And on the eighth day…

My GO Senator PC is one of my favourite watches, and at no time whatsoever have I wanted or intended to buy another perpetual calendar. That said, there’s no harm in surrendering to impulse every now and again, and accordingly it now has a sibling in the form of the JLC Master Eight Days Perpetual. To quote from the JLC website, its “the only perpetual calendar with an 8-day power reserve. Two barrels, 28,800 vibrations per hour and a variable inertia balance wheel. All the perpetual calendar functions (mechanically programmed until 2100) are activated by a single corrector.” I’ll add to that by saying it’s the most sublime watch I’ve owned – breathtakingly beautiful on the wrist, and one that it’s impossible to do justice to in terms of photographs.

JLC redesigned their Eight Days Perpetual for launch at Basle in 2012, and this current version is 1.5mm smaller than its predecessor at 40mm with a cleaner dial layout, longer indices and much more elegant lugs; the applied 12 has also gone, and the result is beautifully balanced. On the dial you have a complete perpetual calendar ( day / date / month / moonphase / year ) and a night and day indicator, which also provides a warning window as a reminder that the date must not be set from 10 PM to 3 AM (when the calendar mechanism is engaged). There’s also a power reserve indicator, which is especially important as the movement is a manual wind. The very long eight day reserve means that a weekly wind will keep the calendar set, and all in all it’s an amazing piece of horology.

I have a quandary now, because in truth I don’t want two perpetuals; however, I’ve had the GO for more than two years now and have never intended to sell it. That said, I can’t deny that the JLC is the more beautiful watch of the two… what to do? That was a rhetorical question, by the way, as I’m doing nothing for now.

And the obligatory wrist shot!

The usual year end SOTC

Well, I don’t really want to break with tradition, so here it is… the collection as it stands at the end of 2014. I won’t bore everyone with a long commentary, as my infamous incoming posts will suffice for that. Just a few words, though, to go with the pictures…

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400: I spent months thinking about this one, and in the end it took precedence over the Aquanaut I’d been planning to buy. I still don’t know whether that was the right decision, but I do know it’s a lovely watch; RO’s need to be handled to appreciate just how well they’re put together, and there’s a good reason why they’re considered by many to be the archetypal sports watch.

Moser Mayu: Quite simply, the nicest watch I’ve ever owned; I’ll go further and say that there isn’t a manufacture that produces watches with a more perfect finish. This one is white gold, and every time I put it on I’m completely gobsmacked.

Christian Van Der Klaauw Ceres 1974: CVDK has won the European Watch of The Year award 3 times in the last 5 years. There’s a good reason for this, and some of the astronomical (by which I mean cosmos-related, as opposed to expensive, although some are very expensive) complications the company produces are awe-inspiring. This is a bit left field for me, which is why I like it.

Dornblueth Kal 04.0: A more wearable size (for me, at least) than the better known models, the 04.0 was limited to just 75 pieces (50 in stainless steel, and 25 in rose gold) and all were produced in 2006. Dirk Dornblueth kindly wrote to me a while ago, clarifying that “the Kal. 04.0 movement includes 50% parts of an old GUB movement and 50% of the ebauche movement AS 1560 from the 1950’s”. Nice!

Glashutte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar: just a wonderfully simple, and wonderfully finished PC that for me ticks all the boxes when it comes to an affordable higher complication. The cleanness of the dial typifies Germanic watch design, and the movement is a wonder to behold.

Jaeger LeCoultre Master Calendar: I’ve had a few JLC’s, but seem to have settled on what – for me – is the archetypal reference. This is the current model, which (like the earlier Master Moon) has dispensed with the power reserve and has the logo back where it belongs. Once again, a very wearable size at 39mm.

Rolex Daytona: I was bloody nuts to sell the white gold Daytona I’d owned previously, but couldn’t find another at the right price and in the right condition. I do enjoy wearing this newer model, though, and find that it’s an ideal watch for pretty much all occasions. In fact, I usually reach for this when I’m not sure what I want to wear.

Panerai PAM337: It would be impossible to overstate how much I like this watch. It’s one of the 42mm models, and being a Radiomir is so wearable on a smaller wrist that it’s easy to forget that it’s actually the size that it is. I can dress it up with an alligator strap, or dress is down as it is in the photo below (on an Assolutemante)… it always looks fantastic and it always flies under the radar.

