Well, last year had its fair share of ups and downs and I wore a watch throughout them all. Some watches saw more time on my wrist than others, and I was a little surprised by the results.
This yearly compilation has been a good exercise in helping me see which watches I wore the most, as this often allows me to determine just how attached (or not) I might be to a particular watch. A couple of watches here and there barely got a look-in. This is more to do with the watch requiring a service than anything else. For example, my Sinn 103 St Sa Chronograph began playing up back in April, so it hasn't been worn since then. Purchased in 2009, it is definitely overdue for some attention.
For this year's post, I think I'll list the watches in reverse order, just to mix it up a little.
Also, I've included both the year of production, as well as the year in which I acquired each watch. If you just see just one year enclosed in brackets, that means I got the watch while it was still in production.
I took a bunch of photos, the majority of which I wasn't too thrilled with, but here they are anyway.
No. 10 - CASIO MRW-200-H 43mm (2022)
Super-light all plastic 43mm case and strap construction with a non-ratcheted rotating bezel. Day and date function, flat mineral crystal, 100m water-resistance for a pleasant day at the beach or laps in a pool, luminous hour markers and hand-set, which doesn't last through the night, but this is okay for a watch costing less than fifty bucks. This would make a decent travel watch. If you lost it or it got stolen, you wouldn't worry too much. And for the price, you could buy two or three of them. Also available with a steel case on a metal bracelet, but I just wanted to try one out, so I opted for the most basic version. This is the watch that I took to hospital. The set-and-forget nature of battery-operated watches is a major plus. I wore this watch through 12 days in 2022. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it was enough to get into the Top Ten and the watch served me well.
And, an added bonus; There's an early scene in Bullet Train (Dir: David Leitch, 2022) where the assassin, Ladybug (Brad Pitt), goes to the train station locker to get his fake passport and other items he might require for this seemingly easy and straight-forward mission. He forgoes the pistol, having reached a point of enlightenment recently where he has sworn off carrying a gun and, in the locker next to the pistol, we see a Casio MRW-200H. Ladybug is already wearing a Breitling AVI 765 Re-Edition chronograph (Pitt is a Breitling ambassador), so he doesn't grab the Casio.
Also in the frame -
A compilation (Volume 4) of Greg Rucka's excellent MI6 espionage graphic novels Queen & Country. This Casio watch feels like the kind a low-level field operative would wear in a safe-house, or maybe that's just my imagination at work.
I had eight or ten of the single-issue Queen & Country comics at one stage before figuring that I should just get the collected editions. I have Volumes 1, 3 and two copies of Volume 4. Purchased the second copy, forgetting that I had already bought it. Volume 2 has been on its way from eBay since November 28th, but appears to have gone missing in transit. I contacted the seller and they said they'd send me another copy and they asked that I let them know if the first copy ever arrives. Will do. I'll also offer to send it back to them, on my dime.
No. 9 - SEIKO Seikomatic Weekdater 37mm Ref: 6218-8971 (December 1965. Purchased 2022)
I wore this one over 13 days of 2022, which was surprising. It's a great watch. The case is 37mm in diameter, which is a little large for the era in which it was made. Most watch case sizing - for your basic time-and-date piece - sat between 34mm and 36mm throughout the 1950s and '60s, with the odd 38mm 'jumbo' case appearing across a few brands.
The Serial Number on the case-back starts with '5D', which corresponds to December 1965. Seiko had a simple serial number system up until a few years ago.
The first digit of the serial number corresponds to the year of manufacture. The second digit corresponds to the month up to September (9). After that, Seiko switches to a lettering system for the last three months of the year, because they are double-digit months and this would get confusing. So, October would show as an upper-case 'O', not to be confused with a zero, November and December would be 'N' and 'D'.
Now, it helps if you have an idea of the decade in which your Seiko watch was made. This Weekdater model positively screams '1960s'. These models were produced for about five years or so (don't quote me on that). Looking at another Seiko watch that I have, the Seiko 5 DX, the serial number shows as '8D1337', which would make it December 1968.
Simple, yet effective.
