Yes, what we got here is one of my personal favourites. The amount of wrist time it gets would not suggest this, but I can assure you every time I wear it and look down on my wrist I get a good feeling.
This watch was a substitute. Not a conscious one, but when I browsed my large library of screen grabs of nice watches across the web and saw the watch that inspired the Venturo purchase there was no question about it. This watch was the Leoncino with accents in rose gold by Magrette.
The Leoncino, as lovely as it is, was a bit outside my budget. That was in 2018. In 2020 Gruppo Gamma, a brand I have much respect for, put their Venturo Field II on sale. I had seen this watch before but never given it too much thought. This time however, with a discounted price to incentivise me, I gave it a good look and realised that the blue sunburst dial was rather stunning.
As mentioned, I didn’t see the resemblance with the Magrette back then, but given that I put the Venturo on a blue seatbelt nato strap I think it’s pretty obvious what I was going for.
It needs to be said though that this watch is not a substitute anymore. The Leoncino, now available in 40mm is mouth watering, but the Venturo Field 2 is gorgeous and holds its own. The 42mm case is based on an old Rolex field watch and its distinct look makes ii, as someone on a watch forum put it, ‘a watch worn by people in the know’.
The watch goes well with most straps you throw at it. You can dress it up or down and the 200m WR makes it versatile to bring on any adventure you have in mind. Inside sits an NH35. Mine runs at -5s/day.
I don’t wear this watch as much as some of my other watches. As a daily I prefer to have at least a date function, and ideally a chronograph. But what it lacks in functionality it makes up for in charm and style. I don’t see it leaving the collection.
Is that what I will tell my fellow watch enthusiasts in a few weeks time when I proudly wear my grail watch on my left wrist? Probably not. Sure, the grail is a grail because it’s been a barrier to acquire, and as such bear a level of desirability. But it’s desirable to me, not anyone else.
In fact, I’ve never seen my grail on the wrist of anyone else, ever. It made a big bang at Baselworld 10 years ago, yet I’ve never seen it in the flesh (other than when I tried it on in 2018). And for me that’s a good thing. I like the unbeaten path and going against the grain. I like standing out a bit. If my grail was a Submariner I’d have to sit down and have a serious talk with myself.
Instead I’ve got a soft spot for 1970’s chronographs and dive watches. Funky, odd and tool-like – that’s my melody.
A grail watch wouldn’t be a grail unless it’s hard to acquire, maybe even unattainable. But my watch aspirations are modest. My mind is realistic and settles for the attainable (without compromising, mind you, but think Cayman instead of 911 GT3). I think it’s fair to say that it’s grail nonetheless. While other models have charmed me temporarily, this is the one watch my desire has been loyal to pretty much since its release in 2013. This particular grail watch is entry-level luxury from a brand that resonates well with me.
I’m not a fan-boy, but it certainly helps if the brand feels aligned with my own values. For instance, I’m definitely not Rolex. I’m not Breitling either and Omega just feels so vanilla. I’m not feeling Hublot nor TAG. I do feel Fortis, Oris and Sinn.
And I feel Tudor.
So it will be with a certain feeling of pride that I will wear my Tudor Heritage Chrono.
I’ve been struggling with the idea of buying a luxury watch for a long time. I don’t like the idea of putting that much money into something as superficial and unnecessary as a watch. Besides, I like to wear my watches without too much caution. They are there to be used and abused. I’m not sure I’d be that carefree with a luxury watch.
Despite this, as with many collectors I’m sure, the idea of owning luxury watches, and in particular my grail watch has become more and more acceptable to me. I always thought I’d take the plunge in association with a big life event. A celebration or milestone. But this isn’t the case. I’ve got nothing going on in my life that I can tie this purchase to. The only post -realisation I’ve come up with is that it’s the watch’s 10 year anniversary – so maybe it’s celebration of the watch itself!
In reality though, Tudor is discontinuing the model this year and I think I rushed to acquire one before prices would go up, as they could easily do for discontinued iconic models like this one. That combined with a good deal found on Reddit, me not getting any younger and the realisation that money comes and goes so we might as well enjoy it (I’ve been working on letting go of my frugal mindset recently) sealed the deal in my mind.
And then what (life after acquiring a grail watch)?
What happens after one achieves a goal? Satisfaction? Emptiness? It’s not like I’ve ben savings up for this watch for years and finally get to reward myself. I’ve been holding back for other reasons mentioned above. But now’s the best time to do anything and I’m curious. Maybe I love it, maybe I’m too cautious to wear it and it ends up collecting dust.
