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My Collection

My Collection

Wrist time: How to determine when to consolidate your watch collection

After a recent Instagram message exchange with a fellow watch guy, inevitably we get to the point where there’s a declaration of “Yeah, I need to sell some watches because some aren’t getting any wrist time.”

If you are saying that in your head, it’s time to make that hard edit but also understand that trying out different watches is part of the journey. Also recognize that your potential cast-offs will be another collector’s treasure, at least for the initial period of discovery.

Watch size, features, looks, wearability, value are just some of the qualities one can use to determine if a particular watch is a keeper vs. one that could be expendable. When making these cuts, be sure to use your heart and not your head. Watch collecting is already an irrational hobby, so most often snap judgements of the gut will go a long way. What watches do you naturally gravitate towards? Do certain attributes make you happy every time you strap it on? Here are some considerations:

  1. Wearability: Does the watch feel like an extension of your body or does it feel forced? Case size alone won’t be the only factor. How does it feel on? Do the lugs hug your wrist? Do the proportions suit your body type (honestly)? Look at the watch on in front of a full-length mirror (privately, of course).
  2. Features: I love the sandwich dial (cut-out markers on top of a disc of lume) on my PAM112. Does a watch have certain characteristics that make you smile? It could be a super comfortable bracelet or the smooth crown action. Everyone has their thing in watch collecting.
  3. Like or loooooove? You do know the answer. If you like something vs. love it is not hard to determine. Does the watch make you feel like a million bucks or do you merely wear it because it hasn’t gotten much wrist time? Make that hard cut,.
  4. Personal style: Are you preppie, a punk, a cubicle jockey? Watches should be an expression of your personal style in a natural watch. Some great watches are very versatile and adapt well to range of styles. Again, be true to yourself and get rid of any watches that feel forced.
  5. Role within a collection: As much as I like the Planet Ocean series, I know if I got one I’d prefer my Submariner when I want to wear a dive watch. So it’s relatively easy to ward off that itch to add a PO to my collection. Of course, some guys will rotate between dive watches and are comfortable with one that has a blue dial, has a titanium case and a larger size as well as a smaller, black dial diver. I personally like to have a diver, a weekend casual watch and dressier watch for my life. But do decide to trim if you feel there is overlap in categories.
  6. Throw out any rules: Ralph Lauren’s personal collection consists mostly of Panerai and Cartier watches that are pretty similar. He likes what he likes. Like what you like too. Just be honest with yourself. Sell or trade any watches that you don’t love and add watches you do love. Have fun.

My Collection

My Collection: Installment 2

This is our second installment spotlighting the stories of personal collections. This edition comes from Josh Gull who’s Instagram handle is @stuffandwatches.

As a kid in the 80s, I found calculator watches fascinating. They were time-telling devices that also served a function above and beyond their primary purpose (and let’s not gloss over how cool they looked). I was lucky enough to have gotten one early on—likely a flea market find from my grandmother—and I remember having to take it off during math class tests. I still get nostalgic thinking what a cool and useful tool that calculator watch was.

Fast forward to high school and my grandfather gifting me a G-Shock Illuminator for Christmas. I had wanted it for quite some time and to this day I’m not sure any gift has rivaled the excitement I felt when I opened that box. It looked awesome, it had an internal stopwatch, and I could operate it all in the dark at the touch of one big button marked with a “G.” I thought I was the coolest kid in class!

From those younger years of digital Casios to window-shopping Tiger Woods Tag Heuers I couldn’t afford in early adulthood, watches have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and in many ways those experiences have shaped the collection I have today.

As a related side note, I’m quite enjoying sharing this hobby with my young daughter as well. She is an only child and six years old now. Since babyhood she’s loved playing with the different functions of each of my watches, she’ll often “wear” them at night when I’m brushing her hair after bath time, and I’m already grooming her to never trust a gentleman who doesn’t wear a wristwatch (kidding, of course… well, partially).

With all that in mind, let’s get to the good stuff:

Omega Speedmaster Professional 3572.50: This is the watch that pulled me into the world of mechanical timepieces. Not only is the historical gravitas of the Moonwatch undeniable, but I’ve been fascinated by space since my third grade elementary school field trip to the Huntsville, AL U. S. Space & Rocket Center, so naturally the Speedy Pro was the definitive choice for my first “nice” watch. Couple that with the fact that, for me, there isn’t a more useful day-to-day complication than a chronograph and the Speedmaster Professional ticks all the right boxes.

