Watches: are they just black and white?

For many of you the subject of watches will be alien and hard to fathom. They likely feel like a strange object for anyone to obsess over while a large proportion of you are happy to obsess over smartphones and the like.

Maybe it is a man thing (no sexism intended), but we men do have a habit of finding an interest and then going all in to the point of reading about every detail, obsessing over tiny design aspects and spending far too much money on the hobby.

The problem with watches is that it is all too easy to fall down the rabbit hole very quickly and lose all sense of perspective.

A few years back I remember buying an automatic Seiko watch for £280 and worrying that I had spent an obscene amount of money on a watch. A year after that I spent £2,800 on a Tudor because I wanted to buy a budget luxury watch. My mind had flipped and my sense of ‘value’ had turned upside down along with it.

Watches have come and gone and now I tend to wear my Apple Watch, Christopher Ward and vintage Omega on rotation, but the PG 1670 which I reviewed recently has grabbed me to the point that it has not left my wrist since I received it.

This is a budget mechanical watch right at the bottom of the price pile and I could buy more than 30 of them for the price of that 1 Tudor, which only lasted 6 months before I sold it again.

Almost everything about it has grown on me. From the tapered bracelet, the white dial and black bezel, accuracy etc to the case shape and excellent cyclops make it a complete package which far outstrips many watches costing a lot more.

I suspect, however, that it is the white dial and black bezel that feel so different to me. It is noticeable, but never flashy and this is how a watch should be.

And being a watch guy I then spent some time with the Omega Seamaster 300 in white. At £4,400 it is expensive, but close to my perfect watch. It was my grail watch until recently when I got to see the Tudor Black Bay Chrono in the flesh. At £3,900 it is cheaper than the Omega, but much more expensive than the PG 1670 and to anyone who is not interested in watches this amount of money is beyond crazy.

£3,900 could buy a lot of things; pay many mortgage payments, feed a family for a long time, buy a half-decent secondhand car.

Or it could buy 2.5 iPhone 13 Pro Max 1TB phones, just under half of a fully specced 27‑inch iMac or 2.5 Apple Watch Hermès with Single Tour Deployment Buckles.

Nothing is black and white, apart from the 3 watches I have mentioned here, and value is a strange concept because we all view it differently, and our perception of it changes over time. What I would say is that if I did buy the Tudor Black Bay Chrono, and if it became my one and only watch, it could easily be on my wrist in 20-30 years time. Every other product mentioned here would at best be a distant memory.

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