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Can watch collecting become an addiction?

A personal collection of watches neatly arranged. A growing addiction?

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.

My collection is currently 12 and growing, excluding my Gloriousdays watches.

Can you stop collecting watches?

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?

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My watch collection #10 Seiko skx009

Seiko SKX009

I used my skx007 loads. I did really enjoy it, especially on the Strapcode jubilee. But it was a second hand watch and ran an awful lot behind, somewhere around 30 seconds a day. So in a clumsy attempt to adjust it I accidentally touched something I shouldn’t have in the movement and the watch stopped working.

As a result I sold it and looked for a new one (it was probably easy enough to fix but I just wanted to leave it behind and move on). Prices for the discontinued skx had gone up however, and instead of buying an original one I ended up getting a part aftermarket one from Philippines. They can be a bit hit or miss, but if you’re ok with aftermarket they are way cheaper. I got the “009” for around £100, but of course it wasn’t a true 009. The bezel was aftermarket and you can tell from the colours. Also the face is most likely aftermarket, sporting the yellow text instead of the orange. That could be from discolouring after many hours in the sun but most likely it isn’t.

The watch worked fine and was in honesty very close to my previously owned 007 in terms of looks. But somehow it wasn’t right. I think it was mainly the colour of the bezel that didn’t do it for me. The bezel of the real 009 uses a darker blue and looks great. This felt like a cheap imitation – which I guess it was.

So the so called 009 didn’t stay long in my collection. I already had dive style beater watches that I preferred, and as I’ve said many times – one should only keep watches you truly love and can’t part with.

I still like the skx case and from time to time I’m checking out mods, copy cats on Aliexpress and the 2nd hand market. But since I got my turtle now I’m less inclined to get a discontinued and overpriced skx.

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Should you collect watches?

watch collection

Short answer:

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.

Trying on a grail on a trip to Dubai.

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.

Someone on a watch forum traveling with seven watches.

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.

And if you have 199 watches and looking for that #200, maybe a cushion shaped bamboo watch is exactly what’s missing in your collection.

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Quartz versus mechanical – List of pros and cons

Mechanical watch movement.

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.
Casio watch on wrist.
A beater Quartz for £20 will satisfy your time-keeping needs on most adventures.

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.
Retro styled watches are naturally paired better with mechanical movements to give the feeling of yesteryear.

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.

Black PVD Autodromo Prototipo
Autodromo Prototipo is powered my a Seiko meca-quartz movement.
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Are you collecting watches or memories?

A moment with someone special is worth remebering.

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.

Collect carefully

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.

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Is the Seiko Turtle the perfect beater watch for your outdoor adventures?

Well beaten Seiko Turtle

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.

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The complete list of wood watch brands in 2022

Clipper bamboo watch wrist shot with brown leather jacket.

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 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.


Can’t get more obvious than that. Generic eco-focused branding with the tree planting gimmick. Designs look generic, straight out of the factory catalogue.


Aiming for a more premium segment with some automatic watches in the line-up and ghastly combinations of stone, metal and wood designs, which I’m sure appeal to some people.

Holzkern chronograph watch.


A wood watch brand out of Austria who’s getting their wood from up-cycled whiskey and wine barrels. Again, designs look fairly generic without much brand DNA apparent across watch designs.

Waidzeit chronograph watch.


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.

A helicopter pilot wearing a JORD watch with poor legibility and fragile materials.
A JORD watch on an apache helicopter pilot’s wrist. Probably one of the most ridiculous pairing to be witnessed in the history of watch marketing.


Another generic, we-plant-trees type brand. They are going (mainly) with simple and clean designs which we all have to appreciate in the wood watch world where the norm seems to be ghastly and loud.

TruWood square and simple design.


More of the factory catalogue on display here. Listen to some of their marketing spiel, which is obviously utter bollocks.

Located in California among the greatest of nature, Treehut is not only inspired by its environment but also driven by the spirit of innovation.

