So I've been thinking about getting a higher end watch lately. I've always wanted a Navitimer, just based on looks even before I know anything about mechanical watches. Since I've learned a lot more here the last few months, I've been looking around at others and found out how many outstanding watches there really are out there. So I've decided to do some shopping around, since I've mostly only seen watches online.
This morning I went to Tyson's Galleria. For those who don't know, it's an upscale mall in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, about 15 miles outside of Washington DC.
My first stop was at the Omega Boutique - the first Boutique watch store I've ever been to.
I've not been much of a speedy fan, but I had to check out and try on the moon watch.
What I liked a lot more than that though (other than its history) was the DeVille line. I found the overall style to be outstanding, and tried on several. As I tend to like busier dials, and I'm not looking for a pure dress watch, I mostly liked the chronos, and the Hour Vision series - they had an annual calendar version that's beyond me, but was very nice.
After the Omega store, I went to Montblanc, which was pretty interesting. I've never thought of them as a watch maker, but I knew they have introduced some in-house movements, so I went in. The actually have quite a selection, including the Nicolas Ruissec chronographs, which I really liked. They make several versions, and the two I looked at were both had a GMT implemented differently. One had an additional hand, and the other (in the wrist shots) had a hometime wheel inside the main dial. One interesting thing here is that for the chrono, the dials turn, not the pointers. They are also single pusher, left side of the case controlled, which is interesting.
They also had a good selection of their TimeWalker line, including this world timer which I really liked. It has a northern hemisphere map on it, but it's on the subtle side :
Leaving Montblanc, I went to Cartier. I didn't actually try anything on though - something about them is nice, but doesn't really appeal to me, so no pics there.
After that I stopped by Ralph Lauren, as they also have started producing higher end watches with modified movements. The store here didn't have much of a selection, but I did try on a couple, including this Sporting Classic. The store is supposedly expanding their offering sometime this year.
Finally, I went to Liljenquist and Beckstead. They actually have two stores in the mall, one dedicated to watches. I've never been in a high end watch store, and I don't think I'd have appreciated it a few months ago, but now it was amazing.
Here's a list of the brands I was able to look at, many of which I've never seen in person before :
A. Lange & Sohne
I only tried on a few, but everyone was very nice and I probably could have tried on a lot more. The first one was actually a Patek hobnail bezel Calatrava. And I didn't take a pic! I guess by internet forum rules, it didn't happen. Still, I tried on a few I was interested in seeing, including a Jaeger LeCoultre MUT Moon, Breitling Navitimer, and Rolex Milgauss (with the green crystal, which I really like). The upcoming blue dial version is probably going to look great.
Overall, it was great - all of the staff (Jennifer at Omega, Nadia at Montblanc, and Randy at L&B) were very nice, and quite knowledgeable (from my point of view being a bit new at this). They all were able to talk about which movement was which, in-house or not, auto vs. manual wind, etc. Seems to be a great place to watch shop.