All posts in “Watches”

This Classic German Pilot’s Watch Just Got a New Lease on Life

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While the new Sinn 158 is based on the company’s own vintage Bundeswehr 155, that model was in turn based on an iconic chronograph made by Heuer. Heuer made these watches for the German armed forces (the Bundeswehr) in the 1960s, and Sinn was contracted to refurbish them in the 1980s. Some were refitted with Sinn dials, and some surplus stock was also rebranded and sold to the public. Thus this original batch of retrofitted 155s were more or less Heuer watches with another respectable name on the dials.

The reissued 158 has the same 43mm-wide case size as the originals and a few modern updates, such as the shape of the hands. Otherwise, it’s a pretty faithful reproduction, though the movement is a modern one, of course. Whereas the originals were manually wound and had a flyback function, the Sinn 158 uses the automatic Sellita SW510 (with no flyback). Available on a range of straps and priced at $2,660, the new Sinn 158 is sure to please fans of the classic 155.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Everyone’s Favorite Affordable Automatic Watch Is Available in Three New Colors

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Timex Marlin Automatic


We love us some Timex here at Gear Patrol. And why the hell not? They’re affordable. They’re fun. They’re unpretentious. They’re colorful.

And that last part is what brings us back here today, folks: More colors. Also: a day-date complication! (Previous versions featured only the date.) Today, the new Marlin Automatic Day-Date 40 is available in black (like, all black: black case, black dial, black strap, everything); something Timex is calling every-so-descriptively “stainless steel/brown/cream” but which we would probably refer to as “two-tone” (steel case, silver dial with gold accents on the indices, hands and crown accompanied by a cream-colored strap); and green (green dial and matching green leather strap).

Each of these new SKUs is 40mm wide, features a 21-jewel automatic movement, leather strap, domed crystal, day-date window and 50m of water resistance and is available for $259. And even with all the microbrand offerings available today, we’d still be hard-pressed to think of a better value in automatic timepieces for this kind of money.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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The Best Leather Watch Straps You Can Buy

While we watch-lovers often categorize straps into several well-established types according to style and material (NATO, leather, bracelet, etc.), in truth it’s an oversimplification to lump all leather watch straps together. What type of leather are we talking about – full grain, top grain, nubuck, suede, cordovan? Is the strap a 1-piece or a 2-piece? Is it top-stitched all around the perimeter or does it feature vintage-style threading near the lugs?

All of these factors dictate which type of watch the strap will be appropriate for, and certainly, not all straps are created equal. What follows are 11 of our favorite leather watch straps from some of the best brands available from 3 continents:

Bulang & Sons Denim Blue Retro Leather Watch Strap

Easily one of the most striking leather straps we’ve ever seen, full stop. This beautiful band is handcrafted by Jean Paul Meniccuci, the OG of leather strappage, especially for Netherlands-based Bulang & Sons, and we’d be hard pressed to find something comparable from the other big players. Painted in a cool, denim-colored leather with a distressed pattern and using cream-colored edge stitching and natural leather keepers, the Denim Blue Retro strap pairs perfectly with a vintage tool watch and a beat-up pair of selvedge jeans. Available in sizes from 18mm through 22mm — including 19mm and 21mm for those pesky vintage watches — we challenge you to find a more unique strap for the money.

Bas & Lokes Everett Light Grey Suede

The Everett, a semi-bespoke strap from Australian company Bas & Lokes, is by far one of the most comfortable leather strap we’ve ever worn, period, the end. The suede on this particular strap is so supple that you barely notice it’s on your wrist, and probably wouldn’t notice at all if not for the blunt-force-trauma-weapon-size buckle and the weight of whatever watch you’ve got it sitting on. Additional details include edge paint in a complimentary grey color and side stitching in a grey waxed linen. With numerous lengths, widths and buckle finishes available on each of their straps, it’s possible to semi-customize a Bas & Lokes strap until it feels like it was made especially for your wrist.

Analog/Shift Stout Black Calf Strap

Everyone needs a black leather strap in their rotation, ready to go to accompany a thin dress watch or spruce up an otherwise playful tool watch. And though lizard or croc is a classic choice for such a band, a soft calf leather version is more versatile, giving you that formal look while remaining perfectly appropriate on a Sub. Analog/Shift’s version is made in Italy and comes in 18mm, 19mm or 20mm versions, so you can definitely dress up that vintage 34mm Rolex. With matching black stitching and keepers and a stainless steel pin buckle, this minimalist strap is the perfect companion to a serious watch collection.

Crown & Buckle American Made Walnut Boxcalf

While there are several styles of 2-piece strap available in C&B’s American Made Collection, the Walnut Boxcalf is a standout offering. This is a two-layer strap with an underside and topside made from matching “Boxcalf”-style leather, which is chrome-tanned, full-grain calfskin sourced from France. Boxcalf leather is typically used in high-end leather dress shoes, and the Boxcalf used in this strap is “boarded,” a process by which a tight grain is created that closes the hair follicles. This is an incredibly versatile color that will work well with a wide variety of dial types, and the slightly darker edge dying, as well as perimeter top-stitching and corner knots near the buckles, lend this strap a vintage look that doesn’t seem to be going out of style any time soon.

