This Week in Time: Seven Watches in Seven Days
It is now a common sight to see a display back on many Swiss watches with almost every new Omega that is fitted with a Co-Axial Calibre comes with a sapphire crystal back. Whilst the decoration of a Co-Axial calibre is beautiful, this MeisterSinger featured over at FratelloWatches is something else entirely. I've never seen anything quite like this movement before, it has a unique blend of being utilitarian, decorative and "simple" all at the same time. Whilst lacking the opulent decoration of say A. Lange und Sohne (More on them down below), the spartan look of the MeisterSinger works in its favour as it seems to almost simplify the movement into something approachable and understandable. The slightly different finishing of each part of the movement makes everything stand out very nicely, especially the bright blue column wheel against the steel.
I promise that not all of these pictures will be movements but frankly when they are as good looking as this then who is anyone to blame me! This picture by billfactor shows the legendary Omega Calibre 321., an adaption of the Lemania Cal. 2310, in all it's glory. Unlike the openness of the MeisterSinger, the intricate and overlapping levels of the Omega bewilder the eyes. Whilst the MeisterSinger had just a variety of different color greys, the Omega is bursting with a variety of colors: the brass of the baseplate, the gold of the gears and the silver of the chronograph elements. Now take into account that this watch is fifty three years old. Someone did ask Bill whether he'd consider putting a transparent case back on there to display the movement better but he declined and said he prefers it how it is. I have to agree with Bill as whilst the temptation to alter the original would be strong (I mean look at it!!), keeping it in as original condition as possible is definitely the best way to go.
I have a special attachment to the Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb even though I know the odds of owning one are astronomically against me. Whilst in Harrods a few years ago I picked out what would soon become my watch, the Zenith Captain Dual Time. Next to it lay the Christophe Colomb and rather sheepishly I asked if I could try it on. Handing my watch back to the assistant, I was allowed to hold the watch in gloved hands (not on my wrist) hovering over the tray. Whilst I was admiring the gyroscope, the assistant had scanned my watch into the till and saw that actually this piece should have been in the sale section as it was 50% off. Speechless I put down the Colomb and said that perhaps it was time I call my wife. Several frantic unanswered calls, thirty minutes and one bank transfer later I was walking out of Harrods with my watch. Who knows, if that Christophe Colomb hadn't been there then I wouldn't have asked to look at it and what is on my wrist would be forever different.
There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said about Speedmasters is there? Timeless examples of brilliant design, functionality and horology. This early example Ref. CK2998-62 shown here on Bexsonn is an absolute stunner and is one of the lot he featured in his write up of the upcoming Watches of Knightsbridge auction (My highlights are right here). This Pre-Moon Speedmaster is the same model that was worn by Mercury space pilot Ed White during his Sigma 7 mission and was the basis of the modern "First Omega in Space" that Omega released a few years ago. Simply divine.
As Hodinkee aptly put it on the description of this piece "I mean, come on". A completely different style and layout to either of the other two movements above. Whereas the Omega invites you to try and explore the complexity, this A. Lange & Sohne challenges you to work out and follow the intricate combination of gears. This isn't just a watch movement that has been designed to serve a purpose of recording time, this is a work of art that just happens to record and show time. Everything about this watch is perfection. I must say that based on the comparison shots that Hodinkee provided of this A. Lange & Sohne, the Vacheron Constantin and the Patek Phillipe I prefer this piece overall. Not that I'd turn my nose up at any of the pieces but I'd have my fingers crossed that I got this one.
Now I'm not usually a fan of the what is known as the "Root Beer" GMT, named because of the distinct brown dial and brown bezel insert. These later models (the earlier bezels had an all brown bezel) with the two tone brown and gold bezel had aged very nicely and of course expert watch photographer Atom Moore knows exactly how to get the most out of them. I prefer the contrasting look of the dark brown suede like strap to the jubilee bracelet as it focuses the eye on the deep brown almost maroon dial. Gorgeous.
Now I've talked before about how far the term "tropical dial" can be stretched before it becomes "damaged dial" and this Tudor submariner is about as tropical as it can get. Posted by cayenne1200, this Tudor has apparently been spending far too many days without sun screen down in South America as the dial has faded to a uniform light brown with the bezel insert almost completely grey. I just love that bezel as you can just about see the remains of the diving marks near the lume dot, trying to stand out against the sun faded insert. Watches like this were designed to be worn and it's great to see something so unique happen to a watch. I doubt it's the last time I'll see a bezel like this but it's certainly the first.