Monday, July 16, 2018

Tokyo Watch Hospital

Tokyo is one of the world's best wristwatch cities, with some of the most dazzling watch shops, including ones at Ginza with glass elevators that double as watch galleries.

Tokyo even has watch hospitals, like this one at Yurakucho Station. Open until 9 p.m, too!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Choosing Today's Watch

When you can't decide which watch to wear, let your cat choose.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Three Shops Selling the Identical Used Watch

Credor Spring Drive Moonphase:
Stunning no matter how it's sold.
This is interesting. These three online shops are selling the identical Credor Spring Drive Moonphase watch. The exact same. The scratches on the watch are identical.

Here are the links to the watches: (¥ 498,000) This watch is also available on eBay. (¥ 353,580) ( ¥ 590,444)

 (The prices are in yen; for a rough conversion to dollars, just cut the last two digits.)

The price difference from the most to least expensive is 236,864 yen, about $2,100 —  for the same watch. Notably, none of these stores are watch shops.

Credor is Seiko’s high-end line, even higher than their Grand Seiko division. My favorite Credor is the Eichi II, which weighs in at $50,000, and is worth every dollar. Unadorned and elegant through design and simplicity, the Eichi, also a spring drive, is grace and polish personified in a watch. But I digress. We’re talking about the Credor Moonphase here. It’s life was brief, and can be found in the used market for about $4,500, give or take a thousand.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Watch Size Rules

Last week Congress passed a law requiring all wristwatch reviews to delineate a watch's diameter and lug-to-lug distance in the article's first paragraph.

The bill was supported by the vast majority of watch collectors, but opposed by several watch manufacturers, including Panerai, IWC, and Hublot. The bill, The Truth in Time Act, was also condemned by the ACLU, which said, "This law is a clear infringement on the First Amendment rights of watchmakers and watch journalists." The ACLU also said the law is fundamentally flawed because it doesn't address a watch’s thickness, how tightly integrated the lugs are, or if the case is curved in sync with the wearer’s wrist.

Most watch buyers support the legislation.

"I often have to scan an article three or four times to find that information," said Roger Lewis, a watch collector from Bangor, Maine, who owns seven Rolexes. "I have no intention of reading a full watch review if the watch is too big or too small or the lugs are too enormous for my wrist. Having that information up front let's me know if I should even bother reading the review. I mostly want to see the pictures in reviews, anyway."

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Jaeger-LeCoultre Vintage Memovox: The Nearly Perfect Couple's Watch

What's a watch collector to get his or her significant other? Another necklace? A new leather cover for the car's steering wheel? A wallet? A third cat?

Of course not. A watch is the perfect gift for anyone, anytime, and the only better gift than a watch you can bestow upon your significant other is a couple's watch. Giving a watch as a birthday, anniversary or other present is wonderful, but getting the two of you matching watches is wondrous. When you're apart and look at your watch, you'll smile, knowing that your lover or spouse has the same testament to affection around their wrist.
A pair of 1960's Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovoxes

While finding a couple's watch isn't difficult, finding the right one is. It's easy to slip into a Rolex shop and wind up with matching Datejusts weighing in at his and hers sizes. In the Omega, Cartier, and Grand Seiko realms you'll find his and hers watches, too. Even Daniel Wellington has couples watches—and judging from the under 30-year-old wrists I see, they're popular.

But think outside the authorized dealer box and consider matching (or nearly matching) vintage watches. In particular, what about a pair of vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox? The Memovox was one of the most important watches of the 1950's and 1960's. Handsome, with touches of Art Deco from preceding decades, the Memovox's look is, well, timeless. JLC's Memovox is an alarm watch, because the in the 50's and 60's, alarms were more important complications than moonphases and jumping second hands. There were no phone alarms in those distant decades, and even electric alarm clocks were a relative scarcity. People were probably as sleep deprived in the 1950’s and 1960’s as they are today, and without an alarm half the population would be fired for chronic lateness.

But even in 2018, alarm watches are fun-functional: Sometimes you want a backup alarm; sometimes it's just more convenient to set your watch's alarm. (And sometimes you can surreptitiously set your watch's alarm to go off mid-meeting, followed by, "Sorry. I need to go.")

If you search the usual places, such as Chrono24 and vintage watch shops, you'll find Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovoxes in 33 mm and 37 mm sizes, just about perfect for his and hers watches.

Prices for vintage Memovoxes range from about $1,500 to $9,000. Here's a feather in the vintage watch cap: Vintage watches rarely go down in value, while a new Rolex or Omega is going to lost some 20 percent of its value the moment you walk out of the watch shop.

Vintage watches as couple’s watches are more interesting, thoughtful and rare than buying contemporary his and hers watches, too. Next time you’re thinking about a present, you know where to look.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Time Traveler's Watch

The double tourbillon Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 1
looks like it was inspired by the future
Watchmakers create incredible watches for divers, pilots, astronauts, and race car drivers seemingly out of a jumble of random parts, waving wands to make masterpieces. Watches built to withstand the crushing pressure of the deep sea, the vacuum of outer space, the intense cold of the world's tallest mountains, and the debilitating G-forces of extreme sports.

But what about time travel? What's the best watch to have strapped to your wrist when breaking the time barrier? Sure, an Omega Speedmaster will probably be adequate, but adequate doesn't cut it. Time travelers need their own watches with the perfect balance of design, reliability and features. What will a time traveler's watch look like? Here's one possible advertisement that answers that question.

