Jaegar-LeCoultre Mystery Watch Thursday, Apr 22 2010 

JLC is fast becoming one of my favored watch brands. The styling is just so beautiful, the detail is amazing. They use quality materials and best of all, they are innovative.  Most watches, let’s be honest, look exactly the same. There are few (very few) watchmakers who think outside the box and truly invent something new.  The Jaegar Le-Coultre Mystery Galaxy Watch is one of these. Where are the watch hands? What time is it? And are those real diamonds? (They are.)  I’m just blown away by this watch from circa 1950. It’s a men’s watch, but I can’t think of a reason that a woman wouldn’t want to wear it.  And the price makes it within reach – $2950.  I’m thinking it over — I just might make this darling timepiece my own.

Rolex. Yawn. Monday, Apr 19 2010 

Honestly, I’ve never understood the appeal of Rolex. Mostly because I associate them with rioting black arm hair (bird nests of arm hair!), sitting like a crusty crown over thick knuckles (knuckle hair!). Or maybe it’s their overpriced, brash and clumsy faces… I shrug in the face of Rolex lovers everywhere; I am utterly indifferent. 

Yet their popularity persists, and men everywhere seem willing to pay high prices for these visual monstrosities. Anyway.  If you’re not one of the rich and famous and still lusting for Rolex, there are quite a few good used Rolex dealers online that will happily still charge you thousands of dollars for a used one.

I spent some time looking through these today for a coworker, and decided to list the best of the best here, on the off chance that anyone was interested.

Men’s:

  1. Rolex Air King 14000, $2450 used.  It’s very sedate, and less old-fogey than some of the other Rolex watches I’ve seen.
  2. Rolex Men’s Datejust 15053, $2395 used. Two tone, typical Rolex.
  3. Rolex Men’s Cellini Cellinium, $7950 used, makes me want to eat my words. It’s actually a really attractive watch. Is it really a Rolex? Mother of pearl dial, manual winding.  This is hands down my favorite Rolex ever.

 

 

Women’s:

  1. Ladies Rolex President, $6950. Completely gold, it’s a more typical looking Rolex with a plain dial… I hate it, I’m just putting it in here for good measure…
  2. Rolex Lady Oyster Perpetual, $2350. Comes without the date feature, and is therefore cheaper.

My bottom line on Rolex? I’m just not sure why anyone would buy one of these over a Blancpain, Patek, or Frank Mueller. The styling is clunky and toneless to me.  But I realize they’re a really popular brand, so I’m including them.

Color Me Pretty Sunday, Mar 14 2010 

Bored of black and brown and silver and gold?  You’re not alone.  There’s been major growth in the market for vivid bands and sparkling faces, and although some of them are garish and truly shudder inducing, I’ve seen a few watches that stand out.

If you’re going to “go bold” with your watch, keep it simple.  If you’re dying to have an orange alligator band, the face of the watch should not be littered with diamonds.  Combine an inventive band with a minimal face, or vice versa, but don’t do both, or your wrist will be the only thing people can focus on. And not in a positive way.

Watches that do this concept well?

1. The Cartier Tank Solo in Orange Crocodile is a feminine piece, but with its punchy color, it’ll be sure to perk up the office or a plain black dress.

2. Omega’s Deville Chronograph, in a eclectic dark green, tries to blend elegance with sport. I’m not entirely sure they succeed, but something about this particular watch intrigues me. Of course, at a price of over $4k, I’d rather have the Cartier.

3. Audemars Piguet Lady’s Perpetual Calendar with Diamond Bezel (and emerald markers!), with green crocodile strap, takes my breath away. Or maybe that’s just the price ($25k).

Lady in Red Monday, Mar 1 2010 

A gorgeous statement, watchmakers have finally realized that red is a color not to be forgotten when wearing masterful time pieces. No longer the color of plastic swatches only, there are a multitude of crimson creations on the market that are just beautiful. A few of my favorites?

1. Chopard Happy Sport in Equestrian Red, $6650. Filled with the customary floating crystals inside the face of the watch, only this particular one has a horse.  It has chinese characters instead of numbers – very unique.

2. Concord Women’s Sportivo, $2795. This chronograph is casually sophisticated with a brushed steel case.

3. Bedat No.7 Chronograph, $2500.  Reminiscent of an old world map, this watch is styled vintage but updated for modern times.

4. Cartier La-Dona, $18349. Framed in gold and diamonds, over the top extravagance.

Jaeger Le Coultre Master Tourbillion Tuesday, Nov 17 2009 

The beauty of this watch defies description, and like the Harry Winston, no words could do it justice. Not even in a sonnet form.

The specifics: Master Tourbillion,  18k white gold, mother of pearl face with diamond accents (3.1 carats!) , white alligator strap.

 

Price upon request – if it’s less than 50k, I’d be shocked.

