[Need recs] Spent weeks looking for first watch, nothing I’ve fallen in love with. Am I looking for a unicorn?
By - hacklab
I think you should spend 1-2K on your first watch and the rest after you figured out what it is you want from a watch.
>Panerai: Functional, simple, but too chunky and IMO not terribly timeless.
Well Radiomir's have been around since 1936... Not terribly timeless 🤣
One of only a handful of iconic designs
10k is a lot to spend on something you aren't really excited about
I like the Tudor North Flag. This is a unique watch that is not wanting to be another watch. This has a date complication, is not overly loud or Formal, and is what I consider to be entry-level.
Casual, recognizable, but isn't screaming for attention. It knows its purpose and doesn't try to be anything else.
If you can't go 100%, don't pull the trigger, especially at the price point you're looking at. That said, there aren't many watches that can go the full distance.
Dressy sports watch sounds like Grand Seiko to me. Sbga211 or something like Sbga415 for a bit more color. Or maybe Zenith El Primero.
I feel like what you are looking for is a Rolex explorer 14270 or 114270, and you can swap the bracelet with a variety of straps to get a specific look. It has the smooth bezel, it's elegant and timeless, perfect proportions, with a sporty touch. Check my profile for pics as I sold one not too long ago.
Edit: The explorer 14270 also has the lore and history behind it as well.
jlc reverso burgundy
grand seiko "snowflake" sbga211? or check out their sbga231 more like a diver
Have you looked at the Bremont Supermarine S301 Chronometer? I think that's a great watch that match a lot of your criteria. Well made without being readily noticeable to anyone but a watch enthusiast.
Every watch brand tries to build lore. I don't know how true their story is, it's a bit dopey and unbelievable but I've owned the watch and it's a great watch! If you're concerned about value retention, get a Rolex Explorer. If not, I'd suggest giving it a look.
Who the hell cares? You’re making this too complicated. If you like the watch, but the watch.
Tudor BB 36 or 41? And not really a diver but maybe a Zenith Defy?
Congrats!! Enjoy it in good health!
Recommend Zenith. A pilot watch or the El Primero has enough water resist to use daily, tons of history, and great for the price
Do you need new or is used/pre-owned okay too? It sounds like you really want a Daytona, but know you can't get one. The speedy is a great choice, but in terms of new options, you don't have much to work with. Looking at pre-owned apollo missions can get you some very unique looks. Similarly, the rolex explorer II (the older one, not the new one) might be right up your alley
Some other brands/watches to look at. Check out Zenith. The el primero is the first pick, but they have a good range of options. Take a peak at Chronoswiss; dials are very details like Grand Seiko, but with a twist. Glashutte Original has a wide ranging collection, and it's worth looking them over to see if anything jumps out (the 70s chronograph for example [https://www.exquisitetimepieces.com/glashutte-seventies-chronograph-panorama-date-1-37-02-03-02-70.html](https://www.exquisitetimepieces.com/glashutte-seventies-chronograph-panorama-date-1-37-02-03-02-70.html) )
Point being, you have a ton of options. A few things that might help make it easier to search: size. If you try on a couple of different watches (grab some omeges, oris's, and nomos's) and youll get a quick feel for what you actually like on the wrist. one you know what size youd like (both case size and thickness) it'll be easier to filter out all the different options. Same thing with colors; do you have a favorite? Do you hate black dials? Do you want a steel case or do you want two-tone? And from the other size, don't let things like "automatic vs hand wound" or "bracelet vs band" change your mind on a watch. Bracelets can be changed! Case colors cant!
Zenith el primero with the tri color subdials.
Honestly, (and I know I keep shitting on chrono24 but...) I would go on chrono24.com and just plug in those specs. Toss in the case size, and case material, and then filter on different dials. You'll find even the price filtered, once you get away from black and white dials there are not too many options. Play with the filters, focus on certain brands, and it'll help you narrow things down a bit. You will find the major brands don't vary in style too much, and once you see a style you like (especially in the watch hands), you'll be able to hunt down a specific model that much easier in a brand.
