Sunday 12 January 2020

My Most-Worn Watches of 2019 - According to Instagram

As my blog posting regularity took a sharp nose-dive during 2019, I wasn't able to sift through posts to see which of my wristwatches got the most wear throughout the year. Reason being, the numbers were gonna be slightly skewed due to the fact that the blog didn't provide a true representation of the watches worn during the year.
Nevertheless, I posted often enough on Instagram (I'm @tinzer0 over there) and was therefore able to use those posts to compile the necessary stats. 

I've tallied up the numbers, based on which watches were worn for more than two or three days of any particular week. As such, it's never an exact figure, but it gives me a good idea of the watches that got the most wear. There were a few watches that got equal results and a few new pieces arrived throughout the year and these also got their (limited) time in the spotlight. 

I have to say that some of the results were surprising.

And so, here we go.

1) Rolex Submariner 5513 (1982 model) 

I took 66 photos of this one in an attempt to whittle down to two or three worth using. Not sure if I'm entirely happy with the ones I used.
And yes, I have multiple copies of each Fleming book. Bond fans are forever...

That OO7 double-bill that I saw in the Summer of '75 had a profound effect on me, as I've written here before. Roger Moore's first two outings as Bond were Live And Let Die (1973) and The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), both directed by Guy Hamilton, and we saw Bond sporting a Rolex Submariner 5513 in both these films. 
Production photos have surfaced in recent years which show Moore also wearing a Tissot PR516 dive watch in some scenes in Live And Let Die and it appears that this was his personal wristwatch. 
Continuity was a little lax back then.

Anyway, back to my Sub 5513. I wore it throughout 24 weeks of last year. This was a surprise to me, since I thought it had gotten considerably less wear. I knocked this watch against a door frame in August 2018 and the bezel and crystal came away from the case. The watchmaker that I work with replaced the crystal with a more correct one and then gave it a clean bill of health. 
Still, I remained a little cautious with the watch for the remainder of that year. 
It is a richer man's watch, as I've often said, and I've tended to baby it a little as a result. Getting these things repaired is not a cheap endeavour. 
In saying that, though, it is meant to be worn, after all, so I soon got over any fears and began wearing it a little more throughout 2019.
I'm just careful not to wear it on any occasions or instances where there's a possibility of damaging it.                                                                               

At some point this year, I considered selling it. Then I thought of how I'd wanted one since the Summer of '75. I finally got it in the Summer of 2015.
That alone makes for a compelling argument. 
My watch dealer buddy Mike has said I should keep this watch and sell everything else. Easier said than done.  Besides, this watch is probably not as water-resistant today as it was in 1982, so this would not be a practical watch for this reason alone.
It does need a little work done to it. The crown, when fully screwed down, does still stick out a tiny fraction more than I'd like it to, and I'd like to replace the bezel insert as well. The watchmaker colleague of mine is happy to do the work when he has the time, whenever that will be. 
For now, I'll just be content to wear it as is. 
Either way, I have my name down on a waiting list for a Tudor Black Bay 58;

This watch, based on an older Tudor design from the 1950s, measures a beautiful 39mm in diameter and it has enough design cues from its Submariner big brother to interest me.
There's a distinct possibility that, if I do wind up getting one, I may wear it enough to the point where I just might get rid of the Rolex.
Maybe. Just maybe. 
This Tudor presents enough old-school aesthetics while offering a modern sapphire crystal and 200m of water-resistance. The hands and markers are a soft creamy-white and the minute track and bezel numerals are done in gilt.
On top of that, the movement has a staggering 70-hour power reserve. Take it off on Friday night after work, pick it up on Monday morning and it'll still be running. 
There was a stampede towards Tudor dealers shortly after this watch was premiered at the BaselWorld Watch Fair in 2018, hence the waiting lists for this model. I visited three stores (two of which I used to work at) and put my name down for this watch. 
I'll write more about that one day.

2) Oris Divers SixtyFive (Movember Edition model, 2017)

This one was another surprise. I wore it in 22 weeks of the year. Produced in limited numbers (exact figure not known) to commemorate the Movember Foundation and its efforts to raise awareness of and funds for issues related to men's health, this watch measured the classic, vintage dive watch size of 40mm in diameter, but utilised the dial layout of the larger 42mm Divers SixtyFive model that was released the previous year.
Oris soon released other 40mm Divers SixtyFive models with a similar layout to this one and this range has been quite a success for the brand.