One of my main concerns was that it will clash with my other pieces and I will somehow feel obliged to wear the Tudor more often as it’s now a main piece in my collection. But sop what? Who cares, if I want to wear it i wear it. I’m over that concern and most likely I’ll treat it just like any other watch I’ve got – wear it on a daily whim and to match the attire and occasion. It’s a summery watch though and I might wear it less in the autumn and winter.
I’m not done yet. Now when I’ve opened up the door to luxury watches it might not take long before I add the Sinn 103 ST – my other grail. With those two in my collection I’m not sure what would come next, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy the journey to come.
There comes a point in one’s watch collecting journey where you might ask yourself – Is this an addiction? Why am I spending time and money on a seemingly meaningless activity?
We collect watches because we enjoy it, that is pretty obvious. And as with anything one enjoys, it’s all peachy as long as there’s balance. As long as there’s not too much of it. What is too much of something is normally defined by the context. Too much food is when we gain undesired weight, too much sun is when we get a burn, too much work is when we start to neglect our health and family.
When is too much too much?
Too much watch collecting is a more subjective threshold. For me it’s when I feel guilty because I spend resources that could’ve gone towards improving and investing in my life in some way, be it health, relationships, knowledge or something else. And I do feel this from time to time. Time, yes, indeed time is ironically the resource I feel most guilty about putting into my watch collection.
Luckily I don’t hoard watches, and I enjoy cheap watches just as much as expensive ones so it’s not an expensive hobby either. It’s mainly the time that goes into browsing watches online. But also the cognitive dissonance from growing a collection of items that I don’t need. I hate waste and try to keep in my life only things I need and use regularly. A more sensible collection of watches, where each watch has a distinct function, would be in the range of two to five.
But am I addicted? Addiction would imply that I cannot control my desires and luckily it hasn’t gone that far. For people with hundreds of watches I have to wonder though. Can they stop if they wanted to? What’s missing in their life that they’re trying to fill with all these watches?
I have periods when I browse watches online for hours every day. Then I have periods when I hardly even think about watches at all. Those periods are usually filled with something else, like recently when I started wakeboarding and don’t think about anything but the next trick I’ll try on the cable.
Filling the void
I believe we collect objects as a substitute for something more meaningful. We lack something in our life and we look the other way and bombard out senses with ‘stuff’ to not have to face this fact.
So regardless of what you’re collecting, and even if it’s far from an addiction, ask yourself this – what’s my collection a substitute for? What’s missing in my life?
No. There are so many better things you can do with your time.
Watch collecting, or any type of collecting for that matter, is quite a nice activity. It’s a short lived pleasure however, just like watching sitcoms or having sex with people you don’t know.
So I just threw watch collecting into the same bag as one-night-stands? Yes I did that.
For a fulfilled life (forget about pursuing happiness, it doesn’t work) you want long lasting effects. Invest in relationships, invest in your purpose, invest in developing yourself. Collect experiences and memories.
That’s the simple formula. And watches aren’t part of it. But that doesn’t have to stop us from acquiring a new one every now and then. Pleasure is important (be it watches or one-night-stands) but it shouldn’t be at the expense of that other stuff mentioned above.
What’s the danger with watch collecting?
There’s a reason ‘watch porn’ is a term. One can get obsessed with watches, browse Instagram feeds for hours, ebay for days. That’s not healthy. And it might actually be a sign of procrastination and avoiding something you should be doing but don’t want to deal with.
And because watches are relatively harmless there is little stigma in obsessive watch collecting. It’s easy to find like-minded people in various online forums that will happily echo your sentiment in order to confirm and support their own skewed view on what brings value to their lives. 200 watches sitting in neat rows in a dozen boxes in their dresser don’t. They might think they do but then they don’t get life.
Of course I’m projecting a bit here, because my philosophy is ‘one watch per occasion’, but I cringe so hard when I read about people brining five watches on a weekend trip or collectors changing watch three times a day just to rotate their collecting.
Hey collector, collect whatever you want to collect. Do it your way and own it proudly. It’s your life, and if watch obsession isn’t a waste of time in your eyes then it isn’t.
When it comes to watches, few topics are so polarising as the quartz versus mechanical one. It’s a silly thing to get caught up in since in the end it doesn’t matter, and you don’t have to take a stance.
No one has ever been forced to choose between battery or spring powered watches for life. Yet, on watch forums you always come across camps of purists (or watch snobs) and functionalists (or cheapos). I belong to the big crowd of middle-ground people who enjoy owning and using both types of watches.
