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radicaldog

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From the perspective of watchmakers I've read and spoken with, a bunch of details that add up to a watch that's only more refined, but also tougher and more reliable.

The superior crystal fitment is a typical example:


Plenty more on that regrettably-now-dormant blog as well.

And to quote a Scandinavian watchmaker friend about the movement:

- Superior winding efficiency. People with a sedentary lifestyle often struggle with the fact that their 2892 (i.e omega seamaster) tends to stop or lose time.
- Breguet curve for superior isochronism.
- Parachrome hairspring in newest versions, better hairspring alloy. Google to find out why.
- Free-sprung balancewheel. Better isochronism.
- Escapewheel with endstones. Yet again better isochronism.
- Hardened steel pivots, dont know of any other makers who bother with this. For better longevity.
- Balance bridge for better shock resistance, plus the balance end-shake is adjustable through a set of nuts.
- Superior manufacturing tolerance. You have to be a watchmaker to realise just easy it is to work on a Rolex movement. Stuff just falls into place.
- Better finish all around. Nothing spectacular, just better than ETA.
- Rolex supply two different mainsprings, strong and regular. Often the amplitude will be TOO HIGH when the movement is serviced, this is because too much power reaches the balance thanks to their excellent power transmission. Then you may have to go for a "normal" hairspring to get amplitude down to the level recommended by Rolex. Don't know any other maker that has this "problem".
- Tons of other little things I can't be arsed to type out at the moment. Just trust me when I say that the 3135 kicks the 2892 to the curb every day of the week.
Interesting, thanks. So I take it the Omega co-axial movement doesn't impress you?
 

radicaldog

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This would be my preferred Railmaster, fwiw (the one above is a re-edition of a vintage model):
1243387


And the 5500 is my favourite Explorer:

1243389
 

MZhammer

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Very sharp! What year/model?
Not sure of the year, mid 90s. It was the Tissot Janeiro Z199 Limited Edition of 3,333 pieces based on some archive model from the 30s. For as many as there are out there, they come up surprisingly infrequently and they've skyrocketed in price over the past 4 years. 3x what they used to be available for but that's the way of the world.

I love the gilt printing on the faded black dial and the total illegibility of it, regardless of how impractical it is.

RE: The explorer discussion. I used to own the 36mm Railmaster and quite liked it too. If explorere I'd go 36 but I do think its lost a bit of charm with the applied numerals. I'd probably opt for an OP or smooth bezel DJ for my money.
 
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Belligero

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Interesting, thanks. So I take it the Omega co-axial movement doesn't impress you?
Nah, it's fine; it's just that I wouldn't pay Rolex money for one, which is pretty much what Omega is charging these days.

And while I don't have the hands-on expertise that watchmakers do, I have some friends in that profession, and it's something I've discussed with them.

Their thoughts on modern Omega were consistent with this watchmaker's assessment:

So, what do I make of it?

I love the look of it, the decoration, the jeweling, the silicon balance and hairspring, the accuracy (once it’s serviced again), the two barrels and the power reserve (even though I’m not quite sure what I need that for).

I don’t like the slow and cheap date change, the fact that I had already dirt under the barrel and that the movement needed a service after 1.5 years, and the height of the movement. It’s made for chunky watches, but it would have been nice to see this in a more elegant (and less high) case.

The construction is very ETA, and ETA will of course have played a huge part in developing this movement, as it’s a long time since Omega had an in-house movement.


Now what I find funny is that, before he started learning and working with them himself, my local watchmaker believed certain self-appointed internet experts about how Rolex isn't anything special.

He completely changed his opinion once he started experiencing just how brilliant Rolex's design and execution actually is. What really stuck with me was his insight about how it's more difficult to simplify than to complicate in watchmaking, and how Rolex has mastered the art of making one clever part perform the function of two or more better than any other maker.