I looked high and low for this particular example—an original unpolished ref. 3572.50 “hesalite sandwich” variant, and being the stickler for maximum practicality that I am, I specifically sought out a luminova dial over the more popular tritium dial as I wanted functional lume. This particular watch was produced circa 2001, the year I graduated high school. This is my go-to casual watch and the piece my daughter calls my “clicking watch” as she loves the sound it makes when engaging or resetting the chronograph.

Rolex Submariner 14060M: I’ve always been partial to “Steve McQueen” Submariners but most 5512s are pretty rough around the edges these days. I heavily considered a ceramic 114060 Submariner but it wore really big on my wrist and I never quite got along with the maxi case visually. Enter the 14060M. While the SubC is a drastically better watch overall, I feel like the 14060M is a better Submariner. The tapered lugs, lugholes, the smaller proportions of the case and dial, the rattle of the tinny old bracelet, and the direct ties to the original Subs of the 1950s and 60s pack a ton of subtle charm that makes this the Submariner for me. It fits me like a glove, it’s the most comfortable tool watch I’ve ever worn, and stylistically it goes with anything from swim trunks to tailored suits if necessary. If I had to pick one watch to wear for the rest of my days, this would be the one. It’s a true GADA piece.

It came into my possession a few years back as a severance package of sorts. It was a gift to me from myself after running my own business for a number of years, and then—after becoming a father—closing the proverbial doors of that business in order to be a more present parent. It represents the incredible amount of hard work, hustle, and heart that I put into that former business venture as well as that same hard work, hustle, and heart that I put into being the best parent I can be for my daughter. She calls this my “turning watch” because of the dive bezel. There have been many nights where I’ve read her books while she turns the bezel and watches the lume glow.

Hamilton Khaki Automatic: I’m a big fan of the history of Hamilton as a brand and the understated styling of the Khaki line in particular. I knew I eventually wanted one in my collection. This particular piece was a gift from family a few years back and means a great deal to me. It’s also supremely useful in my current career. I work for a 24/7 operation that also functions on the 24-hour military style clock. When you’re working odd hours—sometimes across two calendar days—being able to quickly reference the date and appropriate time is key. As such, this is my primary work watch. The 38mm sizing also happens to be perfect for my wrist and this particular example is extremely accurate, operating well within COSC parameters.

Seiko SKX013: Every collection needs some Seiko representation if you ask me, and while the SKX007 is the usual recommendation, I much prefer the handset, case proportions, and lugs of the SKX013. My two Seikos are my vacation/light duty “beater” watches and probably the most fun pieces in my collection. On vacation it’s particularly easy to lose track of what day of the week and month it is, but Seiko has me covered with the day date complication in a rugged tool watch package that I don’t have to worry one bit about. Whether hiking, skiing, swimming, exploring, or simply being a tourist, the SKX is right at home.

Seiko SRPA21: The PADI turtle breaks almost all of my standard rules. I have a strong preference for smaller pieces with understated styling. A watch this bulky and bold would usually never fly in my collection. But as a poolside/beach vacation watch, I’m hard pressed to think of a more charming and capable timepiece than the SRPA21. The day date complication is extremely helpful on vacation and the semi-matte, texturized, sunburst blue dial is mesmerizing to look at in the sun. I’ve never seen anything like it on another piece, much less one at this price point. When it’s swim trunks and flip flops time, the PADI turtle is always on my wrist.

Longines cal. 284: While admittedly a tool watch guy, nothing looks better with a suit than a proper dress watch. Circa 1968, this one also scratches my vintage watch. At 34.5mm in diameter and 40mm lug-to-lug it fits my wrist just the way a proper dress watch should, and I like how the 3-6-9-12 markers are a bit bolder with black accent lines in the middle of them adding a bit of weight and masculinity to an otherwise very subtle timepiece. The hand wound caliber 284 has proven to be surprisingly accurate as well. This thing classes up the watch box nicely.

G-Shock DW5600MS-1: The G-Shock I was gifted in high school was lost long ago, but this is my ode to that memory. This is an all-out beater in the truest sense of the word. Whether a watch is worth $80 or $8,000 I still tend to wear them with a certain level of care, but G-Shocks I wear with reckless abandon, as I know it’ll handle anything I throw at it and then some. I still get a kick out of strapping this thing on my wrist. I’m not sure whether that’s because of the actual watch itself or because of those nostalgic memories of the G-Shock I was gifted in high school, and I’m not sure it matters.

I still have a few Kenneth Cole fashion watches from the dark horological days of my early 20s as well as some microbrand/homage pieces for fun, a Timex Weekender, a Casio AE1200WHD-1A “Casio Royale,” and of course a calculator watch (after all, without a calculator watch I don’t think I could consider this a complete collection). Ultimately very few collections are ever actually complete, but this one is pretty close.

