HalfWatchTuesday Week 27: Old and New Starts

I’m a good partner. Willing to let my other half express himself fully and with freedom I have got pretty good at sitting on my hands and letting Nic crack on with the HWT articles when it’s his week in command. I value his different, more personable style. You read his work and it’s like you are hearing a friend talk. Nic’s article last week struck a chord with many of you. The virtues of taking a break are many.  By taking alternating weeks even we give ourselves the headspace needed to come back invigorated.

There was no rest for the wicked though. I used my week off to preoccupy myself with the first @halfwatchtuesday Live review (thanks to all who tuned in and Wes from Nodus, it’s available on this very website).

Therefore, this week I turn my eye to beginnings rather than ends. The best tonic for fatigue is to keep trying new ventures and angles. We hope the live reviews will be the start of something innovative and engaging allowing the community to get in contact with the enthusiast brands who are doing great things. This new start got me thinking about the beginning of my own horological journey, and it is perhaps one that might resonate with you.

About ten months previous I sat in a mixture of mild horror and despair. On the laptop in front of me were three very dapper, well-spoken men (one of whom might be visiting Scotland soon) discussing the virtue of three entry-level pieces. Each made their case, explored the pros and cons of the watches and drew conclusions. So, why my despondency? Well, the issue was each of these so-called entry-level pieces were more expensive than my most pricey piece.

In fact, the three watches together would have been many a watch geek’s dream collection comprising of the two great swiss giants Rolex and Omega in addition to Grand Seiko; and this was their entry-level.

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The deflating reality revealed itself, what they considered the first rung on the ladder may never be reachable as my last. I cussed myself as a drop of self-esteem evaporated, how will I ever be a real watch guy if I can’t even get to entry-level. I looked upon my humble collection with whatever disdain and pity feel like combined, I was a million miles off what others would see as a stepping stone. I didn’t much look at watch related media for a while after that.

Such is the journey we embark on when our toe is dipped into the Lake Geneva of horology. We enter it looking for knowledge and enlightenment, but often find a realisation that expectations will soon become unlikely dreams. Dapper well-spoken ladies and gents will wax lyrical about in-house movements and heritage. The more you read and watch the more you convince yourself that happiness can only be achieved by paying £XXXXX and Lord help you if you have already bought a watch at a more humble price point, because whether you care to admit it or not we have all looked at our entry piece at some point and wondered if we could have made a better choice; such is the curse of the entry-level.

In a recent Instagram poll, I asked the question ‘Was your first meaningful watch bought for you as a present?’, 25% of the respondents answered ‘Yes’, mirroring my own experience.

Seven years ago, before I had any horological yearnings, I was a starting a new chapter of life in a new city with a Girl I was soon to be engaged to. In an almost casual manner, she asked me to have a think about what sort of watch I might like to receive as a present.

Back then there wasn’t the proliferation of online written watch related resources we see now, you had to find your own way. Who hasn’t typed the words ‘Best watch for £xxxx’ into a search engine? At the time, this didn’t glean any useful information. So, I compiled a list from a range of prices reaching a lofty £1400, which I knew was likely exceeding the budget.

I remember uttering the words “If I was to get that Tag Heuer I would never need another watch again” I didn’t realise then how preposterous that would sound in my mind the best part of a decade later. However, a little word of advice, if you are about to embark on your first watch purchase and have no desire to look into watches afterward, I suggest you grab a Tag (or whatever you like the look of) and run, it will serve you well and you will be happier for it. I have a number of friends who have one Tag Heuer/ Breitling etc who never see the need for another watch and are very content; a blessed place to be. As the path you then embark on can become convoluted.

After my research and actually going into ADs and trying on watches, my eye was drawn to the Ball Fireman Racer. Not the most illustrious name in watchmaking, but it looked great on my wrist and I figured it would work in most situations. Now, this was still in the time of the giant watches, which left me wondering if this 40mm piece was too small for my 6.5in wrist; oh, how times have changed.

As time went on, this new automatic served as a gateway to investigating the world of mechanical watches, I discovered more brands, my eyes were turned with more illustrious houses, with bigger marketing budgets and heritage. I would look at the Ball and begin to wonder what else would I have got for the £1000, which is, in fact,  a notoriously tricky price range.

