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Vintage Rolex Sports Lines – Submariner & GMT

Rolex has a long established history of creating a timepiece that lasts. By the 1950s, Rolex had begun to establish a reputation of developing tool watches to function beyond time telling. Intended to conquer the lowest of depths in exploration and highest of heights, the timepieces had to contain groundbreaking inventions to aid explorers in breaking new ground. Two timepieces in particular were released between the 1950s and 1980s that are still revered and  highly sought after by the vintage watch collector community today.

Vintage Submariner 5512/5513/1680 & Tudor Submariner ref. 7928

As diving equipment technology progressed and became more affordable, diving as an activity was taken up by more and more individuals. Rolex answered the need for a reliable, waterproof dive watch with the Submariner. The rotating bezel offered divers the ability to read immersion time. The Submariner 5512 was in production from 1959 to 1978. The biggest change to this Submariner versus the previous models: 5510 & 6538 was the inclusion of crown guards.

Images by @rolexdiver

The square crown guards made it exceptionally difficult to use the crown with diving gloves on, so they were redesigned and replaced with pointed crown guards. The remaining 5512 cases were sent to Tudor to become the Tudor Submariner ref. 7928. The early 5512 models were not chronometer certified. But, newer versions were released with a chronometer certified caliber 1560. The ref. 5513 was also not chronometer certified and favored by the general public because it was a less expensive option than its nearly identical predecessor 5512.

The Rolex Red Submariner Ref 1680 was produced beginning in 1969. The nickname stemmed from the red writing “Submariner” on the dial which was later changed to white beginning in 1973. Of course, this has lead to the models with the red writing to be highly sought after by the watch collecting community. Another major difference between the 1680 and its predecessors the 5512 and 5513 is the addition of a date window at the 3 o’clock position with the cyclops lens.

Vintage GMT 1675/16750

As Intercontinental travel developed, pilots began crossing multiple time zones more and more, and the need for a timepiece to tell more than one time at a time arose. The 1675 GMT Master was produced between 1959 and 1980. This was the first watch that was available with both an Oyster and Jubilee bracelet.

Image by @rolexdiver

On many models, the dial markers have since turned a creamy color, and the “Pepsi” bezels have faded over the years, turning the colors to lighter shades of blue and red (almost pink). Interestingly, this makes the models more sought after by vintage watch collectors. The 16750 was released in 1980 with a new movement. The model offers the more modern quickset date function. Only in production until 1988, it is a highly sought after model. The 16750 offers the perfect combination of both modern features but a vintage vibe.

Leather straps are now available for both the Submariner 5512, 5513 and 1680 and the GMT 1675 and 16750. With a curved end, the strap is a custom fit to the case, giving your Rolex even more of a phenomenal look with a beautifully crafted, Swiss-Made watch band.

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2019 watch resolutions

It’s already January 7 and honestly it’s been a whirlwind of a break for us over at Everest and Monta. It’s given us time to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we want to go. One thing that continues to be a hallmark of the brands is attention to fit and finish. It’s a relatively loose term used in the watch community, but it translates to how a watch or watch component is completed, how it sits and interacts with other parts and literally how the finish looks.

We put a lot of thought into Monta watches, of course, but people who see our watches most often remark about the combination of brushed and polished surfaces on our watches. Which leads us to 2019 Watch Resolution no. 1:

  1. Accept only the best fit and finish on your watches and watch accessories: Cost per wear is a term that rationalizes paying more upfront but getting more out a product out of lifetime. So when people pay more for, say, a pair of jeans in the beginning the hope is that buyer gets a pair of jeans that not only last longer, but are better made and more comfortable, look better and return more to the ownership experience on a day-to-day basis. That’s what we want in our watches too. Does the bracelet snap reassuring into lockdown mode? Does the bezel turn with a firm yet smooth feel? Are the surfaces of the hands beautifully executed? Does the band or bracelet fit against the case nicely? Everyone will have their own set of criteria, but we urge you to prioritize yours and make your 2019 watch purchases accordingly.
  2. But what you love, not what you like: At the end of the day, watches for collectors aren’t about practicality. It’s about a feeling and more of an emotional connection to an object. When you look at or try on a watch you are considering for your next purchase, make sure the sum of its parts speaks to you. If you are choosing between two models use your gut to make the decision. Which one are you naturally drawn to without thinking about it too much? Don’t just but a dress watch or chronograph because you think you need one to complete your collection. That said, do buy into a category if you can’t stop thinking about a certain model. Buy the watches you love and enjoy wearing, even it that means three black dial dive watches if you happen to love that style. We can’t tell you what that means for you as a individual collector, but the point is be real with yourself and don’t fall into a trap of acquiring a watch that ends up sitting in your drawer for most of its life.
  3. Don’t be so precious about material objects: One you let go of the idea of keeping up the condition of your watches, you will enjoy them more. It’s just a watch at the end of the day and any scratches or dings really do add character and make that particular watch yours. Don’t be abusive and take care of your things, but don’t overthink it. One simple way to protect your watches without obsessing over it is to simple take off your watch when you get home. Get an Everest watch roll to store them of course, but many “accidents” happen at home such as when you reach into the sink so by simple taking off your watch once you come home goes a long way. If you always have to wear a watch, get an inexpensive at-home beater watch. Quartz would make sense here as you don’t have to worry about maintaining its charge. Or just wear your watches all the time!

