Today, we’re going to take a look at the 8 piece collection of a viewer named Paolo!
Paolo’s collection consists of 8 very calculated pieces. He explains, there are 4 pieces on bracelets for the warmer months, and 4 on leather for the colder ones. Of course, the option is always there to put any of the watches on seasonal straps, such as swapping the bracelet for leather or the leather for a NATO or canvas, but I like Paolo’s system because it helps designate not just the watch’s comfort in a given season, but also the way he views its function. With all that said, let’s get into the watches.
Jaeger LeCoultre Caliber 900 (Circa 1976)
This JLC was the thinnest automatic watch at the time it was introduced. It is the only vintage piece in Paolo’s collection. I completely agree with his philosophy behind this watch – if a brand like Patek Philippe thinks highly enough of JLC’s movement to use them in their own pieces, and JLC makes watches at a generally lower price point than most Pateks, surely the JLC represents better value. Sure, some level of finishing and attention to detail is lost, but knowing JLC’s reputation, there isn’t nearly as much lost as you might expect.
Movado Tempomatic 1881 (Circa 1991)
This piece was said to be released in celebration of Movado’s 110th anniversary. The Tempomatic was the first automatic Paolo purchased, and his only Chronometer. It was in very bad shape when he found it on clearance at the Movado outlet, and it’s had a few service runs and some general care and maintenance to get it to its current, much improved condition. As a piece, this is easily one of the most unique “modern” Movados I’ve come across, and I’ll admit that I’ve never been a fan of the more traditional Museum line styled pieces with blank dials. However, having seen some of their vintage work, and some of their reissues they’re producing now, I know they’re capable of plenty of interesting designs if you spend some time looking for them beyond the confines of your local shopping mall jewellers.
Chronoswiss Orea (Circa 1993)
This is Paolo’s most recent acquisition. It features an enamel dial, blued hands, and fully detailed finishing both on the case and the movement. He was referred to Chronoswiss by his watchmaker after mentioning he was looking into Breguet. This was meant to top off his collection because of the sheer level of decoration and finishing involved and how truly high end it looks and feels. It also took the longest to acquire because of its age and how uncommon the brand/model is here in the US compared to other countries. Chronoswiss as a brand exists on the periphery for me, but with such a unique range of models, it’s certainly hard to choose just one.
Cartier Tank Française 2564 (Circa 2000 or so)
When it comes to Tanks, the Française is a personal favorite of mine. Sure, it isn’t anything special mechanically, but as we’ve established at least once (but probably dozens more times than that), you purchase a Cartier Tank for the design. They do some amazing stuff mechanically in the higher end of things, but the Tank is definitely design driven first and foremost. The Tank MC was the piece that caught Paolo’s eye initially, but in person he found it too large. This was the closest in shape he could find within the Tank line, and that is definitely clear in the significantly chunkier lugs/case sides shared between this model and the MC.
Omega Seamster 200 “Omegamatic” (Circa 1997)
The Omegamatic is essentially a Kinetic watch, featuring a quartz movement powered by a rotor. At 21 years old, Paolo’s example hasn’t needed a service yet. It features a very long power reserve (by virtue of the Omegamatic movement), and offers something wildly different than the far more common Bond Seamaster. Plus, it’s such an interesting technological move for Omega that I can’t help but kind of be in love with it. Did I mention is also has a cyclops date magnifier? Because it does, and that is arguably just as interesting if you ask me.
Heuer Monza Re-Edition Chronograph (Circa 2000)
In Paolo’s opinion, this Monza re-edition is the perfect example of the genius of a modular chronograph vs. integrated (easier maintenance, connected via only 3 points). He’s also a huge fan of the fact that it’s only stamped “Heuer” everywhere. The Monza is a watch that I know I’ve personally looked at and found really attractive, but never gave it much thought for reasons I’m still not sure about. Still, it’s a wonderful piece, and one I think fits in perfectly with Paolo’s collecting philosophy.
Grand Seiko SBGR053 (Circa 2012)
Paolo picked this piece up when Grand Seiko was still only available in Japan. While he liked their GMT models, the SBGR053 was the only one that fit his small wrists comfortably. He likes how you know that any Grand Seiko you buy will have the most updated movement and parts they have to offer at the time. I’ve made no secret of my love for Grand Seiko in the past, so I won’t go full on fanboy here, but suffice it to say that this example is one that, in my (and Paolo’s) opinion, could easily go toe-to-toe with some of the best offerings from Rolex.
Paolo’s Tissot PR50 (Circa 2010) is the only watch he would say he regrets purchasing. He does like that it’s an “honest” watch, one that he wears when traveling to places that might be somewhat higher risk with some of his higher end pieces. It’s also the one that he is most interested in replacing, and he gave us some criteria for the kind of piece he’d like to see take its place, so let’s go through them:
* 37mm or smaller.
* Only 1 watch per brand (to find something that he feels is an interesting, if not the most interesting example they have to offer).
* Needs to look different enough from the rest of his watches, at least the ones in rotation at the time.
* Regarding looks; he likes something rare – not necessarily limited editions, but rare enough that he is unlikely to encounter another person wearing the same piece.
* Obtainable at at least a 35% discount.
* New, or NOS condition, so as to add the charm and character to it over the years for his son to one day inherit.
* He’s also skeptical of Rolex as an option because of how relatively common they are in the community, though he fully acknowledges their quality and position as one of the biggest brands in the world, and certainly the biggest watch brand.
With all of that in mind, here are the three options I’ve come up with:
Rolex Oyster Perpetual “Red Grape”
This piece will come as absolutely no surprise to Paolo, seeing as he suggested it himself, but I agree with him 100% that it would be a perfect fit for his collection. It comes from a brand he doesn’t currently own, is on a bracelet, is definitely on the funky side compared to the pieces most people buying Rolex Oyster Perpetuals pick up, and it falls in at 36mm. There isn’t really much more to say than that except that it should absolutely be one Paolo considers in depth (like I’m sure he already has).
Bremont Solo 37
Okay, so what we have here is a 37mm Bremont Solo, on a bracelet, featuring their iconic Trip-Tick case and an oversized crown in keeping with the pilot watch theme. Paolo had mentioned looking at Bremont as an option because of the brand’s strong British roots, something that his current collection lacks. Right now, the Solo 37 is their only mens watch that comes in at Paolo’s ideal case size, and it runs the gamut in terms of everything else on his wish list. I’m not sure what kind of discount, if any, they can be had at, but there’s just something about owning a Bremont, especially a piece that isn’t their iconic MBII, that simply helps make any collection a bit more interesting, if you ask me.
Oris Chronoris Date
Alright Paolo, before you say anything – yes, I know this is technically a 39mm diameter watch. However, I’ll drop below a picture of the watch on James Stacey’s wrist for comparison (from his HODINKEE Hands-On review of the watch). With an almost circular shape, the Chronoris Date ends up wearing not much larger than, say, a 36mm Rolex Datejust in size. It’s inspired by a model the brand made in the 1970s, and has a ton of that sort of vintage, almost Omega Chronostop kind of energy to it. As for price, the piece retails for about $1900 USD, but can be found online in a number of places for in and around $1350 to $1400. Plus, it gives you the option of a chronograph on a bracelet that is unique in its execution of that complication, and with the pops of orange, makes it a perfect warm weather, summertime watch if you ask me.
Oris Chronoris Date on the Wrist of James Stacey of HODINKEE
Alright, Paolo – I hope you enjoyed your collection review, and do let us know what piece you ultimately decide to pick up to replace your Tissot. Geeks! What would you recommend Paolo pick up?? Be sure to sound off and, as always, keep it classy, watchfam.
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