Our watches are handcrafted with great precision and skill. Each watch we make is naturally unique and handcrafted out of real wood and marble.

treehut watch and alibaba watch side by side. It's the same watch design.
The spirit of innovation?


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.

Bobobird goes all out on the materials and face design, matching wood, metal, skeleton watch face and a dash of red to top it off.

Original Grain

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.

Original Grain Taylor watch. A study in ghastliness.

Lux Woods

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.



You can have wood in many places. Buy a Wristwood watch to have wood on your wrist. Part from the catchy brand name we also find generic designs and soppy origin stories on their site.

I have spent a lifetime working with wood, beginning in my Grandad’s workshop as a young boy, his hand guiding mine whilst I cut out the template for a simple toast rack.

selecting the best materials and developing it into a unique and artisan product

Selecting on, that is?

Wristwood generic white label watch.
This looks so familiar… Where have I seen this before?


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)

Svenn minimalist wood watch design.

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 😉

Now go browse some beautiful bamboo watches to cleanse your eyes.

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How to pull off a two tone watch

Pagani Two-tone BB Chrono hommage.

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 black nato on man in the park.

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.

Wolbrook rose two tone watch on black seatbelt nato strap.

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.

Wolbrook Skindiver on a two-tone rose gold jubilee bracelet.
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Is it safe to buy pre-order watches on Kickstarter?

Nardi scam watch

“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 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.

Angry and upset backers of Nardi Watch Company.

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.

The tricky bit is to detect which ones are too good to be true, or look like they can’t make it all the way to delivery.

Pancor P02 was successfully launched via Kickstarter.
Pancor P02 was a successfully launched via Kickstarter.

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.

Be careful if you do choose to back a watch on Kickstarter, or if you want consumer rights, why not have a browse of Gloriousdays bamboo watches or my used mechanical collection?

So what happened to Mark Rogers and his battle ship watch in the end? No one knows. It’s still a mystery, and thanks to shady policies and lack of consumer rights we’ll probably never find out.

Wolbrook Skindiver WT was successfully launched via Kickstarter.
Let’s end on a happy note. The Skindiver WT Two-tone by Wolbrook was the result of a very very successful KS campaign. And it makes me happy every time I wear it.
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What complications and features should I look for in a watch?

Pancor P02 mint green dial mechanical watch

In this day and age we rarely wear watches with time keeping as the main reason. If you haven’t opted for a smart watch you are most likely wearing one as a style accessory.

That was not always the case however. Wrist watches, and pocket watches before that, were crucial tools in both professional and casual settings, as we’ll see in this post. Nowadays we mainly enjoy these mechanical wonders for their beauty and historical significance but it doesn’t hurt to know what each complication and feature can do for you, should you have to rely on it one day.

Let’s take a look and see what watch complications can do for you and if it’s something you should look for in your next watch.


Aquatico Aqua One with date window at three o clock.

A very common feature in a watch is to show today’s date. It can sometimes interfere with an otherwise clean dial layout, but personally I would usually opt for a date version if I can. I just find it really useful. You do have to set the date every other month if it’s an analogue watch but that doesn’t bother me.

Day date

Merkur Seizenn pepsi dial and day date function.

What’e even better than having today’s date on your wrist is having today’s date and week day! I find this super useful, maybe because my head is in the clouds more than often. I also think this can look really good when it’s incorporated nicely in the dial layout and oftentimes offer better visual balance than simply a small date window that doesn’t significant enough to hold its own.

Dive bezel

Seiko SKX007 with a unidirectional 120 click dive bezel.

The dive bezel is mandatory on any dive watch. It’s used to keep track of elapsed time and can be used for knowing when to surface or make a decompression stop. Because of the risk associated with miscalculating time under water, the dive bezel would normally be unidirectional. If the bezel would accidentally be moved during the dive it will only shorten the dive and not fool the diver into staying in too long.

Dive bezels look great and give your watch a sporty look. There are also inner dive bezels which are operated with a crown.

World timer bezel

Wolbrook Skindiver WT with world timer bezel.

