It’s been a weird year, I don’t have to explain much here. This also applies to my collection of watches, but I’m not sure it has anything to do with Covid-19. In previous years, I bought more watches, and with a higher value per watch. Interestingly, the 7 watches I bought in 2020 range from $ 215 to $ 14,000. Make sure you’re ready to see some original choices!
For me, it’s not so much about the price or the brand name on the dial. Either I like a watch or I don’t. However, I am known to be a bit reckless on occasion. Several times this year, I pulled the trigger without really thinking about it. This usually leads to more fun than regret (as some Fratelli will tell you). It’s a shame that these poor ticking souls come into my collection to die, but I like to think that it’s really their fault for not being very good… These watches are often found in this box that I have. I labeled, “watches that never worn out”. It’s not necessarily that I don’t like them. Sometimes I just have a hard time finding a use for them.
I have a second box. This box is dedicated to Swatch watches. I rarely wear Swatch watches these days, but I love buying them every now and then. However, I still have a soft spot for this brand. I think it has something to do with my getting more nostalgic for my youth. In 2020, I bought more than one Swatch, but I only want to include one in this list. Without further ado, here are the Top 7 watches I bought in 2020.
Swatch ²Q Skin Irony
You’ve probably guessed it already, this is the cheapest of the 7 watches I added to my collection this year. And guess what? I have worn it several times. The ²Q Skin Irony is a pretty neat watch and my first Skin Irony model. It’s a Ø42mm watch that fits my wrist perfectly. Another interesting aspect of this Skin Irony is the box it comes in.
I have a few limited edition Swatch watches that also come in coolers. My favorites include The Hague Special Edition and the 2004 Olympics Edition. This one, however, surpasses them all. What a fun thing to have (and put away). It still makes it a little sad sometimes that Swatch has disappeared from the “streets” (unthinkable in the 1980s and 1990s) but releases like this € 215 Q Skin Irony give me hope that there is still a nice future ahead of me. I have addressed this subject on several occasions, notably in this article on Fratello.
Breitling Aerospace E75362
This is a watch that has been on my list for a long time. I wanted to have an aerospace or emergency at some point, but never really encountered a nice one (with a good price). My colleagues Gerard, Rob, Bert and Ben are very fond of their Aerospace watches and they encouraged me to go. I saw one for sale in this local digital marketplace for $ 1,100, with box and papers and stuff, and I decided to do it. The original titanium strap is also there, but I decided to put it on a NATO.
… It takes a little getting used to.
I had the watch checked by our watchmaker Fratello. There was nothing major to replace, but I opted for a new sapphire crystal. When it comes to setting and using the functions of this watch, everything is done via the crown. When you’re used to the Speedmaster X-33, like me, it takes a bit of getting used to. Once you get the hang of it, though, this thing is a lot of fun. It is also very useful …
This is not my first Breitling. In 2003 or 2004, I had a Navitimer’92 which I traded in again at some point. Now that I have this Aerospace E-series (from 2003 on paperwork basis) I wouldn’t mind adding an emergency as well (the first model, not the II).
Seiko Alpinist SPB199J
With so many people sharing the love of the mountaineer, I also had to have one at some point. I needed to understand the problem firsthand. As I knew there would be a limited edition in Europe, I waited for this to be added to my collection. Seiko gave us the opportunity to sell a number of them via our online store, and it was a great success. We added a nice gray suede leather strap as an extra for those who ordered one via Fratello. In our opinion, it is better than the other two straps that come with the watch.
These watches don’t break the bank and yet have a lot to offer.
With a Ø39.5 mm case, it fits very well on my wrist. I really like the eccentric 2nd crown to operate the compass bezel. My collection of Seiko watches has grown rapidly over the past 5 years – thank you Mike – including a share of vintage (King) Seiko watches. These watches don’t break the bank and yet have a lot to offer. The beautiful color of the dial on this Alpinist SPB199J is what made me pull the trigger on this specific version. These sold for € 880 and were limited to 2,020 pieces. Keep your eyes peeled for more in this coming vein.
I was in Hamilton in Biel with my colleague Balazs when I saw this watch for the first time. Hamilton showed us their PSR models, in steel and this limited edition in gold (PVD). I like the steel ones, but this golden PSR really got me excited. I love these weird things and according to Hamilton when these watches came out in 1970 they were very expensive. This was especially true of (solid) gold. This was sold for € 975. Fortunately, he gets a fair amount of time on the wrist. I think it’s a fun watch and comes with a special box.
There is a brief moment between pressing the button and activating the LED.
It’s limited to 1970 pieces and I was lucky enough to get my hands on my favorite No.13. I imagine most of these were sold to those who were already (and old enough) in 1970 to remember that first Hamilton LED watch. By pressing the button, the LED is activated. The time then appears. The bright red digits on a black background work very well. Interestingly, there is a brief moment between pressing the button and activating the LED. Another owner asked me if this was normal. It is.