This is one of those watches that seems to work very well on just about any strap you put on it. The same can be said for the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Because of this, you can change up the look of this watch to your heart's content. I got it with the original minimal-stitch brown leather strap (which had the Movember moustache logo embossed on it), but soon purchased the corresponding metal bracelet for it. In these photos, it's one the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Tropic rubber strap. Tropic straps were first introduced in the early 1960s and could be found on a myriad number of dive watches back then, in the days when SCUBA diving started becoming a popular recreational pastime. These straps can be identified by their checkerboard pattern and diamond-punched holes. I've seen vintage NOS (New Old Stock- never used, but long since out of production) Tropic straps for sale on the web in recent years, commanding ridiculous prices upwards of three hundred dollars. Call me cynical, but a forty or fifty year-old piece of rubber won't be as strong now as it was when it was new. I base this on experience. Rubber hardens over the years, then it becomes brittle, and then it begins to split/crack.

I've bought silicone rubber Tropic straps in the past and, while they do look good and tend to last a while, they also do attract dust and lint like nobody's business. These Oris Tropic straps don't appear to attract dust or lint.
Being rubber, they make for a very comfy fit, which is ideal for the warmer months.

3) Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic 40mm (2019)

I bought a Hamilton Khaki Field Officer's Mechanical back in 2011. Wrote a review on it too;

Hamilton Khaki Mechanical 44mm Hand-wound | REVIEW

While I've always liked the watch, I found it just a little too large. With a diameter of forty-four millimetres, it absolutely dwarfed my 6.5 inch wrist.
Yes, I purposely went for a watch that would look like some wartime SOE agent's piece of kit (as far as my head was concerned), but I just found this watch too large. For sentimental reasons, I held onto it because it housed the Unitas 6498 hand-wound movement which was developed in the 1950s for use in pocket watches. This is a 16 ligne movement (meaning that it's pretty large) and therefore, most watches using this calibre will tend to be in the 44mm diameter range.
However, despite the fact that it contained this well-respected movement in it, I wasn't giving it enough wear, so I spent about six months mulling it over before deciding on moving this one along and replacing it with another Hamilton Khaki model in a slightly more apt size for my wrist.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic, in a more forgiving 40mm diameter;

This one sits better on my wrist, while still retaining the slightly oversized aesthetic of my earlier Khaki model. The tan coloured suede strap gives it a nice 'hunting-Rommel-in-North-Africa-circa-1942' vibe as well.

Wore it quite a bit over Winter and it clocked up 20 weeks on the wrist as a result. 
I considered going for the deep black dialed model with white hands and hour markers, but felt that it would too closely resemble my previous model. So, after looking at the complete (and varied) range of field watches in the Khaki series, I opted for the black dial with patinated hands and markers. These give the impression that the watch has aged. Personally, I normally don't go for this faux patina look, as it has come to be known, but I can forgive it on this Hamilton Khaki because it suits the overall look of the watch.

The main appeal of this watch was the movement. It's an ETA Calibre H-10, which provides a staggering 80-hour power reserve. Virtually any other watch in this price range* will run a maximum of 38 to 42 hours. Eighty hours means that you can take it off on a Friday night and it'll still be running on Monday morning.
I've treated this watch with respect since I got it, but I think it may look nice when it begins getting a few nicks and scratches over time.
To give it a world-weary, been there-done that kind of look.

*There are other, similarly-priced brands which house the H-10 calibre and, like Hamilton, they are owned by The Swatch Group.

4) Omega Railmaster Co-Axial, 36.2mm (2009 model)

Ian Fleming's fifth Bond novel has nothing to do with this Omega watch, except for the fact that the book was published in 1957, the same year that the original Railmaster model was released. It was a sparse, no-nonsense wristwatch, aimed at those who worked in proximity to machinery which emitted electrical currents and high magnetic interference. The original Railmasters were fitted with an iron case over the movement, which acted as a Faraday cage and helped prevent it from becoming magnetised, as this would affect the timekeeping of the watch. 
(Special thanks to for the information used in that last sentence). 
This modern Railmaster doesn't have an anti-magnetic protection, as it is fitted with a see-through case-back which showcases the movement of the watch.

