An Early Milestone

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iain
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An Early Milestone

Post by iain »

2023 is a big year for me. Over the space of around seven months we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, our daughter turns 18 and if all goes according to plan will be leaving us to go to university. Then over the new year both my wife and I turn 50. I have had a longstanding promise from my wife that I could celebrate all these milestones with a watch and have been thinking about what to get to commemorate this for quite some time.

Like most of us, the current financial climate means I don’t have funds to just go out and buy another watch. If I want something special then something else has to make way. I have therefore spent a lot of time trying to decide which of my collection is safe and what could go. Or indeed whether I should just stick with what I already have and not buy a watch to commemorate these events.

Let’s start with those that aren’t going. My El Primero is safe, it has emotional links to my mum and won’t be ever leaving my collection.

Next up is my IWC Mk XVIII, I hadn’t been wearing this as much since the arrival of my IWC Spitfire chronograph and did for a very brief period of time entertain thoughts of letting it go. It wasn’t bought for any special reason but has acquired a lot of sentimentality over years I’ve owned it through the experiences I’ve shared while wearing it. Common sense really took hold when I thought back to the time when my daughter was younger and she used to love this watch. She even nicknamed it Duckface as she thought the triangle and dots at twelve looked like a ducks face. This one now always reminds me of her and was also safe. I won’t ever be thinking otherwise again.

This left the IWC Spitfire, the Omega Seamaster and the Bremont MB2 as possible fund raisers. As for what I wanted to choose to mark these milestones, I had decided that if I was to change things, then I would look for a simple three hand sports watch on a bracelet, but I was still to determine exactly which one.

Let’s start with the wild option. Sell all three to buy one watch. That would give me a very healthy budget and when shopping at that level Rolex certainly are in consideration. I’m still undecided on Rolex, I baulk at paying more for a used watch than I would for a brand new one. Any Rolex that I was not going to get from new was ruled out. While I’m no expert on what does and doesn’t make the unobtainable list, I knew GMTs, subs and the like wouldn’t be marking these events.

The Rolex that caught my eye at the top level was one I had seen in the London boutique on Bond St over the summer. This store had display only versions of most of the sports watch range in the window and the one that jumped out was the Yacht master. However, after ruling it in and out several times I came to the conclusion it wasn’t for me. The polished surfaces and platinum bezel make it a very flashy watch and I knew I would not wear it outside very often for the fear attracting the wrong sort of attention. It was a nice day dream for a while but the Yacht master was very quickly crossed off the list.

Also in my thoughts have been the more entry level Rolex sports watches, the Explorer and the OP. I could possibly get these a year down the line if I was prepared to wait, but the used values scuppered my plans. The issue is that not only are nearly new watches over inflated, older models are also a victim of the second hand Rolex market. The Explorer and the OP I prefer are the last generation ones and not the current models. To get one of these would mean selling the Spitfire to buy the watch, and then selling the Seamaster to pay someone’s markup. No way, I couldn’t do it and Rolex as a brand had been crossed off the list.

You can’t really consider a three hand sports watch against this competition without mentioning the Omega Aqua Terra. This is a watch I once went out with the intention to buy, tried it on, then came home with a Zenith El Primero. I know they are a well loved watch by many who own them but they aren’t for me. An AT would not be making its way into my collection.

Let me now tell you about the other options that had been on my mind. The first of these probably won’t be a surprise to those who know what I like; yes it was another IWC. 2023 not only marks the milestones already mentioned, but it is also ten years since I first became registered as a Chartered Engineer. IWC of course make an engineers watch, the Ingenieur. Perfect. I have a soft spot for the unpopular latest model, used prices fall quickly and I could pick one up easily enough by selling the Bremont. Then there is the last generation of Genta models. These vary from absolutely stunning to a complete dogs dinner and prices vary quite a lot. I could bide my time and pounce when the right watch came up if I was prepared to wait. These were both definitely still on the list.

Finally we get to my left field choice. This is a watch I’ve admired from afar for some time and when I saw one in the window of the boutique in London it immediately made the shortlist. This watch is from a very respected brand that are probably better known for their dress watches, however it was one of their sports watches that caught my eye. There are several versions in the range with a host of complications on offer but it was the simple no date entry level model that I fell for. It comes in a nice black, but it’s the beautiful blue version I would want and it has to be the bracelet version and not the strap.

Size wise it is just about perfect, 41mm and only 11.2mm high so wears very well. The no date dial has polished markers and perfectly balanced polished numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 due to no date window getting in the way. These are also lume filled and catch the light just like those on my IWC Spitfire. Turning the watch over reveals a sapphire case back, through which you can see the beautifully finished in house movement from one of the most respected movement manufacturers in watchmaking. However they aren’t cheap and to get one of these would mean selling the Spitfire and adding some extra as well.

So some pretty good options to ponder over the next twelve months. There was some way to go before I needed to make any decisions and nothing could possibly happen to change that…….

But then something did happen.

My IWC spitfire developed a recurring fault and had already been back once under warranty. Watchfinder offered to have the watch repaired again, or I could take a full refund to use to buy something else from them. However I had lost all confidence in the Spitfire and I wanted it gone, a repair was no longer an option.

This of course gave me a dilemma, I could quite happily move on with my plan early but didn’t want to be rushed into choosing the wrong watch if what I wanted wasn’t immediately available.

