Thanks everyone. I was also hoping to see the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual, and the Zeitwerk too...but can't have everything! Incidentally, I did try on a platinum Lange 1 in my local AD a while back. It's not that I don't like them, I just prefer the ones that are a bit less mathematically symmetrical - like this one, my favourite I think. I've just added pics to the previous post for completeness.
NS - sorry buddy, I didn't do Patek mainly because they didn't have a Nauti. And there are only two more to go...
That's OK, it's perfectly within your right to be wrong sometimes.
Just kidding! Thanks for the honest assessment. I actually am not a fan of how the suit's fit came out in that picture either. Whether it's the (mostly) linen fabric rumpling up to look like it's hitching up my arms or the proportion of the torso area and the overall drape around my legs, that wasn't the best picture to display the fit. Otherwise, I really quite like how it wears in the flesh. I like high arm holes and the sleeves appearing too tight may just be a function of me flexing a little, haha!
To be fair, I cannot throw a football or raise my hands higher than my shoulders to brace myself properly on the subway when the suit is buttoned - but I believe that is how snug it's supposed to be.
Glad you are taking this so well and those are of course good points: one picture hardly gives a good impression of how a suit fits, and a linen fit may even be more challenging to capture. I prefer to be able to raise my arms a bit higher than that, but really, most important is that you are happy with the fit.
PS: Must admit, I'm kinda imagining Svetlana right now ...
I'm not! (Mrs mimo is currently reading, by the way!)
And thank you, you're welcome.
It might appear that I've written these posts in rather an odd order: perhaps the logical way would have been to start with the more accessible names and work my way up to Lange or AP or Breguet as the pinnacle. But there is at least a little method in this madness: I just wanted to spread the minute repeaters and exotica out a bit to keep it interestig, and there were some things I wanted to save for the end: one was Lange, as it's my favourite and had lots of pictures. One is Panerai, to be last for a rather trivial reason that I hope you'll understand, and before it, IWC, because of the watch I'm about to show you - the climax of my tyre-kicking in cost terms at least, with my Panerai silliness a little post-script to come.
So here is comes, IWC. First off, I'm aware that there's a certain amount of ambivalence about this maker among the watch cogniscenti. It has a long and interesting history, but the question of whether its movements are "in house", as often described, or mere ETA uniformity, seems to be an eternal source of conflict: as I understand it, ETA providesebauchei.e. semi complete movements, and IWC do the rest. Correct me if I'm wrong. But as I see it, I'm not sure I really care - some stuff comes ready made, some stuff is made in house. Understood, and the terminology is not that important to me.
What is more important, and relevant, is that there are one or two I really rather like, at least in the pictures. So I went in to see if I could see one. The design that has always appealed to me is the Portuguese, specifically the chronograph. I asked, they obliged:
Fine, isn't it? I do love blued hands. But this isn't exactly the one I was after. You see, I forgot to mention that when I went into the IWC boutique, I was greeted for the first time that day by a native Arabic speaker (as opposed to Russian-speaking central Asian, Indian or Chinese). As is my habit, I engaged the attentive Syrian gentleman in his own language. But I have to admit, it was the first time I'd ever considered the question of watch vocabulary in Arabic. And I didn't really have any. All the salesmen in the local ADs are Indians, so we speak English. I can talk about most subjects in my adopted tongue, but considering how much I think about this one, it's ironic that here I was rather limited! Anyway, confusion was eventually overcome, and I got to see the one I wanted, the one I've been looking at in pictures for months:
Sorry, the picture of the second PC is rather inferior, but you understand: what I wanted was not the one with all blued hands and numbers, but the one with just the second hands blued. When I said "no gold", meaning no gold cases, I'd confused him, as this has a steel case but gold numbers. I'm sure you will all understand how fussy one can get about little details around this subject. It seems to be an important habit to acquire, actually. Anyway, I've decided that I like blued second hands, subsidiary seconds preferably, but not necessarily blued everything. That's just the way it is. And I like this watch.
There is a tinge of disappointment about it, though, on two counts. When I've seen the pictures, the gold indices have blended more into the dial - I actually thought they were steel or silver or similar the first time I saw it. The blued hands stood out more than the rest. The reality, in this well-lit location (this, and Panerai next, were the only ones with natural light), is that the gold numbers and main hands pop out a little more than I'd hoped. But that's not a show-stopper. The other little niggle is that at 40mm, with such a large, flat-looking dial, I'd imagined the case quite slim. In fact, although it's not a deep case, something about the shape makes it stand up just a little. Just enough that it doesn't slide easily under the shirt cuff.
In conclusion, I still like it quite a lot. I might even still want one. But I can't quite evangelise about it like some of the others I've seen. Just one of those things. Still, a slight adjustment to my shirt cuff buttons and I'm sure we'll get along fine!
Now, while Mr Mohsin was finding the correct Portuguese Chronograph for me, and plying me with coffee and chocolates (the latter refused, I've been on a health kick recently...), I'd noticed something special winking out of a case in the separate raised area at the back by the window. Here she is, winking at you...