Anyway, back to this watch. It has a nice clean silver dial with applied hour markers. I'm usually a sucker for a dress watch dial that has applied rather than painted markers. It shows that some effort was made in its manufacture. This model has a nifty day window positioned at the six o'clock edge of the dial, which makes for a nice point of difference to the slew of watches which have day and date display sitting alongside each other. The dial and hands have no luminous material on them. In pitch black conditions, you won't see a thing. However, the hands are slightly faceted, so in low light, they will bounce off a bit of reflection, making it possible to read the time.
The winding crown is recessed into the case at the 4 o'clock edge, something that Seiko has done with a tonne of their watches over the last fifty or sixty years.
The case itself is quite slim, which is cool considering this is an automatic watch with a rotor under the bonnet. Usually, a slim watch like this will be manually wound, allowing the manufacturer to produce a thinner case than an auto. Kudos to Seiko.
This watch appealed to me mainly due to the day/date configuration. The slightly larger case sizing also helped to set this watch apart from my Swiss-made vintage pieces.
Also in the frame -
A vintage National Panasonic transistor radio, a 1968 Nikon F photomic 35mm SLR, and a pair of folding sports glasses that were made in Japan.
The radio doesn't pick up stations very well anymore. I think the tuning knob no longer works as smoothly as it used to.
The camera really needs some use. I'll get around to it soon, once I've finished with a couple of other cameras that I have on the go at the moment. I love this Nikon. It weighs a tonne, but I recall it taking some nice shots the last time I ran some film through it. Might get a new strap for it as well. Actually, I may have one lying around somewhere.
The sports glasses are clever. The case is spring-loaded and folds up when the glasses are not in use. The lenses only magnify things to x2.5. I think these were meant for things like the opera or horse races. I might run some Vaseline along the tracks so that it opens and closes a little easier.
No. 8 - TUDOR Ranger 34mm - Ref: 9050/0 (1970. Purchased 2020)
The bracelet on this piece is an after-market one. The original Oyster bracelet was killed long ago, and this guy just put some no-name steel bracelet on it. I wound up getting a straight-edge Oyster-style bracelet for it, for $20 bucks off eBay, before spending a few dollars more on a Geckota Berwick Vintage bracelet.
I'm hoping to get a Rolex Explorer some time this year and I'm not sure if I'll keep this watch if that happens. In saying that, though, this watch has some old-school charm to it and these Tudor Ranger models do tend to be a little thin on the ground. For now, I'll look at getting it serviced at some point and I'll see if I can find a genuine Tudor rotor for it. This watch was serviced ONCE(!) in its lifetime and the watchmaker replaced the Tudor-signed rotor with a ETA one.
I wore this watch throughout 15 days of 2022.
Also in the frame- I was aiming for a 'Truck stop' vibe with this photo. The Marlboro Reds pack has been empty since the '90s, the Ronson Varaflame lighter is in great condition for its age. The Wilson bottle opener was from the Sunday Market in Trastevere in Rome. Cost me five Euros.
The sunglasses were two bucks and they live on a bookshelf near the front door.
For when I need to look a little cooler walking from the porch to the letterbox to check the mail on a sunny day.
No. 7 - HAMILTON Khaki Field Automatic 40mm - Ref: H70595593 (2018)
Under the bonnet sits a ETA H-10 Calibre movement inside it which features a pleasant 80-hour power reserve. I'm beginning to like watches that have a three-day power reserve. It means you can take it off on a Friday evening and it'll still be purring along on a Monday morning. Or, you can wear it every few days without having to re-set the time and date. If you ever consider having a tight little collection of three or four watches, definitely have a think about a watch with a long power reserve. There are quite a few relatively inexpensive mechanical watches in the Swatch Group stable that contain these H-10 Calibres inside them. Tissot, Mido, and Certina would be three brands to look at besides Hamilton. Either way, across these four brands, you'd be bound to find something that you like, in either a sports or dress watch.
Also in the frame - Aside from a small selection of tools that I've purchased over the years, that scratched up red oil can was from my Dad's tool cabinet. He wasn't too much of a handyman and didn't own a vast array of tools, but the items that he did own were well made.
