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Li Wang


Highlights from Baselworld 2019

So things at the MONTA/Everest heated up here in Basel, and we had Ilya Ryvin of Worn&Wound declare that the MONTA Atlas in white dial as his favorite watch of the show. And this declaration was proclaimed on Hodinkee radio! Both Grey NATO podcast hosts (James Stacey and Jason Heaton) stopped by to see us. And we crushed tacos, beers and sausages during our downtime. It’s a Basel tradition to eating a veal sausage sandwich outside of the main hall.

Our picks from the show include the Patek Phillipe Aquanaut in green as well as the esteemed brand’s 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar. Oris had a solid lineup of new offerings, including two sizes of a Clean Oceans Limited Edition Aquis Date.


Spring Time Watch Mode

Finally, we are hitting 50+ degree temperatures here on the East Coast. Daylight Savings is making afternoons shine. And we are reaching for lighter jackets, lighter colors and lighter attitudes. Spring is around the corner. Time for slip-on Vans and denim jackets.

Collectively, as watch guys and gals, we’re be thinking of bringing out the blue or white dials and, perhaps, switching out our straps. I don’t think it’s too early to bust out the rubber, as it’s time to think about hitting the water.

The Everest Rubber Strap on the Submariner is classic combo.

Our favorite springtime watches may also have splash of color, like the Halios Seaforth pictured above. Go for a color you might not wear on a daily basis, but one that might make non-watch people give you compliments on.

Yellow, as shown in this DOXA Poseidon 300T, us a bold choice for spring heading into summer.
Watches like the Seiko PADI edition Turtle can be a fun addition without breaking the bank.

We also love our friend’s latest offering, a collaboration with Autodromo. Your can purchase it here at their WindUp Watch Shop. The Group B Series 2 WindUp Edition features a steel and titanium 39mm case. The pops of color against the matte case, completed with a unique bracelet, makes this a superb choice to boost your spring look.

G-Shock Monta Rolex Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller

Vacation season: What watches to bring?

It’s that time of year when people start heading out of town just to get away, clear their minds and unwind. What watch or watches do you take with you?

Time only: You’re on vacation. Why do you need to know how soon it’s going to end? You might just need to know when Happy Hour starts. It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of a time-only watch. Land at your destination, listen to the current time at your new location, pop out the crown and with a quick adjustment you’re on local time.

Photo by Fratello Watches

Rugged beater: Adventure awaits. You might be traversing a nearly vertical rock formation during your hike into the clouds. After the hike you descend on a rented bicycle, which takes you on a surf session in powerful 3-footers. It’s time for the super durable and affordable watch that you don’t have to worry about. This one is simple: Head to Macy’s and pick up a gaudy G-Shock.

Photo by A Blog to Watch

Transitions well: So you might be throwing on a blazer to enjoy the finest local cuisine. Some wine pairings may be involved. But before that, you’ll be lounging poolside in board shorts. Take a watch that is less on the casual side but can still take a dip. Think smaller and thinner.

Photo by Bob’s Watches

Ballin’ out: We understand. You’ve worked very hard to earn your place in the business world. Your watch is a symbol of your hard work. Rock your big gun on vacation.

Complete roster: You love your children the same. Each is different, but all have unique qualities that make you smile. You can’t pack up that RV, just make sure it’s the Everest watch roll. Switch out your watch three (or five) times a day. Make sure you also bringing matching kicks.

Cartier Tudor

Blacked out watches: Cool, too trendy or somewhere in between?

Yesterday fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died. Hodinkee (naturally) reported on his watch, a blacked-out Audemars Piguet Royal Oak made in 1972.

Courtesy: Hodinkee

The watch was well-worn by Lagerfeld and seemed like a perfect extension of his personal style, which was sharp, bold and menacing. The photo of his watch shows what most watch collectors fear about ownership of an all-black watch, the coating has worn and the metallic colors of the bracelet and case are showing through.

After seeing this photo of Lagerfeld’s AP, I realized that a well-worn PVD/DLC’d watch looks pretty good, and the wear marks give it character and tell a story of where the watch has been.

Now would I commission a blacked out Rolex from a customizer like Bamford? While I do like the creativity that’s behind Bamford’s designs, I prefer, like many, my Rolexes natural, especially with the understated brilliance of 904L grade steel.

There are plenty of options for an all-black watch. Mine is Casio G-Shock GW-5000 with it’s DLC caseback. I get a lot out of mine and I’m not afraid to wear it during active pursuits.

The Tudor Black Bay Dark, with its red lume pip on bezel insert marker and red line of text (indicating the depth rating) on the dial, is an outstanding execution of the all-black watch. The Cartier Santos 100 ADLC (with in-house movement) is one of my favorite watches because the all-black look gives a very traditional esthetic a tasteful edge.

Photo by Monochrome Watches

The Santos’ coating is reported to be ultra-resistant to scratches, but after seeing Lagerfeld’s AP, the idea of metal showing through a blacked-out watch doesn’t bother me at all.