There are a few key pieces I could see adding for some very specific purposes. I’d really love to have German watchmaking represented within my collection and I just so happen to want another Nomos quite a lot. I respect the company’s approach to their business, their craft, and the industry as a whole. Once upon a time I had a Club that I regrettably let go and I could see a Tangente in my future. At some point I’d also like to acquire a birth year watch from 1983 to mark a milestone birthday, perhaps my 40th or 50th? I think a Rolex Datejust ref. 16014 may just be the ticket for that occasion. And perhaps further down the road a Jaeger LeCoultre and/or IWC? And maybe… eh, who are we kidding? Once the watch bug sinks its teeth in it never really lets go, does it? I guess I was doomed from the start.

My Collection

My Collection: Installment 1

Today at Bezel and Barrel we’ll be introducing our new contributor Joe Pang and also a new feature where we invite readers to share their watch collections with us. Email li@bezelandbarrel.com to submit your collection for consideration.

While watches have always been a part of my life, my feelings about them have changed over time. One of my first watch-related memories was being gifted a quartz, ‘Honda’ branded watch when I was roughly 10-12 years old.

I distinctly remember at that point in my life none of my classmates wore watches. Something about wearing a watch at that age felt very adult. For quite a while I was conflicted and questioned the usefulness of wearing one. If I don’t need to wear the watch, does that make it jewelry?  This experience was the first time that I had any thoughts about a watch, or watches in general.

It wasn’t until I started college that I started caring about watches again. Mandatory punctuality didn’t really leave me any choice, to be completely honest. By that point in my life I had already established a quality of researching my purchases thoroughly (obsessively), and I ended up with a Seiko SKX007. Looking back, I guess that officially made me an enthusiast. The SKX007 was the first watch I felt had a place on my wrist and the first watch I ever received a compliment on. Its purpose is clear, its design is classic and no-nonsense. A true tool and unmistakable as jewelry.

From then on I’ve held onto the notion that a watch in my collection should be something I can wear every day for the rest of my life, both aesthetically and functionally. If a watch does not meet those requirements, my very first SKX007 represents more value to me.

I have chosen a few watches in my collection to showcase:

Photo credit: Joe Pang

Seiko Dolce SACM171: If timekeeping is the hobby we love so much, how can any watch beat a High-Accuracy Quartz? This watch can be had for roughly ~$400 and is accurate to +/- 10 seconds per year. At 34mm in diameter and 5.3mm thick, this watch passes the ‘cuff-test’ better than any watch I’ve ever owned. This watch truly disappears on the wrist, and that its one of its greatest assets. If I had to give up all but the SACM171, I’d still be quite content (and on-time).

Photo credit: Joe Pang

Seiko Sumo SBDC033: In environments where the Dolce isn’t tough enough, I look no further than the Seiko Sumo. This is one of the watches that I have owned for the longest. To me it occupies one of the best values for its price point. The taper from its large case to its relatively narrow 20mm bracelet feels very 114060-esque. The Sumo is a much more refined watch than the SKX007, and is in fact closer to the Marinemaster SBDX001 in its finishing than it is to the 007. The blue dial looks appropriate in all settings (unlike the blue dial of the PADI turtle, or the blue Pelagos…).   It’s durability need not be mentioned or questioned; it’s a Seiko diver.

Photo credit: Joe Pang

Rolex Explorer 214270 (2016 Full Lume dial): The best watch for the average Joe (and this Joe) is a Rolex. Once again, the best watch for the average person is Rolex. Why? Buy one, wear it while living your life, send it in for service once it stops (10..20…30 years?) and it will undoubtedly last a lifetime. The watch will be returned as-new after every service, and will deliver unparalleled reliability and pleasure of ownership under all operating conditions. The Explorer is the most fitting Rolex for my collection as it can be worn with any attire and is one of the most basic (a good quality for a tool watch). A Rolex 100m WR rating is more than enough for any water activities I will ever encounter, making a Submariner unnecessary.

Photo credit: Joe Pang

1969 Movado Datachron El Primero: This is a watch that was worn by my grandfather daily for ~30 years without service. For the record, that’s roughly 9.5 billion ticks at 5Hz. It wasn’t until I started learning more about watches that I realized my grandfather was wearing one of the first automatic chronographs ever. In solid gold, none the less. Needless to say, this is a watch that will never leave my collection. Boxes, papers, and original receipt are pristine. This is a watch that has served a full life of daily use, and undeniably has earned its place as a tool watch.

Thanks for reading!

Find me on Instagram: @joe.pang