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I’m looking to get my first luxury watch, and I want a solid GADA with a black dial (non-diver) I’ve looked at the usual suspects: Sinn 556i, Tudor BB36, Rolex OP and Explorer, and the Omega Aqua Terra. Rolex is out of my price range but I might be able to stretch for the AT.

I keep coming back to the AT, as it checks a lot of boxes, but I tend toward classic and vintage-inspired looks that will remain in style forever, and I worry whether it will look dated.

Imagine JFK or Sinatra or Miles Davis wearing a well-tailored suit and tie with Ray Bans. That looked good in the 60s and still does today. Sure, sometimes I’m sure it looked conservative while other trends raged, but once those fads faded away, you were glad not to have been seen wearing MC Hammer pants or whatever.

Rolex (and the similar Tutor designs) has been very consistent and conservative, and I get the feeling that they will still look great 30 years from now. The Omega AT looks wonderful to me right now, but it has a lot of modern things going on, and I need only look back 5/10/15 years and I see multiple iterations, and each looks pretty dated and era-specific to me.

If you were buying for the long term, and prefer classic or vintage-ish style that will remain classic, would anyone else be worried about getting the AT?

To be clear, I’m not putting the AT down — I’m asking because it’s at or near the top of my list.
 

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If prior models look dated to you now, I suspect you’ll think a new AT will look dated in the future.
If these are times you’ll remember as the best time in your life, it will be a great pickup. But if you want timeless vintage class, JLC Reverso.
 

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As a lover of the Aqua Terra design, I think it's possible that it won't age well. The same for some Rolex OP designs, but not all. However, this should not stop your from buying the Aqua Terra.

The Rolex Explorer and the Sinn 556 are classic designs and will be almost identical in the future.
 

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No way to know for sure. Some of our favorite timeless designs were revolutionary when they debuted.

Also your impression of it will be colored by the fact that you own it and are used to the way it looks after you've had it for a while.

I also have a preference for classic design and struggled with a similar choice, and I ended up buying an AT. It does look current, but the more I looked at it the more I grew to appreciate it as a versatile design with some timeless Omega design elements. Even if it looks dated in the future it'll be a reminder of a successful time for me.
 

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Also, WHICH AT look? There's several, even if we limit attention to the 38 and 41 sizes. I'm not sure the brighter-colored but galvanized dials, with the trapezoidal indices, will hold up. I seriously DISLIKE the 38s with small seconds...altho I love small seconds, the lozenge indices are a hideous mismatch IMO. The horizontal deck dials, OTOH, are IMO classic for a sports watch.

To echo some other commenters...arguably the top, most classic look for a sports watch is the Royal Oak. But it took several years to take off. I believe the Nautilus was similar. For myself? it took me a while to warm up to the RO design...and honestly, I'm not a fan of the Nautilus look. So asserting what will hold up 30 years from now is like trying to predict the weather 2 weeks ahead.
 

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Oh...2 others you didn't mention.
--The new Tudor Ranger. For me, a big advantage over the Explorer (even before price) is case size. 36 mm case size can be OK...but the OP and Explorer have fairly broad bezels, so the dial itself is on the small side.
--Railmaster, with the brown/dark gray dial. It's very muted, and IMO a great GADA.

I might also consider the new IWC Pilot Mark XX. As you note, a seriously classic layout, and now with a more appropriate movement. I'm not per se an in-house snob, but I do have an issue with an ETA, unless heavily and clearly refined, at that price point.
 

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Pretty timeless design in my view, the only thing that may appear outdated at some point in the future may be some of the colorways, those tend to be fadish in nature. Also, the Railmaster used to have a 'Denim' dial, not sure if they ever offered that on the AT, but again... my opinion is that would appear to be outdated sometime in the future.
 

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I have both the Sinn 556i as well as the Explorer. I think that the AT is more in the league of the Explorer. Maybe that is to be considered rather… I find this is essential for the long term wearing habit around a watch. Comparing the Explorer with the 556 the Explorer is pretty blingy and the 556 seems a bit dull. It is completely matte, except for the glossy dial, and the dial has no applied markers whatsoever…

If I were to choose between the AT and the 556 I would most likely go with the AT.
 

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Out of all the things we can wear, the watch is perhaps the most flexible item to wear whether dated or not. I won't wear boot cut jeans or a skin tight sweater, but I won't mind wearing a black and gold two tone Bulova today.

However
I can see watch cases, currently modern, with very sharply angled and intricately beveled edges/flanks and lugs, and the over use of applied indices/facets on a dial, can turn dated in a few years.
For example this oris chronograph I have here
Watch Analog watch Silver Clock Material property



Sort of like in the 70s(?) watches that embraced the space age look... it turned dated in a decade.

However those looks become retro and are totally fashionably acceptable to wear again these days.

If the at gets dated in a few years, tuck it away for those years, long enough for it to go through the cycle of becoming vintage and fashionable again.
 

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I’m looking to get my first luxury watch, and I want a solid GADA with a black dial (non-diver) I’ve looked at the usual suspects: Sinn 556i, Tudor BB36, Rolex OP and Explorer, and the Omega Aqua Terra. Rolex is out of my price range but I might be able to stretch for the AT.

I keep coming back to the AT, as it checks a lot of boxes, but I tend toward classic and vintage-inspired looks that will remain in style forever, and I worry whether it will look dated.

Imagine JFK or Sinatra or Miles Davis wearing a well-tailored suit and tie with Ray Bans. That looked good in the 60s and still does today. Sure, sometimes I’m sure it looked conservative while other trends raged, but once those fads faded away, you were glad not to have been seen wearing MC Hammer pants or whatever.

Rolex (and the similar Tutor designs) has been very consistent and conservative, and I get the feeling that they will still look great 30 years from now. The Omega AT looks wonderful to me right now, but it has a lot of modern things going on, and I need only look back 5/10/15 years and I see multiple iterations, and each looks pretty dated and era-specific to me.

If you were buying for the long term, and prefer classic or vintage-ish style that will remain classic, would anyone else be worried about getting the AT?

To be clear, I’m not putting the AT down — I’m asking because it’s at or near the top of my list.
It is already dated.
 

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I don’t think the AT will look dated. It doesn’t have any radical angles as such and the dial is not funky. At least to me, the design is pretty much a classic.
Watch Analog watch Automotive tire Clock Watch accessory
 

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Your fear is inevitable. Anything that continues to be redesigned, will always end up looking less modern over time. The only way to future proof against your fear, is if for example Omega release a new AT, but you actually don't like the new design so you stick with the old.

Or for example if you like the no wave dial SMPc over current iteration of wave dial, then you get the no wave version and it'd stay the same forever for you.

Otherwise with the example of AT, they update the dial to make it look more modern, move the date window around, adjust the fonts, change the profile of the hands etc., the AT you can buy today will not look modern in 10 to 15 years time.
 

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I don't think so. I think a watch's bracelet tends to get plenty of attention before the dial does. That's why the Seamaster 300 is more of a polarizing issue.

I feel the Aqua Terra's dial is unique, but still tame in the grand scheme of things.
 
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