CWC Royal Navy Diver: This is a great weekend watch, and whilst I didn’t lust after them in a general sense I certainly did lust ofter this specific watch with it’s heat-treated insert. I nagged a chap from TZUK for about 18 months before I got it… but I got it!

Rolex 5513: This is a Mark IV Maxi from 1981, and quite simply it’s the nicest that I’ve seen with an immaculate dial and lovely thick case too. It went to a watchmaker friend for a new crystal to be fitted followed by the usual seal and pressure test, and he reckoned it was the nicest he’d seen too. On the wrist it’s just sublime.

Seiko 7549-7010: I’d had a lovely example of these vintage Tunas previously, and stupidly let it go. When the chance arose to acquire another beauty – this one again from 1978 – I didn’t waste the opportunity. This is another watch that received the highest praise from my watchmaker when he popped a NOS Hardlex crystal on it, and on the shark mesh it’s nothing short of perfect.

Seiko 6309-7040: I’ve had loads of 6309s and never manage to hang onto them for long; then, when I sell them, I always seem to buy another! This one dates from 1984; it has it’s original non-Suwa dial and hands, but is fitted with a Yobokies double domed crystal with internal AR (hence the reflections!). It also has an aftermarket large dot insert on at the moment, but I do have an original insert on a spare bezel too.

Right then – that’s it… far too many watches, really, but I rather like them all and am not planning on flipping anything. I’ve got a nice mix of dressy, sporty, old and new and reckon I’m pretty lucky!


Back in the fold

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to pick up a Dornblueth 99.1 that was listed on TZ-UK as unworn and pristine. It was a beauty, with applied blue numerals, but like many before me I realised after wearing it for a while that it really does need a slightly bigger wrist than my own. It bothered me as the 99.1 is a bit of a stunner, but at the same time I came to this conclusion a watch I’d been thinking about for many, many months also popped up for sale. A few PMs later and I’d sold one and bought the other.

The watch in question is a JLC Master Calendar in it’s newest guise (it’s actually a mid-2014 model, so almost NIB). Reminiscent of the Master Moon, gone is the power reserve from the old model, which allows the logo to go back where it belongs just under the 12 marker; and also gone is the large case, as JLC have reverted to a perfectly proportioned 39mm for what is essentially a pretty dressy watch. Since I sold my MUT Moon (I just don’t get on with ultra thins, for some reason) I’ve been sorely missing a JLC so I’m delighted to have one back in the fold. This one as a triple date moonphase so right up my street, and on the wrist it’s nothing short of gorgeous… much, much nicer than I was expecting, in fact. For those who like some technical details…

Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre

Number of pieces : 305
Vibrations per hour : 28800
Power-reserve : 43 Hours
Jewels : 32
Barrel : 1
Height : 5.65 mm

Hour – Minute
Moon phases

Stainless Steel
Water resistance : 5 bar
Diameter : 39mm
Thickness : 10.6mm

Silvered sunray-brushed, rhodium-plated hour-markers


Alligator Leather

Double Folding Buckle 16.0 mm

The black alligator strap that came with the watch is too long for me, but as I already wear my GO PC and IWC Portuguese on black leather I’ve ordered a dark hazelnut matt alligator with square scales from Camille Fournet. I think most people know by now that these are effectively the OEM straps that come with the watch, but buying from CF direct means they’re about half the price of going to JLC themselves. In the meantime I’ve mounted a Rios croc that arrived a couple of days ago, and that’s actually destined for my Daytona when the custom end links arrive from Singapore.

Anyway, apologies if I’ve rambled on a bit, but here are a few photos in customary fashion.

A birthday SOTC

Yes, it’s my birthday today, so it seemed like a good reason to post about my current collection, as it won’t be changing now for some time, if at all.

The moonphase collection

Yes, it’s a rather pointless complication – I realise that. However, for some reason I love them, and these two are so different in terms of style and approach that I think they offer variety whilst being conceptually similar. The Glashutte Original is of course a Perpetual Calendar so in terms of horological craftsmanship alone it’s worthy of admiration; aside from that, it’s Teutonic magnificence is there for all to see… wonderfully finished movement, meticulous design of dial and overall build quality that’s up there with the very best of them. The JLC MUT Moon (this is the 39mm model) is altogether different in both look and feel, and somehow seems to marry the traditional and the modern in one gorgeous package. Oh, and the movement is a mere 4.9mm thick – amazing really, considering it provides a moonphase complication within a watch that’s so light you barely know you’re wearing it.

