Hi. Uh... things happened and now I'm here.
The watch thing got me in December... bad. Like real bad. Came on like a tsunami. It always happens this way (pinball, headphones, audio, etc.), so I'm now in the "accumulation phase" for watches.
*sigh* I know how this goes. Nothing to do but ride it out.
Since mid-December, I've examined, cataloged, and sorted over 25,000 watch dials and viewed almost everything in the world which is in current production. As well as visited a dozen watch shops across Texas during my Christmas vacation.
Since 2000, I've only had this watch, a Fossil Arkitekt FS-2919. Up to now it had been the first, and only, watch I'd ever bought. Got it from an airport kiosk for about $100 and thought, hmmmm, that looks nice.
The integrated spherical strap was interesting and different. I didn't realize it was not possible to switch it out, but such possibilities hadn't even entered my mind yet. I just liked it and it got lots of compliments over the years. More than any other thing I wore, actually.
Last November, it stopped keeping time. I had the battery replaced, but it was still losing hours by the day. So I sent it to the Fossil factory shop for repairs. I noticed some options to have the "crystal" and other "things" changed.
"Cool. The glass thing is called the crystal. I can get a new one? Cool. No more looking at 19 years of scratches, so let's do that. Hmmm. What is a "movement"? Oh, the thing which moves the hands and date and stuff. I guess maybe I'll need one of those too."
The total bill was $65 including new crystal, movement, and shipping. While awaiting its return, the Googling began. This is when the Big Trouble started.
I began to watch YouTube videos about crystals and movements. Then stumbled across Just One More Watch, The Urban Gentry, Minitwatch, and Teddy Baldassarre. All of whom made this watch stuff quite entertaining. And THEN stumbled across the infamous Hodinkee article about the Seiko SNKL23 with its tuxedo stripes, applied indices, automatic movement, and a price of only $75. Sayyyyy, that DOES look pretty nice with a new strap on it. How cool... straps really can change the entire appearance. Wow... so many styles to pick from.
Subsequently, the comparison videos came... SNKL23 vs. SARB033. Then Tissot, Orient, should you really buy a Rolex, etc.
I liked the blue dials I was seeing, so I bought a Seiko 5 SNKE51 and put it on a Fluco blue suede strap. Cool... this is easy! And wow is this comfortable! And how cool that it doesn't need a battery and the second hand sweeps so gracefully...
Then came the Orient Bambino, gen 2, version 3 in anthracite grey. Originally got it in blue, but was too dark for my liking. And hey! Now I have a blue AND a grey dial! Those 21mm straps aren't easy to find, but eventually located a very nice Hadley-Roma genuine alligator strap to complement it. I must say, my first few outings were Instagram-worthy indeed:
OK, this is just cool. Now let's get something with visible moving parts. How about another Orient? Already, I began to learn the value of Japanese movements and how Orient made them in-house (and what that meant).
This time, an open heart sun moon w/roman numerals (still awaiting the strap). Now we got blue, grey, white... how about something different this time. Maybe green?
Behold the Seiko SNKP23 Recraft in green, fitted with a Tech Swiss croc strap. Awesome. Feels like I'm on a vintage episode of Buck Rogers or something. Are we done yet?
Nope. Let's go mainstream Swiss w/ETA movement this time. Tissot Visodate w/white dial fitted with HNS tropical NATO strap (yes, I copied Urban Gentry's recommendation since I liked it so much).
Gosh, this is so fun! Are we done YET?
Moonphase! Gotta have a moonphase! I did try on a Jaeger LeCoultre moonphase in rose gold at the store which I liked an awful lot, but at $18,000... er... ah... that's not where I need to start looking.
Enter Davosa. Yeah, it's quartz, but the lovely hands, raised indices, and overall simplicity will dress up nicely once the navy croc strap arrives. Also they gave me a great deal on a new one... just couldn't pass it up.
Saw the Timex Marlin in an Urban Gentry video and couldn't get the image of it out of my mind. Well, I don't have a 34mm small dress watch yet and this would be a good opportunity to try a Colareb strap, so why not? Turns out it was a great decision. Already getting lots of compliments on this little guy and the strap (Colareb Matera) is the butteriest, smoothest, most luxurious thing which has ever touched my skin. Heavenly.
I grew arm hair?!!? Nah... had to use a stock photo of the next buy: Guanqin GJ16034. Why this one? Well... I wanted to try ordering a cheapie straight from Alibaba. But this ain't no crappy $1 Daniel Wellington wannabe. It's got a genuine Japanese movement (either Seiko or Miyota), sunburst dial, nice hands, and a unique sculpted bezel I've not found anywhere else. Sort of a dressy/sporty hybrid... so why not?
Any other niches we need to cover?
My first misfire: Zeppelin 7336-5 in rose gold with carmine red dial. Looks nice, doesn't it? Unfortunately, the internet can be deceiving. The lack of applied markers makes the dial look flat and uninteresting in person. The light falls dead on the dial with only the hands to reflect anything back. Until now, I never noticed how all of my other watches have raised indices and appliques. Sure do miss them when they're gone! Had to send this one back.
Vintage? Anyone say vintage? This Russian radiation/chemical military Pobeda watch has an unusual octagonal-ish case which I like. Hours on the inside, minutes on the outside, second hand spinning away the rads. Pretty cool. Wonder if I should check this with a geiger counter when it arrives... might be Chernobyl salvage. It did come from Ukraine after all.
Yanno, I like that case so much I might as well get one more. Russian Sturmanskie military watch. Love the arabic numerals on this one. If they have lume I'll squee... but not expecting it at this price.
And finally, the limited edition Grand Seiko hi-beat SBGH267. Sure is pretty! OK, I kid... this has been sold out for a while. But I must say it is astonishing to behold and one on my grail list.
Overall, I have been most impressed with the value, style, and design of Japanese, German, and French-designed watches thus far. For some reason the Omegas, Rolexes, Pateks, AP's, Vacherons, etc... just aren't that interesting to me, though they are superb pieces of art and machinery. If I had that kind of cash to burn, JLC and A. Lange & Sohne are where I'd be looking. Or perhaps Louis Moinet, Bovet, Grieb & Benzinger, Jaquet Droz, Arnold & Son, ArtyA... geez I've seen some truly eye-poppingly astounding dials out there.
Of course, Jacob & Co.'s grand complications take the cake but, c'mon, nobody is going to wear a $1m lightbulb-sized wrist automation in public without a security detail!
Final irony: Got my Fossil back & turns out I had been wearing it wrong (too loose) for 19 years. Compared with the others, it now feels exorbitantly heavy and sweaty. Poor thing. Might have to sit at the back of the drawer for a while. Speaking of which... where will I put all of these dials?
Maybe this? But it only holds 16... LOL... and so it begins.