I went on the the Watchfinder website to see what they had in stock. I clicked to view all watches and filtered the list down by case size and price. I now had about 120 watches to look at and started browsing through them.

Then half way down the first page it jumped out at me. The left field choice in blue and on the bracelet. I had recently sold my yellow Doxa and with the money I still had from that and the refund from the IWC it was exactly on budget.

Call it fate, coincidence, or just luck. My decision was reached almost instantly. The decision on what watch I was going to buy to mark my milestones was made and the deal was done.

So here I am, a year ahead of schedule but I now have my milestone watch. I have deliberately not told you what it is yet, some might have guessed from the description above but I have hopefully kept most you hooked in suspense waiting for the reveal at the end of this long post.

Here it is and this watch will now sit proudly as part of my own personal ‘holy trinity’ of Swiss watches.

To remember my mum I have my Zenith El Primero

My daughter will always be in my thoughts as she leaves home whenever I wear my IWC Mk XVIII ‘Duckface’

And to remember all the years I have been married to my wife, the milestones we have reached together, and all the memories we are yet to make, I now have this.

My new Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris.


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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by Didier.O »

And here I was until the few last paragraphs, ready to ask how you liked your new Grand Seiko :o
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by Noush »

Well played sir!
Actually I picked it immediately from the 41mm/11.2/ polished 3,6,9,12. I should get a life... :)

A JLC for a milestone watch. What could be better? ABSOLUTELY thrilled for you!
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by ajax87 »

What an absolute beauty of a watch. Glad it all worked out for you, and congrats on the milestones!
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by jkbarnes »

What a wonderful story to start my weekend with. It brought a huge smile to my face. I’m thrilled for you.

The JLC is beautiful and the serendipity of the moment makes it the perfect watch for this celebratory year. I hope you’ll follow this post up with a SOTC update specifically highlighting these three watches and the backstory for each. I want to see them side by side now. These three deserve their own special watch box!

And by the way, what I love about this collection is that it’s not the usual suspects!

Again, congratulations! :clap:
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Re: An Early Milestone

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jkbarnes wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 3:46 pm I hope you’ll follow this post up with a SOTC update specifically highlighting these three watches and the backstory for each. I want to see them side by side now. These three deserve their own special watch box!

Here you go Andrew, not a full SOTC post but hopefully this will tide you over. From Left to Right in order of acquisition.

My IWC MkXVIII a watch I saved up for and sold some musical equipment to buy. I was wanting one for a while and about the time I had saved up enough, IWC updated it from the MKXVII to the XVIII. I went to try it on at a preview event for the entire new IWC pilot range at a jewellers in Manchester and walked out with it on a strap. This was April 2016 and it was one of the first of these sold. I added the bracelet a few years later and it has been a well worn, well loved watch ever since I’ve owned it. When my daughter was younger I would put her to bed and we would time a minute together before I said goodnight and switched the light off. We would time this on whatever I was wearing and Duckface as she named it was her favourite.

Next is my Zenith El Primero. This was bought when I received some money after my father downsized from the family home a few years after my mother died and this was seen as my inheritance from her. My wife said “why don’t you spend some of it on a watch to remember your mum” what I heard was “why don’t you spend ALL of it on a watch and if you need to add some savings as well….”
I fully intended to buy the new horizontal striped Omega Aqua Terra but tried it on and didn’t like it. I went to the AD next door and they had this outgoing model (the dials overlap differently) at a great price and I didn’t think twice.

And finally my JLC. If you need to know about this then please re-read this thread….

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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

:thumbup: A fascinating story and a magnificent watch. Congratulations. :clap:
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by strapline »

Great story and a superb watch also. What a three watch collection, unique too. I like different and this trio is certainly that. Well done, I enjoyed the slow reveal.

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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by missF »

What a brilliant thread! Thanks so much for telling the story and the back story.
As for the Polaris I’ve been looking at it just this week too and thinking that it’s the most visually beautiful and satisfying watch I’ve seen in a long time. And here you are having bought one and added your backstory to it. Great job :D
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by nbg »

Noush wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:28 pm Well played sir!
Actually I picked it immediately from the 41mm/11.2/ polished 3,6,9,12. I should get a life... :)

A JLC for a milestone watch. What could be better? ABSOLUTELY thrilled for you!
As did I Chris. :)

Congratulations Iain. A lovely watch, from the watchmaker’s watchmaker. Well played. :thumbup:

Neil
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by watchaholic »

Not “left field” in my book. I put up the black dialed version in the dreamers thread a couple months ago, and currently have every one on the Bay and Chrono 24 this side of the Atlantic in my watch list. :lol: Difference is, you have actually had the stones to pull the pin. Well done! :clap:
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by iain »

watchaholic wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 5:34 pm Not “left field” in my book.
I suppose it’s how you might define “left field” if you mean some outrageous design then I would agree. However I meant it more along the lines of “not a usual suspect” when spending this amount on a watch.
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by downer »

Magnificent watch. Congratulations.
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Re: An Early Milestone

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jkbarnes wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 3:46 pm And by the way, what I love about this collection is that it’s not the usual suspects!
You're a braver man than me, Andrew. I hope you're not asked to expand on this... :lol: :lol:

Des
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Re: An Early Milestone

Post by jkbarnes »

downer wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 6:03 pm Magnificent watch. Congratulations.
That’s the perfect word for it, especially with the backstory.
Andrew
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