TimeCaptain’s 1st Annual Watchmaking Awards
Here it is, folks. The best of the best. Now, these awards are not only for watches launched in 2014. I tried, simply, to choose watches in each category that are currently available through retailers and authorized dealers. Let’s begin!
Ultimate Haute Horlogerie — Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement
This category was so easy. No contest. A clear winner. GP becomes more and more my favourite watchmaker each day, and the Constant Escapement is the absolute crowning glory. For sure, I cannot explain to you how this mechanism works, but there are tons of great videos online. Check it out. This timepiece is stunningly gorgeous, cutting edge technology and so so modern. If I had to choose between owning this timepiece or my favorite Ferrari, there is a very good chance I would choose the GP.
Ultimate Racing Chronograph — Omega Dark Side of the Moon
For me, the motor-racing-style-chronograph is so important that it gets its own category. This is dear to my heart.
Once again- a clear winner. An easy choice. The DSOTM does not have a clear motor car connection, but it is part of Omega’s Speedmaster range so I could consider it a racing chrono. Good thing! Drop-dead gorgeous. High end ceramic. A high end in-house movement. Check out the subdial that actually has two hands! Sensational strap. 44mm size. I have poured over the photos of this piece for the past year. If I won the lottery, the Omega DSOTM would be one of my very first purchases. Just incredible!
Ultimate Timepiece — Panerai Luminor PAM00422
Again…a clear winner. This one had a little competition from the DSOTM. But really, the PAM00422 trumps everything else. If someone gave me a bag of cash, I would head straight for my local Panerai dealer and buy a 422. It’s that simple. This 47mm Luminor has immense wrist presence, but its slim, curved case actually fits well under dress shirts. I have tried this baby on. It has a bold, classic Panerai Luminor Marina dial (i.e. with a small seconds). It is, of course, a sandwhich dial. It uses an in-house manual movement (yes! yes! yes!). And the 422 has my all-time favorite design feature- it has a power reserve indicator…on the back! This way, you get my very favorite complication in a manner that does not spoil the clean design of the dial. The 422 comes on the most amazing leather strap you’ve ever seen and you can easily swap the strap for after-market straps. The 422 takes the prize as the Ultimate Timepiece. Let’s face it- this category really belongs to Panerai.
Coolest Timepiece — Longines Legend Diver
Cool does not always require a $15,000 price tag. I have referred to the LLD as the “hipster of wristwatches.” It costs under 3 grand. Well under 3 grand with discounts. It can swim, dress up, look sporty, be cool. It’s retro style makes it hip. Different. cool. And I think that a modest price tag actually adds to the coolness. I think it’s cool to look good, with a great piece, without cashing in your retirement savings.
Ultimate Dress Watch — Hublot Classic Fusion Ultra Thin
Hublot Classic Fusion Ultra Thin 45mm with manual wind and small seconds (white dial, brown strap)
Now this was a tough one. My initial thoughts were GP, AP, JLC and Blancpain. But the dress watch I would choose tomorrow is this one. High end yet modern. Manual, no date. Simple. Elegant. Just…superb. I’ve tried it on- the strap is rubber with a leather top, making it thick, rich and high end. Overall, THIS is the dress watch to tell the world that you are classy, high end, sophisticated and trendy.
Ultimate Surprise Watch — Oris Artix GT Chronograph
This 44mm racing chrono retails for about $3500, which is a lot for an Oris. But it’s got a ceramic bezel, a retrograde seconds, chrono and a gorgeous movement with some cool strap options. This watch cannot compete with DSOTM and it’s actually too expensive (in my mind) relative to TAG and Tudor. But it’s a lot of watch for the money and I think this piece puts Oris in the major leagues. I would love to wear this piece and I think it’s my “surprise” wildcard of the year. Very cool.
Ultimate Tool Watch — Rolex Submariner with date
This category is tough! So many choices! But 2014 has been my year of Rolex revelations so I’m giving the award to the Rolex Submariner with date. The no date model is also acceptable. I have observed the Sub in every condition- beach, ocean, business meetings, parties, football games and fancy dinners. The quality of the Rolex itself is absolutely second to none and it looks fantastic in ALL situations. You don’t need another piece if you have a Sub….but don’t let that stop you from collecting. So for me, the Rolex Sub wins as the ultimate tool watch.
Ultimate ”I’ve made it” Watch — Rolex Daytona in platinum with ice blue dial and chocolate bezel
In previous years, I would have chosen an Hublot Big Bang in rose gold or an Audemars-Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. But this year, I choose a much more discreet yet uber high end Rolex. This piece retails for $75,000 so if you can afford one, you have definitely made it. However, to muggles (non watch mortals), this is just another modest chrono. To a more astute observer, it’s a nice, colorful Rolex. And to a watch aficionado, it’s the holy mother of grails of cool watches. It’s all the unparalleled quality of a Rolex Daytona in an obscenely expensive precious metal. Yes, this is the piece for the guy who has made it.
Ultimate Stealth Wealth Watch — IWC Portugese Hand-Wound 8 days IW510203
I have introduced a new category- stealth wealth. This type of timepiece allows you to wear something obscenely expensive and high end without attracting too much attention from the general public. Now, I was looking at Lange, AP and Patek and I had settled on the JLC Master Ultra Thin 41. This is quiet, discreet and high end without turning heads. But then I asked why should a stealth wealth piece necessarily be ultra thin and classic looking. And then I found this IWC with a modern 43mm size, understated style and super high end manual movement with 8 days of power reserve. Eureka! Sure, watch guys will drool over this piece but muggles will have no idea what it cost. They won’t realize it’s got a manufacture movement. But you will. And that’s the point!
So there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed this. Happy holidays!
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