I admit, I didn't know what this was. But I did want to see it. It's called the Portuguese Siderale Scafusia. And I'm told it costs about three quarters of a million bucks. Which might even make Frilly gulp.
Foolishly, I forgot to ask if anyone had actually ordered this, or if the AD had ordered it himself in the hope of selling it to a high rolling client. The thing is, this is important: each one is hand painted with about 500 stars on the "astrolabe", with the positions depending on the customer's chosen geographical location. I couldn't help but wonder if this had been made with Dubai at the centre of the universe, or Shanghai or Moscow in anticipation of a certain type of customer. I'd still like to know. Perhaps if you're an astronomer, you can work it out from this:
There it is. The most expensive watch I've ever held in my hand. Come to think of it, the most expensive anything: I once spent two days in Iraq, rather uncomfortably, carrying several hundred thousand dollars around in a bag until I could get it safely signed into the recipient's legitimate hands. But the price tag of this extraordinary thing trumps even that. So imagine having it actually tied to my body. I mean, me, mimo the shitheel, with this (literally) unique and invaluable object on my wrist! Ha!
And what's more, the coffee was quite nice too!
So that's it, the Tyre-Kicker's Diary almost complete. Just one Panerai-flavoured little postscript to add later (no, I didn't even buy one). And as a high point, the highest price I encountered on the day. Roll the closing credits...
Just wanted to take advantage of some of the watch related knowledge present in this thread. I am getting married and my Fiancee wants to buy me a nice watch for a wedding gift. The budget is around $3000 dollars.
So far I have been considering the Cartier Tank Solo XL but I am worried that it won't be tough enough to wear everyday. I have always liked the Rolex Explorer but I am not sure if I could get a nice used one for that kind of money. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Congratulations on your upcoming vows! That's extremely generous of your fiancee to buy you a watch. As far as the Tank goes, if you like it you should go for it, I've never heard any complaints of it being too fragile for everyday use, quite the contrary - many swear by it as an everyday timepiece
(RN, I confess I didn't know enough about the new models to ask - the Portofinos looked pretty though)
I tried on the Tank Solo a while back and really liked the look of it, although that was the quartz one. If you love it, great - it's a very distinctive style and I'm sure you won't regret it. But there are options, and here are mine that would spring to mind first - used watches aside (I don't think you'll get a used Rolex Explorer for $3k in good condition - at least not if you want the modern 39mm case rather than the original smaller one):
1. Nomos Zurich. Five colour options, the blue being my personal favourite. This is dressy, and probably none of your friends have one. I think it's a good substitute for the Solo, classy and subtle, and interesting. I like German watches it seems; this would be my formal choice in that range. At 40mm, it's a pretty solid dress watch.
2. Tudor Black Bay Heritage. On my mind because I saw it this week. Very casual, either jeansy on the strap, or sporty on the bracelet..big and butch and lots of character. Made by Rolex, but within your budget new.
3. Omega Speedmaster or Seamaster. Many different colours, styles and uses within your price range. Not quite the cachet of a Rolex, but if you want something sporty, reputable and reliable, I'm not sure you can go far wrong. For an all-rounder, the Seamaster Aqua Terra might suit.
I've no idea what your tastes or preferences are, but I just picked some things off the top of my head that were nothing like the Solo, and yet bearing in mind your idea about the Explorer: I like that watch too, as it's quite heavy and masculine, but more versatile than a pure sports watch. I think these might fit that bill.
I mentioned in the previous post that only IWC and Panerai had natural light. The Panerai boutique in particular was a delightful and airy place to be. The Chinese sales assistants were very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. I didn't really have much to do there, as the new Panerai boutique in my city of residence has a dozen or so models at a time (not bad for this town, believe me), and I've already been in and tried a few things I liked. If I had the dough, I'd probably get a base Luminor. If I had a lot, I'd get a 423 - when I say a lot, it's because in that price bracket of about $10k, there are a lot of other choices, and frankly a Panerai is not going to be my one-off watch treat. More like a gap to be filled in a rotation if I ever get to that stage.
Anyway, I asked about a couple of more special items - anything in platinum, or the elusive bronze 507. All are sought-after, and I was disappointed. So I just enjoyed a chat, tried on a basic model, and the 423 they also happened to have in stock. I still really like it.
The 423: I like the asymmetric thing, while the power reserve also balances the small seconds. And both are features I like in general, especially on a manual wind. 44mm = proper Panerai.
Less is more? Nothing wrong with this simpler Luminor. And I like the hands. Sandwich dial is an essential ingredient too, I think.
One more: another attempt to be artistic with a show of the Burj Khalifa/Downtown area outside the window, and the cheerfully choking Dubai sunshine. Panerai Boutique at Dubai Mall is a happy place.
And finally, why did I save the Panerai until last? Nothing much about the watches really, although the pictures are nicer, which brings me to the real point: I don't normally put pictures of myself on the internet, and certainly not in public. I will probably delete this one again soon. But as we're all friends, I thought I'd show a human face for a minute, and introduce myself. As it happens, the pics at Panerai came out best. So, er...hello.