No. 6 - ROLEX Submariner 40mm - Ref: 5513/0 (1982. Purchased 2015)
I finally got it in early 2015 and it has been a great watch. However, a couple of things happened over the years which may have cooled my enthusiasm for this watch a little. Firstly, I had a minor mishap with the watch where I knocked it against a door frame and the bezel and crystal dislodged from the case. This was an easy fix for the watchmaker that I was working with at the time, but it still made me question the resilience of this watch.
And secondly, I bought a Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight in December 2020 and began to get a lot more wear out of that watch. For me, the Tudor BB58 represents everything that the Rolex 5513 does, but in a more modern, and therefore robust, package. The Tudor is the kind of watch that Rolex used to make.
Still, the absolute legendary status of the Submariner reaches far and wide. If nothing else, it is a very photogenic watch. It is also one of the cleanest watch designs ever made. Having graced the wrists of Steve McQueen, Jeff Bridges, Lee Marvin, four out of six 007s, Castro, probably half of Cousteau's crew aboard the Calypso, and countless foreign correspondents and National Geographic photographers over the past seven decades, it's reputation is assured.
Although, I appear to be approaching a crossroads with this watch. I'd like to keep it, but a part of me wants to move it along and replace it with a more modern version. Something from fifteen or twenty years ago, which may be more water-resistant and definitely a little hardier.
We'll see. For now, it's going nowhere.
No. 5 (equal place) - OMEGA Speedmaster Professional 42mm- Ref: 3570.50.00 (2007)
I used to think about selling this watch, but I came to my senses.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional may have gone to the moon, but this Omega Speedmaster Professional ain't going anywhere.
Also in the frame - My keys, with a vintage brass French hotel room key number tag, a pair of cheap motorcycle goggles - which I used in my review of the Longines Heritage model years ago - and a couple of packets of (stale by now!) Big Red cinnamon flavoured chewing gum. All draped across a 2010 Melway street directory, which is what we used before satnavs and Google Maps.
No. 5 (equal place) - OMEGA Railmaster 36.2mm - Ref: 2504.52.00 (2009. Purchased 2012.)
Back in 2009, during my watch selling days, I sold this watch to a fellow who took good care of it. Then, in 2012, he decided to sell a couple of watches and he offered me first dibs on this one.
This watch has gotten a lot of wear and has appeared in every one of these 'Most Worn Watches' posts of mine over the years. It offers superb legibility and more than enough water-resistance for day-to-day activities. My one major gripe with this watch has to do with the design of the bracelet's clasp. It is perhaps the weakest part of the watch. As such, I have been passively searching for a clasp that will fit the existing bracelet, or a bracelet that will fit to the case without any issues. So far, no luck.
Either way, sometime this year, I'll be sending it off to Omega for servicing. At the time of writing, they are taking between six to eight months to service a mechanical watch here in Australia. It is what it is. Most service centres are extremely busy these days.
Here's the link to my review of this watch, from back in, my God, was it 2013?!
Also in the frame - The Fujifilm X30 digital camera that I got for my wife for her birthday one year. She hasn't used it all that much, to be honest. I thought she might find it handy for family/holiday snaps and what-not, but as I have always tended to bring a camera along on holidays, it has always felt a little redundant to have two cameras to worry about. Besides, once she got an iPhone a few years ago, she told me that that was enough camera for her.
A Fisher AG-7 ballpoint pen. Writes nicely enough, but I've always felt that a pen is only as good as its refill. This one has some nice weight to it, though.
Field Notes pocket notebook, because I always carry pen and paper.
No. 4 - OMEGA Seamaster 300 42mm (WatchCo) - Ref: 165.0324 (Purchased 2009)
Twenty-three days in 2022 saw this watch on my wrist. I've said this more than once. Omega should have kept this watch in uninterrupted production. It would have given the Rolex Submariner a run for its money. I got this watch serviced a couple of years ago and it's running just fine. I could probably wear it more often than I do, but I'd really hate to knock it around too much. I still baby this one a little.
If I could change one thing about this watch, I'd make it a millimetre or two smaller in diameter, but its çurrent size is not a deal-breaker. Put on this period-correct mesh bracelet and the watch 'breathes' a little more on the wrist, making for a very comfy fit.
