This is always a bit of a tricky one for me, for the old captain hindsight pops up, I shouldn't have... what if...etcetera. There is somehow always a pensive reflection, regardless of the joy that also comes with it. I got some great deals, and I also bought watches I hadn't planned to. It's the inherent conflict of the human condition, the battle of good vs evil in 'on the wrist' form. It's time to do the inventory and see how many watches I bought, and how much I spent, actually not how much I spent, we can skip that...
Tudor Black Bay Burgundy Bezel
Maison Celadon Imperial Plum.
Timex x Seconde Seconde x6
Spinnaker Cahill Calamar Red (Marine Conservation Society Collaboration)
Sugess Chronograph Panda 40mm
Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary
Now, I am shaking my head so much that I start feeling a bit dizzy, a bit nauseous. I didn't actually realise I had bought 13 watches, that's thirteen, (I also gifted 3- two Casios and a Tissot). But what I am happy about is that I have shared all but one (Seiko - sharing now, see below) of them on the blog, which is pretty awesome of me. And not only that, I have posted every month, at least once, for the last 7 months, go me. Amazingly, visits have increased to the most ever this month, and I am, as always, very grateful that people come to the site, surprised and thrilled that my waffling might entertain, thank you.
Anyway, all 13, of the watches I bought are awesome. The Timexes were a impulsive, stupid buy, and once I had the first two I had to get the others, foolish, they are cool but I probably won't wear them, and they won't make me any money. The Seiko is fabulous, the Spinnaker is great fun, no regrets there. The Sugess is a winner as well, I've worn it a few times, I prefer it over the 38mm. But there are four watches that make the short list, odd that there are 3 dress watches in the mix, not odd that they are all great, I have great taste after all. It's interesting that each watch is quite different from the next, but they all special in their own way.
The Fantastic 4
Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary L2.7126.96.36.199
Aesop Roman Tourbillon 7021PZWW
Maison Celadon Imperial Plum Blanc de Chine.
Tudor Black Bay M7941A1A0RU-0003
The above 4 watches are my favourites from the 13 (ahem), all adding something different to the collection. The Longines has a finish not often seen, the engraved arabic numerals are pure, unadulterated class, they would be lickable if they weren't so sharp looking (and protected by glass). Since its release at the end of last year, it has seen a few different colour variations, and a new small seconds iteration which isn't as balanced, isn't as cool. The reasons this one drops out of the running is a noisy rotor, though I got a deal (£1375), I mentioned this on the first impressions and it is annoying though isn't always noticeable. Still, it's slick, comfy, discreet but ready to impress.
And then there were three...
The Aesop Tourbillon also has to go in the top 3, it's just been a pleasure to wear and look at, and the fact it's running perfectly is just marvellous and a testament to the growing Chinese watch industry and to the tourbillon centric brand Aesop (& Jinlery, sister company). There are lot of detractors citing quality issues, and they have a point, but for £225, you just can't go wrong unless it goes wrong, hopefully quickly if it's gonna happen so you can get a refund. A bargain if there ever was one.
Tricky top two...
The Celadon was a random, fluky, Chrono24 find, and was immediately one of the best looking watches in my collection. It is a thing of beautiful and sophisticated design language, it's so refined I think it's a bit aloof. It is made in China with pride and rightly so. The size, the dial guilloche, the case flow, the hands, indices, the lugs and the caseback. It's a really accomplished package, and at this price point I don't think there is a better dress watch, sorry Seiko, Tissot and everyone. Add to it that manual wind movement and it's just special, sitting pretty alongside its more flashy stablemates. I want another one, but having got a deal on this I don't want to pay full price. I'll keep running that Celadon search on Chrono24 and eBay.
And the winner is...
You could have guessed this quite easily if you've seen a few posts this year. The Tudor Black Bay Burgundy Bezel aka 'The Ron' is number one on the list, it seems on every list, and it's on the wrist as I write this. It's been in the collection for 6 months, and it still blows my mind, it hasn't faded in the least. I love it a lot. The first proper watch I have bought from an AD. I just waxed lyrical about it in the last post, it won the watch of the year according to me, so it adds another notch to its belt.
And so it's the Tudor in 2023, with the Celadon in a very close second. It really was a close fight between these two, on a different day it could have gone a different way. The Aesop would have been in there if the dial was enamel or a little more interesting (I'm asking too much, I know), but still it did alright considering the Tudor is around 15 times more expensive. The Celadons bang for your buck factor, especially the price I paid (£550) is unsurpassed.
Each of these brings me joy, and it's not a bad three/four watch collection either is it. No, I'm not thing of downsizing to a three watch collection, and I won't be selling any others (unless someone wants the Timexes, £1950 for blog readers), I also won't be buying too many watches, if any really as I have a few big spends coming up. Unless I get the call about the Skydweller or GMT Master II, can you imagine spending £14k on a watch, I can't quite picture it at this point. I might not do it, even if the call comes in - If I spent it, would I then be afraid to wear it, or would I flip it.
This has been a new consideration since the Tudor - security concerns and risk assessment centred on wearing a watch. Around where I live, and frequent, I happily wear the Tudor, but not without the required wariness. Yes it's expensive at £3,790 retail, but it's not extortionate and I guess/hope it might not be worth going to jail for, from the perspective of watch thieves. So, maybe it's the sweet spot. It sure is for me, it's my favourite piece of jewellery and my purchase of the year. I hope you got a watch or two you wanted this year, and continue your pursuit for your grail in 2024!