A journey of maturity
In the early days, when a watch was just a watch, I didn’t care. Which means that as far as I was aware, a watch was battery powered. The world of mechanical was still unknown to me. The only mention of anything remotely mechanical was a class mate telling me that you could tell if a Rolex was real by looking at the second hand sweep. Real Rolexes had a smooth sweep, contrary to the ticking motion of a Quartz watch.
Over time I learnt that only really expensive watches used mechanical movements, and since I couldn’t fathom why anyone would spend thousands on a watch I simply left that world to itself and set up my own, Quartz powered, watch brand.
After getting into mechanical watches in 2016, that was for a long time the only thing I would consider (yes, I was one of the snobby campers). In the last year or so I’ve started to appreciate the value proposition in Quartz again. Albeit inherently less charming that mechanical, a Quartz watch will compensate with usability and can still be an awesome looking piece.
Why Quartz? Why mechanical? Let’s list the reasons.
If you’re not quite sure why to get one or the other type of watch, here’s my list of strengths for each type.
Strengths in a Quartz watch
Accuracy. Thanks to the Quartz crystal, the watch ticks along at exactly one second per tick. If you need accuracy over a long period, Quartz cannot be beaten.
Practicality. Because a Quartz watch is battery powered and can run non-stop for three to five years on one battery you hardly have to worry about it. It’s a grab and go solution and you’ll be very unlucky to time it so that it runs out of juice exactly when you need it and can’t get hold of a new battery. Combine that with the accuracy of the watch and you can safely leave it in a drawer for months, even years and trust that it will be ready for you when you pick it up.
Variety. A Quartz watch can look exactly like a mechanical watch. It can do the same stuff, normally displaying a combination of hands and dials, date and day complications. But on top of that it can also display time digitally. Mechanical watches can’t do that (I’m sure it’s been done, but it’s not commercially available as a mainstream option).
Price. Quartz watches are usually much cheaper than their mechanical counter parts. A Quartz movement is dirt cheap to produce on a factory assembly line without human intervenor. Mechanical watches are little wonders of engineering and craftsmanship, and even the cheapest movements require human assembly.
Strengths in a mechanical watch
Sustainability. A mechanical movement is built to be self-sustainable and last over time. In this day and age where everyone needs to do their part for the environment, it feels good to know that the watch you’re wearing does not require change of batteries and with good care will last for generations.
Beauty and emotional value. Most people who are into mechanical watches appreciate them for their sweeping second hand and the enabling engineering in motion that goes on under the hood. Mechanical movements are also beautiful to look at in themselves and many of them are showcased behind display case backs for this reason.
Intimacy. Mechanical watches are less accurate than Quartz. As a result you have to adjust them every now and then. If your watch is hand wound, you also have to wind it up every day for it to keep ticking. All this fidgeting means that over time you build up a closer, dare I say more intimate relationship with your watch. This is all very subjective and to some people this is not desirable or even true and would not be considered a strength.
Hybrids – Best of both worlds?
One doesn’t have to go strictly one or the other nowadays. If you’re a watch collector you’re likely to have plenty of both in your collection, or if you’ve managed to cut it down to a two watch collection, commonly consisting of a daily and a dressy type events watch, it would make a lot of sense to use Quartz for the daily workhorse, and go for a swanky mechanical for the event watch.
But if you’re a hardcore ONE watch only type person you can get a bit of both worlds in either a solar powered Quartz or a meca-quartz movement. It’s not a like-for-like replacement, but at least with solar-powered movements you don’t have to replace the battery as often, which is convenient and eco-friendly. What you gain with a mecaquartz watch is a sweep of the seconds hand that, although not as smooth as most mechanicals, come pretty close to a smooth sweep. In addition, if your watch is a chronograph, you get mechanical pushers with tactile feedback that many people prefer over the mushy press of a Quartz chrono pusher.
My big brother has got two watches. One is for work and formal events, and one is for adventures. That’s all you need really. I wish I could be the same. Just own two watches; an everyday wearer and a beater. Instead I’ve got 16 everyday wearers, and because I like a rugged style, nine of them also second as beaters pretty much.
Ok, so why is this a problem for me? I’m not hoarding, all watches get worn and it’s not like they take up space or create a deficit in my wallet. It’s a problem because a watch is an intimate item, being there with you for all sorts of events, and as such they become artefacts of memorabilia. Even with a fairly small collection of 16 watches (albeit six being the Gloriousdays collection) each watch naturally doesn’t get that much wrist time after all, and they’d be lucky to come along on a trip or other eventful experience.
