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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Having recently made the decision to part ways with the watch that got me into this whole collecting madness (for the reasons explained below), I thought I'd make a post to sum it up. I realize it's far too long, and may not be everyone's cup of tea. But, think of it as a journey, a love letter to this versatile, genre-defying, classic-looking watch. Hopefully, it might even be enjoyable or illustrative. Here goes...

I fell in love with the blue Aqua Terra almost a decade ago, in my mid-20s. As a Bond fan for over half my life, it first caught my eye on the silver screen in Skyfall, and I remember researching it meticulously, learning for the first time about the co-axial escapement and the logic behind the beautiful teak dial (this, of course, after being obsessed with the Brosnan 2531.80 at a much younger and more unrealistic age for serious watch ownership).
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(Photo not mine. All others are.)

There were a few catches, though. Having had worn a ~40mm Wenger quartz chronograph for the better part of the prior 10 years (a cherished high school graduation gift), the thick 38.5mm model felt at once both too small and too thick. The 41.5mm AT was too large. And, there was the whole question of price; I simply couldn't envision spending that much on a watch at that time.

So I bided my time, continuing to pine and research. One day, sometime in 2014, I discovered the previous model AT -- 2503.80, with its thinner profile, more agreeable 39.2mm case, and beautiful starburst blue dial. As well as relatively more affordable used market price. Problem was, there were none to try on. And, I found it exceedingly rare through the usual channels (forums). One day, though, I came upon a good-looking example on eBay. Full kit, and the right price, and I jumped on it.

My friends, I was ecstatic. When it landed on my wrist in June 2015, it seemed perfect. Everything about it was a whole new level. As I discovered, it came with the older 2500B movement, which, although some had raised questions about its reliability, beats at the smoother 28,800 bph for a co-axial movement. It also came with a beautiful, older dark lacquered wood box as opposed to the red pleather one. And, the real kicker: even though the eBay seller was from across the country, the warranty card was from a jeweler from the town next to my hometown.
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I wore that watch happily for four and a half years. It's accompanied me through a lot of good memories. I've fallen deep into this hobby and purchased many watches since. But my blue AT will always be there. Or so I thought. One day last fall, I came across its smaller brother -- the 36mm 2504.80, at a local jeweler with an impressive amount of NOS Omega models. I tried it on, and something about the fit just seemed so reasonable.
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From then on, every time I looked down at my 39mm, it would strike me as too big. Even though the lug-to-lug profile fit, something about the size of the dial and ratio of the case to my arm seemed a bit off. But it was a chameleon: from some angles too big, from others OK. I had always thought that a 36mm watch would be too small, but here I was. I would even end up buying -- and returning -- a 2504.80. I returned it for a few reasons, but above all, I simply could not bear to part with my long-time companion. I made a thread about it here last fall, trying to decide: Which Aqua Terra should I keep?
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In the aftermath of that great debate, two things happened.

First, I caved and added an 8500-series Master Co-Axial Aqua Terra to my collection. It wasn't the Skyfall, but I got it with a brushed bracelet, and I wanted the anti-magnetic movement. All of a sudden, the 38.5 width didn't seem too small like it did all those years ago. It seemed closer to the more "reasonable" 36mm size of the 2504.80. At first, I thought having two of the same watch in my collection was ridiculous. But, I figured, there was enough different (size, dials, movement) between this and my 2503.80 to justify keeping both (oh, the mind of a WIS!). And, I was still holding onto my old friend. "This should keep me content," I thought.
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It didn't. I kept finding myself looking at pictures of the 2504.80, trying on my 2503.80 from different angles, staring at it and taking pictures. "Did it look too big?" "Just right?" "What if I moved the camera just so?" Aside from driving my wife crazy, I made Goldilocks and Hamlet together look like the epitome of decisive action. My heart led me to hold on to my 39mm, but over the course of almost a year later, it also kept me thinking about that 36mm.
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So, second, I decided to take the plunge and buy a 2504.80. Again. I thought I would give it more time, weigh it more thoroughly against the 39mm, and pick one to keep, sentimentality be damned. But this time, I made sure that it would be as close as possible to my 39mm. After a few false starts, I eventually found one with the same 2500B movement, same beautiful lacquered wood box and all papers. The warranty card isn't from a jeweler one town over from my hometown, but let's face it, that would be impossible to replicate.
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I entertained the thought of keeping three Aqua Terras, holding onto my 39mm out of sentiment and loyalty. But even I recognize that that is definitely a step too far.
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And so we come to the end of the story. After just over five happy years, I'm finally parting ways with my 39mm 2503.80, and will be putting it up for sale soon. I hope the next owner will give it as good a home as I've tried to. And its spirit lives on in my 36mm 2504.80. I guess you could just say that tastes evolve over time. I'm lucky that there exists a smaller version of this classic watch. I'm a little scared that I'll miss my 39mm the moment I sell it, but feel that, if I've ended up back here, thinking about that 36mm, I'm probably (hopefully?) making the right choice.

