Watch your Watch

Perhaps I’m a contrarian, but the bigger wristwatches get the smaller I want mine to be. I understand why one needs a chunky, oversized watch when diving, or maybe when piloting a helicopter, but I don’t understand the point of wearing a clock on one’s wrist. Might as well go all the way, like Flavor Flav, and wear it around the neck— at least that’s original.

I like vintage watches, both for how they look and because they’re often very affordable (I of course like and appreciate the holy trinity of watchmakers; Patek Phillipe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet, but few of us, including me, can afford their wares.) It seems in the past watchmakers made watches to fit on wrist, not to encompass it, and there’s something elegant about an understated watch on a man’s wrist, one that requires the lady seating next to you at the bar to ask you what time it is, rather than merely glance at the monstrosity you’re flashing, which might just tell her it’s time to leave.

The Gruen Curvex, from the forties, is a classic design and can be picked up at any good vintage watch shop, or even on eBay from a reputable dealer for less than the cost of a good leather strap. (I like Cordovan leather straps from Horween— the last supplier of tanned horsehide in the U.S.) The 1940′s Omega military watch, a good size but not overpoweringly so, was purchased at a shop overseas, also for less than the strap cost, and needed a crown (found on eBay) and a minor adjustment— years later it still runs better than most new watches. Then again, if you really need that kind of accuracy, you always have your phone.

Labels: Objects, Style     permalink

10 thoughts on “Watch your Watch

  1. I’m a commercial helicopter pilot and I do love my IWC chronometer, especially when timing the cool down of the copter’s engines, despite its all digital glass cockpit display. Us older pilots still like analogue.

    Thanks for the great story!

  2. That Omega is really great. I wear a mid-fifties version that they did for the British military that’s 35mm in diameter and now I love the size.

  3. Hi Mr. Majd,
    First off, this is a terrific site. I have an old Longines that needs a new strap. Where did you procure your Horween bands? Also, do you have any recommendations for anything more affordable leather bands? Thanks so much.

  4. Thanks very much. The Horween bands are from the Alden shoe store in Manhattan, but available on the web at a few different sites. For more affordable leather straps, I suggest eBay–there are quite a few sellers who offer good discounted watch bands.

  5. Love the glove and jacket combo. What’s the jacket you are wearing? Been looking for a brown leather and can’t find anything simple and fitted.

  6. Until I read your blog I thought I opinion about large face watches were out of the mainstream. I’ve always liked the look of watches from the 40s-60s for their quiet elegance. I also have the same Gruen besides Longines, Omega & Zenith. It is a shame that the skill of watch repair is fading also. Not really a fan of blogs nor do I usually respond/comment to social media but after viewing yours I had to and happily say I will now be a regular visitor to yours. You understand & get it!!

  7. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

  8. Hey, love the site and really love that omega watch. Any chance I could get some more details on it? I would love to find one for myself. Thanks!

  9. Pingback: Help identifying watch from House of Majd

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