IWC Vintage Da Vinci Friday, Nov 13 2009 

IWC isn’t very well known outside of Europe yet makes some of the best made (and highest priced) timepieces in the world.  They outpace Rolex to a significant degree, both in design and price, and I’d be curious to know what their sales figures are.

Anyway, they are re-releasing some of their most beloved vintage designs – IWC has been in business for 140 years, and so they have some really interesting and unique pieces that I simply had to share.  The best of these is the Da Vinci.  With its oddly shaped face and masculine lines, it stands off the wrist yet is not ostentatious or garish. The watch itself is composed of brushed platinum, with an alligator band, and obviously it’s swiss made (automatic self-winding).

The Da Vinci is being brought back as part of a set from IWC, but for those of you lucky enough to find it for sale by itself, you can expect to pay approximately $40k.  For those interested in the set — it’s $241,000.

Chopard LUC Tonneau Thursday, Nov 12 2009 

Chopard is not one of my favorite brands – most of their watches are far too whimsical, too colorful, and well, too fun. I can’t wear them without acting 10 years younger.  This is not to say that Chopard is along the same lines as Hello Kitty or those other sorts.  It is just simply a truly fun brand.  I think this may be intentional on their part — the market is flooded with more dour, serious, classic collections and there really wasn’t a lot of competition once Chopard broke free from that.  Essentially ‘fun’ watches are rare, and really their only major competitor for the Happy Diamonds Collection is Franck Muller’s Crazy Hours.

Anyway, though, I’m not going to refer you to one of Chopard’s grinning wrist confusions.  The Chopard LUC model 16/2267 in white 18k gold for men made me do a double take.  Is it vintage? Is Chopard going back toward a more subdued appearance?  Who can tell.  The LUC comes in yellow gold also (and is frankly hideous in this color) 32mm case, with automatic movement.  I absolutely love the shaping here – very graceful.  Most watch faces are round or square, and then for variety you have rectangular.  But this shape on the LUC is just gorgeous, and the simplicity of the Roman numeral dial against the white — it’s got major wow factor.  With a sticker just north of $21,000  the LUC can also be found elsewhere online for around $13k at Essential Watches.

Tiffany Tuesday, Nov 10 2009 

A long time ago, when I was among the jet-set, I was told rather simply than men only buy Tiffany’s for women that they aren’t that interested in. This was a shock to me, who saw it as the epitome of romance to receive anything in the robins egg colored boxes.  As a result, to this day I can’ t take Tiffany seriously – the necklaces are an eyesore, and the diamonds are incredibly overpriced.

tiffany atlas

However, they DO have some nice watches. For the price, you could probably get a Cartier or Chanel, in which case, I’m not sure Tiffany is worth it. Especially since the truly rich mock, deride, and smirk at anything purchased from the store.  If, however, Tiffany is your ideal of luxury and taste, then the square Atlas Cocktail watch shown above with black satin strap is quite lovely.  It coordinates perfectly with a little black dress, and at $9,300 it is anything but cheap.

Men’s Stylish Complications Saturday, Nov 7 2009 

If you’re looking for watches that are stylish, expensive, and yet not wreathed in diamonds and logos, there are suprisingly many choices. Especially if you’re a man.  The best of these, in my opinion, is the Patek Philippe Complicated Skeleton from the Calatrava Collection.  Patek is one of the the best brands in the world, if not the best, and has a younger fresher vibe than Rolex.  This watch face is, well, complicated – it’s filled with winding gears, sprockets, springs, and all manners of things that I won’t pretend to understand.  It is water resistant (shower, no scuba), and retails for apparently more money than they are willing to disclose.   I hunted around online and found a price estimate –  it’s an wallet pounding $84, 150.

An inexpensive runner up that is impressively styled and bound to get second looks is Phillip Stein Men’s Teslar Model: 3-G-CRS-CB, which looks more like an odometer than a wristwatch.  At just over $1k, it looks like a less expensive watch (because it is) but still holds up to scrutiny.  The PS is stainless steel and gives off a pulse that supposedly strengthens the body’s own electromagnetic field and fends off interference (and bad karma).  I’m skeptical, but apparently wearers experienced more restful sleep and improved concentration.

Oh, beloved Burberry. Sunday, Nov 1 2009 

For the watch lover on a budget, there is no better brand than Burberry.  Burberry watches are affordable, long-lasting, and most of them are quite lovely.  While I’m not a fan of their tan-checked bands, the leather and metal bands are well-made and far more adultlike.  Of course, if you are an indiscreet brand-whore, then the ostentatious plaid is the definitely the better choice.

Some of my favorites from the collection are the unisex black faced style # 10000010711 with quartz movement in stainless steel and the modern check style # 10000006095, in gold and silver tones. It goes with anything, is unobtrusive, and has a narrow rectangular face that I find very appealing (shown above, $495)

If you’re in love with Cartier’s mini-tank Francaise, but can’t afford it, Burberry also offers a watch that looks damnably similar for about $1000 dollars less.  That would be style # 10000006654, in stainless steel.  It’s $525.

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