HODINKEE Bedford Strap Collection in Olive Green

The HODINKEE Shop began with a small collection of fine leather watch straps, and has been regularly updating its stock with new collections ever since. The company’s Bedford Collection, launched in 2019, is made in the U.S.A. and available in 10 colors and four sizes. Crafted from high-quality nubuck leather in attractive, subdued shades with off-white stitching, brushed buckles and calfskin lining, the Bedford is another strap that serves as the perfect compliment to a vintage piece, or an upgrade to a modern watch. The Olive Green version is our personal favorite, but there’s truly something for everybody in this high-quality collection, available from 18mm through 22mm

Worn & Wound Model 2 Premium Stone

Worn & Wound’s Model 2 Premium (show here in Stone) is essentially a refined version of their Model 2 Classic that uses a tapering design made of Wickett & Craig vegetable-tanned lining and Horween top leather. With painted edges in a complimentary color (the strap is available in 14 different colors), waxed cotton braided knots near the lug edges, fixed metal loop and leather keepers, the Model 2 is, for the money, simply one of the best leather watch straps available on the market. With all the different colors to choose from to precisely match the strap to your watch, not to mention available sizes in 18, 20, and 22mm, there’s a Model 2 Premium that’s right for every watch out there (except perhaps that pesky 34mm vintage Rolex).

HODINKEE Barrett Strap Collection in Navy Blue

If the Bedford is a bit too subdued for your taste, you owe it to yourself to check out HODINKEE’s Barrett Strap Collection. Crafted in a small, family-owned tannery in southern France, this group of six vegetable-tanned leather straps features a glossy sheen that’s sure to compliment a watch in steel or in a beautiful precious metal. Available in burgundy, navy, yellow, dark brown, red and tan in sizes from 18mm through 22mm, the Bedford straps are complimented with contrast stitching and polished buckles.

Molequin Grained Calf Strap in Taupe

Based in Brussels, Belgium, vintage Rolex enthusiast Michael Luther’s brand Molequin fashions straps in a variety of leathers, and their robust, thinly cut Grained Calf is far and away one of the best. Available in nine different colors, two lengths, five widths (from 18mm through 22mm), two spring bar choices and two buckle choices, the Grained Calf is particularly versatile in taupe. Pair this band with a monochromatic watch to maintain a subdued look or use it to counterbalance a timepiece with a louder dial. (Pro Tip: It’s worth springing for the quick-release spring bars, since you’ll likely want to throw this baby on multiple watches.)

Everest Bands Curved End Link Leather (for Rolex Submariner)

Michael DiMartini, founder of Everest Horology Products, conceived of an Italian vegetable-tanned calf leather strap with hypoallergenic lining made for Rolex wearers. The strap features an ABS plastic insert embedded at the case connection point for a precision fit to your Rolex Submariner (there are however several models of Submariner that are not compatible with the curved-end leather model, so we recommend checking the Everest website regarding compatibility). The curved-end leather Sub strap, available in nine finishes, is incredibly over-designed and ergonomic, with its precision-fit ends and steel buckle that looks robust enough to use as a weapon in close-quarters combat. For die-hard Rolex enthusiasts, an Everest strap is about as good as you can get.

Molequin Suede Collection in Taupe

The Suede Collection from Molequin is crafted from premium goat leather from France for uniform quality and feel. The result is a strap that’s low-key, subdued and perfect for a variety of watches, both vintage and modern. Available in 6 colors, two lengths, five widths (from 18mm through 22mm), two spring bar choices and two buckle choices, the Suede straps make use of a calf leather lining to prevent damage from moisture and sweat. We personally love the Taupe colorway, which pairs beautifully with all manner of dial colors.

B&R Bands Russet Le Mans Racing Watch Strap

Every self-respecting watch nerd needs a “rally” strap in his or her collection (or “ralley,” or “rallye,” or whatever). Essentially a leather strap perforated with holes, this type of strap accompanied vintage Heuer and Omega racing chronographs in the 1960s, but it looks good on just about any chunky tool watch. The Le Mans from B&R Bands, founded in 2009, is a modern take on this classic style, available in three sizes (18mm, 19mm and 20mm), two lengths, and several colors. Personally, we dig the Russet version, a dark brown with contrasting top-stitching and brushed hardware, that perfectly compliments darker dials.

Bulova Is Bringing Back One of Our Favorite American Military Watches

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The “Hack” Watch


If you’re a fan of military watches, you may recall last year’s “Hack Watch” from Bulova, a modern recreation of the MIL-W-3818A spec from the 1950s and 1960s that was updated as a limited edition for Macy’s. At least one fan of the watch (who may or may not be the guy writing this news brief…) hoped that Bulova would deliver a mechanical version, and lo and behold, they’ve come through.

The new Military Collection consists of “an assortment of timepieces inspired by vintage historical watches that have been modernized for a contemporary lifestyle.” Two of the new pieces are based on the MIL-W-3818A spec but now feature the automatic Miyota caliber 82S0, a three-hand movement with a 42-hour power reserve. (The third watch in the collection is the A-15 Pilot Watch, based on a watch evidently produced toward the end of World War II and that, admittedly, I had never heard of before today. Shows you what I know.)

The new Hack Watch models are available in two versions: one features an ivory dial and a brushed stainless steel case with a black leather NATO strap, while the second features a black dial with a grey stainless steel case that looks very much like a “parkerized” military wristwatch from the 1950s or 60s accompanied by a green leather NATO strap. Both models feature inner 24-hour tracks, luminescent cathedral hands and indices, domed mineral crystals, 30m of water resistance and 38mm cases, updated from the diminutive ~31-32mm of the originals.

Pricing is set at $350 for the ivory-dialed model and $450 for the black dial, and both are available now directly from Bulova’s website.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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Bronze and Green Combine for a Great Look in This New Dive Watch

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Rado Captain Cook


Bronze is an established material in myriad watch brand’s lineups, and while green dials have come in vogue more recently, they may well prove to be similarly successful. So what happens when the two trends converge? We’ve mentioned before that the effect is often attractive, and Rado, better known for materials like ceramic, has now given its vintage-inspired Captain Cook dive watch the bronze-green treatment.

