As watch lovers and writers at Gear Patrol, we spend our afternoons pitching, researching and writing stories, poring over the new timepieces coming in and out of our office, and hunting for deals on used and vintage pieces online. And when a new watch comes across our radar, one that particularly resonates with our tastes, we can’t help but obsess over it. And not just obsess over them — we talk about them, debate their relevance, orate on their greatness and rail on their faults. So, here’s a taste of that: five timepieces are watch-loving staff can’t seem to shake, right this second.
Tudor Prince OysterDate
Andrew Connor, Associate Staff Writer: Like with cars, my watch obsession varies by the week. Also like with cars, I can guarantee you I’m obsessing over something old, something kind of offbeat and something cheap. Last week it was the Speedmaster “Reduced.” The week before, the King Seiko. This week? The Tudor Prince Oysterdate. You can find them on eBay for around $1,000. They posses almost everything people love about the Rolex DateJust — the same nicely finished Oyster case, a “cyclops” date magnifier, a nice Swiss movement (an ETA and not a Rolex movement, but whatever) and a myriad of dial choices, all of them minimalist yet intriguing.
Rolex Explorer II
Matt Neundorf, Contributor: My fortieth birthday is just over a year away. Many moons ago I made myself a promise that I would own a Rolex and a Porsche 911 by the time Matt 4.0 came to be. The Porsche is questionable (damn you, air-cooled inflation), but the Rolex is looking good. The one I’m leaning towards is the Explorer II. There’s just something about its simplicity, legibility and overt toughness — especially the crisp “Polar” version — that speaks to me. With an unlimited budget, I’d aim for a reference 1655 from 1978, as it’s my birth year, but the McQueen affiliation has made those appreciate like an air-cooled Porker so a reference 216570 will have to suffice.
Niall GMT Super Panda
Chris Wright, Associate Editor I’ve been checking, double-checking and triple-checking a story about American watches in the past few weeks (check it out in the magazine, soon). Of the 14 watches included, I’ve been really drawn to a new watch by Niall, the Super Panda. The brand’s story is interesting; they’ve really tried to leverage Kansas City’s existing infrastructure to make their cases, dials and parts (other than the movement) in the US. After a brief rub with the FTC about “American-made” labelling, they’ve become extremely open about what they make, and why. Their founder, Michael Wilson, is really fascinated by the build quality of Swiss watches, and believes watchmakers in the US should be held to the same standard of excellence. He’s done it: the wave pattern on their new American-made dial is hypnotizing.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar
Henry Phillips, Photography Manager Though it’s probably not the newest watch on this list, I’ve been obsessing over the yellow gold, blue-dial perpetual calendar from AP since it was announced late last year. It’s just the perfect assemblage of bits: a perpetual calendar (the best complication), a Royal Oak (the best Génta), yellow gold (the best gold) and the most perfect blue I’ve ever seen on a dial. Then it’s the geometry that ties it all together. Octagonal bezel meets hexagonal screws meets square “Grande Tapisserie.” And they put the week counter on the outer chapter ring? Come on, now.
Patek Philippe 5396R-001
Eric Yang, Editor in Chief I love small, vintage dress watches. I would love them more, and own several, if I didn’t suffer from the plight of wristamus maximus. Most wonderful dress watches simply don’t fit me, and not just aesthetically, either — the straps themselves actually aren’t long enough. For you watch nerds, I wear the second-to-last hole on a Panerai rubber strap (and on a hot day, the very last one), and my Rolex GMT-Master II required the addition of two links for me to wear it. Any watch under 40mm, on my wrist, might as well be a special-edition Skittle.
I’ve only ever talked about my obsession with the Patek Philippe Complications Annual Calendar Reference 5396R-001 twice: once to Benjamin Clymer, editor of Hodinkee, nearly a decade ago over drinks, and here, now. My heart simply leaps for the version released circa 2007. 18k Pink Gold, 38mm moon-phase, two-tone dial, two apertures for day and month, a Patek deployant clasp, and my favorite facet for that reference: outer minute division markers. Price? $40,000 at a reputable auction house, plus the cost of wrist-reduction surgery.