As I got deeper into the hobby and got a bit more cash together, I found myself the proud owner of an Omega Aquaterra and a Seiko 5 SNZH. Flanked either side with a more pricey in house piece and a more affordable beater the Ball stayed in the case.

Time moved on and so did the Aquaterra, not for lack of love but due to the Tudor GMT becoming a reality. Somewhat fortuitously the Tudor developed the date issue. Why fortuitous? Because for the first time in 18 months I dusted down my entry piece and it was like putting on a different watch.

Of course, the watch hadn’t changed. I had.

I now understood the heritage and the reliability of a modified ETA movement. I appreciated the effort taken to have alternate polished and brushed surfaces on the case side and how perfect it sat on the wrist. My entry piece had its rebirth with an owner who had a new love for it.

My Aquaterra was more than a watch, it told the story of a girl who emptied out her savings as a sign of how much she loved a guy. It tells us not to be swayed by shinier unobtainable objects in place of those that serve us well. It tells of a journey nearly a decade old, but not even a quarter the way through.

I guess this is a journey many of us go through with our first piece. We love them then delve deeper into the horology world. We scrutinise our pieces and wonder if we made the correct choice. We buy other pieces and perhaps those first pieces get neglected for a while, but hopefully, we come back to them with new eyes and fondness. So be it a Ball, a Tag, a Seiko or an Invicta, loathe them not, for they are not entry watches, they are Gateway pieces opening up a world of intrigue and exposing you to a great community. Without them, you might not be where you are now.

Speaking of the community, wow did they come out in great force and creativity to treat us to a sterling Halfwatchtuesday. So, without further ado, here are this week’s top picks.

Kicking us off this week is Halfwatch stalwart @Lar5erik. This magician with the lens rarely disappoints, but this split shot is amazing even for his standards.

We all need a kick start in the mornings and what better way with a freshly ground cuppa, much like this brought by @utglover.

Now here is a girl on a roll. Getting that elusive hattrick of top pic entries @dianaevansillustration makes is three weeks in a row. We think only one person has made it four, gauntlet thrown…

She isn’t the only lady showcased this week. Heard of #orangeoctober? Well, @redhair_bluewatch leads the way with the very lovely blue dial BB32.

Our buddy @strixpixmix loves a splash of orange with this dynamic Seiko duo

Many of us watch geeks are family guys and gals. We often see our pieces as legacy machines to hand down, so it’s great to see that recognised with this beauty from previous Halfwatchtuesday giveaway winner @thewatchzealot. The HWT team wish you both health and happiness.

We love it when our buddies in the community get new pieces. @watchmodperfect shows off his new vintage piece. We are used to drooling over Rolexes, Omegas and Longines of years gone by but his Tag matches anything we have seen with that delicious dial and bezel. Congrats buddy.

When you hear 007 what do you think of? Really? Cos we think of the beautiful Grand Seiko LE SBGN007, with its deep green dial and gold star indicating -/+ 5 seconds a YEAR. Such stunning macro shots by @_fuent.w.

Now, we have seen many a take on the halfwatch, but never a watch halved…so kudos to @watchyawearing who debuts in the top picks with this piece of magic.

 

Shout outs.

 

Halfwatchtuesday welcomes @coastwatches to the party. We are intrigued by the tool watch vibe which includes an hour bezel and amazing dial colours such as this deep brown and a gold plated movement no less. We look forward to seeing more from the guys.

Teasing us with hot details is @wolbrook watches. The case of this skindiver has us gagging for more info as does that world time bezel, we detect a strong travel vibe and that is music to our ears.

Welcome to both of you and best of luck in future ventures, we will be glued to you feeds.

We also look forward to our own future escapades. We had a blast on Halfwatchtuesday live with @noduswatches.  Have a view, let us know what you think. Do you like the interactive format? Any feedback is appreciated and more are planned.

That’s a wrap folks, we loved hosting you epic images and could have had double in this article. We have an exciting week next week when Halfwatchtuesday visit one of our favourite brands. Stay tuned and see you next Tuesday. @Jumpinjalapeno out.

 

Thanks

Omair