Also in the frame - A pair of Randolph Aviator sunglasses that I bought about seventeen years ago.
A paperback copy of Forsyth's The Day of The Jackal. I had this version of the book already, but it was in slightly tatty condition. When I saw this very good copy at a thrift store, I snapped it up.
I have two other copies of this book. One is a Franklin Mystery Press hardcover edition, which features a break-down drawing of The Jackal's custom-made rifle and a map of Paris outlining President De Gaulle's itinerary on a particular day.
The other is a small hardcover edition printed by Collector's Library, with gilt-edged pages. I bought it in Paris from Shakespeare & Co back in 2016. I was on holiday and we visited the store because I thought I'd try searching for Richard Polt's The Typewriter Revolution.
Part of me thought it was a long-shot, but I had a niggling feeling that this famous bookstore was the kind of place that would stock this obscure book about typewriters and, sure enough, they had a copy on their shelves. I grabbed it. While doing some more browsing, I spotted this Forsyth novel, in its dainty little hardback form. I was in Paris, so I thought it made perfect sense to snag a famous thriller that's set in Paris from a famous bookstore in Paris!
The drink in the photo is a Cuba Libre;
- Grab a highball glass.
- Half-fill it with ice.
- Add a measure of white rum. Maybe another half-measure for that extra kick. I used Havana Club, for that pre-Castro kind of vibe.
- Top it up with that nectar of capitalism, Coca-Cola.
- Add a slice of lime. Maybe even squeeze the juice out of a small wedge of it too.
- Give it a light and gentle stir.
And Viva Fidel!
I was out of limes, so I opted for lemon. Turned out just as nice. Gotta get to Cuba one day.
No. 3 (Equal place) - OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean 42mm- Ref: 2201.50.00 (2007)
This Omega dive watch shared equal billing with another watch in the collection. Worn through 25 days of last year, this piece certainly has some presence on the wrist.
If you look at the photos of the Railmaster and the Seamaster 300, you will see a blend of their DNA in this watch.
The sapphire crystal has anti-reflective coating, which makes for a very clear view of the dial. The hands have some decent lume on them, so reading the time in the dark is a snap. The case has some weight to it, so you always know you've got it on.
This was the watch that adorned Daniel Craig's wrist in his second Bond flick Quantum of Solace. It didn't get any close-ups, it wasn't mentioned by name, but Omega did run some print advertising showing DC wearing a dinner jacket with this watch on his wrist prior to the release of the film back in 2008.
Also in the frame- The first of Royal Doulton's ceramic 'Jack' bulldogs, this one was released in conjunction with Skyfall in 2012, when London was hosting the Olympic Games and Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. When we first see this figurine in the film, it is sitting on M's desk at the new, temporary MI6 headquarters. There are cracks across its face, implying that it has been glued back together at some point following the attack on MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross.
The photo of Daniel Craig is out of the hardcover book Bond On Set: Filming 'Quantum of Solace', which features photos taken by Greg Williams during production of the film. The sharp-eyed among you will notice he's wearing a Planet Ocean. I got this watch about a year before the film was released. Basically, Bond copied me!
No. 3 (Equal place) - ORIS Divers SixtyFive 40mm- Ref: 733 7707 4035 (2018)
The other watch that was also worn throughout 25 days of last year was also a dive watch, but to a lesser extent than the Omega.
I wrote a review of this watch not long after I got it, as I was very impressed with this piece.
This watch gave off a Cold War vibe to me. Whether it was real or imagined is another matter.
My theory is that not every field operative in the 1960s would have or could have purchased a Rolex Submariner for themselves after seeing Connery up on the silver screen as OO7. So, for them, the next best thing would have been to purchase something along the same lines as Bond's watch, i.e., a dive watch of some kind, by a less expensive brand. I hate using the word 'cheap' when I'm talking about watches.
This has been a favourite watch of mine. Different enough to my other dive watches, with its kooky numeral font, and its forty millimetre diameter sits nicely on my slender/girly 6.5 inch wrist. I don't get offended if somebody says I have a girl's wrists. It's what God gave me, and no amount of working out will make your actual wrist larger. Forearms, yes. Wrists, no. Simple as that.
