So people always ask me, you know, when did I first get into watches? And I don’t really have a good answer to that. I do remember always being intrigued with watches. I can’t really pinpoint what the fascination was. Some of the earliest watches I remember having in my childhood were the Timex Ironman Triathlon, which had the start/stop and the lap/reset buttons. And I can remember having competitions with my friends to see who could push the start/stop twice the fastest.
I also remember that the first watch that I sort of lusted after was this, kind of, neon yellow and teal Swatch. And if I recall, it did have a rotating bezel. And then, of course, my first “luxury” watch as a child, was the Gucci with the red and green dial that I bought on Canal Street… But, needless to say, over the years I’ve always maintained a, sort of, passive interest in wristwatches. But it wasn’t until the last five years, or so, that I really got started going down the very, very deep rabbit hole of wristwatch fanaticism. And I know there are some of you out there that can sympathize with that.
So that brings us to my personal watch collection, which, right now, is about 10 watches. I’m not going to go through them in any particular order of acquisition or anything like that, so let’s just get right to it. Now, the first watch here might be a little surprising to some of you it is the Seiko 5 SNK809. 82 dollars and 38 cents on Amazon! The Seiko 5 is universally regarded, even by serious watch nerds, as the best value in watches. You get a fantastic automatic movement for under $100. Which is, like, what?! You know? This is an easy, everyday watch to wear. I love the size at 37 millimeters.
Black dial makes it very versatile. The canvas strap kind of puts it more on the casual side, but as an everyday watch, you really can’t beat it. Next up is the watch that was my very first new luxury watch. This is my Rolex Datejust reference 116234. If you’ve seen my guide to buying your first Rolex video, you have seen this watch before and heard me talk about why I decided to buy a new watch versus a pre-owned one. I definitely recommend checking out that video, if you haven’t already. It took me a long time to figure out what exact Datejust I wanted. Obviously, I went with something that is extremely classic and that I feel matches my personal style very well. This is the 36 millimeter version in steel and white gold. Silver dial. Jubilee bracelet. Stick pin hour markers. And fluted bezel. This watch is very, very special to me. I got it to celebrate a milestone with He Spoke Style. And it will always be in my collection. So not long after I got my Datejust, I became obsessed with the Rolex GMT Master.
First, I loved the look of it, with the blue and red bezel, especially the ones that had faded a little bit over time. And, then, finding out more about the history of the watch, which was introduced in 1954 for Pan-Am pilots. And that it really was, and is, a tool watch, which allows you to tell the time in two different time zones at once. So I became obsessed with this watch and then I actually became obsessed with finding one from my birth year, which is 1977. So the watch I eventually found, with the help of my friend James Lamdin from Analog/Shift, is this one. My reference 1675, 5.2 million serial number, which dates it to 1977. I love this watch. It’s such a classic sports watch.
I always take this with me when I travel and I use the bezel to keep track of the time back home. I like it on the bracelet a lot, though this is not actually a period-correct bracelet. I also do like to swap out the bracelet for a leather or suede strap sometimes and a NATO strap in the summer. This next watch is the Cartier Drive. This is the original example from 2016, which was the first year they introduced the Drive. This was a very different kind of watch for Cartier, which is one of the reasons that I liked it. With this watch they were trying to introduce something that was more specifically aimed at the male consumer. And this watch is said to have a bit of an automotive inspiration. There’s a lot of subtlety in the dial of this watch that I like, the black dial version that I have, especially.
There’s the guilloché on the inner part of the dial and the running sub-seconds dial. The hands almost blend in, but not. You kind of have to turn it a certain way to catch the light, which just reveals more of the intricacy of the dial. And, I know, date windows can sort of, like, divide people, but I think this is a really well-positioned and unobtrusive date window here. Very cool watch. Alright, moving from a more contemporary Cartier design to a more classic one. This is my Cartier Tank Américaine. This is the 100th anniversary version. Medium-sized. Steel case. Silver dial. Blue leather strap. And deployant buckle. This is a very special watch to me. This is the watch that my wife gave me on our wedding day. And on the caseback you can see inscribed, our wedding date. I love the Tank Américaine because I think it’s one of those, kind of, under the radar watches in the Cartier Tank lineup.
It’s, obviously, extremely classic, super elegant, and just different, you know? You see Tank Solos all the time, but the Tank Américaine is one that you don’t see that often, which, to me, makes it even more intriguing. Next up is a heavy hitter in my collection. This is, of course, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711, a watch that really needs no introduction. If you’re into watches at all, you know what this watch is all about. And you know how difficult it can be to come by. So I’ve heard that there are, like, waiting lists of like five to 10 years long for this watch. And, as a result, it commands an absolutely absurd premium on the secondary market. So you’re probably wondering how I got this and it’s actually pretty good story. So when my wife and I bought our house a little over a year ago, just about across the street is a Patek AD. So I immediately went in there inquired about the 5711. Of course, I was laughed at! Told the list was 60 people long. People all over the world and this and that.
And I said, alright, whatever, you know? Just put my name on the list. By the way, I live across the street from you. I’m local. Not just some random guy, who’s going to take this watch from you and flip it. So I left it there. Then, over the next couple months, I periodically checked in and stopped in to the shop, just so he knew that I was serious. And I remember the last time I called him was on a Friday. And then the very next Monday he called me and said, Brian, I’m gonna do you a favor. I have a 5711 here. Blue dial. If you want it, it’s yours. So obviously I’m in complete shock. I talked to a couple collector friends of mine and they said if you don’t take this, you’re an idiot. So I had to put my money where my mouth was and I got the watch.
