The journey is as gratifying as the destination, or so they say. That is often the case but over the last two weeks I have been on the maddening search for something that seems very simple but actually is quite a challenge to find.
The enthusiast sphere is a vibrant place with many great ideas in the melting pot, but there seems to be commonality to be found also. By and large any independent enthusiast/boutique brand that has become established started with a dive style watch.
Such is the iconic nature of the Submariner that of a fledging brand wishes to give itself the best chance of getting a foothold, it would do well not to stray too much from the professional bezel format (regardless of the numbers shown).
Once they have had a successful run with a dive watch, why would they bother straying too much from a winning formula? We know dive watches sell, so do they. Inevitably there may follow a GMTs, chronographs or other such like tool watches all of which pull on our lifestyle heartstrings. These watches also tend to photograph well, heck Instagram is awash with them.
So, if you find yourself in the market for a very decent sub £1000 (even sub £500) tool watch, the world is your oyster, unless you are looking for an Oyster. But what if you are looking for something a bit more refined, a watch that is not such a tool.
Over the last few months, my mind has become more focused on searching for something a bit dressier. Now, I rarely wear a suit, my collection reflects that, but I would like the option of having something to wear on more formal occasions where a dive bezel may not set the correct tone.
I also, like the idea of a simpler, more sophisticated look. Yes, we are talking about dress watches, but given the correct dial they are also pieces made for gazing at, so are equally adept at being lounging watches, in those times you don’t need to time your dive or track at third time zone.
Those of you who tuned into our last Halfwatch Tuesday live review will have seen the Orion Hellcat. This carefully considered design with an emphasis on finishing is exactly the type I am thinking about (yes I know it’s based on a pilot design). However, on searching further, there definitely is a lack of slim, fixed bezel, sub 40mm dressier watches to be found.
This should not come as a surprise as dress watches do not sell in the numbers tool watches do, even in these times were we very much look to vintage pieces for inspiration. That is not to say these watches don’t exist at higher price points; the Datejust 36mm or Omega Aquaterra fulfil this role perfectly, but come down from those echelons and the journey comes up with many a dead end.
So, perhaps I need to look at it a different way. If the Datejust and Aquaterra are great benchmarks, then maybe I should look to see what are the more cost-effective alternatives? One watch comes to mind, the discontinued Seiko Sarb035. Seiko have released a slew of others as a replacement but none have the proportions or the balance of simplicity and complexity so right. I have gone round the houses on this one, from other Seikos, to Longines and back again. Perhaps what they say is true, every collection should have a Sarb, not because it’s a particularly noteworthy piece, but rather there are very few watches that does what it does at the price it can be got for.
Another thing that is increasingly difficult to find is your shot being chosen in our Halfwatch Tuesday top picks, so congratulations to all of you who made this week’s selection
First up it’s our pals @clockbait with this impressive ring of ice fire
Speaking of the Aquaterra, @jensausc treats us to a fabulous macro of the finest version, the Skyfall.
The macros were of such a high level this week that we had to include this pretty in pink number by @knights.watch
That shot got us in the mood for more pinky tones so in steps @iworkonwatches with excellent use of copper wire to encapsulate the Bulova Super Seville.
Our man in San Fran @aggressivetiminghabits, shows us his one-off Seaforth reading the care instructions of cleaning wipes, you can never be too careful.
Now we love this shot from @lebanese_wrist, a great perspective showing off the gear as well.
Finally, we have @the.automatic.diver with a deeply moody shot of the fabulous Grand Seiko SBGH269.
That’s a wrap from us folks. Thank you as always for posting and tuning into our live review, the next of which is going to be a very classy affair, stay tuned for details and of course, see you next Tuesday.