There are vastly more expensive watches on the market, which offer better timekeeping and deeper water-resistance, etc, etc, but you could score yourself an Oris Divers SixtyFive and it would serve you very well indeed.
This dial configuration was discontinued a year or two ago, but the D-65 range continues to produce 40mm models. Something like my watch or the all-black dial version can still be found on the second-hand market. When this watch was first released in 2015, it was the belle of the ball at the BaselWorld Watch Fair in Switzerland, garnering a lot of positive buzz among watch nerds and watch blogs.
FULL DISCLOSURE - I was the After-Sales Coordinator for Oris in Australia for almost six years. I can't say I was a fan of everything the brand produced, but 80 to 90% of the time, when they got it right, they got it very right.
Also in the frame - This is a busy photo! I was aiming for a stake-out-in-a-West-Berlin-safe-house kind of mood.
A pair of Japanese-made binoculars.
A cheap deck of playing cards, printed on cheap card-stock, made in the PRC.
A smoked-glass ashtray.
A virtually empty pack of Camel no-filters, with one very stale cigarette left in it. Probably from around 2005, if not 1995!
An IMCO lighter.
A vintage pair of glasses, with lenses that give me a headache if I put them on.
A 1st edition hardback copy of Ian Fleming's last two published Bond short stories.
No. 2 - SEIKO Ref: SKX009K 42mm (2019. Purchased 2021)
The equal third place Oris and Omega watches were both worn throughout 25 days of last year. This figure pales into insignificance compared to this classic Seiko, which I wore during 69 days of 2022!
This watch has no name. It is simply known by its Reference Number - SKX009. Its more famous sibling is the SKX007, which features a black dial and black bezel. I decided that I wanted a point of difference with this watch, so I opted for the blue-dialed 009 model with the blue and red bezel insert.
I got this watch in September of 2021. It had been discontinued about 18 months earlier and, aside from price hikes on remaining models, they were also beginning to get quite scarce. This is one of those watches that had been around so long that I thought I had plenty of time to snag one.
I used to have a pre-owned Seiko 7002 model from 1993 and I got rid of it a few years ago. Kicked myself slightly about a year after I sold it, because I've always thought there was something very cool about a Seiko dive watch.
This was the kind of watch that I'd see on the wrists of guys who would come into some of the cafés that I worked in over the years back in my hospitality days. These men were usually a few years either side of 40, unmarried (sometimes divorced), with a middle-age spread and Jaggeresque hairstyle (sometimes a little sun-bleached from too much time on the beach or in the surf on their boards), and they sometimes drove a cool car that had seen better days. Like that one guy I knew who had a late Sixties Mustang with the faded and peeling canary yellow paint-job rusting along the lower sills and the rough idling when he was stopped at a red light.
Beach bums one and all. But likeable nevertheless.
Anyway, I wanted another Seiko dive watch and these SKX00 models were getting harder to find, so I snapped one up off eBay. My one has the 'K' designation to the model number, signifying that it was assembled at Seiko's Malaysian subsidiary. If you want one that's built in Japan, look for the 'J' designation on the model number. At a glance, another way to tell the difference is the dial. The Made In Japan models have the phrase '17 Jewels' printed underneath the 'DIVER'S 200m' lettering just above the six o'clock marker. And, of course, just below the six o'clock marker, in very small font, you'll find the words 'MADE IN JAPAN' printed on the outermost edge of the dial.
I wore this one a lot throughout 2022. I liked the heft of it, I liked the easy legibility, I liked the day and date function, which came in handier than I thought, in a year that was a little topsy-turvy at times.
Also in the frame - Bullet Train paperback by Kotaro Isaka. I saw the movie and liked it. I'm sure the book will be vastly different. The Hollywood spin tends to take some artistic licence with the source material. The book is told in present tense, which tends to bug me a little, but we'll see how it reads when the time comes.
A little plastic resin box that my wife got many years ago, most likely before I even met her.
A monochrome bandanna that I got from some bar back in the late Eighties. They were doing a Midori liqueur promotion.