Minor example of my own. I like fun complications. So I did what I told you to do. Went on chrono, and looking for jumping hours. Great, 100 options. Okay, lets see if there are brands I like or dont like. Okay, I like Bulgari, Meistersinger, and Chronoswiss. Now I have 3 brands, and I can just google search each of their offerings and see which ones I can buy new (or at all) and which ones are actually my favorite if I put them side by side. That how I know I really want a [https://chronoswiss.com/en/intl/product/flying-regulator-jumping-hour-ch-8323-blor](https://chronoswiss.com/en/intl/product/flying-regulator-jumping-hour-ch-8323-blor) Not only is it the function that I wanted, but it also hits my personal style requirements of being refined and over the top colors
hah! Last bit of advice is to just give yourself small chunks to look at, even if it's not your only limit. For example, if I wanted to look at gold watches in my size for under 10k. well, thats still like 2000 watches! But if I set the filter to chunks of say 1-3k, 3-6, and 6-10, I suddenly get smaller chunks and an idea of what the extra money spent gets you (newer, complications, bigger name brands, ect)
I have a midsize Omega Seamaster Professional 300 that is far from chunky and has a relatively sleek bezel compared to the Rolex/Tudor style. I have the midsize because of my skinny wrists, but both the midsize SMP and previous generation 41mm full size SMP are quite slim sports watches. I think the newer 42mm models (with no midsize equivalent) are a bit chunky but I haven’t handled them and I could be wrong because of that.
The previous generation models can still be had new but these watches are of course well under your budget, if that matters.
EDIT: Another thing I’d say is: it’s understandable to be spending weeks on deciding on a watch. If you’re not trying to time this for a relatively immediate purchase for some reason, keep looking and just sit on it. Personally, looking at my own paycheck, I’d never put even $2K on a watch that I don’t absolutely love.
And what do you feel about the Rolex Explorer and Explorer II (especially the white one).
With that kind of money you should wait and keep looking. It would really suck to waste that kind of money on a watch you end up not liking. Besides isn't shopping and researching half the fun?
Oh man I know that feeling lol
Honestly it seems to me that you shouldn't be looking for any **one** watch, but **two**.
If it were my money I'd buy a sport/diver watch I can wear all day, something functional and durable but it'd be fine for the office and almost all occasions. I'd then buy a cheaper dress watch, something elegant that you can put on for special occasions or on fancy meals ect
Normally I'm not a huge fan of the brand, but I've grown to love the [Breitling Superocean Heritage 57](https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/breitling-superocean-heritage-57-capsule-collection-introducing)
On paper it looks like any other 42mm vintage diver, it's dial is a bit of an acquired taste, and it doesn't have an in-house movement. But I tried it on a few days ago, and man does it wear small! You can't see it in pictures, but the case is really thin <10mm, and the 42mm is all in the bezel... if you could remove the bezel, you'll find the case itself is sized more like a 39 or 40mm watch. The finishing is definately more dress diver and less tool watch.
Too bad the rainbow LEs are out of stock, but I'm seriously considering the blue or rose gold versions.
Vacheron Overseas 47040.
Have you looked at the 1957 Trilogy models of the Seamaster or Railmaster? Or even a current Railmaster.
No mention of any Rolex or Grand Seiko's.
The Datejust and the Grand Seiko line can all be dressed up or down. Classy or sporty. You can change a lot about a lot of watches just by changing the straps too.
Edit: just saw your note about Rolex actually. I'd continue to look into Grand Seiko.
You buy a Rolex to impress others, you buy a Grand Seiko to impress yourself.
Grand Seiko is beyond storied. Seiko as a brand in general. Grand Seiko is a horologist dream, especially for the price point. Lots of heritage in Seiko as a whole.
But again, Grand Seiko super legit. I wish I could recommend some reading, but not sure which is best.
Grand Seiko and Seiko is very different. Same company, completely different brands. I think you need to be honest with yourself before you look into Grand Seiko. Are you in it to impress others and flex a name brand? If so, Grand Seiko is not for you.
If you don't care about "flexing" a Rolex or Hublot or whatever the flashy name brands are, then Grand Seiko is for you.
Give Vacheron a look as well.
Grand Seiko is the first and only brand I know of that combined electric regulators with mechanical watches to make them as accurate as quartz watches. They are marketed under the Spring Drive series. That's worth at least double the history points in my book.