Two watches, a lot lot lot of memories
Take my brother again. Two watches. They come along on a helluva lot more events than any of my watches do individually. I bet he’s got a bunch of memories attached to each of them by now. His promotion to manager, his engagement, his move to the UK, his move back to Sweden, the birth of his child, his bonding trip to Scotland with our dad… At all these big events in his life he was either wearing his Omega or his Tissot. Talk about charging objects with emotional value!
See, I wish I could do the same. Load my watches with memories. Every scratch would mean something. Obviously they still do even if my collection is larger, but there aren’t hardly any scratches on the watches! And I sort of like a bit of evidence of a rough and tumble lifestyle. It’s all part of the charm.
It’s easy to get carried away in today’s watch world. There are so many enticing offerings out there and, at least for me, watch collecting is not about owning many watches but is about finding a good deal that ticks all the boxes. This chase for intermittent rewards makes it a mere a substitute for gambling, porn (ever heard about watch porn eh?), or casual sex. In essence it goes against my philosophy in life which is about sustainable living, resourcefulness and avoiding excess. Two watches, maybe even just one watch – heck maybe no watch at all? Nah. One or two, that sounds fair. Ok, maybe even three.
At least I’m not hoarding. When a watch loses emotional value or can’t be justified to stay in the collection I sell it. I keep my collection fairly lean. But the problem with that is that sometimes I sell watches that I’ve had for a while and inherently have built up some memories with them. Letting them go is almost like letting a bit of the memories go. I always make sure to document my pieces through my watch photography though. That is one way I can keep my watches forever.
Could I do it?
Say I had to sweat my collection to only two pieces tomorrow. Which ones would I keep? I bet you can relate. It’s not an easy task, however I also think it’s a fun and maybe even healthy thought experiment. Would you pick your latest crush, or would you pick your oldest friend?
Today my answer would look like this. Next week maybe it would look differently.
Seiko Turtle has a fascinating history preceding the latest iteration/reissue released in 2016. It’s got its ocean-inspired nickname from the iconic cushion-shape case, but also because its a competent diver – just like its namesake.
Many a gospels have been sung about the Seiko SKX, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the Turtle probably deserves more recognition than the SKX in many regards. For me, it’s mainly its visual appeal.
Seiko Turtle will look better the more you beat it up
It’s a gorgeous watch that screams outdoor adventure. It’s a beater in its true meaning. It’s designed to be on your wrist whatever your activity. I especially like the day date feature so you can ensure you’re going to the airport on the right day, after weeks of losing yourself in a new culture, environment or hobby.
I’ve got one on order for myself and I’m curious to see if I fall in love with it in person after being infatuated with it online for a while.
I started Gloriousdays in 2012. Ten years ago there really weren’t many watch brands specialising in natural materials like wood and bamboo. It felt new and fresh, and it was the perfect accessory for the type of lifestyle I wanted to portrait with the brand.
Quickly the natural material watch trend took off and more small brands joined the trend – all fuelled by whitelabel designs straight out of Shenzhen.
That’s right. Don’t believe the marketing bs about hand crafted watches, made from carefully selected trees as if the makers sat in some little workshop making watches from trees in their back yard. Go on Alibaba.com and search wooden watch and you see what I mean.
There’s nothing wrong with the white label model though. Gloriousdays works on this model too. There’s still plenty of time that goes into design concepts, face design, material choices and prototyping in order to create a piece I’m proud to wear and sell.
But due to this easy entry level there are obviously lots of choice in todays market, even when the natural material trend has cooled off a bit.
Wood watch brands in 2022
Let’s take a look at what wood watch brands are available in 2022.
JORD are OG’s in the wood watch biz. They’ve been around for quite some time and have always impressed with outlandish designs and mixing all sorts of materials. If that’s your thing you should have a look at their site.
At this point we’re swimming in ghastliness. What is it with wood watches and over the top designs? Isn’t wood products supposed to be all about natural minimalism, letting the beauty of the grained material do the talking etc? Bobobird thinks otherwise.
Another OG (pun not intended) in this area of watch making. As far as I can tell they were first out with the ghastly designs and wild combos of stone, metal and wood in their designs. They must’ve inspired hundreds of budding woodtrepreneurs.
More of the same that we’ve already seen on this list so many times before. Sorry, this is getting repetitive and boring. But – they do have and OG design (looks familar? Gloriosudays will say yes) among all the over-the-top designs.
Svenn, my man (Sven is a classic Swedish name) – It’s good to see a minimal approach to both watch design and product lineup. Less is more and a fresh breath of air after this hideous list. Keep on rocking! (they also plant trees)
Is the wood watch landscape in 2022 really this bad?
Yes. There is no denying this.