This is an interesting solution for globetrotters and pilots alike. It displays major cities around the world, and the time difference against GMT (Greenwhich Mean Time). Maybe not that useful nowadays, but a cool and different looking design element with a rich history in aviation.

12 hour (2nd time zone) bezel

Baltic Aquascaphe with 12 hour bezel.

If you like the look of a dive bezel but find the count-up bezel not so useful you can look for a 12-hour bezel. It’ll still allow you to time things, but the hour markers on the rotating bezel allows you to easily track a different time zone. Is this useful? A bit maybe, but it’s mostly a god looking bezel.

GMT hand

Grand Seiko GMT with GMT hand.

The GMT hand combined with 24 hour bezel lets you track a 2nd time zone, just like the 12 hour bezel. This is a more advanced feature though as it requires a more complicated movement. The advantage is that you can differentiate AM from PM for the 2nd time zone. If you can do basic arithmetic you don’t have to pay top dollar for a GMT movement to tell you the time, but it’s a cool looking complication with a bit of a globetrotter vibe to it.


Vertigo Pilot One powered by the manual wind Seagull ST19 mechanical chronograph movement.

One of the most iconic wrist watch complications is the chronograph. Chronographs come in all sorts of variations, both functionality and aesthetic-wise but it’s basically a stop watch combined with your regular time keeping function. Useful for measuring distance travelled, speed and other more complex calculations used in both aviation and racing. On a chronograph the main dial second hand is used for measuring chrono time. Just like a stop watch, it’s operated with the omnipresent pushers on the case. Normally there is also a continuous second hand in one of the sub-dials, but not always. I love the looks of chronographs and also find the timer function useful in all sorts of situations.

24 hour dial

Panda dial Seiko chronograph with VK63 and 24 hour dial.

A 24-hour dial is normally one of the sub duals on a chronograph, although it can also be seen on it’s own. Since most watches have an hour hand that moves 12 hours per cycle it will rotate twice in a day; AM and PM. If you were stuck in a room with no windows for a few days (or a cave) there would be no way to tell if it’s day or night from your watch – unless you have a 24 hour dial! So that’s when that’s handy. In all other cases you would usually be able to tell AM from PM without a 24-hour dial. So why does some chronographs have them? Probably to have something to show in a sub-dial that’s there for layout symmetry’s sake.

Power reserve indicator

Pancor P02 with power reserve indicator at 12 o clock.

Speaking about useless features that’s mainly there because they look good – A power reserve indicator is just that. Here is one combined with the also useless 24-hour dial (which doesn’t even show numbers so it’s literally useless). A power reserve indicator is there to show you how much energy is left in the spring that powers your mechanical watch. If it’s low you might want to wind your watch. But if it’s an automatic watch, with a self-winding movement powered by kinetic energy from your moving wrist, it’ll be fully powered most of the time anyway (a mechanical watch can normally hold energy between 30 and 80 hours, so leaving it to rest while you sleep is not a problem.)

Display case back

Vertigo Pilot One showing its Seagult ST19 through the display case back.

A display case back is not a function, but it is a feature that many watch enthusiasts enjoy. It allows them to see the movement in action, which can be a joy if it’s a nice mechanical movement housed in the watch. Especially for more high-end timepieces the movements are finished to such a high standard that it would be a crime to cover it up and hide its beauty from the world. Low-end movements on the other hand look rather bland and showing it is more of a sign that the manufacturer is taking the piss and is trying to sell a low-end piece to naive buyers who thinks that anything mechanical is luxury.

What functions do you find useful in an analogue watch?

Which feature on this list would you pay extra for and which ones would you rather avoid? Is less more and a clean dial takes the win, or do you want a busy dial crammed with features? Let me know in the comments below. Personally I mainly choose the watch based on looks, but I do find some of the timing functions useful sometimes. There is one BIG no-no for me though, and that is watches that imitate a function without it actually working (a non rotating dive bezel, chronograph dials that don’t operate etc. ). This is a total piss-take sometimes seen in fashion and mall watches and to me it feels like a slap in the face.