Originally released in the 1960s, the Captain Cook was given a new lease on life in 2017, and it quickly became Rado’s watch with the most mainstream appeal. Since then, the Captain Cook has seen iterations in different styles and even different case sizes, this bronze version being housed in a 42mm-wide version, water-resistant to 300m. Its domed sapphire crystal recalls the retro look of acrylic crystals of the past, but along with a green ceramic bezel helps make the front of the watch essentially scratch-proof.

Powered by the automatic ETA C60 with 80 hours of power reserve and featuring a green leather strap with bronze buckle, the Rado Captain Cook Bronze will also come in brown and blue dial versions, each with a price of $2,410.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Bulova Is Brining Back One of Our Favorite American Military Watches

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The “Hack” Watch


If you’re a fan of military watches, you may recall last year’s “Hack Watch” from Bulova, a modern recreation of the MIL-W-3818A spec from the 1950s and 1960s that was updated as a limited edition for Macy’s. At least one fan of the watch (who may or may not be the guy writing this news brief…) hoped that Bulova would deliver a mechanical version, and lo and behold, they’ve come through.

The new Military Collection consists of “an assortment of timepieces inspired by vintage historical watches that have been modernized for a contemporary lifestyle.” Two of the new pieces are based on the MIL-W-3818A spec but now feature the automatic Miyota caliber 82S0, a three-hand movement with a 42-hour power reserve. (The third watch in the collection is the A-15 Pilot Watch, based on a watch evidently produced toward the end of World War II and that, admittedly, I had never heard of before today. Shows you what I know.)

The new Hack Watch models are available in two versions: one features an ivory dial and a brushed stainless steel case with a black leather NATO strap, while the second features a black dial with a grey stainless steel case that looks very much like a “parkerized” military wristwatch from the 1950s or 60s accompanied by a green leather NATO strap. Both models feature inner 24-hour tracks, luminescent cathedral hands and indices, domed mineral crystals, 30m of water resistance and 38mm cases, updated from the diminutive ~31-32mm of the originals.

Pricing is set at $350 for the ivory-dialed model and $450 for the black dial, and both are available now directly from Bulova’s website.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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This Indie Brand’s Debut is an Affordable Field Watch with Italian Flair

The first watch from Italian-based startup Echo/Neutra looks, at first glance, like a straightforward, military-inspired watch. Look closer, however, and its refined design reveals some unique touches and a shot of personality. Priced similarly to the most competitive indie watches with comparable specs, the Echo/Neutra Averau stands out for its dial design that’s somewhere between military watch and more run-of-the-mill field watch — with cues and references that’ll appeal to lovers of the outdoors and hiking.

Key Specs
Case Diameter: 42mm
Case Depth: 10.9mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Swiss automatic STP 1-11 or STP 3-13
Price: ~$715+

Notable: A busy yet balanced dial design is where the Averau derives much of the character that helps it stand out among watches with similar prices and features. Echo/Neutra is not alone, but exists toward the competitive end of watches offering a combination of premium features starting around $700. Those features include a Swiss automatic movement, sapphire crystal, mixed case finishes, and a durable build that promises by 100m of water-resistance. At 42mm wide, some will find the Averau to have a bold wrist presence.

Who It’s For: Design inspirations that reference things like specific Italian mountains will be personally meaningful only to a very narrow audience, but the overall theme will still appeal to those with a general appreciation of hiking, camping and the outdoors. With a mostly monochromatic dial and brushed case, the Averau presents itself as a pragmatic watch without much need for bling — and particularly so in matte black, as shown here. However, there are refined details and premium features that will be appreciated by watch enthusiasts and that help give it a more versatile appeal.

Alternatives: The Echo/Neutra Averau’s design doesn’t look quite like that of any other watch that comes to mind, but if you simply enjoy its outdoorsy vibe, there are plenty of alternatives at a range of price points. With respect to field watches, you almost can’t get away from mentioning the affordable Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical, but a more apt comparison here might be the automatic version. The Hamilton Khaki Field Auto also measures 42mm with sapphire crystal and a Swiss movement, but actually costs a bit less than the Averau.

Like the Averau, and priced about the same, the Seiko Alpinist isn’t bound by a strict field watch prescription but has a similar mountaineering purpose — as well as an automatic Japanese movement and sapphire crystal. Ascending in price, there are watches like the Sinn 856 that embody a similar ethos, and of course, you can keep climbing to the Tudor Ranger or further to the Rolex Explorer. Each of these watches is an excellent option depending on your budget and tastes.

Review

If you weren’t familiar with the concept and design inspiration behind the Echo/Neutra Averau, it would still communicate an outdoorsy or military theme, which comes from elements that call to mind field watches. The two-digit hour markers at the inner portion of the dial recall the military-time indications found on many such watches, and the monochromatic, matte-textured dial (specific to this iteration of the watch) has that no-nonsense sensibility. The sans-serif font looks like it could have come from, say, a topographic map. None of these design elements feel off-the-shelf, however, and taken together it all feels fresh.

The Echo/Neutra Averau takes its name from a specific mountain in the Dolomite range of the Italian Alps. The particular version Gear Patrol received for review is called the Versante Nord, meaning “northern face” in Italian. One of the charms of microbrands is that they can reflect the individual interests of their creators, and here, the founders’ love of nature and hiking charmingly shows through. At 7:30 on the dial, in text so small as to almost require a loupe to read, is the elevation of the highest point of the Averau mountain, 2,649 meters.