There are times when all I want is a watch that tells the time clearly and without fuss. This Railmaster is perfect for that. It was worn through 13 weeks of the year. 
Released in 2003 in a 39.2mm and 42.2mm size, this 36.2mm model came out a couple of years later. This series was discontinued in 2011 or so. 
Sales of the Railmaster series were never high, based on what I saw during my decade working at a wristwatch boutique, as the majority of customers wanted a watch with a date window.
The shorter production run of the 36mm model, plus the fact that this was considered small back in the days of the BIG WATCH craze, means that there are seemingly fewer of these on the second-hand market these days. Good. 
If I had one quibble about this watch, it would probably be the clasp. It's based on an Omega design dating back to the early Nineties and I consider it to be a little flimsy. Aside from that, I can't fault this watch at all. 
A definite keeper. 
If you want to read my review from 2013;

Omega Railmaster Co-Axial Automatic (36.2mm) | REVIEW

It got a little out of hand, and I spent considerable time staging the photos, but it was fun.

4 - Equal Place) Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 42mm (2007 model)

When the Planet Ocean Co-Axial was first released back in 2005, it had a retail price of $3,650.ooAUD. If you want to purchase the current iteration of this watch, it'll cost you $9,250.ooAUD.
Granted, there are some considerable changes to the current model, most notably it now contains a fully in-house movement, better anti-magnetic properties, more high-tech materials, and longer service intervals.

In saying that, there's no way that I can justify this price to myself. Besides, they made some slight tweaks to the overall design over the years and I much prefer the look of my watch compared to the current model.
I wore this one through 13 weeks of the year, like the Railmaster. This is one of the heavier watches that I own. Measuring 42.5mm in diameter, it wears just slightly larger than I would prefer. If it were a 40 or 41mm case, it would be a perfect dive watch.

There have been times when I've wondered about the thickness of the case and whether or not it's due to the increased water-resistance of 600 metres that this watch is rated to. This level of w/r is a tad overkill, in my view, but I suppose that Omega wanted to create a heavy-duty diver's watch that would double the depth rating of its traditional rival Rolex. The Submariner has 300m water-resistance, although the Rolex brand also had the Sea Dweller model back then which was rated down to 1,220 metres.

As mentioned, it's one of my heavier watches, but that's part of its appeal for me. I like the reassuring weight of it. The sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating on it, making for a very legible dial, and the overall layout of it means that it can't be mistaken for a Rolex Submariner. This dial contains plenty of DNA from the classic Seamaster 300 dive watch of the 1960s, and this model was a nicely done update of that design.

5) Oris Diver SixtyFive, 40mm, Blue & Black dial, (2016)

Okay, so if you look at the above-list of watches so far, you'll notice 75% of them are dive watches. Yes, I have a penchant for dive watches. And yes, I mean 'no', I don't dive. I just like dive watches.
Maybe it's because I saw Bond wear one when I was a kid.
Maybe it's because they're water-resistance is more than I'll ever need.
Maybe it's because they're (generally) very legible.
Maybe it's because, aside from the Bond connection, they also conjure up images in my mind of undersea documentaries from the Sixties and Seventies (Inner Space), and behind-the-scenes photos of National Geographic photographers in far-flung corners of the globe, or journalists reporting from refugee camps in war-torn countries.
Whatever the reason, basically, I like dive watches. To me, they convey a sense of adventure in a modern world.

I reviewed this watch back in October 2018;

Oris Diver SixtyFive 40mm Automatic with Black & Blue Dial | REVIEW

This watch caught me by surprise. I'd already seen the black-dialed version on numerous occasions and, while I liked the look of it, I didn't want another black dialed dive watch. My stable of them is pretty full.
And then, Oris released this version, featuring a deep cobalt-blue outer ring dial with a black disc in the centre.  Added to this colour combo were four '60s sci-fi font numerals at the cardinal points and legible picket-fence hand-set, all coated in a pale cream luminova, and I knew then that I was a goner.
Hmm, that's a nice looking watch, AND it looks different enough to my other divers, I recall thinking at the time.
This watch is based on an Oris model from 1965, hence the name. More info in my review, which I won't re-hash here.
This is a nice, slim dive watch design. Rated down to 100 metres, your diving purists would argue that this does not make it a true dive watch, but I don't dive (remember?), so it's never going to be an issue for me. I just like it because of its points of difference to my other dive watches.