I do love both of these watches, and wear them a fair bit (albeit less than any of the others, I have to say).

The vintage collection

I’ve been on something of a journey with regard to vintage Rolex, and am lucky enough to have owned some wonderful watches that have included a McQueen Explorer, a red Submariner and a couple of Great Whites. I’ve also enjoyed sixties vintage 5513s and 1675s but all of these were moved on before I settled on the two I’ll now keep; a 1981 5513 and a 1983 16750. Both of these watches are supreme examples, with wonderfully fat cases and beautifully-aged dials and hands; they’re also (deliberately) both of an age where they’re still pretty robust and don’t have to be babied too much. In retrospect, this seems to have been important in my decision-making process and the consequence is that I just enjoy wearing them (a lot) and don’t have to worry about their delicacy. I also much prefer the 16750, with its quick-set date, to the earlier 1675… it shares all the vintage charms of its older brother without the disadvantage of the date change mechanism (or lack of).

The other vintage piece is an old Tuna 7549-7010 from 1978. I absolutely love Tunas but there’s a real difference between old and new, and I realised having sold one of these before that I really do enjoy owning and wearing them. The replacement I picked up recently is a wonderful example, too.

The “smart/casual” collection

Now, these two took a great deal of thought, as they could easily have morphed into a PP Aquanaut; in fact, the decision was all but made and the Aquanaut I ordered came into stock at Boodles about a week ago. In the event, though, two things happened. Firstly, I realised that the PAM 337 – a 42mm model with all the characteristics of the classic Panerai – really is a fantastic watch; it can be dressed up or down, is very slim in addition to it’s other sensible dimensions, and is an absolute pleasure to wear. Secondly, I was offered a NIB Daytona at the precise moment that a long-drawn out deal for another one finally failed to materialise. I couldn’t quite justify (effectively) trading these two for the Aquanaut, but I’ll be honest and say that it’s still a possibility for the future.

I’ll take some time (by which I mean months) before determining once and for all whether or not I go down that route, though, as a wrong decision could be quite costly and I find both of these watches fit the same bill as the PP… consummately smart, beautifully casual and wonderfully adaptable.

And the beater!

Well, it’s not really a beater, to be honest. What it is, though, is a brute of a watch that – for the money – is near unbeatable in its class. The U1 is a bit marmite in that the hands tend to polarise opinion, but the build quality is unarguable as is the distinctive style that sets it apart from other divers. I find it a tad heavy on it’s bracelet, but on a Zulu (and I have five different colours for it) it comes into it’s own. Is there a more perfect weekend/holiday watch?

So, there you have it then… eight watches rather than the six I really wanted to settle on, but for now and the immediate future I’m perfectly content.

Well, it seems that I CAN do it…

Not long ago I asked, rhetorically, whether or not I could reduce to five or six watches. (Well, I said five, but as every good WIS knows there’s always room for an additional beater 🙂 ). The answer, it appears, is “yes” – the mini-cull is now complete and aside from making a decision on whether the PAM337 gets replaced by an Aquanaut I’m finished with buying and selling. In fact, before today it was definitely going to be the Aquanaut, but the truth is that these 42mm Radiomirs are so sublime on the wrist that I may just put that acquisition on a very long hold.

Anyway, this is what I have left, and it’s what I’m staying with. The only changes from the original plan are that I’ve kept the JLC MUT Moon instead of the Speedy (some will say I’m mad, but others will agree with the choice made).

In fairness, I’ve also kept a more recently acquired Sinn U1. It’s such a fantastic watch for the money, and it’s also the best everyday watch that I’ve owned and perfect for use on holidays, both on the Bach and in the pool. It’s just not worth selling it, frankly.

Those I miss…

For one reason or another – actually, for very personal reasons if truth be told – I was thinking about those few watches (of the many that I’ve sold) that I genuinely miss. Some have been replaced with like for like so don’t figure in this post, but the others of that ilk still leave me feeling like something of a fool for letting them go… because you just don’t see them often; they were superb examples and would therefore be very hard to replace; or because to replace them would cost me a whole lot more than I received for mine. (Or any combination thereof!)