Just a little bit of flare, provided by the arrow-shaped hour hand and the red-and-white-tipped seconds hand, keep an otherwise utilitarian design interesting. The red and white stripes seem to be the brand’s signature, and they are taken from the painted markers (“blazes”) of hiking trails. Finally, various asymmetric elements on the dial, like the “date” text, the mountain’s elevation, and the emphasized first ten seconds work to add visual interest and convey an overall function-first impression.

Echo/Neutra currently offers a total of six variations of the watch, consisting of different combinations of dial executions and cases in either bare steel or with PVD black coatings. An almost completely brushed finished keeps the focus on the dial, but a sliver of polished bevel is a nice touch that elevates the overall feel beyond that of a lackluster tool. With its screw-down crown, the watch is water-resistant to 100m, which seems appropriate for any rain, mist, or streams it might encounter on a mountain trail. Its size, at 42mm, also feels appropriate, but a smaller future version would also be welcome and likely broaden its appeal.

The Averau’s excellent legibility is one of its strongest points (which makes the black-on-black Versante Sud version a little puzzling, and something of a miss). While, oddly, only the four cardinal hour markers have lume (and the hands don’t), legibility remains strong in all but pitch blackness. The flat sapphire crystal has plenty of antireflective coating — and even the display case back uses sapphire, which is not always the case for watches at this price level and even above.

Through the rear crystal you can see the automatic movement made by Fossil-owned Swiss movement-maker STP. The version shown here has the STP 1-11, but customers can opt for the STP 3-13 for around $110 more — the difference being a swan-neck regulator (a fine adjustment feature that’s unusual at this price, but doesn’t add much utility for the user) and a more colorful look with blued screws. Starting at around $715 on a nice Italian leather strap (20mm lug width), on a steel bracelet it’s just a little bit more.

Verdict: Easiest to appreciate most about the Averau is its unique dial design and the “mountain outing” feeling it successfully conjures. If that character speaks to you, the watch offers solid specs for its price and a wearing experience that’s just a little different from that of the more familiar genres of tool and sport watches out there. If you intend to actually take it into the mountains or on the trail, it would also surely be up to the task.

Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

This Pilot’s Chronograph Watch Is One of the Best Recent Vintage Reissues

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Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition


In a climate of ongoing vintage rerelease fever, it would be irresistible to for Breitling to ignore the many cool historical references in its catalog — like the Co-Pilot Ref. 765 AVI from 1953. The latest reference to be resurrected, the new model is known as the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition. And though it looks as awesome as the original and should wear comfortably at 41mm, the new model offers updated materials, construction, and technology.

Dating to around the same time as the iconic Navitimer, the 1953 Breitling Co-Pilot Ref. 765 AVI was a serious mid-century pilot’s watch and is highly sought-after by collectors. For that extra touch of retro charm and authenticity, the modern incarnation uses the less modern choice of Hesalite for the crystal as well as an aged-looking luminant for the hands and indices. The water-resistance has been improved, however, to 30m — the typical rating for current dress watches.

A very modern touch is the Breitling in-house B-09 movement that powers the watch. A 12-hour chronograph with a power reserve of 70 hours, the B-09 is handwound, just like the movement of the original 765. Available in three different versions, the new Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition will have a price of $8,600 in steel (limited to 1,953 examples), jumping to $22,850 in red gold (253 examples), and $39,900 in platinum (153 examples).

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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This Stunning Chronograph Watch Supports a Good Cause

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IWC Portugieser


IWC’s Portugieser, originally developed in the 1930s, is one of the best-known chronograph lines in the watch world, and the brand has continually used it as the base for a range of iterations. The newest model is made for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation (which IWC has supported throughout the years), and it’s the first time the Portugieser has taken the form of a “monopusher” chronograph.

In short, this is an attractive chronograph watch with a sunbrushed blue dial and a complicated in-house movement — and it’s supporting a good cause.

What is a monopusher chronograph? It’s a type of chronograph in which a single pusher is used to start, stop, and reset the chronograph, and it also allows for a cleaner look when it’s integrated into the crown. This isn’t the first time IWC has made a monopusher chronograph, but it’s the first time it’s been in the brand’s most iconic collection.

This particular limited edition of 500 examples calls attention to IWC’s role in the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which has a mission of making positive social impact through supporting sports initiatives. The case back features a drawing by 15-year-old Chinese participant Yi Xin.

The Portugieser’s monopusher chronograph is house in a 46mm-wide steel case and is powered by the in-house, handwound 59360 movement with a power reserve of no less than 8 days. Pricing is as-yet unconfirmed.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Why You Should Buy a Watch at Auction

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With Geoff Hess from Phillips


There’s no doubt about it — the vintage watch market is thriving, and the auction world is a big part of its viability as a booming business. Recently, we were joined by esteemed Rolex collector Geoff Hess, who in his capacity as a consultant to the Watch Department at Phillips auction house is privy to the inside workings of this world. (We previously spoke with him about which watches to look out for at various price points.) He’s seen it all — multi-million dollars bids, incredibly rare, unique pieces, the rise and fall of different brands’ popularity at auction, and everything in between.

Geoff’s unique insight made for a great conversation about the watch auction scene that ran deeper than record pricing or famous timepieces — he gets into the economics of buying at auction, why purchasing at auction can give you peace of mind that can’t necessarily be gleaned by purchasing from a dealer, and why relationship-building is key to acquiring the pieces you want. And though Geoff is a consultant with Phillips, his advice can be applied to a bid placed at any major auction house.

