A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.
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  1. #1
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    A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Greetings, salutations and felicitations to all.......

    I thought I'd introduce myself to the membership at large- and maybe tell a bit of a story as well.

    In short, I'm a professional pilot (retired military and currently commercial), and while having been interested in watches off and on, my interest usually stopped at about the $300-$500 level.....

    ..... with the notable exception of a vintage Glycine Airman that was my father's. He purchased it new during his tour as a Caribou pilot in Viet Nam (around 1969-1970) and passed it to me when I graduated pilot training.

    I wore it through Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Gulf War, Part I) and Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom (Gulf War, Part II) as a C-5 Driver-- that watch put up with a LOT of time in jets around the world and has been serviced several times along the way.

    But now that I'm older, my eyes aren't quite what they used to be and the rather small typeface of the Glycine has been getting harder and harder to read lately.

    About the same time, my wife (with the best of intentions) got me a Tourneau Aviator for my 50th birthday. And while it was a lovely gesture, the watch and I just never really bonded-- it was a little too "flashy" for me and was more of a "fashion statement" than a serious watch, and so (after a pretty good fight and a few tears), it went away and I started looking for a replacement for it.

    Per my wife's direction, it had to be a "good" watch, and one that I really liked and would "be happy with".

    My requirement was: no divers (I already have a Seiko I like), no chronometers (I can't read them without glasses), about 40ish mm, and no "fashion" watches. I wanted something simple and rugged that I could wear in the jet on a daily basis but also that would look good out to dinner on occasion. I also wanted to keep the price under about $2,000 (new or used). I've reached the point in life that I can spend a few pennies on myself, but my upbringing just makes my stomach go into knots if I start thinking of spending more than that something that's really more of a "want" than a "need".

    So, no problem, right? A little quick research (which is how I found WUS) and I'm good to go.

    Right?

    Right?

    Aaaaand that...... is just about when rabbit hole opened and sucked me in!

    I've (virtually) looked at, researched, and obsessed over a lot of brands here at WUS and WatchRecon-- from boutique brands (yes, I'm looking at you, A-13A) to "they cost HOW MUCH?" Rolexes, Glashutte's and the like.

    Hours, if not days of time have been spent lurking around here and doing a lot of reading-- my wife's sort of been shaking her head and calling me obsessed, but the cat's pleased as he can curl up in my lap while I research the latest watch that catches my eye.

    I've been looking at mostly at watches from A-13A, Alpina, Archimede, Damasko, Fortis, Grand Seiko, Laco, Sinn and Stowa. I even veered into Rolex territory for a little while after seeing a stunning picture of an Explorer Mk II with black rubber strap-- gorgeous, gorgeous, and "oh boy, do I want"-- but I just couldn't justify spending $6500 on a watch, especially one that I have no hope of finding to even try on for fitment.

    So, at the moment, I keep coming back to the Sinn 856 UTC-- it seems a solid watch and not a cheap "knock-off", is professional looking, and (most importantly)-- my wife likes it. And since it's a really a replacement for the anniversary watch she got me, her vote is disproportionally important. (She REALLY liked the Rolex Explorer, but I'd be weirded out wearing something that cost half the price of one of my motorcycle's on my wrist!)

    So, that's the story. I'm keeping an eye on the "For Sale" forum's-- looking for that elusive "Near Mint" Sinn 856 UTC, but it seems that my timing isn't great-- and WatchBuys is out of stock, of course.

    The only problem? I haven't told my wife that I'm also keeping my eye out for a lightly used A-13A, a Sinn 556 B-Uhr, or maybe a nice blue-faced Flieger. She's going to lose her mind when she figures out that I want more than one watch-- and it'll be her fault for starting this with my anniversary gift.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to introduce myself to the forum. I've enjoyed reading all of the information here-- even if it's been a bit overwhelming at times.

    Cheers--

    R.
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    Last edited by flybigjet; March 19th, 2019 at 20:13.

  2. #2
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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    After reading your post I was going to recommend a Sinn or Damasko as they seem to fit the bill of what you like but haha it looks as if you already have those on your list.

    So welcome and please share what watch you decide on for that anniversary gift!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Quote Originally Posted by islander009 View Post
    After reading your post I was going to recommend a Sinn or Damasko as they seem to fit the bill of what you like but haha it looks as if you already have those on your list.
    In the interest of showing how fast this obsession can flare out of control, I actually sent a bunch of pictures of the Sinn 856 UTC and the Damasko DA36 to my wife and a bunch of my friends saying "Which looks better?" My first suggestion to my wife ("Honey, I could buy them both?") got shot out of the water.

