The “It” Watch

I’m a planner.  I like to set goals.  I have plans for *when* I win the lottery at different $50M intervals (pre-tax).  Hint: you’ll never see me again.  Ever.

It’s been about six years since I purchased my first luxury watch, my Panerai PAM112.  Since then I’ve added a couple more to the rotation, and always have my eye on a couple more.  There is a larger picture, though.  There are watches that are the dream watches…the ‘it’ watches, if you will.  If I were ever in a position to buy a watch of this caliber, I wouldn’t deviate too far from my mean…I wouldn’t start wearing a large gold Yacht Master or a Richard Mille just because I could afford it.  That’s like driving a giant cigarette boat around Lake Lanier.  Very ‘white Oakley’s’.  While those are both very nice watches, I would stay true to my style: get a watch that fits with how I live, somewhat understated, and somewhat rare.  I would prefer to wear something that you don’t see on many people’s wrists, without being too ostentatious.

There are three watches that I would call my ‘it’ watches.  In no particular order, here we go:

Vintage Panerai 3646.  These were manufactured back in the 40s by Rolex before Panerai started producing their movements in house.  These typically come in two faces: the California (top – which is my favorite), or the Kampfschwimmer (combat swimmer) engravings (see below).  Very rare.  Very cool.

Second, the iconic Rolex Day Date with a green Stella dialDay Dates are incredible watches, but just a bit out of my price point.  Add in the Masters green Stella face on a gold watch?  Sign me up.  The Day Dates are a friendly 36mm face, so the gold watch doesn’t look like a GOLD WATCH, that needs a gold rope necklace with a gold bald eagle charm to create balance.  It’s understated, it’s rare, and it will look good with either a gold band or a gator strap.

Third, but by no means last, the Patek Philippe Nautilus with a white face.  I absolutely love this watch – it looks like a mechanical wonder from the future.  Everything about it is cool, including the price.  Those that have no idea about Patek will think this is a Wal Mart watch with a twist-a-flex band.  That’s exactly how I like it…understated.  However, those that know will stop you in traffic to get a look.

That’s where my head’s at.  What about you?  What is your “It” watch?

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  1. Fritz
    03/04/2019 / 10:48 AM

    Out of curiosity, have you had that Panerai serviced yet?  If so, what was the experience like?

  2. Trip
    03/04/2019 / 2:09 PM

    I think a Rolex Explorer 1016 is becoming one of the ultimate examples of this. Incredibly nondescript, but such great heritage and so much better looking than the current Explorer. Also, getting pretty tough to find one under $10K…

    • Nem
      03/04/2019 / 3:29 PM

      I agree and will add the 14270 with or without lug holes is a great alternative if locating a 1016 is impossible.  For me, the ultimate watch is the Rolex 1019 Milgauss black face.  If we’re talking lottery-money rarity here, I’d have to go with a flown Speedmaster Professional 105.012

  3. JMR
    03/04/2019 / 3:36 PM

    As a deadhead whose oldest is named Stella, I think I’m going to need a Stella Blue Day Date.

  4. OhioHead
    03/04/2019 / 5:14 PM

    :medal – 1016’s have jumped so much in past few years…….the 1999 black on black Explorer 1 would be on my short list!

  5. Bradley Evans
    03/04/2019 / 5:24 PM

    Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso.  Never wanted anything else.  

  6. TDP
    03/05/2019 / 6:41 AM

    Luxury watches are cool and agree with your interest in understated time pieces. It is strange that so called collectible watches are so expensive since there are a lot of people, especially young guys, don’t wear them anymore since clocks are on their phones, computers, ipads etc and they are never without them. I guess good to see a resurgence or maybe better defined continued interest. Maybe all is not lost and interest in SXS shotuns will come back. Personally I think luxury watch do the same thing as less expensive watches, keep track of time. The only thing I want in a watch is something simple, lightweight,rugged and dependable that no one would want to steal from me or risk theirs or my life over. Hence I only have three watches that keep excellent time. A Hamilton dress watch and for everyday use like my EDC pocket knives I wear an Orvis field watch with quartz movement. Have worn it almost everyday for 20 years. I have spent more on batteries and watch bands then I did on original watch. It even has an indiglo feature that still works.

    • So called watch collector
      03/05/2019 / 11:08 AM

      They are expensive because a quality watch is a remarkable achievement in mechanical engineering. They have been around longer than electricity, and have been able to capture maybe the most mysterious and intangible asset that any of us have – time – using nothing but kinetic energy and painstaking internal detail. These are fantastic ways to commemorate touchstones in time, and to gift a tangible symbol of meaning to others

      The Hamilton pre-war and railroad watches are fantastic. Today’s Hamiltons? You would get better quality from a Timex.

      Sure – today you can get a quartz watch or a phone that keeps time just as well, if not better, than a quality automatic watch. You can also save money by listening to Springsteen on the radio instead of going to the concert. You can see a football game better on TV these days than you ever could in the stands. This is not a new way of thinking. But to discount and look down upon people who do appreciate and are willing to pay for a quality watch – or quality anything for that matter – really only exposes yourself as a cheapskate.

  7. Likes to Watch
    03/05/2019 / 11:17 AM

    Love these Stellas. Very cool. My favorite everyday is a GMT II, especially the Hulk/Pepsi/Coke/Batman variations. Moonphases for dress or business events (Rolex Moonphase), Chronograph (Omega Speedmaster) for sports, and a Patek Calatrava or Rolex Presidential Stella on alligator for a leather strap everyday watch. 

  8. HLL
    03/06/2019 / 9:39 AM

    If I could find NOS – 1957 Vintage Rolex GMT 6542 Gilt Tropical Dial with Bakelite Bezel . That’s pure insanity to me. Other than that – a modern watch for me is a yellow gold Rolex Submariner/Blue.

    • Randy
      03/07/2019 / 10:35 AM

      NOS and Tropical are mutually exclusive. Tropical usually is the result of UV and water damage, neither of which would happen to a NOS example. Though, I do like where your head’s at!

  9. Eddie
    03/08/2019 / 8:55 AM

    I have the gold day date Rolex with a black face. Inherited it from my dad

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