Without further ado, here’s our conversation with Geoff Hess, one of the most knowledgable vintage watch experts around.

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Smartwatch

Considering a smartwatch? Join the club. By 2021, unit shipments of smartwatches are expected to reach 81 million, and 2019 was the first full year in which Apple Watch sales exceeded those of the entire Swiss watch industry. Even the die-hard mechanical watch nerds seem to be coming around, adding the odd smartwatch to the mix of traditional mechanical timepieces that, until recently, they couldn’t imagine putting away in favor something powered by a microchip.

So how do you decide if a smartwatch is right for you? It’s a tough decision — a smartwatch can add genuine utility to your life, but do we really need yet another screen in our lives? And once you’ve decided that you want one, how do you decide which one is the right fit for your lifestyle? Here are five questions to ask yourself before you pull the trigger.

Do you truly need a smartwatch in the first place?


What do smartwatches do, exactly? Well, many things: they can track your sleep, optimize your fitness regimen, alert you to incoming calls and messages, track your location on a map, and much, much more. However, there’s a larger existential question to be addressed here: Namely, do you really need any of this shit in your life?

All this information is available on your phone, which means it’s available to you pretty much all the time. But maybe having fitness tracking alone is worth having Apple own even more real estate on your body? If the answer is a resounding (or even, a desultory) “yes,” then read on. If not — if the entire idea of further connecting yourself to the Cloud makes your skin crawl, well then, reach back for your Timex, Rolex, or other “-ex,” as the case may be, and wear one of those geeky plastic sleeves on your arm while you run to house your smartphone.

What are you going to be using the watch for?


This is an important consideration, as smartwatches have proliferated beyond the simple fitness tracker into nearly full-fledged computers. At the high end, for example, is the LTE-equipped (cellular) version of the Apple Watch Series 5, which for all intents and purposes is a mini wrist-computer capable of all manner of smartphone-like activity. At the other end of the spectrum is the Fitbit Charge 3, an advanced fitness tracker that, while it can’t place or receive calls, is more than capable of providing all manner of health-related info. So decide what it is you need out of your smartwatch, and go from there — especially considering price differences between more basic smartwatches and the top-of-the-line models.

How locked in a particular tech ecosystem are you?


If you’re an Apple devotee and an iPhone user, you’re going to want to stick with an Apple Watch, in all likelihood, as we stated in our guide to the Best Smartwatches of 2019: “…the Apple Watch only works with an iPhone, and all smartwatches running Android 2.0 will work with any Android, via the Android Wear app, but not all iOS features will carry over and some of the apps work wonky together, such as iMessage and every Android messaging app.” This doesn’t mean that you can’t wear a fitness tracker to the gym and simply ignore compatibility with other devices, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Do you want to be able to use your smartwatch without a phone?


Being able to use your smartwatch independently of your phone means several different things, depending on whether you want to make calls and receive texts on it or not. You could go all out with a cellular-equipped Apple Watch, of course, which allows you to do this (and also play music) independent of your phone. Then, there are simpler watches such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, which allows you to listen to saved Spotify playlists without being tethered to your phone, and Fitbit devices, which require a computer or tablet with Bluetooth to synch, but don’t require a mobile device for regular use.

Will you be able to charge the watch during the day?


Sleep tracking technology is a notorious battery sucker — meaning, if you want a smartwatch strapped to your wrist all night, you’re probably going to need to charge it during the day in readiness for its 8-hour adventure. If you’re a daytime desk dweller, this probably won’t be much of an issue, but if you’re constantly moving or can’t otherwise charge your watch, you might need to rethink your charging strategy — or have a smartwatch dedicated to sleep tracking. The Fitbit Versa 2, for example, has a six-day battery life.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

These Popular GMT Dive Watches Are Back with Fresh New Colors

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Yema Superman GMT


The modern Yema Superman was just supposed to be a one-off remake of a vintage dive watch from the ’60s and ’70s. It was so well-received, however, that the French brand decided to make it the basis for iterations that don’t necessarily have historical counterparts. The Superman works particularly well as a GMT, and three tasty new color variations make it look better than ever.

The Yema Superman follows the familiar form of many GMT watches, best represented by the famous Rolex GMT Master II. That means the addition of a 24-hour hand on the dial and a rotating bezel with 24-hour markings rather than a diving-focused one. A bit more sober in tone than the first run, which quickly sold out, the new models have black dials and a choice of bezels in black, green, or half black and half gray.

The new models also feature a minor but notable upgrade: the bezel inserts now use scratch-proof sapphire instead of aluminum — with no change in price. Customers can customize their order to include or omit the bezel locking mechanism seen as the Superman’s most distinctive trait. Like the previous Superman GMTs, the movement inside is the Swiss automatic ETA 2893-2, and there are 39mm and 41mm-wide options.

The Yema Superman GMT watches are available now for preorder at a price of $1,499 with shipping expected at the end of April 2020.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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This Iconic Field Watch Is Even Better in Titanium

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Hamilton Khaki Field Auto


The affordable hand-winding Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical watch is a modern classic. It’s loved precisely for its no-frills charm (and of course, for its price), but it exists within a larger Khaki Field collection that includes myriad options. An automatic version offers a bit more everyday convenience, but a step up from there is the lightweight and premium titanium models, recently released in two new iterations.

Until now, the Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto has only been offered in a couple of versions, but the brand is expanding the collection with some new colors and features. Measuring 42mm wide in bare or PVD-coated titanium, the new models come in two variants. One version has black case and dial with beige dial elements, and the bare titanium-cased version has a silver dial with green, luminescent-covered hands and indices. Both are topped with sapphire crystal, and the cases are water-resistant to 100m.