    The general consensus was the Sinn, but it was a *close* vote!

    R.

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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Oh-- I should point out, PLEASE post up if you have any suggestions on something I might have missed. Since WatchBuys is out of stock on the 856 UTC, I have time to keep falling down the rabbit hole.

    Two other things: ~40mm is probably a good size for me, and I'm partial to a leather strap with it. I'm not a huge fan of bracelets (personal preference), and I'm sort of starting to lean in the "NATO's are for Diver's" catagory. They're outstanding on my Seiko, but I actually use that thing under water (200' so far, no issues.)

    But, PLEASE point me in the right direction if you have a suggestion!

    R.

  6. #5
    Member qiao.feng's Avatar
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    A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Quote Originally Posted by flybigjet View Post
    Oh-- I should point out, PLEASE post up if you have any suggestions on something I might have missed. Since WatchBuys is out of stock on the 856 UTC, I have time to keep falling down the rabbit hole.

    Two other things: ~40mm is probably a good size for me, and I'm partial to a leather strap with it. I'm not a huge fan of bracelets (personal preference), and I'm sort of starting to lean in the "NATO's are for Diver's" catagory. They're outstanding on my Seiko, but I actually use that thing under water (200' so far, no issues.)

    But, PLEASE point me in the right direction if you have a suggestion!

    R.
    Welcome to WUS, I’ve enjoyed reading your post R.

    Have you been to Christopher Ward’s website? https://www.christopherward.com/watches/aviation

    They’re a bit of a micro brand I think but I own a few of their watches and love them, you might want to check them out.

    Good luck in your search and post something up when you’ve finally find your grail?

  7. #6
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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Very nice introduction post! It's always interesting to hear how others got dragged into this obsession, and even moreso how their tastes refine over the years and the thought of spending thousands for a wrist bauble eventually evolves from a crazy thought to eventually a pretty damn good idea.

    I'm also fortunate to have inherited my father's pilot watch, an Accutron Astronaut, which he purchased & wore as a AH-1 Cobra pilot in Vietnam. Fortunately, it's the really nice & desirable verson. Unfortunately, because he was married & had a son at home (me), he couldn't afford the Rolex GMT like most of the single pilots were buying. I love the Astronaut, but it sure would have been nice to inherit a "red arrow" GMT! :D

    Several years ago, I started pretty low on the watch ownership scale, messing around with some vintage pieces, then into some small brands that were gaining notice. I was pretty successful on a few vintage watch deals & was able to quickly move up into some nicer pieces. Initially, $1k seemed like an insane price to pay for a watch, but that changed. When I met my current wife, I was a few years into my watch appreciation phase, and was wearing an Omega Planet Ocean, and had a beater Panerai 104 at home. (Beater, because it was by far the cheapest Panerai I could find & the previous owner had apparently worn it like a beater.)

    Because the fiancé knew I liked watches, she bought me one as an engagement gift, which was a wonderful gesture that I'll always remember. She thought I'd like a chronograph, because I didn't have one and "they look fancy with all the little dials and stuff", so she gave me a Citizen's EcoDrive. Thank you honey! I keep it in the original box, waaay in the back of my bottom drawer. Don't want to risk it getting damaged. :D After being with me for a while, she learned that it was easier for her to let me decide what I like, which is the same philosophy I have with her clothes & shoes. It's SO much easier to let her tell me which dress I'm going to buy her for a gift! lol!

    I spent a few years exploring different watch brands & owned (& flipped) quite a few as my tastes changed. Initially, I liked Rolex (because of the name) and Panerai (because of the look, history, and community), but it took me a while before I got to the point where I could spend that kind of money on a watch and not feel like an idiot. Eventually, I found that I liked mid-sized, more comfortable tool watches with metal bands, and I've sold off most of what doesn't fit into that. I also love history & the stories behind different brands & models, even if they're relatively unknown. In fact, that's the best part, other than the actual style of a watch. I still have a half-dozen watches, but consistently wear either an older Rolex 16750 GMT or a new Doxa 300 pro (an amazing little historical recreation that gets noticed, but no one really knows about them or what they cost).

