Build the Ultimate Watch Collection by Jason Heaton

Mechanical watches continue to fascinate. Horology is not dead by any means. Watches are undergoing a revival. This book is for the collector. You can collect it as hobby or as an investment. This book helps you decide which watches to acquire and not to over-purchase. This book is also not about purchasing all the different varieties of a particular Rolex series. One should collect a well-rounded collection. Some of the watches can be difficult to find. This book will present you the ultimate of each category. It is important to know what the best out there is. There are 7 types of watches ‘the dress watch; the chronograph; the dive watch; the complication watch; the beater watch; the vintage watch; modern haute horlogerie watch.’

If, after much internal debate, you finally settle on buying a chronograph, you’ll soon want a dress watch. Splurge on a dressy chronograph, and it won’t be long before you’re eyeing your friend’s dive watch. – Jason Heaton

The Dress Watch. These are watches to make you look smart, for example, at a dinner date. It should be timeless. It will not be your most worn piece for sure. Mobile phone can tell the time too and people stopped wearing watches. The phone was like a pocket watch. This book was written in 2012. Mad Men brought back the restrained style of the 1960s. The dresswatch is making a comeback. It has to look subtle and not draw too much attention. It should slide under a shirt cuff. The size should be about 40mm. There is not much need for it to be luminous. If you can afford one, buy one with a precious metal like gold. The strap should be leather or crocodile. Matching clothes are also important. A mechanical movement is preferred. Mechanical watches are more valuable and can be an heirloom piece. The ultimate dresswatch is Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. It was introduced in 1931 and the case and be reversed 180 degrees inward to protect the watch. It is rectangular in shape. The ability to flip also makes it cool.

The Chronograph. The chronograph is a man’s watch which has good aesthetics. It is a time of beauty. The clutch will engage once you click start and the sweep hand will do its job. Some famous models are the TAG Heuer Monaco, the Omega Speedmaster Pro, the Breitling Navitimer and Zenith El Primero Striking 10th. ‘Chronograph’ means ‘time writer’. They are associated with auto-racing and flying. Steve McQueen wore a TAG Heuer Monaco. The Omega Speedmaster chronograph landed up on the Moon. There was a race to build the first self-winding (automatic) chronograph. Zenith’s El Primero won the race. When quartz watches were introduced in the 1970s, chronographs went out of fashion. Wearing such a watch connects you with a sense of masculine tradition. Chronographs have variations like tachymeters, telemeters, pulsometers etc. There are also flyback, split-second etc. The best ones are those with traditional pushers. The dial should be symmetrical. A display caseback is even better. The ultimate watch is A. Lange & Sohne’s Double Split. The movement is entirely made in-house. It allows one to time two events simultaneously. This is also known as the rattrapante. There is also a flyback chronograph on this watch.

The Dive Watch. The reach of dive watches are broad. It is crude and simple. It should be able to exist in adverse conditions. It is an adventurer’s watch. In the 1950s, diving was dangerous. Back then, if you dive, you were seen as being adventurous. They were known as being interesting people. It looks good with wear and tear as well. A diver needs to know how long he has been underwater so as to know when to surface. Blancpain and Rolex, in 1953, raced to build the first dive watch. Dive watches usually come with an outer rotating bezel to monitor dive time. This is the feature of a dive watch. Some additional features are like those of coloured dials, increased water resistance, helium release valve. Top brands are Omega, Blancpain, Jaeger LeCoultre, IWC. The dive computer made dive-watches redundant. A dive watch should have a rotating bezel. Extreme water resistance is a must. Legibility and lume is very important in a dive watch. Dive watches usually come on bracelets. Some straps have dive suit extensions. Sea Wolf, Fifty Fathoms, Sharkhunter, Submariner are classic models. The ultimate watch is the Rolex Deepsea Sea Dweller. The bezel is made up of ceramic. It has 3,900 metres water resistance. It also possesses the three-link ‘Oyster’ bracelet. The bracelet also has the patented GlideLock clasp for ratcheting extensions.