The new versions are dateless, which is a popular current trend among collectors, and like other recent versions, they incorporate the latest Swatch Group movement. This is an ETA C07.111 based on common automatic movements, but with upgrades that include a power reserve of 80 hours. Each features a display case back and ships on a leather strap, with a price of $995 with black PVD coating or $945 in bare metal.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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This Swanky Rose Gold G-Shock is Affordable and Tough as Ever

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Casio x Kith


Classic Casio G-Shock models like the squarish G5600 series and the rounder G6900 are famously indestructible, inexpensive, and encased in plastic. (Never mind the irony that premium-priced, metal-cased versions of these iconic G-Shocks seem to work so well — because they do.) Following the release of recent G-Shock GM6900 watches with steel outer cases in black, silver, and yellow gold finishes, a collaboration with apparel retailer Kith NYC has resulted in an even swankier limited edition in rose gold.

Props to Kith for choosing a positive (dark-on-light) LCD display for its vastly superior legibility (and its classic style). This tier of metal-cased watches, in fact, merely represents a steel cover atop a more traditional plastic inner case, so none of the famous G-Shock toughness should be compromised. (If you want fully metal-cased G-Shocks, these are available, though they’re more expensive and not yet available in this 6900 form.)

Kith’s G-Shock interpretation stands out most for its rose gold case, but there are a number of other notable details and Kith branding that differentiate from other GM6900 models. The prominent button at 6 o’clock is emblazoned with “KITH” instead of its usual “G,” and the resin band and its rose gold-toned keeper also feature the retailer’s logo.

This is a limited edition for the partnership available at physical retail locations and on the Kith website, though the number of pieces produced has not yet been confirmed. It also commands a price premium of $150 in this version over the non-limited yellow gold version directly from G-Shock, which is typical for such special-edition G-Shocks. The Kith x Casio G-Shock GM6900 has a price of $380 and comes with two Kith-branded resin straps in black and white.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Seiko’s Affordable New Bombshell Watch Is Awesome and Available Internationally

<!–Seiko’s Affordable New Bombshell Watch Is Awesome and Available Internationally • Gear Patrol<!– –>

Presage SARX


Feast your eyes on these delicious-looking new automatic watches from Seiko — that were first announced in Japan only, but which now appear to be coming stateside as well. They’re affordable at around $825, and they’re meant to reference the designs of notable chronographs the brand made back in 1964. They might not actually be chronographs, but it doesn’t matter because they look great.

Seiko divides a certain mid-range (though, typically affordable) tier of its offerings into sporty Prospex and formally styled Presage models. The rotating bezel and bold dial elements make these Presage models, however, feel sportier than almost anything in the collection. They are, in fact, time-and-date versions of the Presage chronograph announced late last year, but they look a lot closer to the actual 1964 chronograph which had a single pusher at 2 o’clock and no subdials. Measuring only up to one minute, it was Japan’s first chronograph wristwatch. With simple three-hand movements they cost a fraction of the price of their more complicated modern cousins.

Available in three dial colors and featuring a 41.3mm-wide steel case as well as a sapphire crystal, the new Presage SARX is powered by the Seiko 6R35 automatic movement with a 70-hour power reserve. They’ll be available for the Japanese market on Feb 21, but Seiko’s international site says March 2020. Each variant is limited to 1,964 examples and has a USD price of $825.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Seiko’s Affordable New Bombshell Watch Is Awesome but Only Available in Japan

<!–Seiko’s Affordable New Bombshell Watch Is Awesome but Only Available in Japan • Gear Patrol<!– –>

Presage JDM


Feast your eyes on these delicious-looking new automatic watches from Seiko that are thus far reserved for the Japanese market only. They’re affordable at around $755, and they’re meant to reference the designs of notable chronographs the brand made back in 1964. (They’re not actually chronographs, but it doesn’t matter because they look so damn cool.)

Seiko divides a certain mid-range (though, typically affordable) tier of its offerings into sporty Prospex and formally styled Presage models. The bezel and bold dial elements make these Presage models, however, feel sportier than almost anything in the collection. They are, in fact, time-and-date versions of the Presage chronograph announced late last year, but with simple three-hand movements they cost a fraction of the price of their more complicated cousins.

Available in three dial colors and featuring a 41.3mm-wide steel case as well as a sapphire crystal, the new Presage is powered by the Seiko 6R35 automatic movement with a 70-hour power reserve. Currently information is available only on Seiko’s Japanese website, but it appears that the watches will be available in Seiko’s Japan boutiques starting Feb 21, 2020. Each variant is limited to 1,964 examples and has a price equivalent to around $755.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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This Chronograph Watch Has a Feature Rarely Found at Its Price

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Frederique Constant Flyback


Chronographs are already infamously complicated mechanisms, but the flyback function generally takes them into the realm of high-end watchmaking. Hence why Frederique Constant’s Flyback Chronograph Manufacture watch with an in-house movement presents an impressive value. And you know what else? It’s also damn good-looking in its newest iterations, with a retro-inspired but restrained design featuring a “reverse-panda” (light-on-dark) motif for its prominent subdials.

What is a flyback chronograph? It allows the user to quickly restart the chronograph with a single button push rather than having to tediously stop, reset, and start again. (This process sounds simple, but this adds significant complexity to the already challenging stopwatch mechanics. And Swiss Frederique Constant does the whole thing in-house.)

