I'm Bill and I'm very new to horology. I got a Patek Philippe Calatrava 3468 (manual wind), and from reading the materials about these watches I learned they cannot be worn everyday unless you attend genteel cocktail parties or formal awards dinners and behave yourself. When getting a new band from a Patek dealer, I also learned that the gold case will eventually be ruined unless I get the gold spring bars that had been replaced by stainless steel ones. (That watch is a real wuss!) I'm waiting the arrival of the springs.
So I decided I'd better get a good watch for daily use. (When I belonged to the RROC and drove an '83 Silver Spur, some of the club members would refer to certain cars of the marque as "daily drivers"--that's what I needed a "daily driver watch.") As you can imagine, after sticking my nose into the rarified air of horology I couldn't just get any watch; I'd have to get one that the Patek would allow in the house. This quickly came down to the other members of the Holy Trinity and two maverick choices. Here were the selections and my reasoning behind each:
1. Patek Nautilus/Aquanaut: At the risk of hurting the feelings of others on this list who may have such a Patek, I just don't like they way they look.
2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: I like this watch a lot. I like the looks and everything else about it.
3. Vacheron Constantin Overseas. I like this because of the name, the sailboat etched on the back (that only the wearer gets to see) and the understatement of quality it evokes from the workmanship within.
3a. Vacheron Constantin Phidias: This was my favorite for a while, despite warnings against it and urgings to get the Overseas. The only thing I didn't like about the model I found for me was the mix of stainless steel and gold—a tad too "look at me." But what the heck, it had bezel surrounded by major cities of the world positioned to their relative hour. A little bling wasn't so bad.4. Rolex (Maverick #1) Datajust: In my quest to new pretentious heights, I suppose this should have been my first choice. However, even though their price is "reasonable" in an unreasonable range and their quality superb, Rolexs have both a commonality and recognition-factor that didn't fit me.
5. Omega (Maverick #2) Speedmaster (manual): Who cannot love the man in the moon watch? Rugged, reliable and NASA rated for moon travel....and about half the price of what the Royal Oak and Overseas were asking.
At some point I knew it was going to be either the AP or VC and if all efforts fell through, I'd go with the Omega. My plan was to make identical offers on both the Overseas and Royal Oak. If both were rejected, I'd go with the Phidias (which was at a much lower price), and after a trip to NYC to look at the Phidias, if I didn't quite like it, I would go with the Omega. After making identical offers for the VC and AP (the VC was slightly higher in the original price but I offered the same amount, ) I was expecting some counter-offer and after horse-trading emails, I'd take the best of the two. Well, the AP guy was pretty abrupt ("We don't negotiate price!" -- who'd he think he was, a Saturn dealer?), and the VC guy came very close to my offer (off by only a smidge...). So I took it.
I suppose I should have come up with some story that led me inexorably to the Overseas, but it didn't quite happen that way. In retrospect, I don't think I could have made a better choice, though. I had heard horror stories about the AP service charges and quality (even owning a Patek, the charges were outrageous). The reviews and discussions of the Phidias just weren't that good. (Again, I'm a noob, and if you own a Phidias, you know for certain one way or the other; so never mind me.) Now I have other questions.
Who Should I listen to?
As we all know, the Internet is rife with misinformation, arguments and noise. So far, I've read and/or viewed a number of different horological "experts." Being a noob, I'll listen to anyone who knows more than I do. Here's the list:
1. watchuwantinc A YouTube reviewer, but since they're selling watches, would they have a video that suggested "Don't buy this watch from us."
2. Watch Snob (on AskMen) A cross between Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde, this guy seems to be both knowledgeable and patronizing. Even passes judgement on the questioners use of the English language—and from a guy who uses syntactic expletives.
3. Archie Luxury (YouTube) An Aussie escapee from a mental hospital. This guy is like a bad habit or an unwound watch. I keep watching his videos despite his penchant for wondering what he will say next--often he just repeats himself while making up his mind. Entertaining in many ways, and he knows a thing or two about watches. I worry about Archie.
4. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Watch owners On different blogs, VCO owners often chime in with comments based on their experience.
There have been many others who have spoken up on the Web in text or video; so if you've got a good tip, I'm all ears.
How should I care for my Vacheron Constantin Overseas?
As noted my 18-caret gold Patek is a drama queen in terms of careful usage, and my VCO represents (to me) a tough customer adorned in stainless steel. However, while not babying it like I have to my Patek, I want to give it every consideration in terms of daily care and service. Of special interest to me is the care of the bracelet, which is subject to wear, tear and breakage itself.