In low light, the dial can look entirely black. In bright sunlight, it'll look electric blue along the edge, with the black central disc remaining unchanged.
I wore it through 13 weeks of the year and, whereas I also have the Oris Movember Edition Diver SixtyFive - which has the same case, hand-set, and bracelet dimensions as this watch - the similarities between these two watches end there. I don't see a case of doubling-up in having both of these watches, since the dials are so different.
Having said that, if I had to get rid of one of them, the Movember model would probably be the one to go, as it has a more traditional dive watch design. This blue & black model looks like nothing else in my collection.

6) Omega Speedmaster Professional (2007 model)

Search the web and you'll find a zillion photos of this watch that are better than mine.
This one got ten weeks of wear last year, mostly over the Winter months, if I recall correctly.
Sure, there are a tonne of collectors out there who don't rate this watch at all. They say it's archaic in this modern age of automatic chronographs. They say it should have a sapphire crystal. They say it should have better water-resistance than 50 metres. They say it should have an applied Omega logo on the dial rather than a printed one. They say it's not really the moonwatch because it doesn't house the legendary Calibre 321 movement in it, which was in the watches that landed on the moon in 1969.
To them, I say BFD. I like this watch because it's virtually unchanged since the mid-Sixties. Moon-landing/NASA-qualified-equipment aside, it's just a very nice example of the kind of chronographs that were made 50 or 60 years ago.

7) Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Small Seconds (circa 1996)

Sometime in mid-2018, I bought one of these in the 33mm diameter, thinking that it just may be large enough to look okay on my wrist.

I was wrong. Despite my small 6.5 inch wrist size, this watch looked a little too petite for my liking. No huge drama. My daughter - she was sixteen at the time - said that she liked 'the aesthetic' of this watch. She's developed a liking for 1920s styling in recent years and this watch, although based on an Oris model from 1938, still has enough design cues from the decade previous.

I kept hunting for the larger-sized model, which measures 36mm, and spotted one on eBay a few months later. It arrived on a leather strap which suited it nicely, but I thought I'd see about getting the metal bracelet for it.
I got the bracelet eventually, but the end-links were a slightly different shape, as it turned out that this bracelet was for a different Oris model from the same era. This would require some 'persuasion' on my part, with the help of the filing blades of my Leatherman Wave and Swiss Army Swiss Champ. I spent a little time filing down to corners of these end-links, giving them a softer, curved point.
As I say, it looks nice on the strap, but A), I have numerous vintage watches fitted with leather straps, and B), I wanted to give this watch a more '1930s aristocrat's wristwatch' kind of vibe. I kept thinking of the classic thriller Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household.
Here's the premise of that novel, courtesy of wikipedia;

The protagonist, an unnamed British sportsman, sets out in the spring of 1938 to see if he can get an unnamed European dictator in the sights of his rifle. Supposedly interested only in the stalk for its own sake, he convinces himself that he does not intend to pull the trigger. Caught while taking aim by the dictator's secret service guards, he is tortured, thrown over a cliff and left for dead.

There's much more to the story than that.

Anyway, I liked the way the watch looked on the bracelet and it got worn throughout nine weeks of 2019. It's got a much lighter feel on the wrist than some other watches that I wore. This is a good thing. For me, anyway. I've met a lot of collectors over the years who have gotten used to a particular size of wristwatch and they would balk at wearing a 36mm watch, despite the fact that this was the yardstick size for a lot of watches throughout the 1960s through to the Eighties.

The dial of this watch is a thing of beauty. Close inspection shows four different textures going on. And then you have applied numerals on it as well. It would feel cluttered, but everything is easy to read on this watch. The date numerals go around the outer edge of the dial and a red crescent cups around the date numeral from a thin central stem. It's all very nicely done and Oris has wisely kept the Big Crown Pointer Date series in production for decades.

This was a nice watch to wear, as it provided a pleasant alternative to the dive watches throughout the year. I remember seeing this model in a Daimaru department store back around 1994. Never got around to buying it back then.
Once I got this one, I had the 33mm model serviced and gave it to my daughter for her seventeenth birthday a few months ago. She's all-set for the Roaring (20) Twenties.

And that's it for another year, as far as what I wore goes.

A few low-priced pieces came in. I used to have a Rado Purple Horse;

I kept this watch for a few years and then sold it. Should've kept it. It worked nicely enough and it would have made a nice daily wearer. But, I was aiming for loftier brands at the time so, I ended up moving this one along.