The new Flyback Chronograph Manufacture watches come in two variants: one in steel with a blue dial and another in with a rose-gold-toned steel case and brown dial. Each is 42mm wide and features a transparent case back to display the automatic FC-760 movement inside. In steel the watch will have a price around $4,235, while the rose-gold-coated model will run about $4,560.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Own a Hamilton Khaki Field Watch? Here Are Three Great Upgrades to Consider

Ready to up your wrist game? In our series The Upgrade, we recommend more premium alternatives to popular watch models to help you navigate your next purchase. Today’s starting place: the beloved Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical.

The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is one of the best and easiest ways to enter the world of mechanical watches. It offers such great value and style that we can’t shut up about it, and regularly features in Gear Patrol roundups of everything from the Best Field Watches to the Best Affordable Watches to the Best Summer Watches. There are plenty of good reasons you could happily wear nothing but your Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical for years, but it could very well also spark a broader interest in mechanical watches and lead to the desire to upgrade.

For $495, in its most basic form, the Khaki offers solid build, a manually wound Swiss mechanical movement, sapphire crystal and an unbeatable military style. Like many current Hamilton watches, newer versions include the Swatch group’s impressive new movement equipped with an 80-hour power reserve. Many people find it quite wearable at 38mm, but that’s a matter of individual taste (and wrist diameter).

Upgrading from Hamilton’s iconic Khaki Field Mechanical watch could take you in a number of directions. Maybe you’d like the convenience of an automatic movement, a little more wrist presence, or maybe more shine and prestige. There’s a whole world of luxury watches out there that offer those features, but we’ve selected a few below that share some characteristics with the iconic Khaki.

Price: $495

Like the Khaki’s old-school vibe? Try the Hamilton Murph

An intra-Hamilton upgrade? Why not? The Khaki is a basic field watch in many ways, from its hand-wound movement to its subdued, matte-finished case. This is precisely what many people love about it, but Hamilton offers more premium watches with the same aesthetic that recalls its American roots from decades ago. The Hamilton Khaki Field Murph Auto is one great example.

Beginning life as a movie prop in the 2014 film Interstellar, fans loved it too much for Hamilton not to produce it serially. It’s got a sapphire crystal and a Swiss automatic movement — but at 42mm wide, it’ll offer a bit more wrist presence than the Khaki Field.

Price: $995

Like the Khaki’s military theme? Try the Weiss Field Watch

Weiss is based in Los Angeles, California, and the company basically focuses on field watches and is well known for its Standard Issue. Weiss even finishes and assembles the movements themselves, and the resulting watch offers a refined design and a strong value. The Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch has a manually wound movement and measures 38mm wide — so it’ll feel similar to the Hamilton’s Khaki Field in some ways, but definitely like an upgrade.

Price: $1,150

Like the field watch book but want some more refinement? Try the Monta Triumph.

Monta stands out for the refinement and value their sporty but versatile watches offer. With a bit more of a swanky feel than anything else on this list, the Monta Triumph features numerous field watch design cues but doesn’t feel entry-level due to its Swiss-made automatic movement, solid construction and excellent details. The 38.5mm Triumph has a range of strap options, but the high-quality bracelet is probably worth paying a little more for.

Price: $1,420+

Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

This Space Age Technology Was a Watchmaking Milestone in 1960

Welcome to Watches You Should Know, a biweekly column highlighting little-known watches with interesting backstories and unexpected influence. This week: the Bulova Accutron Spaceview.

In retrospect, “The Watch That Hums” represented a pioneering link between the first battery-powered watches and the eventual tsunami of inexpensive quartz models. Introduced in 1960, the Bulova Accutron looked, sounded, and functioned unlike any other watch. It was incredibly accurate, using a tuning fork that accounted for the humming referenced in the brand’s slogan. In its most interesting form, called the Spaceview, it also happens to visually represent the experimental, space-age mindset of the era.

Bulova didn’t initially intend to make the Spaceview. The first Accutron models, released in 1960, had traditional watch dials, and it was the highly accurate, groundbreaking technology inside that was the selling point — but this can be difficult to explain to consumers. Most people had only ever seen mechanical watches before, so a display model was sent to retailers that replaced the dial with a raw view of its electronic innards.

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Hamilton Ventura

Then, retailers were calling Bulova to say that people wanted the display model. Thus the Spaceview was born — at least, that’s how the story goes. Today, many brands produce dial-less and “skeletonized” watches in order to display their fascinating and prestigious mechanical movements — but this approach was nearly unheard-of at the time of the Spaceview. Bulova was ahead of its time stylistically as well as technologically.

Photo: mybulova.com

It was only three years before, in 1957, that the Hamilton Ventura had introduced the first battery-powered, electric watch. It wouldn’t be until almost ten years later, in 1969, that Seiko would fully break the traditional watch industry with the first timepiece regulated by a quartz crystal — the technology that would eventually prevail by virtue of its robustness, affordability, and extreme accuracy. The 1960s was a sort of in-between, exploratory era for watch technology, and the Accutron was an important player.

Centuries-old mechanical watchmaking was still the norm at this time: a slowly uncoiling spring (the mainspring) is used for power, and an oscillating wheel (the balance wheel), for regulation. Quartz watches would later replace the mainspring with a battery and the balance wheel with a vibrating quartz crystal. Today’s inexpensive quartz watches can operate at 32,768Hz, allowing them to be far, far more reliable and accurate than mechanical versions that typically have a frequency of perhaps 4Hz — that’s eight semi-oscillations (or audible ticks) per second.