I would consider all of the watches in my collection to be favorites, each in their own way, but there’s really something very, very special about the 5711. The design is classic. One of Genta’s most famous designs next to the Royal Oak. The movement is finished exquisitely. On the wrist, it’s just amazing. The slim, low profile is so elegant. I have never felt a bracelet this comfortable before. The watch itself is kind of unassuming, which I like. And it’s also very versatile. So, this is one of my everyday watches and one of my favorites in my collection. Alright, moving on to what could probably be called the centerpiece of my collection. And that is this watch right here. The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph. This is the original version. Reference 403.035. In platinum. Every time I look at this watch or have it on my wrist, I am just in awe.
It’s no secret, you know, that I am a big fan of A. Lange & Söhne. One of my favorite brands There’s just something about Lange watches that speak to me, whether it’s from a design perspective, like the outsized date windows. The way the dials are laid out. The amazing finish on every facet of the watch. And, of course, the beautiful, beautiful movements, which the Datograph is definitely known for. Of all of the versions of the Datograph out there, for me, the original one is one of the best. And mostly due to the case size because it’s 39 millimeters. The up/down version, with the power reserve indicator, is 41 millimeters, which, for me, is really kind of pushing the envelope size-wise, especially considering the thickness of the watch. The chronograph mechanism is one of the most buttery-smooth that I have ever felt before. The Datograph has been called the most important modern chronograph and I feel extremely fortunate to have one in my collection.
Now, I actually wear this watch all the time and, of course, if you’re a watch guy, you know what this watch is. But, like the 5711, this one kind of flies under the radar for a lot of people. And I like that. I like the fact that, you know, the caseback notwithstanding, that there is a sort of subtle, not totally in your face quality to the Datograph. Next watch I have here on my wrist, actually, is my IWC Ingenieur Automatic. Another simple, classic, timeless, very versatile watch. Speaking of versatile, I did do a styling video for this watch, wearing it with three different outfits. So definitely check that out if you haven’t already. There are a couple things that I really love about the Ingenieur. One, again, it is sort of that under the radar watch for IWC. You know, it’s not the Big Pilot. It’s not the Portuguese line. Another thing is that it has, in its design history, a version that was created by Gerald Genta. That one was the Ingenieur SL reference 1832 from 1976. And although the new version, which I have, more closely resembles the original from 1955, I do like that there is a little bit of Genta in this watch’s DNA.
Next up, is the TAG Heuer Carrera “Blue Dreamer”, which was the first watch collaboration that Wei Koh did with The Rake and Revolution. This was a limited edition of 100 pieces. I wanted this watch as much to support my friend as I did just because I think it’s a really beautiful, beautiful piece and extremely unique. This watch was meant to evoke the, sort of, luxury, leisurely sportiness of the French Riviera with all the different blues on the dial.
And I know that Wei is also a very big fan of “Kinda Blue” by Miles Davis, so there’s that, sort of, inspiration in there, as well. This is my summer watch. This is the one I always have on when we go to the pool. One neat thing about this is I actually have number four of 100, which I requested. So on the caseback it says 004/100. Now, if you take off the first and the last zero, you have my birthday, October 4th. So there is also, like, that little bit of personal meaning in this watch to me, as well. Final watch here is another collaboration. This one was between Hodinkee and Swatch. This is the Swatch Sistem51 HODINKEE Vintage 84. So, I got this watch mostly out of personal nostalgia for the Swatch that I had when I was in seventh or eighth grade. This one is a lot more understated than the neon yellow and blue version that I had way back when. But the coolest thing about this watch is actually the caseback. It’s an automatic movement and it just looks so cool. So that is my current watch collection.
I think looking at it as a whole that, overall, it really reflects my personal style, in that all the watches are simple, classic, and timeless, in one way or another, even though the majority of watches in my collection are modern watches. Now, as anyone who has been bitten by the watch bug or infected with the watch disease knows, there is always that next watch that you want to acquire.
So, I’m no different and I thought I would share, quickly, some of the watches that I would love to have in my collection some day. First, which is the absolute highest on my priority list, is a Lange 1. One of the most beautiful and perfect modern watches, in my opinion. There is no other dial like this. Just so unique and interesting.
Personally I’d like to have one in rose gold with a silver dial. So next, I really think I need more gold in my collection, and it doesn’t get any more gold than this. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202BA with the gold dial also. Probably not going to be happening anytime soon unless I decide to sell my 5711, which isn’t happening. So, anyway, a guy’s got a dream! Next is the Rolex Explorer 1016. As far as vintage Rolex goes, or “attainable” vintage Rolex, I should say, it really doesn’t get much better than the 1016.
Back to the gold side of things. Another classic the Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle, but the Boutique Edition, with the really interesting pattern on the dial. There is an interesting Cartier that I would like to add to my collection. And that is the monopoussoir chronograph. You don’t see those that often and I just think it’s a really, really cool piece. Finally, another very practical watch for me as a frequent traveler, and that is the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time 5164. So thanks for watching, guys. Leave your comments below.