As you can tell from my signature, I've owned and flipped more watches than most - so when I pick a 'one good watch' it comes with a LOT of personal experience. (I am surprised I don't have warts for all the toads I've kissed)
So, now I have one kid in Law school and a second entering her second semester as an undergrad and my days of tossing a few grand out on a whim are suspended for a while. So, I've been bouncing through a few 'one good watch' options. Most recently I've been wearing a 2011 Tag Link Chrono. Conclusions? Nice enough, current model, enough 'civilian' name brand recognition to be viewed as a 'high end' watch for business use, 7750 movement for ease of repair, 100m WR, and after a couple of days of tiny adjustments I got it running at dead flat 0.00. What's not to love?
My minimum criteria for a 'one good watch'? Has to be a chrono - if you don't have a chronograph you invariable NEED that feature. Has to have Date (day date is even better, as I sign and date hundreds of legal forms in my work and I'm getting old enough to actually not know what day it is. Rotating bezel helpful as it can be used to time two elements - one 0-60 mins and the chrono to 12 hours, and in a pinch a rotating bezel can be used to show a second time zone if you tilt your head a bit. WR 100m minimum - I am want to duck my wrist into a trout stream or forget to take it off in the shower. Automatic - quartz has no 'soul' and cannot be properly repaired - with a few exceptions. Bracelet with micro adjust holes - I like my watch not to slip, slide, or wiggle and thus 80% of modern folding bracelets are out (or I must buy and use an aftermarket, which kills the Tag with its 21mm lug size. So you can see where the Tag fell short.
I have also had a nagging feeling of it as a 'fashion watch' - sure, Heuer made great tool watches back in the day, but TAG Heuer seems way too concerned with movie stars and marketing to qualify in the same league. And the Link has no rotating bezel, a hard to read minute counter (at a glance 48 minutes requires reading TWO subdials to be sure) and there are no micro adjustments to the bracelet, so it was always just exactly - loose or tight.
Here is the 'almost, but just not right' Tag. Sure, it will run flawlessly for the next 4 years until college is done, but let's face it...it has no 'soul'.
After more than a week's negotiation - invoking all my previous goodwill from 20 deals with the seller, and outright begging? I have this one arriving Monday.
1) Lemania 5100 - perhaps the best all purpose chrono movement ever built (and I use the word built intentionally - this very simple design incorporates several plastic and resin parts - which some purists decry, but in my opinion, actually ADD to the durability. The 5100 is rated to 10 G's WITH the chrono running...something I attribute to the simpler 17j and plastic side cushion system.)
2) There's that rotating inner bezel - I probably won't use it a lot, but timing Thanksgiving in the oven and on the stove with only the 7750 was a challenge...the turkey ran on the master chrono, but anything wanting 40 minutes required me to set the timer on the microwave or try to remember after 3 glasses of champagne. With the Sinn, I can turn that inner bezel and time Yorkshire Pudding for 45 minutes without interrupting the longer timing on the Christmas roast. (and yes I am just that much of a nerd that I will do that)
3) BIG outer minute counter hand - if you can't see that at a glance? You shouldn't wear a chrono anyway.
4) Day + Date - so I have to learn 7 German words? Cool.
5) WR = 100m
6) Micro adjustable bracelet
8) Case design with no outer bezel to smash into a doorframe (as happened with the Tag)
9) I expect it will be running within 10 sec/day - once again allowing me to 'fiddle with my watch' every morning to hack it to time dot gov - and
10) The freaking watch actually went into space on three missions - and to my knowledge was issued to Germany's counter terrorism unit GSG-9 - giving it a really high cool factor.
Unlike the Tag, which is instantly recognized by 'civilians', Sinn is almost a private club with a secret handshake required here in the USA...I expect it will be noticed, but almost never commented upon in the wild. (which is much to my liking)
Finally? Once college is over and I am back in the 'game'? I have 100% certainty that I would be able to sell/trade this rare piece without the slightest delay or difficulty.
So, a 'one good watch'? Sinn 140/42. (will post more pictures Monday if you want - right now that's the only one I have)