In recent months, I began looking at vintage watches from more affordable brands and spent a fair few nights scouring eBay for another Purple Horse. Gotta hand it to this brand. With model names like Purple Horse, Green Horse and Golden Gazelle, their watches are worth buying just for the names alone.
Needless to say that I didn't have any luck finding another Purple Horse for the same low price that I paid back in 2007.
But I did spot this one;

It was a circa 1957 Golden Horse. The date wheel shows some scratches across some of the numerals, but the rest of the dial and the hands are in very good condition, considering the age of the watch;

I'm sure that the movement in this watch requires servicing, but a flick of the wrist and you can hear the rotor spin like a fishing reel being cast.
This is one that I'll get serviced sometime soon. I managed to track down a date wheel for the movement and it should (hopefully) fit without any issues when the time comes.
I think I even have a crystal for it which has a small magnifying lens that sits over the date window, just like the 1957 originals.
If I can find it.

I saw this Seiko Skyliner going on eBay one night and pounced on it;

It's a hand-wound model dating back to around 1968. Makes me think of transistor radios, Godzilla, and Toyota Crown sedans.

It's a simple watch, all it does is tell the time. No date. The silver dial is in very good condition and the watch ticks along nicely. While it could be mistaken for any of my other Swiss-made vintage watches, this Skyliner measures a slightly larger 37mm in diameter. This range was introduced in the early 1960s as an affordable dress piece from the Seiko brand.

I don't know much about the Seiko, to be honest. They've always produced affordable watches in virtually every configuration, from dress watch to dive watch and quite a few of these have become well-respected classics among watch collectors.
Aside from that, their Grand Seiko range gives many high level Swiss brands a run for their money.
At either end of the spectrum, you find a level of attention to detail that the Japanese are known for and pride themselves on.

Looking at this model here from the Grand Seiko 'Four Seasons' Collection released earlier in 2019, you can see the level of detail that's gone into the 'Spring' model;

Yep, I have a lot of time (pardon the pun) for Seiko. Speaking of which, one more Seiko joined the stable in 2019. I already wrote about it two posts ago.
Looking to sell the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra that I have, due to the tricky-to-ready hands at certain angles, I felt that it may still be worth having a dress watch with a dark dial. So, I had my eye on the Seiko SARB033 for a while and kept putting off buying one. And then, to help me decide, Seiko discontinued the watch.
So, I figured I'd better snag one before they become harder to find. Not only that, but I noticed the price slowly start to climb as these models became more and more scarce.
Thirty-eight millimetres in diameter, 100m water-resistant, and a little more lume on the hands and dial. It came fitted on a steel bracelet, but I think I just may get a strap for this watch at some point to see how it looks.
Some Seiko fans have dubbed this watch the 'Baby' Grand Seiko due to its resemblance to its more expensive cousins.
There's still a high level of workmanship that goes into the lower-priced Seiko ranges. Even a $60.oo Seiko 5 model punches above its weight. You'd be much better off buying one of those rather than a fake Rolex DateJust on the streets of Phuket.

So that's 2019's wristwatch wearing done and dusted. I plan to get rid of a few watches in 2020. Yes, yes, I've been saying it for the past couple of years, I know. One has already gone, another two are on the chopping block. Then I'll sit down with the collection and really go through it.
I know myself well enough. I'm gonna dredge up all manner of reasons excuses for why I want to keep a particular watch.
One thing's for sure. Actually, two things; 1) I'm a Bond fan, and 2), I like dive watches. Could be tricky.
Still, almost all of the pricier models that I have are worth more today than when I got them, so from an 'investment' point of view, I'm still ahead of the game. Although, I should point out that I hate thinking of my watches from an 'investment' angle because they are meant to be worn, used, enjoyed, etc, without worrying too much about scratching/damaging them, and therefore, affecting their re-sale value.
I often read watch forum posts from people who ask "What's a good watch for investment purposes?"
Dammit, man, buy whatever watch you like and can afford, wear it because it becomes a part of you and your life experiences, and don't worry one bit about 'investment purposes'.
Seriously, you get yourself a nice watch and you wear it on your wedding day, or when your first kid is born, or when you land that big promotion, etc, etc, and can you really consider selling that watch after it's been on your wrist throughout the major events of your life?
Maybe you can.
I know I can't.

Thanks for reading!

And I hope 2020 treats you all kindly!