Baume et Mercier 18 Carat Gold - bought on a whim (a most expensive one, this was two thousand quid fifteen years ago) whilst on holiday 'cos I spotted it in a shop window. The perfct dress watch that I (erm) wore daily for about ten years. The gold case and sapphire crystal still looks fresh as a daisy. People forget that the prior popularity of gold was more to do with durability than with intrinsic value.
Stowa Flieger No Logo Auto COSC - bought after months of plotting 'cos even I could see (after, erm, ten years)that a bloke can't be wearing a three thousand dollar watch daily. Good looking, a bit sterile, perfectly made and perfectly detailed. Reminds us all that Jörg Schauer is first and foremost an artist.
Stowa Landeron 248 - bought on a whim on Ebay because I couldn't resist the price or looks. The gold-plate is all but worn away, but I'll replate it one day.
Smiths Everest - a very good looking watch indeed. Wears nicely in the office now that I've swapped the heavy bracelet for a decent strap. The bracelet is excellent, by the way, but I just don't warm to 'em.
Strela 3133 - bought from Juri Levenberg 'cos I knew I could never find a vintage Strela 3017 without the usual inner markers. Which is exactly what I found days after this was delivered. Ah well. Gold markers and hands are very nice indeed. And nice to know I have one of the last available 3133 movements that'll ever be manufactured.
Vostok Amfibia 1967 - bought after a lot of worrying in case it's too big. Well, it is but somehow I don't care. I *love* this watch's vintage looks, especially on this thickish mesh. I call this my Bond villain watch, 'cos I could imagine any number of the baddies on the original Sean Connery movies wearing something just like it. 'Cept Goldfinger, obviously.
Strela 3017 - dunno what happened with this photo 'cos it's amplified the inevitable dings and dial scratches way buying what yer see with the naked eye. Must try again one sunny day. Anyways, this is *the* Russian watch that I'd hankered fit since sniffin' around the Russian forum one sleepless night. Bewitched, I was. Rarer than hen's teeth, I understood. So I bought a modern 3133-powered Strela instead. Then found this, nipped onto the Russian forum to confirm authenticity, then snapped it up sharpish. Mine. All mine...
Raketa 24hr Radio Room - my first Russian watch bought out of curiosity for a 24 hour dial. Opened up the package, took one look at the silver dial with it's reds and blues, and was bewitched. I *love* this watch. It's right up there with almost all of the vintage Chinese watches that I've grown to love.
Raketa Red Twelve - bought from a pal 'cos I loved the archaic political statement of colouring the twelve red. How daft is that? But still it has its charm. But is it for me? Not sure, so inevitably it'll end up sold onto to someone who better deserves it. Ah well.
Raketa Kopernik - bonkers, innit. That hollow moon "eclipses" the gold sun once an hour thereby causing Copernicus to spin in his grave. Still, a charmingly flippant bit of Soviet design.
Poljot Signal Alarm. I briefly had two, but gave one to a pal who showed interest in it. Can't remember which, and too lazy to open the watch box to see which one remains. Anyway, the alarm is, erm, alarming. Jumped out of me socks when I wound it up for a test.
Smiths De Luxe - the oldest watch I own, being a 1953 model. It's gold plated, but from the times when gold plated *meant* plated and not just waved over a bit o' gold vapour. The dial is remarkably racy for its day; no numbers, tiny dots of lume. And it's British, sah.
Smiths GB Crosshairs - good looking Smiffs from their less posh Welsh factory, see? Ca. 1967, according to the good book,
Smiths GB Pembroke - a more retro looking Smiffs, this time from about 1964.
Timex GB Army, Civilian and Junior - ahhh, therein lies a story of a 48 year old WIS, an empty bottle of wine (me second, hic), and access to Ebay; nostalgic to lay his hands on his long lost first junior Timex (sniff) wot I *loved* to bits. Literally. Anyway, on the third try the mists of time finally parted enough for me to buy a true Timex GB Junior (it's the black dial with a date), having erroneously bought a Timex GB Civvy (white dial) and then the actually quite collectible Timex GB Army watch. Shall sell the non-juniors off just as soon as I have the patience to deal with Ebay, post offices, wrapping, etc.
Been thinking this one through, and as I have 36 watches at the moment I'm trying to think how I'd make do with just one non-affordable.
Which I can't. So here's my minimum non-affordable list to replace my existing 34 affordables and 2 non-affordables. Oh, and the total replacement value of my collection (just counted it all up) is $15,000. The ten non-affordables below come to a heady $40,000.
But does anyone think I'd ever let go of my Chinese collection? Really? No way.
Tag Heuer Jack Heuer 80th Birthday Special Edition $4,000-5,000 - saw this whilst wandering around the posh watch section of an expensive Lisbon department store (Court Anglais) and was smitten at first sight. If there'd been enough headroom on my credit card at the time, I'd bought it then and there and seen if I'd have regretted it later. Capucho's are impulsive creatures, but not that day.
Vintage Heuer Monaco CAW211D $5,000-6,000 - the existing Steve McQueen is lovely, but why pay $5,000 for a reissue when yer can have a mint original for the same price? Note the left-handed crown that tells yer this isn't yet another Valjoux 7750 inside.
Omega Seamaster Professional 2254.50 (discontinued model) $2,000-2,500 - I'm surprised how much I like this watch, considering I'm not a submariner type of chap. Lovely, innit? And that bonkers dodecagonal case (word used to fox Vail) is just unique. Must have, will have.
Vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch 145.012 Cal. 321 $3,000-4,000 - similar point, why pay the same for a modern version when yer can have the original domed acrylic beauty for the same dosh?
Omega Speedmaster Professional Mitsukoshi Special Edition $4,000-5,000 - ahh, now this one's hen's teeth. Probably best getting myself a 3573.50 (the hesalite glass one with the display back) and a repro Mitsukoshi dial and getting my tame watchmaker to swap it in.
Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope $2,000 - just look at it. Just. Look. At. It. Look at it! Look!
Rolex Explorer I 214270 $5,500 - the only way I'll ever let go of me Smiths Everest.
Jaeger leCoultre Master Control Memovox $8,000 - sigh... The black-dialled "Tribute to Polaris" is even lovelier, but twice the already insane price; but not twice as gorgeous.
Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date $6,000 - Glashütte have a few of these Sixties models now, but the blue-dial's the stunner of an already stunning bunch.
Panerai Radiomir PAM00337 $7,000 - I know, I know. Seven grand for a bloody Radiomir. But if I'm honest, it was a Radiomir homage that got me into this whole WIS mess in the first place. So here's the real thing, but... it's more modest 42mm case ain't gonna stretch my shoulder muscle like the usual 45-47mm monsters. The design is popular for a reason; it's timeless.
Celadon Imperial, side by side with its Beijing BeiHai cousin. I don't know how Ben's done it, but the finish of the Imperial is flawless. "Made in China with Pride", indeed. I purposely chose number 4 because it's a unlucky number in that culture.
Lew & Huey Acionna, one of the few contemporary "western" watches to truly capture my heart. The silver dial is a prototype that I wheedled Chris into selling me. In spite of a few pre-production flaws, I *love* this watch exactly as it is. The black dial is number 13 from the production run. The bracelet is great, and *everyone* knows I typically shy away from heavy metal.
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