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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Filtering by Tag: wristwatches

Omega Speedmaster Professional

Mark Kwak

Source: Omega

Source: Omega

Anyone who knows me, even a little, knows that I'm a huge fan of watches. I've bought, traded, sold, owned, and toyed with too many to count. By the way, tread carefully with watches. It's a fun and exciting world, but frankly a dangerous place for your wallet to be.

Out of all of the watches I've tirelessly researched, seen, or owned, I think there are only four or five that I consider among the pantheon of timepieces. One of these is the Omega Speedmaster Professional, the first watch to be worn on the moon. I actually owned this watch several years ago, but regretfully (oh so regretfully...) sold it during an employment transition in my life.

Source: Watchuseek

Source: Watchuseek

I won't go into all the details around this watch's history, as you can find that info littered all over the web, but I will give you my take on this watch. Long story short, it's a beautiful and amazing watch, but one that will require some patience and hand-holding. Let me explain why.

The Speedmaster Professional is an older watch. It's rock-solid in construction and reliability (hell, it was used to guide Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon, surely it can guide me) but it isn't necessarily a modern watch. By that, I mean it isn't the king of accuracy (could be off by upwards of +/- 10 seconds a day), doesn't have a scratch-proof face, and requires you to manually wind it every other day to keep it running.

And so the question arises- why in the world would you want a watch like that when there are perfectly accurate, low maintenance, highly durable watches out there for no where near the $4k this timepiece demands? I'll tell you why. Because it's beautiful, it has a rich history, it gives you tangible ritualistic satisfaction every time you wind it, will last generations, and is among the most iconic timepieces of all time. This is a watch you can proudly gift to your son on his 18th birthday.

Source: Omega Forums

Source: Omega Forums

God, look at that thing on a leather strap... mesmerizing.

Luxury watches are interesting, some people will never understand why one would shell out thousands of dollars for something you can easily substitute for $20. Again, I won't go into that rabbit hole in this post, but I will say that if you are convinced that luxury watches are worth it, the Omega Speedmaster Professional is one I would highly recommend. It's a classic watch that isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Source: Watchuseek

Source: Watchuseek

Some tips in case you're thinking about it:

1. Buy used, the cost goes down quite substantially when you're buying used, and this watch hasn't been changed in spec for many, many years. Probably will never change.

2. There are a lot of Speedmasters out there now. Some with sapphire faces, some with white sub-dials, some with automatic movements... If you want the classic, get the 3570.50 model. That's my choice.

3. Service this watch. I think this watch needs to be professionally serviced every 5-6 years, so just keep that in mind, especially when buying used.

4. If you get the classic Speedmaster Professional, get some Polywatch. It'll help you remove any scuffs or scratches from the glass.

5. This watch comes on a metal strap. Purchase it that way. Then buy an aftermarket leather strap for it, as it looks great on both steel and leather.

Okay, enough writing about this; makes me want to go out and re-buy this watch. Hmm maybe I will.


The Wristwatch - Part 2

Mark Kwak

Ages & ages ago, I wrote a fairly long post about wristwatches. It was originally supposed to be part of a 3-part series, but as many of you may know, I'm a lot worse at keeping up with these things than I hope to be. Sorry! Well, today I aim to continue that series... better late than never right? Just to recap, the last post was about answering the question: what do I need a watch for?

Today is question #2: Which watch should I get? A loaded question if there ever was one.

There are many different types of wristwatches out in the market today. In fact, it's a bit ridiculous how many different styles there are to choose from. Think about it: small, big, dark, bright, on steel, on leather, square, rectangle, gold... you get the point.

Well to me, I think the question of "which watch to get" depends on several factors.

1. How many watches do you intend to have?

2. What is your lifestyle like?

3. How much are you willing to pay?

These three questions will shape what watch you could/should end up with if you ever decide to buy one. So let's venture a bit through these questions.

1. How many watches do you intend to have?

I personally am a 1-2 watch person. The simplicity is nice. I will say, I do know there are giant watch collectors out there that want to have 20 different types to match any given situation. In the case that you're a big watch collector, I can't really help you as much, mainly because you should just get what you like, and whatever fills the holes of your collection. Don't have a chronograph yet? Get one. Have a white faced watch but need a black one? Done.

Well, for the rest of you who don't own any watches, first think about simply looking for one all-arounder. There's something nice about having just one, especially because you don't have to really think about what you're going to strap to your wrist every morning. Now if you already have one watch, I will say that there's something great about adding just one more to the collection, keeping one for more dressy occasions, and one for more everyday situations. This way, all bases are covered.

2. What is your lifestyle like?

If you live a rough and tumble lifestyle, where you're constantly putting your hands and body in dirt, then your watch will need to be rugged. For others where the most rugged activity you engage in is a boardroom meeting, perhaps your watch doesn't need to be waterproof to 300 meters and able to take a massive beating.

This factor will usually determine what band you wear (rubber, steel, leather) and what the overall style of the case will look like (slim and streamlined vs chunky and solid).

3. How much are you willing to pay?

As you may know, watches can range from anywhere $5 to $500,000.  Absurd, I know, but it's just the nature of the game. Only you can decide what you're willing to pay for a wristwatch. I personally would spend more than the average person because watches are like a hobby of mine. I respect the work that goes into a nice wristwatch, and the significance of a good timepiece, so I'll probably be willing to splurge a couple grand on a watch I can have forever.

On the other hand, there are those who aren't comfortable with spending over $50 on a watch just yet. The choices between me and a person like that are completely different.

Now, all of that being said, it basically leads me to the conclusion that I cannot make everybody happy when it comes to answering the question: which watch should I get? However, hopefully it helps you think about what type of watch you're in the market for, and what you're willing to spend to get it.

Just so that I don't leave you hanging though, I will say that I do have some favorite watches in particular price ranges. All different use-cases (some are dressier, some are more utilitarian), but they are awesome in design and function from my perspective. Here they are, in a ton of different price ranges:

$25-$75 : Timex Easy Reader Black ,  Seiko 5 , Timex Weekender

$75 - $150 :  Timex for JCrew , Casio G Shock 7900 , Orient Mako

$150 - $300 : Citizen Nighthawk , Seiko Diver

$300 - $600 : Hamilton Khaki Field , Tissot PRC 200

$600 - $1200 : Archimede Pilot , Tag Heuer Aquaracer , Stowa Antea

$1200 - $3000 : Nomos Tangente , Cartier Tank Solo , Baume et Mercier Classima

$3000 - $6000 :  Omega Speedmaster Professional, Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso

$6000 - $12,000 : Rolex Submariner , IWC Portuguese , Rolex Daytona

There you have it. Watch out for the 3rd part of this series in 2016! Just playin'.