And reader, if you've stuck with this thread until here -- thanks. I appreciate it, and offer some additional photos to close it out. All three of these together, before one splits off into the sunset... (or would it be sunburst?)
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Great story and glad you have found the ones you want to keep. Both beautiful watches.

I’m currently on my 3rd Aqua Terra, first I had the 41.5 Opaline Master which got sold due to feeling the dial took over my wrist. Then a few year’s after I got a 38.5 Opaline Quartz with the applied markers, as I already had a light dial I wanted something different and managed to get a Skyfall so sold the Quartz. I’m now thinking about picking up the blue dial 36.2 the same as yours so I can compare the sizes to see which I prefer.

Do you have any more side by side shots of your 36.2 and 38.5 Aqua Terra’s? If you have some of the dials and profile side by side that would be great.


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Thanks for taking the time to share the story / journey. I think many of us here can relate, having gone through similar deliberations.
Same for me, I wanted the 36 mm Railmaster (new) but was just too late. After more than year of fruitless searches, I caved and got one of the last 39 mm pieces from Omega’s vaults. It is one of my favorites, on my wrist as I’m typing this. But there is still the ”siren song” of the 36 mm. More than once did I come close to purchasing a pre-owned one, but what holds me back is me, I know I will be unable / challenged to let the 39 mm version go. But there is no room for both, so ......
Currently facing the same dilemma with another piece in my collection. I love everything about my IWC Portuguese Automatic, only wished it was a tad smaller than its 42 mm diameter. IWC has listened and the new for 2020 Portuguese family comes in a more reasonable 40 mm diameter. Do I trade my “10 year old friend”?
It’s a crazy hobby for sure;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Same for me, I wanted the 36 mm Railmaster (new) but was just too late. After more than year of fruitless searches, I caved and got one of the last 39 mm pieces from Omega’s vaults. It is one of my favorites, on my wrist as I’m typing this. But there is still the ”siren song” of the 36 mm. More than once did I come close to purchasing a pre-owned one, but what holds me back is me, I know I will be unable / challenged to let the 39 mm version go. But there is no room for both, so ......
Currently facing the same dilemma with another piece in my collection. I love everything about my IWC Portuguese Automatic, only wished it was a tad smaller than its 42 mm diameter. IWC has listened and the new for 2020 Portuguese family comes in a more reasonable 40 mm diameter. Do I trade my “10 year old friend”?
It’s a crazy hobby for sure;)
It's a tough choice, for sure. If it helps, for me what ultimately decided it was that I couldn't get past the size of the 39mm every time I would wear it. Sure, I would think about how, from some angles it looked fine. But my overall conclusion that it was too big diminished my enjoyment of the watch, and pushed me toward the 36mm. If you had told me back in 2015 that I would prefer the 36mm over the 39mm, I would have never believed it -- it was a conclusion that I came to over time.

With your Railmaster dilemma it's a bit different, since you've wanted the 36mm from the start, and you've come to enjoy the 39mm over time. And then with the IWC, it's tough to say. How do you feel about them on your wrist?
 

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With your Railmaster dilemma it's a bit different, since you've wanted the 36mm from the start, and you've come to enjoy the 39mm over time. And then with the IWC, it's tough to say. How do you feel about them on your wrist?
Railmaster feels totally fine, it’s just that keep wondering about the smaller one. Now the Portuguese..... it’s at the top end of my range, what I can pull off. Love the watch, but am constantly aware / reminded of its size, 42 mm diameter and 14+ mm thick (if I remember correctly). Not it’s heft, it’s a light watch given it’s size. Ideal would be a 38 mm version, but the new 2020 40 mm version is a big step in the right direction (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That’s great thank you. Not much between them size wise.

