One of, if not the best thing about this wonderful passion (insert addiction if appropriate) is the connections and friendships that are made because of these little time telling devices that we strap onto our left or right wrist every day. Whilst not a crucial box to tick when applying for your watch nerd membership, the social aspect certainly helps to make this an infinitely more enjoyable hobby. And a relationship like this is how you are all reading my ramblings on the Mushi Straps website. Chris and myself have been talking for the past few months over ‘The Gram’ and have formed an Insta based watch friendship. Considering we are both similar sized businesses, and both are very much aligned in terms of our watch philosophy, collaborating in some way seemed like a no brainer! Chris dropped me a message a few weeks ago, suggesting that I wrote a short ‘week in watches’ piece for his website in order to put each of our businesses on the radar of our respective readership, and give some diversity to our offerings. Considering I was asked if I wanted to write more about watches than I already do, I of course bit Chris’ hand off; after having asked my two fellow founders over at TYH of course… So, without further-a-do, let’s take a quick look at what has been a pretty exciting week in watches!
To start with, and this may or may not be the formula of these articles going forward, I am going to shed a smidgen of light on my three favourite releases from the previous week. As we are effectively in the midst of watch Christmas, this is fairly easy at the moment. It has been a pretty exciting week, with IWC releasing a whole host of new models, as well as Seiko releasing some stunning Prospex Divers, however, my three are as follows…
The Cartier Prive Collection Tank ‘Asymetrique’
I am kicking off my favourite three with a watch that I feel maybe slightly polarising. Firstly, it is a square watch. And before you all go after me in the comments, the Cartier Tank is not only one of my favourite watches of all time, but one of the most iconic without question. However it is hard to argue with the fact that square or rectangular watches are just not as popular as their circular brothers and sisters. That being said, this new release from Cartier is a home run in my opinion. It takes the tank design, and adds a smattering of ‘quirk’ by adopting a rhombus case shape, with a tilted dial. The premise of this is that having the 12 at the top point of the case makes it easier to read at a glance. All of the variations are stunning, however the Gold model listed below is my personal favourite. The only slight downside for me is the three arm lugs, but it would not deter me enough to put me off buying one.
(Photo Credit Watches by SJX)
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton
What a mouthful… To say this watch is packing a lot in would be an understatement. But what you have to remember is that it has been done by none other than Vacheron, and as a result it manages to be busy, but also incredibly elegant. Stephen Pulverent (Hodinkee) said a few days ago that “this is the most Vacheron watch that Vacheron have ever made”. I am paraphrasing that slightly, but I think he is completely spot on. In recent months, the development of the Overseas line and the Odysseus from Lange have taken my joint top spot as favourite modern integrated(ish) sports watch, and this release only cements their position at the top. I don’t really know what to say about this watch. It is an ultra-thin perpetual calendar, skeletonised, in a rose gold Overseas case, from one of the holy trinity brands. I think this watch is just unbelievable, and if I had £92,568.10 I would buy one in an instant. Step aside AP and Patek!
(Photo Credit Monochrome Watches)
The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept
Just to caveat this article, I do like conservative watches as well. But when Vacheron releases that stunner and then Piaget release the thinnest watch EVER MADE as a production model, having teased it as a concept a few years ago, it was hard for me not to put them in my top three. This watch is just unbelievable. Being able to get a fully automatic movement into a case that is just 2mm thick is honestly unbelievable. 2mm… TWO MILLIMETERS?!?! The watch could have hands shaped like penises for all I care, the fact that it is that thin will never cease to amaze me. What’s more, just to make this watch even more unbelievable, it is customisable. Yes, if being the owner of what I can imagine will be an exceedingly low production watch isn’t exclusive enough for you, you can make it your own. You can specify your choice of colours for the subdial displaying the time, the movement plate, the finish of the hands and the strap material. Piaget claim to have over 10,000 possible variations. Suffice to say even if you did meet a fellow owner of one of these, theirs will not be the same as yours. This watch is the epitome of intriguing watchmaking, Bravo Piaget.
(Photo Credit: Hodinkee)
This week of new watch releases during the global pandemic puts an interesting topic of conversation on the table. With Baselworld all but dead, and brands contemplating whether to follow Rolex and Patek to their new trade fair next year, do trade fairs have a future? Are they needed? There is no doubt that the best way to release watches is over social media, because of the reach brands can get, and the cheaper costs. However, is this detrimental to the social aspect of this hobby? I think the fashion world would be affected if Pitti Uomo was cancelled, or Geneva Carshow for the automotive world, so it does I think put increased importance on brand specific events, or meet-up groups such as RedBar. It will be very interesting to see over the coming weeks and months whether Rolex and Patek get any brands wanting to join their new fair in April of next year, or whether in fact Rolex and Patek ditch that plan and decide to follow suit of other brands. We shall have to wait and see.
The Urban Jürgensen Big 8 'London Edition' For A Collected Man
Urban Jurgensen have been gaining popularity in recent years. They are evolving at a rate which is seeing them reaching dizzying levels of quality (Lange esq dare I say it). This new Limited Edition is based on the brands flagship model, the ‘Big 8’. The reason that I am shedding light on this is because not only has it been done in collaboration with one of my favourite watch dealers, A Collected Man, but it has also been released to raise money for the efforts to tackle COVID-19. UJ have taken the normal ‘Big 8’, and have let ACM have a play with it. This version comes in a steel case, with a gorgeous British racing green coloured guilloche dial. It also does not feature a date window, which is something I am a big fan of. It was the one thing that annoyed me about the production ‘Big 8’. It is worth noting though that the movement is the same, so there is an empty position on the crown when you pull it out… But that would not be an issue for me at all. All of the proceeds go to helping tackle COVID-19, and at £13,500, only £1,200 more than the regular steel model, I think that is a very fair price for such a handsome piece of haute horlogerie.
Photo Credit: Monochrome Watches
I hope you have enjoyed the first instalment of ‘A Week in Watches’. As this is the first one, it is subject to change, and both Chris and I really welcome your feedback as to what you would like to see, how long you would like them to be, and whether you like how they are written.
But until next week, take care…Felix Arnold