I just finished reading Nick Hornby’s “Hi-Fidelity”, and for those who have not read it the main character is obsessed by lists: favorite songs, most painful break-ups etc…the book is brilliantly written and strikes a cord with anyone who’s been dumped at least once in his lifetime!
Well this got me thinking about lists.
Rest assured, I will not tell you about my love life even though considering the number of times I’ve been dumped I could also write a novel. My n° 1getting dumped music would be anything by Air Supply (those old enough know what I’m talking of )
Anyway to make a long story short this got me thinking of my favorite watches thus I am happy and honored to announce the “Yet another stupid list of best watches” award:
And the winners in the Vacheron Constantin Category and the Non VC Category are
click on the scans for a larger view
Best “a Night at the Opera” watch
VC Patrimony Contemporaine manual wind, so simple that its achingly beautiful especially in its special boutique edition in rose gold and black dial
The Dufour simplicity because of the elegant and timeless design, because of the sheer craftsmanship of the movement and because this watch really has a soul, I can’t explain it but you just feel it. On top of it Mr. Dufour is such a passionate person.
Best “Instrument for timing Pasta cooking”
Here I have a problem because even though my two favorites are from VC one is a modern model the other is vintage.
The modern award would go to the Malte chronograph excellence platine with its severely cool monochromatic look.
The vintage chronograph 4178 with tear drop lugs its everything a chronograph should be. Probably one of the most beautiful chronographs ever.
The Lange Datograph what else? Lange in 1994 came back with a bang and gave a big kick in the butt of a sleeping Swiss watch industry, its 1999 launch of the amazing Datograph was yet another kick, how many manual wind chrono movements have been launched in the last years which can even dare compete with the Dato? 0
“Best” Instrument for cooking Pasta AND the sauce”
The IWC Portuguaise Rattrapante, a design icon with a wonderful bezel less case and elegant dial. IWC made the rattrapante accessible to many through this piece.
Unfortunately no VC here but considering VC is working on its inhouse chrono movement this may become a reality in a not too distant future.
Best “wine drinkers” watch (aka tonneau)
The Vacheron Constantin 1912 for the beautiful case, the mobile lugs and the overall vintage look. It is nicely curved and fit perfectly well on the wrist.
For me tonneau watches are the most elegant of all.
This one is non VC but not really tonneau either but what the hell, it’s my list My vote goes to the amazing Kari Voutilainen Chronometer 27, based on a high beat (36,000 vph) vintage Longines observatory movement from the 50s Kari has once again added his personal touch to make a timepiece oozing with quality and craftsmanship
Best “how the hell am I supposed to read time on this thing” watch
With no doubt the Vacheron Mercator. It’s a great idea, very well implemented. It’s as original as it gets and it really needs dexterity to tell the time correctly.
Best “why do you have a pigeon on your dial” watch
I am a sucker for enamel dials and I can understand that many would find the Audubon dials gaudy and unwearable but the dial work is incredible
Patek made a limited series of Calatravas with enamel dials depicting birds. I don’t know the model number but was the only other brand I found with such dials. Must be a Genevan thing between watchmakers and poultry
Best “your dial is broken and I can se that thinngy turning” watch
One again I’m torn between two amazing tourbillons. The Saint Gervais made in 55 pieces for the brands 250th anniversary in 2005 which also has a perpetual calendar and a 10 day power reserve.
The stunning Malte Black Nickel tourbillon made in 3 pieces for the Singapore and Kuala Lumpur boutiques in 2006, the perlage on the dial make it look like carbon fibre! Ultra modern severely cool watch.
The Journe tourbillon. I have a preference for the older “constant force” model as it has a more industrial look and as Journe so candidly says talking about chronometry in a tourbillon: “putting a tourbillon in a wrist watch is like breaking your leg to run a 100m race, putting a constant force device is like putting a cast on your broken leg before the race!” You gotta love a guy who says such things!!
Not a true celestial watch per se but the amazing moonphase on the Malte perpetual calendar chronograph (especially in its Excellence Platine collection) is to die for.
Best “dude, your watch is making weird noises” watch
No doubt the Vacheron Constantin minute repeater for the purity of the dial, the tear drop lugs and the chimes which sound like angels singing (corny I admit). I play the lotto every week in hope of one of these babies
Once again I come back to Philippe Dufour and his Grande Sonnerie, I had offered Philippe to exchange my super limited autographed Kiss poster in exchange of one and he refused…the man has no sense of business or humor.
Best “It does everything except fry your eggs in the morning” watch
The Tour de l’Ile, the gargantuan 47mm double sided mega complication made in only 7 pieces by VC in 2005 in celebration of its 250th anniversary. Considered at the time the most complicated watch it featured among others: minute repeater, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, dual time, sun rise /sun set time, sky chart etc…I actually saw a guy wearing one last year and it looked damn good on his wrist.
I guess the logical choice would have been the Sky Moon Tourbillon but no! My choice is the AP Jules Audemars Grande Complication beautiful dial and one of my favorite cases. I also have a soft spot for co-axial pushers for chronographs
The all Time best watch in History and in the Universe
There are just so many I could choose from but the one that immediately springs in my mind is the Chinese Mask from the Metiers d’Art Les Masques collection. Rarely has a watch had such a strong impact on me, it goes beyond horology to enter the purely subjective world of emotions.
The Lange 1
15 years after its launch this watch is still contemporary. The balance of the dial is just perfect, everything fits has equilibrium and harmony. Probably one of the best designs of all time. The problem with perfection s that you can’t make it better and all the modifications which have been subsequently made to the original Lange 1 (the Grande Lange 1, the Time Zone etc…) just don’t do it for me