The Oyster Perpetual 39: Entry-level Rolex is a simple pleasure

Photo by Monochrome Watches

During last year’s Baselworld show Rolex unveiled black and white dialed versions of their Oyster Perpetual model. This 39mm version of this time-only Oyster-cased watch (retailing for $5,700) had previously come in three colors, grape (purple), rhodium (silver) and blue. The issue with many people with those three colors was there were small contrasting color accents at the hour markers. Although discreet, for example, the green accents against the blue dial might not withstand the test of time of daily ownership.

Fortunately, the white and black dial versions do not have contrasting colors and the result is a conservative and elegant watch at a more modern size for most men. 39mm sport watch cases are very versatile for a range of settings and outfits. There’s no issues with wearing this watch to a wedding or on weekend bagel run in sweatpants.

Photo by Monochrome Watches

All day, every day

Spending time with the OP39 white dial has been a subtle revelation. I could make this my one watch if pressed into that situation. I would absolutely feel comfortable just wearing board shorts and this watch on a beach vacation. I don’t worry about just living life to this fullest with this watch on. Modern Rolex bracelets are very comfortable and secure. The 3132 movement is very accurate and durable. A bonus (to me) is the lack of cyclops date window magnifier and all-brushed bracelet make this piece more subtle. The 904L steel has its own graceful elegance that highly appeals to me.

On the flip side, if you had to attend a funeral or board meeting, this watch is not too flashy for more somber occasions, which is very important in life. Nothing wrong with a watch that calls for attention, but don’t underestimate the importance of being discreet.

The white or black dial version of the 39mm Oyster Perpetual is generally available now at most authorized dealers (at the time of publication). You might have to wait a short time for them to get it delivered to the store, but this model is not hard to obtain like many of the in-demand steel sport models that Rolex makes.


Opinion: Don’t jump on the bandwagon

I watching Hodinkee’s video recap of SIHH 2019, I was struck by a comment Jack Forster made about his dislike for the bandwagon criticism of certain watch models that were announced at the trade show. His argument was that we should respect the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into watchmaking and watch design even if the result is perceived as a “miss.”

I have been around the watch industry for several years now, as a hobbyist and working as watch writer, and I have, time and time again, witnessed an opinion that cements itself as “fact” when watch enthusiasts (mostly online) declare that a certain watch or design element is wrong. These declarations make it seem as if one is a lesser watch collector if he or she disagrees with the popularized sentiment.

As always, I defer to the notion that knowing one’s personal style is the best style. While collective consensus will happen in any hobby, I agree that the negative takes hurt us as community. We become elitists and stop the industry from growing and make it not as fun for newbies to get into watches. At some point, we all didn’t know much about watches, so let’s just take a moment and appreciate what sparked our initial interest in watches.

One example of the negative effect of group think is the idea that Tag Heuer watches are inferior to other brands that compete in that category. There’s a perception that this brand is too big for its own good, it spends too much money on sponsors and at one point used a Seiko movement it tried to pass off as its own. At the end of the day, many people’s “first nice watch” is a Tag Heuer, oftentimes purchased at a department store.

My first nicer automatic watch was a Tag Heuer Calibre 5. At 39mm with a ETA-clone, date complication, black dial and just enough lume, this Tag served me very well. It was my only watch, pretty scratched up from wearing it every day, and it really did go as well with jeans and a T-shirt or for a job interview. It was a watch that was appropriate for my career level at the time. It was also a gift from my in-laws. I cherished wearing that watch and thought it was cool that I should wear it every day to keep it running.

Objectively, the Calibre 5 is what we watch collectors would deem a perfect everyday wearer. Yes, it does not have the cache of Heuer-only marking. It’s a totally a basic watch that’s pretty common and understated. But this Tag Heuer is no less of a watch than, say, an ETA Tudor Black Bay, which has been embraced by a lot of watch guys as an affordable alternative to a Rolex Submariner.

Be original

My daily wear is 14060M Submariner, which may be the most unoriginal choice possible. A black Sub is cliche for dudes who don’t know what to get when they are getting their first Rolex. That said, I arrived upon this choice because it fits my personal style. I feel most in my own skin when wearing classics: Air Force 1s, L.L. Bean duck boots, Ralph Lauren polos. I’m happy that when I wear this watch, it feels like an extension of my personality. I could’ve easily caved to the groupthink concept that a black Submariner is too much of a mainstream choice for a real watch guy, but every time I snap close the clasp I get that giddy feeling we all strive for.

Don’t be a snob

I urge you to not look down on anyone’s watch choice. Celebrate that they are wearing a watch. I used to think that Apple Watch owners were truly missing out. But I’ve never tried an Apple Watch and surely the functionality must be pretty cool. Be open-minded. Express why you way love an automatic watch.

Set and wind your wife’s watch every time despite your temptation to want them to learn how to do it themselves.