Anyway, here they are, in no particular order…

Edit: this has now been replaced, so it can be moved to the No Longer Missed list 🙂

End of year SOTC

Well, it’s that time again… coming up to Christmas, the festive spirit is mostly in the fridge right now and a quick look back over the year is appropriate.

I posted a an SOTC this time last year, at which time I had 13 watches with an emphasis on vintage Rolex (and there were some beauties!). This year I tried to get the numbers down a bit, and I succeeded for a while… I seem to have gone back up to 12 again, though, which is yet further evidence of my non-existent will-power. Anyway, as I did last year I still have vintage Rolex and Autavia GMTs; a nice old 5513; a fugly Tuna; a dressy and complicated JLC and GO; and a variety of other things to give me plenty of options. Too many options really, but I may as well just enjoy them all while I can and stop worrying about it.

I’ll take the opportunity to wish everyone well over the holidays too. It’ll be a quiet one for me as my other half is away with her family, but at least I can watch all the horror movies I want to watch for a couple of weeks 🙂

Classic moonphase

Some time back, I sold what was a lovely watch in my JLC Reserve de Marche. I must admit that I missed it a fair bit – in fact, I still do – and although I knew it would be replaced at some point the newer version started to appeal more and more. That was the Master Ultra Thin model in 39mm, and vying with it was the MUT Moon; both watches were absolute stunners but when I tried them on in Wempe the other week it was the Moon that really sang to me. Such a classic and simple dial, and I’m such a sucker for a moonphase so (for me, at least) it was absolutely perfect.

I tried to source one new at a good price, but didn’t have much luck. Someone pointed me towards a mint used example at The Watch Club, but they were asking too close to new price for it to be an easy decision, and in the end the solution arrived as a consequence of my posting a Want To Buy ad on TZ-UK. I met a member from there for a coffee yesterday, and having had a nice chat for an hour or so I wandered back to the office holding a large box and with the watch on my wrist. It certainly hasn’t disappointed either.

The case measures 39×9.9mm, and inside is the Jaeger LeCoultre Ultra Slim Self-Winding Caliber 925 – measuring only 4.9mm thick, its oscillating rotor finished with a 22 carat gold weight not unlike those found in GO calibers, and with the usual exemplary standard of decoration. This fantastic movement beats at 28,800 vph, is composed of 246 parts, contains 30 Jewels & has an approximate power reserve of 43 hours… considering it also provides both date and moonphase complications it really is a marvel.

The silvered dial perfectly sets off the steel indices and hands, the latter of which have both brushed and polished facets; the second hand is blued, and all three hands are wonderfully elegant in both shape and dimensions. At six is the sub-dial containing both the moonphase and date indicators and these are operated not by the crown, but by recessed pushers on either side of the case.

All in all, I think this an absolutely stunning watch, and I’m thrilled to own it. I’m a big fan of JLC in any event, but the current range of Ultra Thins take a lot of beating in my opinion.

SOTC – 28/10/13

A couple of people asked me to post an up to date SOTC recently, so here it is – no changes of late and I won’t be selling any of these any time soon. I quite like the mix of modern and vintage, and there are quite a few different styles and complications in there. I must say that I’m particularly fond of the 806 (which needs a new strap) and the 5513, although I wear all of them regularly and get a lot of pleasure from each of them.

I had 17 watches not that long ago and am much more comfortable with a smaller and more manageable collection (that said, I do have a little package on the way). Anyway, I hope you like the pack-shot

The “other” JLC’s

I’m pretty happy with my lot at the moment, but nonetheless I have a couple of incomings due this week. I’ll post about the other one when it arrives, but the first is a JLC Master Compressor Chronograph dating from 2006. It’s just had a full spa and service at JLC and is pretty much mint, and this acquisition came after quite a few months of thought.

I first tried on a Master Compressor (a geographic, in fact) a couple of years ago when I met another watch fanatic for a chat and a cuppa, and I was really impressed with the build quality. Bearing in mind that JLC is my favourite brand I always knew I’d end up buying one and whilst I’ve considered a few models since then the Chrono is a the one I’ve gone for. I find some a bit too cluttered – let’s face it, this dial isn’t exactly plain – and having worn the watch all day I’m happy that I did the right thing in biding my time. It wears really nicely at 41.5mm and actually sits under a cuff very easily (it’s not at all deep, which helps). It’s a kind of smart/sporty mix and I think I’ll wear it rather a lot.

