Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

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Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:49 am

After the thread on Grail watches which some people seemed to enjoy, how about something different but related...icons?

To me, for many years, an icon was a religious image associated with the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The word EIKON means image in Greek, so it’s not hard to see why the word was adopted for those little clickable pictures. However, I’m sure the meaning most would identify with nowadays is of a person or object preeminent and instantly recognisable in their field, in other words “iconic”.

Every Orthodox church has an Iconostasis, a wall of these images, so I thought it would be a good idea to have a “Wonderwall” of watches that we consider to be iconic.

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In researching this I googled lists of Top Ten Iconic Watches. There are several articles on the subject. I would say that there are fewer than 20 watches in total on all the lists, and some watches (not difficult to guess) are on every list. At first I thought, “Yep, the usual suspects...no imagination!” But the more I pondered this, the more uncharitable it seemed. These watches are all in there for a reason. Heck, I even wear two of them myself on a regular basis! :D

So...objective: post a few words and preferably pictures (these are icons after all, and we all like watch porn!) about a watch you believe is iconic. Old or modern, cheap or expensive, just say why. You can post the same watch as someone else if you like.

I’m going to post my icon right now. No surprise to a lot of people, I should think. I have a little list of who I think will post, and which watches they will choose. I will let you know later how I got on. Prove me wrong :lol: and have fun.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:52 am

The Cartier Tank

I said it wouldn’t be a surprise to most of you, but after a little deliberation I went for the Tank as my iconic watch. My other one, the Speedy Moonwatch, is on pretty much every list, but as I think there are plenty of Moonwatch owners on the forum and fewer who wear a Tank, I will go with this one.

The design is just over 100 years old. An original Tank from that era would be instantly recognisable as coming from the same stable as the modern one I wear today. If you asked people to think of a rectangular watch it is almost certainly one of the three or four images that would be conjured up most easily. Personally I think square or rectangular watches are as attractive as, if perhaps not more so, than round ones, and it seems a lot of people agree.

A true vintage Tank is exceedingly rare to find, and very expensive. The exclusivity of these things was crazy for decades, when Cartier operated almost entirely out of its three flagship stores in Paris, London and New York. Google a list of Tank wearers and you will see a stellar list of royalty, movie stars, writers, artists, musicians and other personalities. Simply put, in any of its varied forms, it remains true to the spirit of the original and is what we might call effortlessly elegant. If I have to go to anything remotely formal it is without question the watch I would wear, but it also works perfectly in more relaxed situations with a T-shirt and jeans.

One criticism that I have seen levelled both on this forum and in other places is that the watch somehow lacks masculinity. Admittedly, most Tanks are fairly small though I would say that the one I wear does have presence on the wrist and really doesn’t wear that small at all. Look at pictures of Cary Grant, Stewart Granger and others. Elegant undoubtedly, but effeminate – I think not. The Sports Personality of the Century wore one, and who would have wanted to go up to Ali in the 60s and 70s and tell him he was wearing a girly watch? :lol:

As to the Roman numerals, they are part of the Cartier design language and as people will know are present on the vast majority of their watches including the Santos, the Ronde, the Diver, the Drive and the Ballon Bleu.

Interestingly the Cartier Santos, dating from 1904, is an even older design than the Tank. Several of the articles I read chose it, but I have gone for the Tank firstly because I happen to own one, and secondly because I think its public persona (by which I mean outside the world of watch enthusiasts) is more instantly recognisable and more documented, at least in photographic sense.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my icon: the Cartier Tank.

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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by StrapMeister » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:07 am

Probably on every top 10 list - the ROLEX Submariner.
A great story of this iconic watch can be found here:
https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/ ... 1-von-7pdf
...says it far better than I.

For me it would be the 6538
6538.jpg
https://monochrome-watches.com/historic ... big-crown/
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by mibby » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:11 am

Image

I give you the Vostok Amphibia: the Soviet Union's answer to the Rolex Submariner. Designed in 1967 and issued to the Red Navy.