Which do you prefer?


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Hopefully not too much of a cop-out answer, but I like them both for different reasons. The thin profile and simpler dial of the 2500 make it a dressier option, whereas the larger diameter and chunkier profile of the 8500 allow it to play a sportier role. If I really had to pick, it would probably be the 2500 -- but again, that has more to do with my attachment to it as a "first" watch. I really think they are unique and, in a way, complementary.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Railmaster feels totally fine, it’s just that keep wondering about the smaller one. Now the Portuguese..... it’s at the top end of my range, what I can pull off. Love the watch, but am constantly aware / reminded of its size, 42 mm diameter and 14+ mm thick (if I remember correctly). Not it’s heft, it’s a light watch given it’s size. Ideal would be a 38 mm version, but the new 2020 40 mm version is a big step in the right direction (y)
Well then maybe in another two years they'll be down to a 38! ;)
 

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Thanks for sharing your story; that was a good read. Enjoy your 2 ATs!

Rene
 
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Congrats!

I had the AT on 36, 38.5, 39 and 41mm sizes and the best size from all for the type of watch it is ended being the 36mm.



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Good story, you sat and thought it all out before doing an impulsive thing like sell before being sure and then the regret would have set in.

I find the 36mm Omega Seamaster dive to be too small. but find the 36 AT to be just right. The 36mm SMP bezel makes the dial look small.

Besides, the Rolex Oyster perpetual was always 34mm and 36mm and they looked good and wore well. (I think the 39mm OP is too big looking). 36mm is a classic size
 

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Great read, thanks for sharing with us. (y)
I'm also a big fan of the AT. I think it's a super flexible watch. It looks great with a suit, and looks 'at home' dressed down for the 'chilled out' weekend.
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Discussion Starter #17
I had the AT on 36, 38.5, 39 and 41mm sizes and the best size from all for the type of watch it is ended being the 36mm.
Good story, you sat and thought it all out before doing an impulsive thing like sell before being sure and then the regret would have set in.

I find the 36mm Omega Seamaster dive to be too small. but find the 36 AT to be just right. The 36mm SMP bezel makes the dial look small.

Besides, the Rolex Oyster perpetual was always 34mm and 36mm and they looked good and wore well. (I think the 39mm OP is too big looking). 36mm is a classic size
Great read, thanks for sharing with us. (y)
I'm also a big fan of the AT. I think it's a super flexible watch. It looks great with a suit, and looks 'at home' dressed down for the 'chilled out' weekend.
Thank you all! You guys may not remember it, but you also commented on my thread back last fall the first time around when I considered the 36mm. So I appreciate your insight, then and now!
 

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Beautiful AT(s) - all of them. I remember back when, that exact 39mm watch you’re parting with was my “dream watch”. The sunburst dial was (and is) so good looking.

I never ended up owning one, but still think they’re wonderful looking watches. Maybe one day I’ll circle back around and get one. Enjoy the new 36mm version - I hope it’s a keeper for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Beautiful AT(s) - all of them. I remember back when, that exact 39mm watch you’re parting with was my “dream watch”. The sunburst dial was (and is) so good looking.

I never ended up owning one, but still think they’re wonderful looking watches. Maybe one day I’ll circle back around and get one. Enjoy the new 36mm version - I hope it’s a keeper for you!
Thanks! One day might come soon enough -- I understand that there'll be one going up for sale soon ;)
 

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Currently facing the same dilemma with another piece in my collection. I love everything about my IWC Portuguese Automatic, only wished it was a tad smaller than its 42 mm diameter. IWC has listened and the new for 2020 Portuguese family comes in a more reasonable 40 mm diameter. Do I trade my “10 year old friend”?
It’s a crazy hobby for sure;)
I had a poignant moment a few weeks ago. I was talking to my kids about how one day they will inherit my watches when my nine yr old daughter quipped up and said “Daddy how are we going to get your watches when you keep selling them every 2yrs??”

It really made me pause and thinks......On the one hand you have the romance of having a wristwatch that accompanies you through life, captures all the milestone moments, has the wear and tear to show for it....... on another there’s the constant tug of a different watch... the hunt for one, researching it, looking at pictures....and then finally pulling the trigger and in doing so, potentially making a decision to sell one to make room for a new addition..........
 
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