An empty pack of Mild Seven. They were a nice cigarette. The box of matches was found in a box of assorted book-matches that my wife bought from a thrift store for five bucks. That was about seven years ago and we're still going through the matches.
No. 1 - TUDOR Black Bay Fifty-Eight 39mm Ref: 79030N (2020)
To me, the Black Bay 58 represents everything that the Rolex Submariner used to be. This Tudor is a very well-made wristwatch that is both accurate and robust. Yes, it is expensive, but it's expensive in the same way that a well-made pair of leather boots are expensive. A great amount of thought and care have been taken in their design and manufacture and this is what justifies the price.
I wore this watch a lot. I wore the Rolex Submariner less. This is something that I suspected might happen when I first got the Tudor. Also, as I've stated more than once on various platforms on the web, owning a vintage Rolex Submariner is like owning a vintage sports car. A little more care is required when using it, and a little more servicing and maintenance are required during ownership.
Now, I'm careful enough with my watches, but I really don't want to wrap them up in cotton wool. Therefore, I find myself thinking more and more about upgrading the Submariner to a more modern version, say, something from around 2005 to 2010. This would be one of the last models produced before Rolex made some major changes to the Submariner's case design. The models from ten or fifteen years ago would have a sapphire crystal and better water-resistance. Reason enough to upgrade right there.
For now, I'm still in the thinking stages, but it would seem that that's the direction I'm heading in.
The heart says keep the one I have. The head says replace it with a sturdier version.
Let's see who wins.
*Now, about that asterisk; The bracelet, or rather, the clasp, may be this watch's one small flaw. For my wrist, that is. The length of the clasp bridge is quite long and it doesn't follow the curvature of my wrist. This leads to a slight gap between the inside of the bracelet and my wrist, and more importantly, doesn't provide me with a 100% perfect fit. Here's a picture that I prepped a couple of years ago for a previous post;
See that gap where the black arrow is pointing? Yeah, that's the problem that I have with this bracelet's clasp.
Luckily, a few independent bracelet manufacturing companies have created a half-link for the bracelet of this watch. I will be investing in one of these links soon, to see if it will solve this issue. You never know, and for thirty USD, I'm willing to chance it.
Aside from that, I can't fault this watch. It has modern technology and reliability, all packaged in a vintage aesthetic that harks back to mid-century sports wristwatch design. In a perfect 39mm case diameter, with a super legible dial.
Also in the frame - My passport, which just might expire before I take another trip anywhere.
A couple of travel guides that we bought before our big trip to Paris and Rome back in 2016. I wrote about the Paris leg of the trip here;
I never did get around to writing about the Rome and Abruzzo parts of the trip. Maybe one day, but I'll have to check the notes that I wrote (not many) and more than likely, I'll have to ask my wife about some of the sites we saw and the things that we did because she has a cast-iron memory. Actually, I do remember most of the things that we did, but the days began to blur a little. Especially because we stayed in two fantastic European cities close to rivers, the Seine and the Tiber.
Gotta get back to these cities one day.
While in Paris, I snagged a pair of Persol 649S sunglasses. I was aiming for a '70s style Interpol agent vibe. Of course, they weren't using Euros in Paris back in the Seventies.
And from the photo just above, the coin was a souvenir from the Notre Dame Cathedral.
And there you have it. These yearly lists have been a good way for me to see which pieces get worn more than others, whether my tastes have changed, if I show a preference for one type of wristwatch over another.
One thing, though. I think there's gonna be a little bit of a shake-up. Yes, yes, I've been saying that for years, I know. Although, the more time that passes, the more I begin to realise that I have done nothing about it.
So, methinks 2023 will be the year. I spent last year dealing with health issues and job changes. I think this year will involve some tidying up and consolidating. Maybe I won't make any leaps and bounds, but I'll definitely aim for a little more streamlining of my collections.
Seriously, Ted. ;-)
At the time of writing (Feb 23rd), I have another watch that arrived a month or so ago, but more about that at a later stage.
For now, it's about moving some things along, across all of my collections.
We shall see what happens.
Thanks for reading!