Spotters Guide To Volume 20, No. 7 Of Watch Journal

For various inside-baseball reasons which do not merit discussion in these pages, I have been working hard over the past year at diversifying the outlets to which I contribute. The first fruit of this was my inclusion in the rebooted Issue One of Cycle World. Here’s another example.


Turn to page eighty of Watch Journal to read all about the storied history, and fascinating new products, of the International Watch Company. Long-time readers will recall that I have some nontrivial personal involvement with IWC, having won a titanium-cased Ingenieur watch in 2006 at a rather strange event called the “AMG Challenge”. I beat fifty-nine other civilian drivers and Tommy Kendall to take home the watch; there’s more detail in an earlier post. Last year the mainspring broke and I had to spend quite a few bucks on having it serviced, an event I tactfully refrained from mentioning in the hallowed pages of Watch Journal.

There’s another story I’d like to tell including an IWC watch, but it has to wait until a certain person terminates her relationship with another certain person, and then I can tell it. Gosh. Any more vague than that and I’d basically be a twelve-year-old girl on Facebook. Anyway. The bottom line is that I really dig IWC and this was an easy piece to write.

Look for me in future issues of the magazine as I discuss various matters both horological and, uh, “horological”.

31 Replies to “Spotters Guide To Volume 20, No. 7 Of Watch Journal”

  1. Don Curton

    ” I have been working hard over the past year at diversifying the outlets to which I contribute.”

    I’ve always heard that “diversity” was our strength. Now I finally see it. Maybe.

    Reply
  2. dejal

    Stauer watches baby!!!! All day, every day.

    The goofy part is, is a Stauer that old may be just as accurate and/or just as reliable as the IWC.

    Personally, I tend to Orient-automatics and Citizen.

    Reply
    • Nick D

      I love my orient Mako II and field watch. I’ve got a vintage green dial Citizen 8110 chronograph with a column wheel movement that also punches far above its price. The vintage citizens have not seen the price creep that similar Seikos expirenced.

      Reply
    • link3721

      I know Jack has a thing about foreign made stuff, but I can’t deny my Citizen watch with Eco-Drive has been a great purchase. I prefer watches without batteries and after dealing with self-winding watches that wouldn’t keep wound, the Eco-Drive has been a great investment. If an American watch company made such a thing I’d look into in as an upgrade and relegate the Citizen to garage duty.

      Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        Citizens are great watches, the Eco-drive particularly so. The only beef I have with them is that they are basically single use devices with no service possibility.

        Reply
        • Tyguy

          I don’t have much to say about Citizen but I love Seiko. My father has a Seiko chrono he bought in Bermuda in the mid 60’s. When it needs servicing he drives the watch to Seiko US offices in Mahwah NJ.. They happily recondition it for next to nothing. Last year I got him the new Seiko Astron Titanium GPS Solar Powered Watch. Seiko’s upper ends are truly world class. I don’t own one, but I kinda like the way the Alpinist looks and might snap one up before the get too expensive. Anyway I kinda feeling my next watch will be a Tudor Black Bay. How’s yours?

          Reply
        • Nick D

          There are a few people that will service the old mechanical movements, usually through Darwinian cannibalizaton of broken or damaged ones.

          Reply
        • S2k Chris

          Probably true, but the Citizen I got 11 years ago as a wedding present from my wife (we were young and broke) is still going strong after being on my wrist almost every single day since. It is likely the most durable thing I own and I love it for it.

          Reply
        • link3721

          That may be true about no service possibility, but $250 for an Eco-drive watch that has lasted me about 10 years and hasn’t had any need for service makes it a great value. No sign of the movement being any worse than the day I bought it and the titanium case and band are holding up fine considering all the abuse I’ve put it through. Seems like the Chinese parts they’re getting have good quality control.

          Reply
          • rpn453

            I received a titanium Eco-Drive as a gift from my mother after I completed my university degree.

            It was lightweight and comfortable, but only a few months later it somehow disappeared in the process of a head-on highway collision, leaving only an imprint of the back cover plate on my forearm, close to my elbow. The circle of the plate with the globe design and surrounding text were clearly visible, though not legible.