Please excuse the naff position of the hands in the photos – I’m VERY tired for a host of reasons and have a stinking cold, so I wasn’t at my sharpest!

Guest post – Carl’s vintage LeCoultre

Well, after a bit of a delay (sorry for that – life took over) I’m delighted to publish another guest post – this one from my mate Carl (“Feelingtheblues” on The Rolex Forum) in which he muses about his gorgeous vintage LeCoultre from the 1940’s. Thanks, Carl!

Vintage Watch Review: 1940’s Jaeger-LeCoultre manual winding watch in stainless steel

Since its creation in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been a synonym of haute horlogerie and high quality timepieces. For some, this may be nothing more than mere marketing and many would be able to say the same about a lot of other brands but in my humble opinion there is an important detail that makes it different if compared to others… Jaeger-Lecoultre is not only a company, it’s a manufacture of watch movements.
Same thing, different name? I would beg to differ! With about 1 200 calibres and 400 patents, the manufacture has played a very important role in watchmaking, whether we are talking about technological advances or performance increases. Surprisingly, despite its collaborations with Patek Philippe, Cartier and many other brands (to which it has sold a great amount of movements and ébauches), it seems like this name isn’t one that comes to the mind of enthusiasts when we talk about collectibles (unless we are talking about a Reverso from the 1930’s, some Grandes Complications or an original Memovox Deepsea). A lot of those watches can be found on Ebay, especially the LeCoultre’s sold to the American market, and with a bit of patience one can get a pretty good deal on them.

My Watch

There are some of those purchases that, even if you had been thinking about them, just seem to come up and surprise you. In all honesty I have to say it’s exactly what happened with this one! I had read about Jaeger-LeCoultre and learned a lot of things that made my watchmaking student self admire the name but didn’t really get into shopping for one. It was quite a good timing that, upon lurking ads on a watch forum, I came across one selling a small model in stainless steel and decided to let curiosity get the better of me.

The first thing that I noticed was, obviously, the dial; a champagne-coloured, very simple round one with applied arrow markers and Arabic numerals for the four quarters that match the gold coloured hands. Not only was the contrast with the stainless steel mesmerising but the patina that had developed on it made the whole face of the watch look a tad darker. I found that the watch had aged very beautifully and that the minute ring, along with the brand name (the shortened form of which indicates that this watch had been made and sold for the European market), remained very crisp looking; I had been warned by the seller that it may be an old refurbishing job but under my loupe it didn’t look like it. Alas, it happens that such information gets lost as the watch goes from one owner to another so I cannot confirm that the dial has never been touched or that the case and lugs have not been polished, but as far as I’m concerned if such things were done to the watch they haven’t ruined it like many other poorly done jobs I’ve seen around.

The 32mm round and mirror finished case would make a lot of people cringe; nowadays this would be considered a woman’s size but one could be surprised as I know a lot of ladies who would prefer to have a bigger timepiece on their wrists. Some would be able to settle down to such a size should the case be a cushion style as the corners would make it wear bigger but neither its shape nor its very small crown help this timepiece to look bigger. Yet, this is one of the things that made it ever so attractive to me. Its elegant and subtle size makes it a wonderful dress watch as well as a good size for a casual one (in my humble opinion, of course), the wrist surrounds it in a beautiful way and in my mind there’s no doubt that this is a vintage man’s watch. You may also notice the tear drop lugs, a classic among details on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watches.

There’s no doubt that the external look of the watch is a very important thing to look at when shopping, however, in this case the interior of the watch was just as important to me. I have many lower end timepieces that I have bought because I found them beautiful but for this one I knew that I was also getting a well built and beautifully finished movement. The brass bridges make the whole movement pop out when you open the case back and their finishing is outstanding: côtes de Genève stripes, beveled edges and elegant yet sharp forms… everything makes you think that they’ve paid a lot of attention to details whilst producing this calibre.

All in all, for a lot of people this watch would look like a mere small accessory made to tell time, this is something that made this watch a great purchase to me. Its simplicity makes it an elegant timepiece, yet, as a vintage watch enthusiast and as a fan of companies with a great historical background, the gears and parts inside this small case make me understand why Jaeger-LeCoultre is such a respected brand in the world of haute horlogerie and make me want to fully agree with that statement. To me it’s more than having a watch with a fancy name, it’s knowing what this name really represents, whether a lot of people know it and agree with it or not.