos
Tudor
Eterna
Stowa

Mid level luxury ($5000-$20k)
Rolex
Omega
Cartier
Breitling
Hublot
Chopard
Zenith
Ulysse Nardin
Universal Geneve
Bell&Ross
Jaeger LeCoultre
Girard Perregaux
Glashutte Original
Piaget
IWC
Panerai

High level luxury ($20k+)
Patek Phillipe
Vacheron Constantin
Audermars Piguet
Breguet
Blancpain
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.

Update: Because watch collecting is an expensive hobby, I’ve decided to limit myself like this: only 5 traditional watches over $200, only 5 smartwatches over $200. No watches can go beyond $2k. So far this is what I have:

Smartwatches over $200:

  1. Apple Watch ($200)
  2. Motorola Moto 360 ($350)
  3. Vector Luna ($200)
  4. Pebble Time Steel ($250)
  5. 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. Orient Sun and Moon LE ($600)
  5. Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 ($800)

Other watches (worth less than $200)

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

Categories
General

Comparison of Luxury watches

I’ve always thought a classic mechanical watch is better a smartwatch; it lasts longer, has more sentimental value and if its automatic, will probably never need charging. Plus they look unique. There’s hundreds of thousands of styles compared to just one black AMOLED screen for the smartwatch. I have the same complaint about modern smartphones these days too. I miss the days when phones came in all different sizes and forms, slider phones, candy bar, flip, clamshell, etc now there’s just one type: big black slab.

Anyways here’s a comparison of all the luxury watch makers I found. Is it worth it? questionable, but these brands all have a lot of cachet.

Audemars Piguet
Founded: 1875
Headquarters: Le Brassus, Switzerland

Vacheron Constantin
Founded: 1755
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Patek Phillipe
Founded: 1851
Headquarters: Plan-les-Ouates, GE, Switzerland

A. Lange & Söhne
Founded: 1845
Headquarters: Glashütte, Germany

Breguet
Founded: 1775
Headquarters: Vallée de Joux, Switzerland

Blancpain
Founded: 1735
Headquarters: Paudex, Switzerland

Longines
Founded: 1832
Headquarters: Saint-Imier, Switzerland

Chopard
Founded: 1860
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

IWC
Founded: 1868
Headquarters: Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Girard-Perregaux
Founded: 1791
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Ulysse Nardin
Founded: 1846
Headquarters: Le Locle Switzerland

Tissot
Founded: 1853
Headquarters: Le Locle, Switzerland

Panerai
Founded: 1860
Headquarters: Milan, Italy

Piaget
Founded: 1874
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Cartier
Founded: 1847
Headquarters: Paris, France

Breitling
Founded: 1884
Headquarters: Grenchen, Switzerland

Rolex
Founded: 1905
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Jaeger-LeCoultre
Founded: 1833
Headquarters: Le Sentier, Vaud, Switzerland

Omega
Founded: 1903
Headquarters: Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

Tag Heur
Founded: 1860
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Baume et Mercier
Founded: 1830
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Gallet
Founded: 1466
Headquarters: Zollikon-Zürich, Switzerland

Universal Genève
Founded: 1894
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Franck Muller
Founded: 1991
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Charriol
Founded: 1983
Headquarters: Le Locle, Switzerland

Zodiac Watches
Founded: 1882
Headquarters: Le Locle, Switzerland

Zenith
Founded: 1865
Headquarters: Le Locle, Switzerland

Montblanc
Founded: 1906
Headquarters: Hamburg, Germany

Corum
Founded: 1955
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Ebel
Founded: 1911
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Eberhard
Founded: 1887
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Invicta
Founded: 1837
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Rotary Watches
Founded: 1895
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Movado
Founded: 1881
Headquarters: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Bulova
Founded: 1881
Headquarters: New York City, USA

Seiko
Founded: 1875
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Solvil et Titus
Founded: 1887
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Mido
Founded: 1918
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Raymond Weil
Founded: 1976
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Frederique Constant
Founded: 1988
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Bell & Ross
Founded: 1992
Headquarters: Paris, France

Bremont
Founded: 2002
Headquarters: Henley-on-Thames, England