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Li Wang


Buying a vintage Datejust? Here’s a look at what’s out there

When it comes to buying a vintage Rolex Datejust model, it’s a buyer’s marketplace. Datejusts are widely available and come in a wide range of styles. Datejusts are an excellent choice if you are a one-watch person or mostly wear the same watch. At 36mm and thin enough to slip under a cuff, the look straddles the line between dressy and sporty very well. It’s totally suitable to wear one with swim trunks and flip-flops, the ultimate test of how casual a watch can go. It’s a timeless classic. So let’s take a look at what’s ut there.

Photo by Analog Shift

Black dial 16030 listed on Analog Shift: This one has all the good stuff vintage Rolex lovers seek, an acrylic crystal and tritium dial markers. And it has the one convenience that makes ownership more practical. Listed at $4,750, this one would make a fantastic workday watch that is very unpretentious, yet coveted by those in the know.  (click here for the complete listing)

Photo by Bob’s Watches

Champagne dial 16o1 list on Bob’s Watches: This model has what collectors call a Pie Pan dial, where the outer edge of the dial dips downwards. This example has an acrylic crystal and is from the the late 1970s. There’s something about the brilliance of a champagne dial that adds elegance to any Datejust. Listed for $3,295, it’s a lower cost to acquire, but may require more care due to its age. (See the full listing here)

Photo by Theo & Harris

All yellow gold Datejust 1601 listed on Theo & Harris: Sometimes you have to go for the gold, the all-gold Rolex. Wearing a gold watch can seem showy but some people just wear them with enough humility to pull it off very well.  Again the champagne dial here adds to overall luxe feel of the watch. Listed for $9,555, this one will be the right watch if you ooze an aura of luxury. (See the full listing here)


The cost of entry: Tudor 1926

Amidst the new offerings by Tudor at Baselworld 2018, a subtle line, the 1926, basic three handers with a date complication, was overlooked by its popular sport models. Almost everyone at the fair couldn’t stop talking about the Tudor GMT or the Black Bay 58. Understandably, a plainer watch lineup was overshadowed.

But now that the dust has settled, we’ve recently noticed how nice looking the white textured dial 1926 model looks with its metallic blue markers and hands. (The gold accented version is pretty hot too.) The fact that it’s available in four sizes (41, 39, 36 and 26 millimeters) and priced under $2,0o0, makes this Tudor and its variations a very tempting pickup. Inside these watches is an ETA 2824 movement, which is a fine choice to lower the price point.

Photo: Bob’s Watches

Sometimes you just want a watch that will do its job without much fuss, but with plenty of owner satisfaction. The details such as elegant sword hands and waffle-patterned dials, bring a simple joy when glancing at the time and day of the month. The Jubilee-style bracelet is as comfortable as a bracelet can be.

The re-energized Tudor brand has largely ridden the success of its sport models. After all, the titanium Pelagos may be the best dive watch under $5K. The Black Bay and Heritage chronographs are beefy wrist adornments that emit a cool factor. But the newer dressier models from Tudor, the Glamour and Style lines, haven’t resonated with watch guys. The 1926 line has just enough interesting details that just might sway die-hard sport watch lovers. Let us know if you’ve taken the plunge.

Photo: Bob’s Watches

Apple Watch

Do you need an Apple Watch?

I’ve been resistant to the Apple Watch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Apple products dating back to the Apple II Plus personal computer my dad purchased for us in the 1980s. Generally bug-free, super intuitive and beautifully designed products—Apple products have always had a special place in my heart.

But as a “watch guy” could I give up wrist time with a classic mechanical watch, which I recognize has no functional advantage over anything digital. It’s a piece of jewelry and I like wearing watches for how it looks on my wrist. So to strap on what is basically a rectangle (not exactly a Cartier Tank in the refinement department though), the Apple Watch has never appealed to me. Once at a kid’s birthday party, I noticed if a parent was even wearing a watch, it was an Apple Watch. I didn’t want to be part of “The Masses.” Although I quietly admitted to myself that no one cared that I was rocking a Submariner. No one except for myself and few other nerds in the world, but I’m more than OK with that.

Another check in the negative column for me to try an Apple Watch is just simply that I suppose that I would get more notifications that I don’t really want. On my iPhone, I’ve set it so I rarely get a beep or vibration, so I suppose that I could setup my Apple Watch in a similar fashion. But there are visual cues and I just feel that I don’t need anything more contributing to anxiety.

I need to get over myself, ultimately. The big news for gadget lovers is the Series 4 version of the Apple Watch is now available. Apple’s great at evolving and creating a need for the new. The latest watch is bigger by 2mm and can handle more tasks and even gives you your podcasts directly (big deal for me!). As Hodinkee reviewer Stephen Pulvirent proclaimed, the newest Apple Watch is not going to replace his vintage Explorer, but it has a place for his exercise routine and on particular busy days. He’ll keep one charged for those times and he foresees a future where the Apple Watch will be considered an indispensable item. I’m going to believe him as I once even scoffed at the notion that we would all need cellphones.

One of my favorite bicycling columnists is a writer whose moniker is The Retro Grouch. He believes in bicycles that are simpler at a very base level. I am at risk of becoming a retro grouch when it comes to watches. My wife kindly offered to gift me an Apple Watch for the Father’s Day, but at the time of this article being written, my only wrist adornment that’s remotely tracking and recharging is a runner’s GPS and heart rate monitor watch by Polar.

Slowly but surely, my resistance to the iWatch is crumbling. After all, it can probably do everything my Polar runner’s watch can do and at least 1,000 more functions. It comes in rose gold. I can talk myself into getting one. After all, we all could use another watch, right?