            I don’t even know how that’s possible. It didn’t break the skin. Could it have somehow become hot enough to brand me? I guess crazy things can happen when you slam a couple of 3000 pound objects into one another at highway speed. That imprint slowly faded over the years and now requires close examination to see the whitish spots against tanned skin that indicate there was ever any scar tissue at all.

            I received no insurance payment for that as they don’t accept claims for lost jewelry until, a couple months later once the snow had melted, the police found it in the ditch while finishing up the analysis and clean-up of the crash site. The face cover was badly scratched and the strap was mostly gone, but since the watch now existed the insurance company paid the $150 to have it repaired.

            I haven’t worn it in years. I occasionally think I should, but it’s dead and has been drained so badly I don’t know if it would even take a solar charge. Maybe I should put a new battery in it. Maybe I should try to charge it in the sun. Maybe I should at least remove the dead battery. Hopefully thinking about it will inspire me to do something with it and the equally dead stainless steel Eco-Drive that I purchased after I thought the titanium one was gone forever.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            This is a brilliant story and a metaphor for many things all wrapped up in one…

          • rpn453

            Thanks.

            I dug them out and they do start working the moment sunlight hits them. I’ll charge them up in the sun and then shut them off until needed. Let’s see if they’ll hold the charge.

  3. Compaq Deskpro

    The watch industry has always been a curiosity. It’s strange you pay the most for mechanically archaic, heavy, and inaccurate (compared to $15 Casio), while most smartwatches are cheap and crappy. Not that I don’t respect what they do, its just that it contradicts the trends of every other industry. Would it not make sense to use some of that excessive weight and price on a 4K OLED display with sapphire glass and a fat Li-on battery so you only have to plug it in once a year. Not for tacky messaging and selfie apps, just to customize the appearance of the face, maybe have an online marketplace. Maybe only animated backgrounds can be DRM’d for schmecurity, and make a plain picture user customizable.) Robert Craft can have a Patriots logo, Skrillex could have some crazy strobes that match his set, I’m thinking this could work like the art gallery on the newest Phantom.

    By the way, I bought the Giant Yukon for $160, very happy with it. Always owned WalMart bikes, so I’m blown away by how good this is. Nice clicky metal shifters, quiet and grabby brakes, and it is fast as hell. I’m still trying to take the wheel off just by unlatching it, I always have to unscrew it a little.

    Reply
    • dejal

      Mechanical is just like driving a stick shift. “Yeah… but….”.There something about getting all those parts to move in harmony with each other.

      In this day and age who really needs a watch? The car, phone, microwave, stove, computer, tv, land line phone (i’m a troglodyte) all show the time. The phone(s) + TV have alarm settings. You wear a watch now a days because you want to, not that you have to.

      I hate battery powered watches. If the watch was water resistant you may have issues with the O-ring. You may mar the back while taking it off, etc… As you said, a $15 dollar Casio. I don’t put much stock in “Swiss” battery powered movement. Do a search for what “Swiss” means on a watch.

      Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      If you can do the wheel with just the lever, it’s not tight enough.

      The $4k smartwatch has no future for the same reason that Vertu smartphones cratered. You can’t keep up with prole tech. It’s like the Rolls Corniche vs. the B-body in 1977. You make a million of something you can make it better.

      Reply
      • Tyguy

        I kinda liked the TAG connected idea. When it’s obsolete you get your purchase price back as a credit toward a real watch.

        Reply
      • tyates

        > You make a million of something you can make it better.

        And we’re back to the Honda Accord… (j/k)

        But I agree, assuming you can keep the bean counters at bay for a while.

        Reply
    • Mozzie

      I think of the mechanical watch industry as being more about form than function. As you said, the accuracy is laughable compared to a cheap Casio. If we talk about the high end, the feel of the finish and materials almost makes it worth the price even if the watch stops working. Having worked in luxury retail selling Swiss wares and Vertu phones, I can second that the jewelry phone can’t keep up. If memory serves me correctly, some customers would have a Blackberry for real work, and a Vertu for fun. I will say that I like the idea of Vertu’s sapphire crystal display for scratch resistance, although I think Gorilla glass made that less relevant.

      Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      $160? I spent $169 getting my Litespeed tuned up (including a new chain, handlebar wrap and some new lights).