Luckily I don’t have to feel like I’m part of this world with Gloriousdays. Because I use bamboo, not wood 😉
Are you thinking about getting a two-tone watch but aren’t sure you can pull off the blingy association with old men and drug dealers? It is true that, although not as loud as a gold watch, a two tone watch is still quite a piece with plenty of wrist presence regardless of size.
I’m not sure when I developed a liking for two tone watches but it’s likely that the silver and gold Tudor Black Bay Chrono might have been the trigger. I now own two pieces and would not turn down more in the future. After all, I am in my 40s so I can probably consider myself safely within two-tone territory.
How to dial down on the two-tone watch bling
Dress for the occasion is naturally the first step towards having the appropriate watch on your wrist. I wore a two-tone on the beach earlier in the summer and it just didn’t feel right. In the evening the same day, paired with a black tee it looked great on my tanned wrist.
Two tone watch on nato strap
If you’re into the two tone look but aren’t sure if you can pull it off I have a great tip for you. Replace the bracelet with a nato strap. This way you can enjoy the beauty of the two metals but without going full on. It’s a more casual look that still works dressed up.
A leather strap can also work really well. Play around with various strap options and I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll love. Personally I always get the watch with a bracelet if the option is there. I have my bracelet periods and I have my nato and leather periods. Get the fitted bracelet for a perfect match.
More subtle two tone watch styles
Another way to go more subtle on your two-tone approach is to get a rose gold and stainless steel two-tone watch. It’s a lot less in your face blingy and takes away a lot of the old-man vibes. Be aware that it looks better on darker skin though.
Finally, you can find a watch with a jubilee bracelet instead of the typical oyster style. This reduces the amount of gold on the bracelet and gives the watch a more subtle look.
“No need to worry, Mark is just taking his time, focusing on perfecting our watches rather than updating the backers on every single detail.”
The comforting words are coming from a fellow Kickstarter.com project backer on the ‘backers only’ Facebook group. Here, Mark Rogers, founder of Nardi watches has been communicating regularly with his backers for the last 17 months, all while the Corona virus has created chaos in the world and stopped engine in most factories, Nardi’s included.
But lately communication has started to slow down, with longer and longer silence between the updates. What we’re all waiting for is a gorgeous dive watch made from a UK battle ship scrap metal, paid for up-front to finance the making of it. That is how Kickstarter works. They are quick to say that you’re not buying a product on the crowdsourcing platform. You’re backing a project which may or may not succeed to deliver the final product.
With no guarantees offered from Kickstarter, this makes the platform ripe for abuse from scammers ready to take your money and walk away. We fear this is what Mark Rogers has now done, and there is nothing we can do about it. A few lucky manages to get a refund from their credit card providers. Others are not so lucky.
Watches on Kickstarter
Watch projects on Kickstarter are common. Most of them are bland off-the-shelf white label products from Chinese factories. Pick a catalogue design, add a custom logo and a soppy background story about how your grandfather got you into horology. Since you can’t find a good and affordable watch on the market you feel obliged to design your own to honour him and give the market the timepiece we all need.
Hit ‘Go live’ and watch the money roll in.
That should be a crime in itself. But if there’s demand there’s a market, and good marketing works. Scams on the other hand there is no way to sugarcoat. It’s the lowest of low and it’s sadly common on Kickstarter.
There are of course also genuine, honest and great looking watches available on the platform. I’ve been a backer of several, of which the Pancor P02 was a great unique looking piece, and the Wolbrook Skindiver WT is one of my favourite watches.
How to avoid scams and bad projects on Kickstarter
Since Kickstarter doesn’t provide any type of guarantee at all, it’s up to you as the backer/consumer to do your due diligence on the maker.
Is this the maker’s first project? Risky business. The more established a company or maker is the more likely they can be trusted with your money. Still no guarantee though.
Where are they based? Is there a way to contact them, ideally in person, if things go awry? Anonymous mail box addresses won’t get my backing.
Is the communication open and honest? Is the pricing and delivery timeline realistic? Are there prototypes out for review with the regular YouTube channels? Don’t get fooled by lofty promises without real world backing.
Is the campaign page well made, without typos and stock art imagery? If the maker doesn’t care about the detail of the campaign, why would they care about the details of the project?
Kickstarter is beyond its expiry date
If Kickstarter wants to continue to be a well used platform they need to take accountability for scams. Launching watch projects on Kickstarter is still popular, but it’s passed its expiry date. Microbrands are ditching the platform for their own website pre-orders and consumers are not willing to take a risk on a pre-order without refund guarantees.