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An ode to The Base: The Panerai PAM112 and PAM560

One of my closest watch friends was very surprised that one of my favorite watches was my Panerai PAM112, a 44mm case Luminor model with a manual wind movement and no seconds hand.

“I just can’t believe you’d wear a watch that big,” was his reaction.

It’s true, on my 7-inch wrist, I’ll generally sport watches that are 40mm and under. That said, I once owned an Orient Pro Saturation Diver that is over 45mm and I really enjoyed that watch. With the Panerai Luminor models, there’s a joy in its oversized look. The simpler, the better in my opinion. The large 12, 3, 6, 9 markers and straight hands make it very legible with a minimalist esthetic that works so well with the spirit of the manual wind movement.

I also think the 112’s modern cousin the PAM560 is fine choice and is available new currently. The main difference is it contains an in-house 8-day power reserve movement, which is pretty handy. The dial says “8 Days” on it and my preference is for the cleaner dial of the 112, but I don’t think you can go wrong with either if you are drawn to the look. The 560 had been available in the sandwich dial, where the markers are cutout and place over a luminescent disc as in most 112s, but is currently available with a sausage dial, which has painted markers.

The pleasure of wearing a huge Panerai is in its audacious look. It’s an overtly manly watch that is not ashamed to take up a large chunk of real estate on the arm. Some days, you wake up feeling like you must strap on a large chunk of jewelry. My colleague @chronos_1010 tells me he will always have a big Panerai in his collection. Here’s his PAM911 in action on his Instagram feed:

Plus, you can customize them with a range of aftermarket straps. Some of my favorite are from Toshi Straps, which are very simple and made from supple high end leathers. Richard, the owner, is a joy to work with.

I know Panerai watches go in and out of style. But the days of Stallone’s single handed revival of the brand are long gone. In 2018, the trend is towards smaller watches, but you can be a rebel and go with a watch that might just have the lugs extend beyond the limits of your wrist.





The entry level Rolex

When it comes to Rolex the cost of entry is right around $5,000. You can play around in the used market or head straight to your local authorized dealer and choose on the many beautiful Oyster Perpetual models, which are great choices at any price point. Beware of any “deals” that fall too far below that range.

Yes, we are here to enable you. Getting a Rolex in your life has nothing to do with necessity, it’s an acceptable purchase if you love watches. It’s all about the passion and cost per wear. If wearing a Rolex makes you feel great every single day of your life then that’s a major value. We are not talking about pure materialism here. We are talking about the joy of surrounding yourself with beauty, whether that’s your home, clothes, car, neighborhood or the next meal you eat.

The blue dial 3-6-9 dial Oyster Perpetual in 36mm is a solid choice for a first Rolex.

When it comes to watch purchases always use your gut. What are you drawn to naturally? Don’t overthink the technical/on-paper attributes of a watch. How does it make you feel? Does it suit your personality/personal style?

One of our friends, style blogger Brock McGoff, recently made a video about how he found his perfect vintage Datejust and why he chose his 16030. Check out the video here:

The other popular route is to explore the world of pre-owned Datejusts, with good examples (from reputable dealers) coming in around the $5-6K mark.

If you are after a sport model, pre-owned five-digit Submariner or Sea-Dweller references are worth exploring. As always, adhere to the mantra “buy the seller,” namely someone with a solid reputation that has been in the business for a decent amount of time. A good seller will take the time to find the right watch for you and understands what you desire.

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600

The founder of our company Michael DiMartini has been a Rolex fan ever since he was young boy and he witnessed many stylish people in Italy wearing Rolex watches. The brand is powerful. It’s the most well-known “fancy watch” in the world to people who don’t know that much about watches. Rolexes also have an unmistakable level of quality and their movements are built to withstand vigorous use.

Thanks to the boom of used watches being sold online, now is a great time to get your first Rolex. You can comparison shop among top sites and communicate your questions about a piece easily. Be patient. Find your vision of the perfect watch and don’t follow the popular opinions of others. What’s on your wrist should speak to you and you only.

Monta Uncategorized

MONTA Skyquest review: A round-up of what people are saying about our GMT watch

As we get ready to close-out the pre-order phase of the MONTA Skyquest, we looked back at the online reviews of our first GMT watch. Overall, there has been a very positive response from the watch industry press and that, of course, makes us very happy. Here’s a round-up of what what top watch experts wrote about the Skyquest:

Gear Patrol: “What you’re getting here is a diver-style GMT watch with multiple bracelet/strap options for under $2k that looks great and is available in several dial and bezel options – to my mind, Monta is filling a niche here in the GMT market, and they’re doing it with an attention to detail that typically costs much, much more.” (Read more…)

Worn and Wound: “My favorite detail of the Skyquest is the ramp-up in the GMT hand. The resulting shape tightly conforms to the chamfered edge of the the applied markers at 12, three and nine. As the GMT passes over those markers, the space between them is a mere fraction of a millimeter (though I have no way of precisely measuring this). The inner part of the GMT hand skims the dial just as closely. I’m reminded of the ultra-precise tolerances within the engine of my old BMW motorcycle, tolerances which I inexplicably found quite sexy.” (Read more…)

A Blog to Watch: “Monta has shown that microbrands can produce a really high quality watch complete with the finer details we would expect on a higher-end Swiss piece. From the polished case accents, to the excellent bezel, and ultra-comfortable bracelet, the Monta Skyquest checks a lot of boxes for me, and I greatly enjoyed my time with it. I’m a sucker for GMTs, and the design of the Skyquest is well-executed.” (Read more…)