The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.
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  1. #1
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    The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    It's not a particularly controversial notion that the iconic "tool watches" that have grown to be so famous have diverged pretty far from their original intended purpose. Like it or not, watches like the Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster are now being marketed as exclusive luxury items, made of precious stainless steel metal and boasting features borrowed from much higher end watches. These watches are noticeably different than their previous versions in terms of quality and intended purpose, and prices hikes have far outpaced the rate of inflation as a result.

    So I thought it might be interesting to ask, what do you guys think are the spiritual successors to the original incarnations of these watches? Perhaps a utilitarian but well-made Marathon GSAR or Sinn? Or is it conceivable that if these companies had access to modern technology back then they would have made something closer to a G-shock or Luminox? Maybe something else entirely?

    Note: this isn't intended to be an argument about what the one and only successor might be, just a discussion of various possibilities. Any historical insight to back up your choice would be interesting, too.
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    Member TheWalrus's Avatar
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    That's the tough question to answer, but a fun one to ask.

    I'd say that on a direct one to one sort of comparison - watches like Sinn, Ball, Marathon, even modern day Tudor are closest to the true successors of a Rolex or Omega of 30 years ago or so. Mostly because they're rugged, utilitarian, and cheap enough to replace, while still being an expensive, passionate purchase.

    If you want to know what the guys who wore Rolexes and Omegas in the 50s, 60s and 70s would wear today - the Cousteaus and Hillarys and Scott Carpenters - I think the answer is almost undoubtedly something like a G-Shock or a Suunto Core.
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  3. #3
    Member Dienekes's Avatar
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    I don't know to many people who use their multi thousand dollar watch in the field for its intended "tool" purpose these days. I don't think watches are even needed as they were before the technical age. I guess if you don't mind scraping and dinging one of those you just don't care for watches like we do. Definitely GShock, Luminox, Citizen, Seiko, ect.. Basically a great watch that has the functions you need and don't mind beating up or replacing easily.

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  5. #4
    Member mpalmer's Avatar
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    Ironically, the closest modern equivalents to the original tool watches are probably the G-Shock or a well made water resistant quartz watch, i.e. Citizen. Like Rolex in its golden era, they are reliable, dependable, and still affordable for the average Joe without much financial sacrifice.

    That said, they aren't mechanical watches, and there are many modern types of technology that fill the role watches once did, so it's also fair to say that there are no modern equivalents.
    Last edited by mpalmer; October 25th, 2013 at 08:06.
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    Moderator Public Forum GlennO's Avatar
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus View Post
    If you want to know what the guys who wore Rolexes and Omegas in the 50s, 60s and 70s would wear today - the Cousteaus and Hillarys and Scott Carpenters - I think the answer is almost undoubtedly something like a G-Shock or a Suunto Core.
    Yes I agree. The G-Shock and its kind are without doubt the modern tool watch.

  7. #6
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    You guys make some good points about the function first design mentality shared by both modern G-shocks and older tool watches. On the other hand, I don't think these tool watches of yesterday were ever intended to be disposable; they were well-constructed and had subdued designs that wouldn't quickly go out of style. Modern G-shocks and the like are not built to last too long, are quickly replaced by newer models, and often use outlandish colors and designs for a very in-the-moment look. Companies like Ball or Damasko may be making an outdated concept of the tool watch, but they do seem to be working towards building a legacy through lasting timepieces.

    Which brings up another interesting question. If these companies succeed in creating lasting legacies, will they shift focus the way Rolex and Omega and the like have? What are the chances that in a few decades, people will be complaining about some of the latest diamond-studded Sinn monstrosities and lamenting how they've lost their way?
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  8. #7
    Member Monocrom's Avatar
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    Modern-day equivalents ... Yup, G-Shock. If you really prefer analog over digital, Citizen Eco-Drive. (Ironically, I've got one that can easily do double-duty as a very acceptable dress watch for formal occasions.)
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity here and there. Not the other way around." ~ John Cleese.

  9. #8
    Member iam7head's Avatar
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    Tool watch for the future?

    What about integrated HUB helmet and arm mounted "Computer"?

    Attached Images Attached Images



    Rolex Submariner 114060
    Rolex Milgauss GV 116400
    Omega Speedmaster Professional Hesalite/Sapphire Sandwich 3572.50
    Omega Seamaster Professional Ceramic 300M
    Officine Panerai Luminor 1950 372P
    Officine Panerai Luminor Base 000M
    Officine Panerai Radiomir Blackseal 380P
    IWC Pilot's MK XVIII "Le Petit Prince" IW327004
    Seagull x WUS Moonphase #7
    Casio G-Shock "Mudman" G-9000
    Swatch Sistem51 "Hodinkee" Vintage 84

  10. #9
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    I think notion of mechanical tool watches are romanticized in this day and age.

    A real modern equivalent would be a Timex Ironman/G-shock DW-5600C/E. Both of which are flight approved by NASA for space missions.
    Last edited by mew88; October 25th, 2013 at 09:44.

  11. #10
    Member Monocrom's Avatar
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    Re: The tool watch is dead. Long live the tool watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by iam7head View Post
    Tool watch for the future?

    What about integrated HUB helmet and arm mounted "Computer"?

    I think we're a long way away from everyone being locked in a vault and issued a Pip-boy 3000.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity here and there. Not the other way around." ~ John Cleese.

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