The Complication Watch. The energy released from a mainspring is tamed to predictable oscillations on the balance wheel. Gear train will convert these into seconds, minutes etc. Some watches have a date-wheel. A complication does something else other than telling the time. These are objects of desire. It can be showy and impressive. For the craftsman, it is a way to show off his skill. Some of these watches are highly sought after. Henry Graves Jr pushed Patek Philippe to produce complicated pocket watches. A moonphase is a typical complication. The cycle of the moon is once every 29.5 days. A perpetual calendar keeps tracks of shorter months and leap years as well. You won’t have to reset the date on your watch. A minute repeater gets and audible element of the time. You will know the time even in the dark. A gong will chime on the hour, the quarter hours and every minute as well. One of the best watches is Patek Philippe’s Ref 5074.

The Beater Watch. You will need a cheaper and durable watch for doing household chores. This is a black and digital watch. You will always need your beater watch. You don’t worry about it getting stolen etc. Some of the good ones are made by Timex, Citizen. Mechanical watches aren’t really good at resisting shocks. It is very risky to drop your mechanical watch as the watch components are very fragile. Plastic watches can take a lot of abuse. Quartz watches are usually lighter and immune to shock. For heavy sports, do not wear a mechanical watch. The beater watch should be cheap. It should be quartz in nature and multi-functional. It should be at least 100 meters water resistance. The ultimate watch is Casio’s G9000-MC3 Mudman. G-Shock was born in 1983. Some people have tried to destroy their watches, including dropping them from skyscrapers. The movement is ‘floating’ and makes little contact with the case. The watch is mud-resistant and has many features. It is ugly but looks like it originated from a sci-fi film. It is one of the watch greats as well.

The Vintage Watch. This is a piece of history. This is a sign of a connoisseur. It could be commemorative in nature. It takes research to land your hands on one. It is important to buy an authentic one. There are countless of forums for vintage watch collectors. However, the market also has those trying to sell fake watches. Some people ‘stain’ the dial to make it appear old. A Frankenwatch is one where parts are assembled from different eras. Check with your watchmaker to determine authenticity. Vintage Rolex which has cases which are non-sapphire are precious. An example is a COMEX Submariner. A Patek Nautilus from the 1970s will fetch good prices. Fine watch-making is an art. You get transported to the past and understand the history of the man behind the watch. A good era to look at is the 1960s. They were the golden era of mechanical watches. Vintage watches should be significant and rare. Examples are those with factory mistakes, those with military provenance, or watches worn by famous people. James Bond submariners are sought after. Another example is ‘pre-moon’ speedmasters. The ultimate watch is the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, ref 6239 or the ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona. The dial had a unique configuration. It is exotic and has a connection with a famous actor.

Wind up your great-grandfather’s pocket watch, and you’re transported to a time when men wore waistcoats and traveled by train. The passage of time separates us from the men who came before us. A watch reconnects us. – Jason Heaton

The Modern Haute Horlogerie Watch. They are now a symbol and a statement of personality. People wear such watches because they appreciate fine watch-making. The watch has to be at the cutting edge of what is possible. ‘Horolgerie’ means ‘time’ and ‘logic’. ‘Haute’ means ‘high’. These are watches are designed and manufactured in a single company. Modern watches might not have a hand or a crown. Some watches have odd dials and shapes and complications. Many brands went out of business because of the quartz watch. Ulysse Nardin produced the ‘Freak’ in 2001, where the movement itself displayed the time. Urwerk also produced watches from the Sci-fi era. Modern watches should not look like traditional ones. It shouldn’t be common. The ultimate watch is MB&F’s HM4 Thunderbolt. It is an outrageous watch. HM stands for Horological Machine. The founder is Maximilian Busser. The watch represents a twist on a fighter jet. Their designs are fresh. There are two cylinders which look like jet engines. However, not everyone will like such watches.

Happy Collecting!

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