I’ve written and obsessed about mechanical watches for more than a decade now, so I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I really only wear two watches from my personal collection on a regular basis. This is partly due to COVID-19. Regardless of whether personal or professional, a big chunk of my life has moved online or within my own home. I can’t remember the last time I attended an event or fancy dinner. These days, you’ll find me wearing the same black T-shirt and jeans every day (well, technically, I have one black T-shirt for every day of the week), and I increasingly find myself wearing the same watch every day, too. In my defence, the watch I’m talking about here does go exceedingly well with the look.
There’s another reason why I gravitate towards these two watches. While all of my watches hold a lot of sentimental value for me, these two are particularly important. I’m sure any fellow watch lovers reading this article can relate. Your favorite may not be the fanciest or most expensive in your collection, but it’s the one watch (or two or three) that just feels different when you put in on your wrist. It can shift your mood or remind you of happier times or even something special like a notable personal achievement. Whatever the case, this connection is what makes mechanical watches so enjoyable for me.
So, what are the two watches that I’m wearing on a regular basis?
The first is a gold-plated Omega Seamaster Automatic from the early 1960s. I suppose there’s nothing particularly remarkable about this watch, but it has such an attractive design that has aged exceedingly well in my opinion. It never looks out of place, even in a modern setting. Pair it with a nice suit and you’ve got a classy watch that to this day continues to draw its fair share of compliments. But that’s not really why I wear it. The reason this watch is never far from my wrist is because I inherited it from my Italian grandfather, a man who by all accounts was an impeccably dressed gentleman with a taste for the finer things in life. Sadly, I never really knew him because he passed away shortly after I was born. As strange as it may sound, my connection to him lives on through this watch, which in turn sparked my lifetime love affair with mechanical watches.
Receiving this watch as a young man got me researching and learning more about the world of mechanical watches. I think most people in the watch community would agree that it’s quite a rabbit hole to head down. It wasn’t long before I was spending hours on the internet in various forums and on social media channels (back when sites like Twitter were only just becoming a thing), learning and meeting like-minded watch enthusiasts. For me, it was a very exciting, almost innocent time. Over a decade later, I’ve now had the opportunity to do more in the world of watches than I could ever have imagined. Of course, I can never go back to those early days filled with the anticipation and excitement of discovering something completely new, but in some ways, along with reminding me of my grandfather, my trusty Seamaster also takes me back to what it was like to experience that feeling.
The second watch I’ve been wearing is a Rolex Submariner 114060. I guess you could say I’m kind of a sucker for three-handers with timeless designs. Volumes have been written on what makes the Submariner such a great watch to both own and wear: It’s reliable, exceedingly comfortable on the wrist (although the now-discontinued Super Case is admittedly a bit chunky for some), and it looks great with everything, especially a black T-shirt and jeans.
This Sub was the first really nice watch I bought myself, so it will always have that special significance for me. A while back, I didn’t wear it for a stretch because I thought I had “outgrown” it. My tastes had apparently become more sophisticated and refined (never quite figured out what that meant), but as it turns out, pound for pound, there are very few watches that can match a simple, no-date Sub in terms of design, wearability, and performance. A bit boring? Some may say so, but there’s just something so perfect for me about its aesthetic. I catch myself staring at it from time to time and admiring the fact that Rolex has managed to keep the overall look largely unchanged for close to 70 years.
Now, I do like the slimmer profile of the new 124060, and I’ve given some thought to upgrading, but I’m just not sure I’d be ready to part with my current Sub. Lord knows it’s not perfect, and I certainly would appreciate a longer power reserve (then I wouldn’t feel like I have to wear it every day), but I’ve found it’s exactly these little nuances that we fall in love with as watch lovers and collectors.
As for my current two-watch rotation, I know it may not be the most exciting or sexy one out there, but it’s definitely a source of enjoyment for me. I personally think that’s what this whole game should be about rather than trying to “invest” in watches or just buying whatever the internet says is hot right now. Collecting watches should be about acquiring what you like and what moves you in some way. In my experience, those are the watches you’ll get the most enjoyment from.