Rolex Yacht-Master 16622
Hated by many Rolex enthusiasts, but truly loved by yours! I have always had a soft spot for the Yacht-Master. It’s a bit of an anti-Rolex from Rolex. Introduced in 1992, it took Rolex until 1999 to offer this steel and platinum version. With a bidirectional bezel (completely unnecessary for divers), the rounded shape of the case and the polished central link also made it closer to the Daytona design than that of a Submariner. I’m not a diver anyway, so that’s great for me. Not everything has to make sense anyway. In 2007 I had a Yacht-Master (from 2004) and at one point traded it in to finance an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
Could be the dumbest decision from a financial standpoint
I’ve always missed the Yacht-Master a bit, especially in summer. The dial is platinum and it has that beautiful sparkle when worn in the sun. What I had was this Rolex Submariner 114060 that I never found myself wearing. It might be the dumbest decision from a financial standpoint, but I have decided to sell this Submariner and get this Yacht-Master back. I found a nice used Yacht-Master (also from 2004) sold by my friends from Burger in Maastricht and bought it for around € 8,000. It is the one without the Rolex redesign and with the first platinum dial, which seems to have a coarser grain than the last (post-2007). It’s not something I wear often, but when I do I like it.
Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date
On December 1, Fratello and Oris presented the Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date watch. Limited to only 300 pieces, in a beautiful bronze case with a burgundy red dial. I don’t buy everything we have in our store. I mean, I wish I could do it, but I just don’t have the funds for it. For the Ori, I fortunately made an exception. I had a bronze Eterna Kontiki not too long ago (2017), but this watch stopped working before I even put it on my wrist. There were also a few other things that I started to dislike later on, so I sold it to someone who liked it more.
It also gave us an insider’s perspective on the production process of a watch.
I love what Oris has been doing in recent years and the collaboration with the brand has gone very well. We visited the manufacture in Hölstein – a small village in Switzerland – and working on all the details of this watch (dial, print, colors, straps, case, etc.) was a pleasant experience. It also gave us – once again – an insider’s perspective on the production process of a watch. Anyway, I’ve been wearing this watch ever since I unboxed it and it really fits the holiday season too with its warm tones. We will have a few available in our store, click here.
Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 “Ed White”
Unlike in previous years, I only ‘bought’ one Speedmaster in 2020. Well, that’s not quite true because my Snoopy 50th Anniversary is on order, but like this one isn’t. yet again, the counter is stuck at 1. What also crossed my mind is that Omega is keeping it low on limited editions this year. So there is no FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) created. I wouldn’t mind the Seamaster 300M NTTD or a Speedmaster Apollo 8, but there is no rush. I miss that buzz a bit and feel like those who have always complained about limited editions have won. Sometimes I also wonder if these guys have now bought the unlimited editions or if they are just complaining to complain.
I had my doubts about sapphire instead of hesalite, and ceramic instead of aluminum
Either way, this Speedmaster Ed White isn’t a limited edition either, but the fact that it’s made in Omega’s special Caliber 321 workshop and assembled by hand entails slow deliveries. I have to say that I didn’t go wrong ordering this watch, it’s one of the nicest Speedmasters I’ve seen. Omega has really outdone itself by recreating the 105.003 with the caliber 321 movement. Everything is correct, and although I had my doubts about sapphire instead of hesalite, and ceramic instead of aluminum, it is is a perfect watch for everyday wear.
My fair share of Speedmasters
I have my share of Speedmasters including CK2998 type cases, the Speedmaster’57 (60th anniversary) from 2017, but this watch is just different. The case and bracelet are so high quality that they are in another league. The prize is also in another league, at € 14,000.
However, I went to the caliber 321 workshop and saw the effort that goes into its production. I have been wearing the watch for 6 months now, and I feel completely comfortable with this price on this watch. It’s just a beautiful piece. I just hope, as a Speedmaster collector, that Omega brings the heckling again next year with a few limited editions.
I hope a Snoopy will arrive soon …
That concludes my roundup of 7 watches I bought in 2020. I hope a Snoopy will arrive soon, but I don’t think it will happen with the current situation in mind. If you had asked me a year ago, I think I would have told you I’m adding another Grand Seiko, but it just didn’t happen this year. A Spring Drive is definitely on my list. I also noticed that I really liked wearing my gold watches (which is also why I am so in love with Oris bronze), as I feel the warm color adds something to the table.
Just like Rob in his article, of the watches he bought this year, I find it funny to see which of my 7 watches is your favorite. Is the Omega your absolute favorite? Do you agree with me on the Rolex? Or maybe you like our Oris collaboration enough to vote on this one? We can’t wait to see the poll results below and hear your opinions in the comments.