As 2015 winds down I'm rounding out the third year of my watch collecting hobby (sickness?). I previously posted my entry into the hobby and thought I would provide an update. 2015 was a bit of an odd year...no really heavy-hitter purchases and a bit more eclectic than in the past. Having already rounded out dress watches (two JLC's), a handful of Seiko's and a classic Chrono (Speedmaster Pro), this year's pickups were much more opportunistic. So, here we go...
1. 1969 Hamilton Chronomatic
I had seen this watch pop up a handful of times on Instagram and fell in love with almost everything about it. It's one of the original Calibre 11 models (of Heur fame). I love the oddball crown on the opposite side, the panda dial, and the thickness of it. As a guy that works in Product Development, I've also got a soft spot for the entire Calibre 11 development story (rivals co-developing, marketing claims gone awry, production difficulties). I've always wanted to pick one up but the Heur's never really sung to me for some reason. I came across this one on eBay and picked it up immediately - got it serviced and it runs like a dream. This has become one of my favorite pieces in my collection, and it got a ton of wrist time this past summer.
Movement: Calibre 11
Worn: Causally, year round. Seems to go great in the summer due to the white dial, and great in the fall and winter as well.
Favorite feature: the oddly-placed crown or the jump-hour register
2. Seiko 5
I can't tell you a ton about this watch...I bought it off a forum member on a whim this past spring. It's the smallest Seiko I've seen (it must be around 36mm if I had to guess), but on a Nato strap with that crisp white dial it really pops. It's got a rotating diver bezel but no screw-down crown, so it's a bit of an odd duck, but it was a great knock-around piece for the pool this past summer (still good for 100M in the water). Seiko's are great - I've got four of them now and they all get a lot of wear for pieces that cost 1/10th of other ones I've got in the collection.
Worn: Summertime barbecues on a range of Nato straps.
Favorite feature: The crisp white dial. Really striking in person.
3. Gerlach Navigator
I was traveling in eastern Europe and I saw a review of this piece came up on one of the blogs...which seemed appropriate. It's got a cool vintage look with the patina'd indices and the sunburst dial, and I'm a sucker for an extra crown on a watch. Something about the strike of red on the dial for the depth rating really got to me as well. The story of the company is pretty interesting - using some funding to promote Polish industrial development (as opposed to just manufacturing as the country is known for), and I have some Polish in my family, so I pulled the trigger and it was waiting for me when I got back to the states. It's a very well made watch for the price, and it all comes together very, very nicely. That said...it is big, and it wears bigger. It's very thick...perhaps a bit much for me. I wore it sparingly and this one may end up as a catch-and-release, but I would recommend it wholeheartedly to someone that likes a bigger wearing piece.
Movement: Seiko NH35A
Worn: Sparingly, but with short sleeves when worn at all. Just too thick for long sleeves.
Favorite feature: The "supercomressor" crown and internal dive bezel
4. Nomos "Timeless" Club
Oh, this watch. As a watch enthusiast, Nomos has been on the top of my list for a long time. I won't go into what they do great as a brand because anyone reading the forums here is familiar with them. I had been eyeing a Club for a while, and a few months prior, I had been pondering the best "blue dial" watch to buy...this fit the bill for both. I ordered one as quick as I could and it's a good thing I did...I received number 85 out of the total 100 produced. What a remarkable piece. The fit, feel, and finish is amazing. It uses the new Nomos "swing system" movement that contains even more in-house content than their already terrific movements. The cordovan strap is both supple and smooth, and the attention to detail is remarkable...particularly the color-matched date wheel on a watch they were only making a hundred of. And it's so, so thin. A great pickup that will never leave the collection.
Movement: DUW 4101
Worn: Another year rounder...a great "casual dress up" option. Not quite the office (for me), but not a bumming around watch.
Favorite feature: The blue dial color. Deep, bright...always changing in the light.
5. IWC Ingenieur Automatic
This watch had never even approached my radar, but won me over with it's pure wearability. I'd been looking for a slim stainless steel watch that I could wear while traveling on business...something I could pull off with a sports jacket but not necessarily a suit, and would slide beneath my shirt cuff still (which the Speedmaster fails to do). I was circling the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm pretty hard, and happened to notice one of these in a boutique window while in Vegas. I tried it on and was astounded at how great it fit my particular wrist. Something about the way the lugs / bracelet wrap around the wrist just make it wear great on me. It's also incredibly slim for a sports watch at only 10mm thick. I also enjoy that it's "Genta inspired," though admittedly, from a purist's perspective, not as much as they claim. I recognize all the faults - that it's a poor man's Royal Oak and that it uses an ETA movement, but it has the great anti-magnetic properties of the Ingenieur line, and is a well-fitting 40mm sports watch. Yes, there is better bang for your buck out there, but I find this to be a unique, distinctive piece in my collection that is getting a lot of daily wear.
Movement: ETA 2892
Worn: To work or when traveling for work. Slim enough to be "Professional," but still with a really unique wrist presence.
Favorite feature: The vicious case angles...nothing else like it in my collection.
So that's 2015 for me...not sure where 2016 will take me. I still have a hole in my collection for an impressive dive watch. I've vacillated back and forth between the Tudor Black Bay and the Seamaster 300...but we shall see. Hope you enjoyed reading - and happy to answer any questions on the pieces listed above!