The Seiko Time 1

Whether you're embarking on your first trip to the past or whether you're a seasoned time traveler with centuries under your belt, Seiko's Time 1 is the watch you should be wearing. Stylish, sporty, comfortable, and above all, practical, the Time 1 is your faithful companion for everything from a short trip down memory lane to when you were toddler, to a journey to witness the first ever sunrise at the just-completed Stonehenge.

Among Time 1's exclusive features are:

Highly readable year, month, date, day, hour, minute, seconds. Year indicator is red for BC, green for AD.

The Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia
Astronomical Grand Complication 3600
might as well
be from the year 3600.
Quick set year

Perpetual calendar from 3,547 BC (the time travel limit) to the present

Accurate to +/- 1 one second a month

Auto self-destruct if watch is removed without first being set to present date (to prevent the timeline from being corrupted by technology from the future)

Fully mechanical watch (even the self-destruct feature is powered by the spring)

Polished, lightweight lithium case that's stronger than titanium 3

Flexible strap so you can quickly flip your watch upside down, disguising it as plain jewelry

One press of the auto pusher at the two o'clock position starts the 2 hour and 12 minute countdown timer to alert you to when the wormhole will reopen so you're not stranded in the past. The watch will vibrate when the countdown mark is reached.

Lunar and solar eclipse complication so you're forewarned about mass hysteria events

Nihonium-painted hands give powerful lumes for night-time readability

Scratch resistant diamond crystal

Easily removable 18k gold milanese band in case you need to barter it for local currency

Moonphase so you know when there will be light at night

And, of course, the Seiko Time 1 makes a great watch for just hanging out in 2047, too. It's water resistant to 5,000 meters and negative air pressure resistant through the lunar atmosphere and beyond. Look for it at your favorite Seiko retailer under the model SJTT073.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

An Irreverent Glossary of Watch Terms

Collecting watches isn’t as easy as collecting simple things like baseball cards or Pez dispensers. If you want the maximum fulfillment from collecting watches you need to be able to explain to somebody you’ve just met at a party how a mechanical watch works, the difference between automatic and manual wind watches, and why a $1,000 watch is considered inexpensive. You have to be able to sketch a the inside of a watch with a drawing that would impress John Harrison* himself.

Watches are complicated machines, often with hundreds of parts with fancy-sounding French and German names that spell checkers can’t even guess at. Many watches are an amalgam of parts invented a century ago and components so advanced they seem to have been created by aliens from the future. Then there are the seemingly endless number of watch complications (a complication is a trick a watch can perform) such as moonphase, chronograph, and fourndaynte.

What do all those words mean? What do all those parts and complications do? With this glossary, you’ll learn the meaning of some of the more interesting watch words and be on your way toward enjoying watch collecting even more.

Hacking: Sound you make to disguise the answer to your spouse's question, "How much was that watch?"

Chronograph: The complication you wish you had used before you got that parking ticket.

Bezel: The first part of a new watch to be scratched.

Authorized Dealer: The only person who ever notices your new watch.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Oh No! My Watch is Worth $500,000

You're on your way to a doubly dangerous destination, or maybe you’re headed for the middle of monsoon season. As you're waiting for your connecting flight—you finally have internet again after being encased in a radio-free cigar container for twenty hours—you're reading some watch websites.

What?! Wait! That can't be! But it is. That watch you've taken on this rough and tumble trip because you didn't care if it was ruined or stolen, is one of two of its kind in the world and is worth $500,000. The pictures and reference numbers match up exactly. Surely it’s a mistake. But it’s not. The roll of the dice was in your favor, and your watch hovers in the stratosphere.

What do you do? Do you cancel your trip and fly home to safety with your watch? After all, wandering the streets of Johannesburg with a watch that might be stolen at gunpoint or smashed against a boulder while you’re trekking through the Swiss alps would ruin your entire vacation, not to mention your life.

Or do you soldier on and let fate decide whether your watch survives?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Two Under the Radar Collectables: Bulova Spaceview and Borel Cocktail Watch

You could add a new watch to your collection daily and not even scratch the surface of the watch universe. You could probably even specialize in moonphase or GMT and still have more watches than would make an octopus happy.

Which makes trying to decide what to add to your collection a sometimes impossible decision.

One way to make sense of the splendor of choice is to pursue watches that aren’t being made anymore, fragments of history and engineering that travel into a more distant past with every passing year. And while there are also nearly countless vintage watches you could buy, a few stand out,making you stand up and proclaim, “They’re not making those anymore.”

The Borel Cocktail watch and the Bulova Spaceview are two affordable, visually striking watches that belong in every collection.

Borel Cocktail watch: kaleidoscope and cool.
Borel Cocktail watches pop up regularly on eBay, Chrono24, and other sites for between $100 and $800. They come in men’s and women’s sizes, so among other things, this vintage watch makes a great couples’ watch. While most watches can be described with a picture and a handful of words, you have to see a video of the Borel Cocktail watch to appreciate it’s singular and innovative beauty. The watch’s rotating, kaleidoscopic dial looks like something that might have been used to hypnotize the villain in a 1960’s James Bond movie. Once you start looking, you won’t want to (or perhaps be unable to) pull your eyes away from this watch. These hand-wound watches, designed by Ernest Borel and manufactured between about 1958 and 1980 are mostly 17 jewels, and have clear casebacks. You’ll find many designs and styles—each is great fun.