The designers knew they couldn't match Swiss case tolerances, so they came up with an ingenious case that gets more watertight as the pressure increases.

You can still buy them today. The dials now say "Made in Russia" rather than "Made in USSR", but otherwise they are pretty much the same. :D
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:15 am

@StrapMeister: yes, I believe it is on every list – with reason!

@mibby: good to see something non-Swiss early on. A true icon and a great choice!

Good start, guys!
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by nbg » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:42 pm

I think that there are only a few truly iconic watches. An iconic watch is one that has stood the test of time, with the current production models having clear lineage back to the initial model. A true iconic watch needs to be instantly recognisable by a WIS across a crowded room.

If we are only allowed one suggestion each, I will go for one that I don’t have. An unresolved, superseded, unrequited grail (category being mood dependent!).

In 1972 Audemars Piguet launched the Royal Oak. The first steel luxury watch. Thought by many to be the watch that saved AP. A new category of watch created by the genius watch designer Gérald Genta. The luxury integrated bracelet stainless steel sports watch.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:53 pm

nbg wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:42 pm
A true iconic watch needs to be instantly recognisable by a WIS across a crowded room.

If we are only allowed one suggestion each...
Excellent definition, Neil – something that I had pretty much in mind as well. :thumbup:

Fantastic watch! 8)

Please don’t feel limited to one, though one watch per post would be a good thing. Then if people respond we will know which one they are talking about! :D
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The half minute which we daily devote to the winding-up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels, its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by watchaholic » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:57 pm

Guessing the list would have to include this rather "iconic" piece. The 1972 5402 Royal Oak.
20190817_063045.jpg
EDIT-Neil beat me to this so I am including a pic of the original.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by nbg » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:00 pm

^^^^^ I reckon others that we can both think of will turn up.

Like you I have in mind who might post what for at least a couple. :)

Calling the Australian and Norwegian contingent for what I believe are their favourite models.....

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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:03 pm

^^^The RO was on every list I saw, as I recall.

Yes, I probably have the Australian and Norwegian contingent marked down for the same watches as you do, Neil! :lol:
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by ddav » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:49 pm

I'll go at it from a different direction .

A classic Swatch

Casio F-91 (homeland security special)

I think you could put the case for them being iconic.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:56 pm

Agreed. I see no reason at all why not. Those Casios are rarer these days, but I had about 3 of them in the 80s.
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The half minute which we daily devote to the winding-up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels, its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Paul Drawmer » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:28 pm

Two I have hankered after over a longer period of time than I've had CWs are:

Blancpain Fifty fathoms (original)
https://monochrome-watches.com/watchtim ... y-fathoms/

Image
image from above article.

And the JLC Reverso
https://www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/eu/en/ ... verso.html

Image
image from the above article.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by Lavaine » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:53 pm

I have to agree with the choice of the Swatch. The quartz watch that saved the Swiss mechanical watch industry. My choice for icons are two watches that should be, but probably aren't on any lists, and could be called the great-grandfathers of the two watches posted by ddav.. Two non-Swiss quartz watches that were almost responsible for the decline and near-demise of the Swiss watch industry:

The Seiko Astron Quartz. Released in December 1969, it was the worlds first quartz watch, and the watch that started the quartz revolution. We all know the story of how disruptive quartz was to the very staid Swiss watch industry, and how the Swiss almost didn't survive the rapid pace of change caused by the quartz revolution.
Image


My second choice is one that not everyone might be familiar with, but that arguably had a bigger impact on rapid growth of quartz watches. The Hamilton Pulsar. Introduced in 1972, the Pulsar was the first digital watch. It was so revolutionary that even James Bond wore one.
Image


Without these two watches, the industry would not look anything at all like it does today. I think an argument can be made that anything that completely changes an industry can be considered an icon. Any micro brand that claims to be 'disrupting' the industry (that would be basically every KS watch ever) needs to be reminded that this is what true disruption of the industry looks like.
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Re: Iconostasis - the Watch Wonderwall

Post by nbg » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:07 pm

^^^^ An outstanding pair! :) :thumbup:

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