But for me, the most convincing evidence was at his wedding. Six WOSTEP-certified watchmakers were in attendance; five were wearing Rolex, and the other was wearing his school watch while saving up to buy one. :)
 

Dino944

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I'm in my 30s. My qualm with Rolex is just that it's arguably the most recognisable watch brand out there, and a lot of people buy it because of that name recognition factor. Maybe I just shouldn't care if I like it. But then I like the Railmaster just as much, it's less commonly seen, costs the same, and my dad also always used to wear Omegas, so.

Re the Galbee, I was thinking about the old midsize (I hate the new models with the extended, curved screw-down bezel):

View attachment 1243347

Also, scandalously, I was contemplating a quartz movement, for the convenience. After all Cartier is all about cases and design, and these old automatics just have an ETA, I think. I have just two reservations about the Galbee: it's probably too recognisable as a luxury item, and it wouldn't work on a nato. I do like the origin story of the Santos though -- the first proper mens wristwatch, a tool watch before there were proper tool watches, etc. At the moment it's between this and the 36-38mm Railmaster, with the Explorer 1 maybe still in the running.
Thank you for sharing your thought process as you are considering various watch options. I owned an Explorer 114270 (the last of the 36mm Explorers), and I currently own a new Santos (the one you don't like...I initially didn't like the new bezel but now I really do...but that's a story for another time), and I almost bought an old style Santos Galbee XL about 10 years ago. The Explorer is definitely far more understated and less noticeable than the Santos (new or old). Cartier isn't that popular here on the forum, however, in terms of popularity with respect to the general public (especially women), its probably only slightly less recognized than Rolex. There were lots of cool watches released in the 1970s, the AP Royal Oak, the Patek Nautilus, the IWC Jumbo SL, etc., and the Santos. With the Royal Oak and Nautilus being some of the most sought after watches today, it is easy to forget they were largely unloved and unsuccessful when they were released, while the Santos was in instant sales success. Hence it is a design that is recognized in lots of circles and probably the wrong piece if you are trying to fly under the radar. I really like the Santos bracelet. However, the screws on links are a signature design feature, and as a whole it doesn't look as understated as the brushed links of the oyster bracelet, which just kind of blend into the background of whatever you may be wearing.

I didn't buy the Galbee XL 10 years ago, because I just couldn't quite fall in love with the idea of the ETA movement.. Nothing wrong with the movement, its a good workhorse, but nothing special. My wife has a large Tank Francaise with an ETA movement and it has been her daily wearer for about 16+ years. It actually wasn't that expensive to service either, several years ago Cartier did a complete service on it for about $450, when it was about $600 to service an Explorer II (16570) at Rolex.

In the 10 years that I owned an Explorer, I never had a single person comment on it. While with my GMT Master or Submariner, I've had people say,"Nice Sub" even when I'm wearing a GMT so the big rotating bezel is a very identifiable feature that gets those watches noticed. In addition, as another Explorer wearer here noted, one sees lots of Subs and GMTs in NY, but Explorers not as often and they tend to fly under the radar.

I can understand liking the idea of a Railmaster, because your Dad wore Omegas.However, don't you already have an Omega of some sort? So perhaps the Explorer would add some brand diversity to your collection.

I did own an Omega Seamaster many years ago. Nice enough watch, but for me it always felt like a Rolex substitute. From about the 70's through the 90's (with the exception of the Speedy Pro) Omega used to change designs on their Seamasters and other Speedmasters so frequently, that everything they made for a while seemed dated, rather than becoming an evolution of a classic. I also found it seemed they were always following in the footsteps of Rolex...Rolex releases a Green bezel Sub, so they release an orange bezel Planet Ocean. Rolex releases a revised Milguass with orange lightning bolt seconds hand, Omega eventually releases and antimagnetic watch with a yellow seconds hand. So in a way, I was always reminded of this seen in the film "Coming to America."

I think Omega has gotten better about letting their designs evolve, rather than throwing away designs, and starting over every few years. I like the current Seasmaster, but the only watch from Omega that truly interests me is the Speedy Pro.