    You mentioned Sinn, which I think is an outstanding watch & also one with an aviation backstory. I've had a few & really liked them. I also like that they practically go unnoticed, which is something I prefer now. Although I have & wear a Rolex GMT, which I love primarily for the weight, balance & "feel", I think I'd actually have preferred a comparable vintage Tudor GMT, just to get away from the name. I really don't get into the Panerai group love much anymore either, even though I still have one. (They're a bit bulky & heavy for daily wear). I'm not a diver, but I really like Doxa & have owned a handful, including some nice vintage ones.

    One thing that I've noticed is that I was usually lucky to break even on most watches when I sold them, but honestly it was neat to wear something like a Sinn 103A or Omega PloProf for a year & then move onto something different. The BEST watches I've had for consistent value appreciation have been older Rolex, which is a big reason why I can justify to myself that it's safe to spend the money on them. Other brands also do well, but not as well or as easily. I'll probably never sell mine (I'll let my son have it), but it's nice to know it's worth more than I paid for it.

    All things considered, this is a fun hobby & one where (if you're selective and do your research) you can recover most of your expenses if needed. I did enjoy hanging out with the Panerai boys when I was into that brand, but honestly I'd like to attend GTGs with people with a much wider variety of brands. There are so many interesting stories out there, both about the brands & about the individuals.

    Long way to say welcome, but.... welcome!

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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Welcome to the fray, and thank you for your service! Sounds like you're doing the proper research. The Sinn would be a great choice, excellent watches, fairly priced, and well made. You're smart to include your wife in the decision. Happy wife, happy life.

    You mentioned the Rolex Explorer and it's a great watch. I'd love to have one, but like you, I've decided I don't want that much tied up in a watch. With that in mind, you could consider the Longines Conquest (39mm or 41mm), a great Explorer alternative and available for around a grand. This one is a nice "go anywhere, do anything" (GADA) watch.



    There's a thread here that goes into detail about the watch. Hope this helps.

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f71/ot...s-3354522.html

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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Genebe View Post
    After being with me for a while, she learned that it was easier for her to let me decide what I like, which is the same philosophy I have with her clothes & shoes. It's SO much easier to let her tell me which dress I'm going to buy her for a gift! lol!
    Thanks for the welcome-- I *really* enjoyed your post-- ESPECIALLY the part above-- That? Fits my wife PERFECTLY! She's already told me what diamond tennis bracelet I'm going to be getting her for our ten year anniversary in a few years.

    On the plus side, it DOES make shopping for her easier. Heh.

    We did have the "it's sort of an investment" discussion on the Explorer, and we could afford it-- but.... (and this is a big "but")..... we don't have children. If I had a son (or even a nephew) to pass it on to, that might change the math for me. Because- WOW, is that Explorer Mk II on a black Oysterflex strap gorgeous, but that's an awful amount of money to spend on myself (and honestly? I have more than a few Rolexes worth of motorcycles and mountain bikes in the garage, so that's sort of where my discretionary income tends to go).

    I was actually interested enough to call around to the local Rolex dealers here in Denver yesterday to at least see and try on the Explorer. Nope-- none in stock, and if they come in, they're on a waiting list. Which meant that I'd be buying a very expensive watch sight unseen, unfelt, unworn on the wrist. That was sort of my "Wait. What am I thinking?" moment. I'm a managed risk taker, but that was a little too far "out there" for even me.

    So, the Sinn is in the running for first place at the moment. I pretty much have until they come back in stock to make a decision. Luckily, the wife and I are headed down to Chile and Argentina for her MBA program for the next two weeks-- that should keep temptation down to a minimum.

    I hope.

    Again, thanks for the warm welcome!

    R.

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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Quote Originally Posted by rfortson View Post
    You mentioned the Rolex Explorer and it's a great watch. I'd love to have one, but like you, I've decided I don't want that much tied up in a watch. With that in mind, you could consider the Longines Conquest (39mm or 41mm), a great Explorer alternative and available for around a grand. This one is a nice "go anywhere, do anything" (GADA) watch.
    That? Is an awfully nice watch that I had no idea existed. Thanks for the link-- more research required.

    I don't suppose you know if it's possible to source an Oysterflex looking strap for it?

    Off to research.

    No, wait. Have to go fly.

    Man, this watch obsession thing REALLY puts your priorities out of whack!!

    R.
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    Re: A general "hello" to the forum, and a bit of a story about my current watch journey.

    Welcome! Try using Watchrecon to search for your watch. You might look at the Breitling Aerospace as well. Good luck on your search!

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