      One reason why you can’t remove the front wheel by just flipping the quick release lever is what I believe is a federal regulation requiring a couple of little tangs on the end of the fork cutouts for the axle. The idea is that if the quick release somehow fails while riding, the wheel won’t fall off.

      Reply
      • JC

        Yes, I filed those off. In 40 years of hard road riding I have never, not even once, had a front wheel QR get even a little bit hinky. Besides, you would have to have the QR come loose at the identical time you are unloading the front wheel enough to have the wheel come an inch off the ground.

        On the other hand, if you have a disk brake on the front you need them because the reaction forces of the front disk brake are trying to yank the wheel out of the dropout.

        And on the third hand, all the above is not relevant to things like BMX where you intend to get the wheels off the ground

        Reply
  4. Jeff Zekas

    Yeah, I own a $20 Casio for work… years ago, when married to my first wife, I had a $600 Seiko, but it eventually got banged up, and put in a drawer. Hey, Jack, glad to hear Cycle World is getting re-booted… will there be an online version?

    Reply
    • Mark_MB750M

      I have. Really enjoyable, I’ll have to re-read it once we get the books back on the shelves.

      It was really interesting to learn that Harrison made his chronometers from wood and got the accuracy required. As I recall he used a few different types to offset expansion and contraction. Sad that the Crown delayed the prize until after his death

      Reply
  5. JC

    Seems to me that a broken mainspring on a 12 year old watch is a problem.

    I still want to get one of those plain stainless steel Seiko self-winders (I think they call them “Seiko 5” which are relative low price. Currently I wear a Seiko plain stainless steel “Solar” which I like very much but we’ll see how the solar charged battery thing works over time. For fancy I have a 1950s/60s Longines Admiral in gold filled, dead plain again.

    I don’t go for the “million dials and doohickeys – look at me, my watch wants to think I’m some kind of super bush pilot or rally driver” look. Give me two normal hands and a sweep second hand and I’m good. Date is a plus. Day and date? I’m set, baby.

    One of these days I’ll get my old Seiko Bell-Matic fixed. I think there are still a few people who know how to do it.

    My 30 year old $15.00 Walmart Timex Indiglo still works great even though the case is all corroded up.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’m willing to accept fault. I let it sit unwound for six years before putting it into daily use.

      Reply
  6. Mozzie

    Jack, I noticed in one of the background photos here that Corum is a McLaren team sponsor. Do they sell enough to have a sponsorship program?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      They don’t sell a lot of watches but they make enough money on each one for it to be possible.

      With that said, their place was taken this year by another sponsor.

      Reply
  7. Dave L

    Based on the comments I’m reading it looks like the readers of this site aren’t interested in watches. I’m a little surprised, but I’ve been a collecter for about 20 years. Unfortunately my wrist size and taste rarely align and the watches I want far exceed my income. My first decent watch was an IWC Pilots Chrono- the original (1998) with tritium hands. I picked up a 5001 a couple of years ago and at 43mm it sits on my small wrist very comfortably. Looking forward to reading the article.

    Reply
  8. Mark D. Stroyer

    Fox! Do a barrel roll!

    From a very young age I developed an opinion that “a man wears a watch”, which

    Do a barrel roll!

    is strange given that very few around me did. Certainly nothing of note. But I always had some cheap and

    I can’t shake this guy!

    crappy Walmart special on my wrist, going without has always felt wrong and abhorrent. I’ve only had two remotely

    Falco, checking in.

    real timepieces. A Citizen Eco-Drive I wore for years until it (yes, really) got stolen. And currently a Seiko Solar. Whenever I have the money I’d like a Seiko 5 to have something mechanical. I actually

    Fox, do a barrel roll!

    use my chronometers absolutely all the time, and I don’t like dive watches for the same reason I don’t like trucks. But it’s definitely strange when you get enthusiasm ex nihilo, just like my automotive passion.

    Reply
  9. safe as milk

    for the record my daily driver is a limes nightflight. i love it but the stem/crown is a delicate flower that i have had replaced multiple times by the excellent towson watch company. it’s been much better since i invested in an autowinder fo it’s days off.

    what’s on my wrist now? a $45 casio quartz clone of the classic seiko diver. with the addition of an surfer’s velcro d-ring band, it looks damn good and is the most reliable eatch that i own by far.

    Reply

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