In the end the Railmaster is a fine watch, but I like the Explorer better. I would simply say, try everything on before making a decision. You can look at lots of photos online but there is no substitute for trying a watch on and seeing how it looks and feels on your wrist. Good luck with your decision.
 

BLAUGRANA

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If you're going to get a "modern" Railmaster, the '57 re-edition is the one to get. Grey market prices are good even in the current market if you look around long enough. That said I'd get a 36mm Explorer I. I'm sure some will disagree when I say I don't even think it's a better watch, but you can get it for about the same price. 39mm Explorer I is a tough one for me. Mark I 3, 6 and 9 markers are my preference, but I can't unsee the shorter hand set. In fact I'd be tempted to send it in for service and see if they'd put the Mark II two hands on one. That said I don't see an Explorer I of any kind in my near future as i have a list I'm sticking too and my Geophysic 1958 is my "explorer" type watch.
 

BLAUGRANA

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Was hopping around online and noticed that Biver had a rainbow Daytona. Very interesting.
 

Andy57

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I've been on subways and walked through various parts Boston, Chicago, NYC, DC and worn a variety of Rolex watches over the years, never once had anyone comment or notice. Its not like you are considering a yellow gold Day-Date. Good luck with your decision.
And yet...

I rode the San Francisco Muni from Market Street to the new Chase Center a few days ago. I've never ridden Muni before, ever. My GMT-Master was almost entirely hidden underneath my cuff. A guy got on the trolley with what looked like a small PA and I took him to be a street musician, perhaps. He sat a couple of seat rows away from me. Anyway, he kept staring at me and eventually we made eye contact and he said "GMT?" I nodded and he gave me a thumbs-up. A few minutes later, as I was getting off at the Chase Center he called out "I have a Sub". So, I guess, you never know...
 

Dino944

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And yet...

I rode the San Francisco Muni from Market Street to the new Chase Center a few days ago. I've never ridden Muni before, ever. My GMT-Master was almost entirely hidden underneath my cuff. A guy got on the trolley with what looked like a small PA and I took him to be a street musician, perhaps. He sat a couple of seat rows away from me. Anyway, he kept staring at me and eventually we made eye contact and he said "GMT?" I nodded and he gave me a thumbs-up. A few minutes later, as I was getting off at the Chase Center he called out "I have a Sub". So, I guess, you never know...
Yes, I suppose it can happen. However, guy you mentioned told you he owns a Sub and having noticed and commented on your GMT, he is probably a watch guy. The general public aren't really watch people and don't pay much attention to watches. Still an entertaining story, so thanks for sharing.
 

an draoi

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And yet...

I rode the San Francisco Muni from Market Street to the new Chase Center a few days ago. I've never ridden Muni before, ever. My GMT-Master was almost entirely hidden underneath my cuff. A guy got on the trolley with what looked like a small PA and I took him to be a street musician, perhaps. He sat a couple of seat rows away from me. Anyway, he kept staring at me and eventually we made eye contact and he said "GMT?" I nodded and he gave me a thumbs-up. A few minutes later, as I was getting off at the Chase Center he called out "I have a Sub". So, I guess, you never know...
What a sad tale. There he was, one Ro-bro reaching out to make a connection with another, and yet you just left him hanging. If only you had looked back as the bus drove away, you might have seen him pressing his bare nipple against the glass of the rear window, mouthing the words "five digit reference".

Although now that I think about it, he sounds a bit menkle and you were probably well off out of it.
 

Michigan Planner

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3.5 years in the making from the time I put down my deposit until it put it on my wrist. MKII lead times can be excruciatingly slow, well beyond the point of frustration, but I'm happy I stuck it out. This arrived on Monday and I'm more than happy with the end result. The more I look at it, the less peeved I become about the amount of time it took. I still need to go get the bracelet sized but until then, it's pretty comfortable and sharp looking on the NATO.

MKII Project 300








 

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