In between mechanical and quartz on the horological timeline were Hamilton’s electric movement, which also used a balance wheel (operating at just 2.5Hz), and the Bulova Accutron, which used a vibrating tuning fork (before quartz technology would employ a similar concept). The Accutron’s movement was claimed to be accurate to around one minute per month, or two seconds per day — leaving mechanical movements in the dust. It operated at 360Hz, resulting in the aforementioned humming sound and a seconds hand that sweeps like that of a mechanical watch, only more smoothly.

Photo: mybulova.com

From a modern perspective, it might be challenging to imagine how people saw the Accutron at that time, but the tech must have seemed mind-blowing. The tuning fork itself is on display at the 6 o’clock position on the dial, but its vibrating isn’t visible to the naked eye and it’ll appear static. Its base is at exactly 6 o’clock while its prongs (or tines) extend upward to the drive coils at the top of the dial. To the left is the cell coil assembly — i.e., where the battery itself goes. To the right on the dial are a small mess of wires and components that include a transistor, resistor, capacitor…and which are technically beyond the the scope of this article to explore.

The earliest Spaceview watches had no dial whatsoever and printed the Bulova logo as well as the indices on the underside of the crystal. Later models added things like a chapter ring — and came in a range of designs and case shapes, including some quite funky ones — as the original cal. 214 movement was later updated to the cal. 218. Another interesting feature is that there’s no crown immediately visible, and time-setting is performed at the case back.

Advertisements from 1961 show Accutron watches retailing for $150, the equivalent of about $1,290 in 2020 dollars. The various versions of the Spaceview are all collectible and generally inexpensive as compared to many vintage watches. It’s even relatively easy to find modern batteries that’ll fit right in old Accutron movements and start them sweeping and humming away.

The Accutron’s tuning-fork tech survived for a time even into the quartz era and was adopted by other brands, such as Omega, with its Megasonic watches. More cool cred for the Accutron: it powered the first wristwatch to be accurate enough to qualify for official US Railroad use, and it was used in 46 NASA space missions. One advertisement from the time asserted that with the Accutron you could “wear a piece of a satellite as a wristwatch.”

Today, the tuning-fork movement is no longer produced, and Bulova has mostly stopped using the Accutron name. The brand’s modern Precisionist collection uses quartz movements (262,144Hz) that feel like descendents of the Accutron, as they similarly feature seconds hands that sweep like those of mechanical watches. The brand, however, did produce a limited collection of watches (using a Precisionist movement) called the Accutron II Alpha in 2014 that recalled the open dials of early Spaceview watches. It also seems that Bulova has more such tributes in the works as this year marks the Accutron’s 60th anniversary.

Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

Seven Great Watches from This Year’s Oscar Contenders

It’s that time of year again — when all the power players come out to strut on the red carpet. Yes, it’s been a long year of fantastic movies folks, and it’s time to celebrate the real stars of the show, the divas and the underdogs, the Cinderella stories and the primadonnas: the watches the actors and actresses wore.

So here you have it folks: Our picks for Best Watches in Film, 2020. And the nominees are:

[IMPORTANT: hints at spoilers below]

Citizen 8110 Bullhead, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Photo: Vinwatch via Catawiki

Yes, it was hard to pry your eyes off of Brad Pitt’s glittering, roofing-honed pecs. But the next best thing onscreen was his Citizen 8110 Bullhead on its wide leather cuff strap. This watch didn’t technically exist yet in 1969. But, uh, Tarantino fictionalized a few bigger things in the movie, didn’t he? So let’s just enjoy the impossible pairing.

Gold Mathy-Tissot, The Irishman

What’s that blinged-out watch that a CGI-de-aged Al Pacino (as Jimmy Hoffa) gifts to a CGI-de-aged DeNiro (as Frank Sheeran, an, um, tough guy) in a pivotal moment of this 3-hour-long film? Why, a gold and gem-encrusted Mathy-Tissot. The Swiss brand was hot in the US in the late ‘60s after Elvis bought several and gave them out as gifts. Well done, Jimmy! I’m sure Frank will be a gracious friend after such a lovely gift…

Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, Uncut Gems

Photo: Major League Jewelers

Adam Sandler is a sleazebag in this movie, and sells fake Rolexes to a few suckers. Sandler’s character’s own gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, however, replete with its own cut gems, is legit. A little piece of 47th Street for your wrist.

Apple Watch on Stainless Steel Bracelet, Parasite

A movie about class inequality has something clever to say about tech CEOs and their watches: sure, they have Rolexes and APs in their safes, but when it comes to the everyday wear, it’s got to be Apple Watch with a little extra bracelet cachet, baby.

Heuer Chronograph and Autavia, Ford vs Ferrari

Two automotive icons, two of the greatest racing watches of all time. No points for surprise here –but really, what else were they supposed to be wearing? Though the models featured in the film (the Carrera is a ref. 7753 and the Autavia, a 2446T) weren’t technically correct for the time (neither existed in 1966), all things considered, they’re both appropriate wear for Carol Shelby and Ken Miles.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39, Marriage Story

The handsome Oyster Perpetual, available in several colors and sizes, may be an “entry-level”-Rolex, but it still clocks in at $5,700. It also flies a bit under the radar, as much as a watch from the Crown can. Does this mean Noah Baumbach is a Rollie guy?

Unidentified Step Counter, The Two Popes


It seems Pope Benedict wore an Erhard Junghans in real life. (Francis went for humble Swatch or a Casio; John Paul wore a Rolex Datejust.) But in this fictionalized account of his handover of power to Francis, Benedict (played by Anthony Hopkins) wears a really cool…something. We’ve been unable to identify it under its white cover as of yet, but it does talk to Benedict and tell him he’s reached his 10,000 steps. Anyone know what this is? We want one, holy or otherwise.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.