The point of our three resolutions is to pledge to enjoy watches more this year. Don’t overthink watch collecting. Wear them. Wear good watches that feel good on the wrist. Take your watches on journeys. Make memories with them!

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Give someone a watch this holiday season

One of the joys of watch collecting is seeing someone else enjoy wearing a watch. While there are many, many options for quartz watches that make affordable gifts, gifting a mechanical watch to the right person can allow them to discover the pleasures of owning an intricate machine that requires no electricity to power. That said, if you know the person you are considering buying a mechanical watch for would much prefer not having to set or wind a watch, by all means, choose a quartz model for them.

But if you do know someone who would appreciate a mechanical timepiece, here are our recommendations at a price that is low risk:

Timex Marlin: This is a svelte 34mm handwinder that is ideal for a gentleman whose style is subtle. You can’t beat the vintage watch proportions and understated look. Available for $199 at Timex.com

 

Seiko SKX007: The classic affordable diver is still the standard bearer for real dive watch with history at around the $200 mark. Get it with the rattly but oh-so-comfortable jubilee bracelet. Available for $220 at LongIslandWatch.com

Hamilton Khaki Field King Auto: Hamilton produces some of the nicest sub-$1,000 ETA-powered watches in the industry. The day-date version of their steady Khaki King field watch line is sort of the deluxe model. It’s great for the old-fashioned dad type who believes in value and the value of hard work. $745 at HamiltonWatch.com

Unimatic U1-EN BGW-09: We like the simple design of this Seiko NH35A-powered dive watch. It’s limited to 300 pieces and is perfect for your friend or family member who enjoys Italian design. $610 at MrPorter.com

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Ready for something really affordable and rugged? The Marathon Search & Rescue Medium Diver’s Quartz

Marathon has been producing watches intended for military and law enforcement, so they’re intended to withstand the most strenuous conditions. As much as we love mechanical watches, quartz movements are going to be able to withstand punishment better. We recently were reminded of a nice, affordable dive watch from Marathon that has a smaller case width (36mm wide x 12.5mm thick) and comes with tritium hands and markers, which don’t require a light source to charge.

It’s known as the TSAR (tritium search and rescue) and it’s ISO-complaint, rated to 300m water resistance and is available with either a rubber strap or metal bracelet, which we would recommend because it increases the overall size imprint on a smaller watch, which looks even smaller with a rotating bezel encroaching on the dial size.

This watch feels great on the wrist. The bezel action is snappy. It has drilled lug holes and a sapphire crystal. The movement is a ETA F06 high-torque 3 jewels quartz movement with end-0f-life indicator.  It’s a grab-and-go watch that can take on whatever your, hopefully, adventurous day entails. It’s a solid choice for watch collectors that prefer to wear tough sport watches, but don’t necessarily want the larger case sizes that are popular in this genre.

What we don’t like about this model is the date window placement at 4 o’clock on an already busy dial. Readability has never been an issue, but there’s a lot going on with that military-style dial.

$700 (with bracelet) at Marathon.com

 

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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…)

 

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The case for the summer beater watch

We aren’t here to debate why we should or shouldn’t wear our nicer watches to the beach, on vacation or just doing the more active leisure activities that summer entails. Yes, Rolex sport watches are designed to be worn for active pursuits and we all know how great a Submariner looks with just swim trunks, but let’s just make the case for buying a beater watch another excuse to buy a new watch in perhaps a color palette that might not be ideal for business occasions.

The Seiko “Turtle” SPR series: It’s an updated version of a the classic 6309 cushion case diver, but the new take is readily available and guaranteed fresh. We love the PADI version (pictured). It’s big and bold and meant for your next snorkeling excursion. We also love the gold-tone version.

A red G-Shock (any red G-Shock): Go to Amazon and choose a bright red G, be it solar, regular, square or circular. For less that $100, you have a bombproof, bright and bad plastic watch that will embrace being rinsed off at the beach entrance shower.

Mido Ocean Star: At Baselworld we had a great time visiting with the folks at Mido. Their Ocean Star line is an incredible value. We’re partial to the version with the orange rubber strap. It’s titanium dive watch with an ETA-clone for $1,000 with a great classic style.

Casio Marlin: The Casio MDV106-1A is actually a dive watch that you can pick up for about $60 while on a run to Target for paper towels and Clorox wipes. It’s the cheapest Sub-homage out there! Who doesn’t love a quartz dive watch that can truly be worn with absolutely not worries. Spray that sunscreen all over your wrist. Who cares if the chemicals rot the seals? There are seals in this watch, right?