Well, it’s that time again. The end of the year. To say that 2016 has been a big one for HODINKEE would be something of an understatement. We launched two limited edition watches, one with Zenith and one with NOMOS GlashÃ¼tte, we ventured The Road Through Britain, and we brought you countless hands-on looks at watches, continued analysis of the watch industry, and offered insight into the future of horology. Here is a countdown of the 20 most popular posts from this year, including some obvious appearances and a handful of welcome surprises.
20. Editors’ Picks: A Sub-$5,000 Mechanical Watch To Buy Now, And The Watch It Will Make You Want To Save For
So what do you do when you have $5,000 to spend on a watch? Read HODINKEE of course. We’ve got four of our editors to consider the question for you: what’s the best buy in mechanical watches under $5000 â and what’s your new prize, once you have it on the wrist, going to make you want to save for? Well, read on, friends. We have listed our top mechanical watches for under $5,000 and a similar (more expensive) watch that you’re going to start to yearn for once you’re hooked on watches.
19. A Week On The Wrist: The A. Lange & SÃ¶hne Saxonia Thin 37mm
I haven’t wanted a watch this badly in a long time. Sure, there are grails and dream watches out there that might get my blood pumping harder, but no watch that is both so appealing and so close to possible reach as the A. Lange & SÃ¶hne Saxonia Thin 37mm. Beyond my personal affinity, this new entry-level watch from Lange has a lot going for it, from design to finishing to market positioning. Buckle up, we’re going deep on this one.
18. John Mayer Talks Original IWC Big Pilot, The New Big Pilot Collection, And The Infamous Letter (VIDEO)
One of the most popular videos we ever did here on HODINKEE was Talking Watches With John Mayer. It was, in actuality, supposed to be a one-off â a look at a well known watch lover’s favorite pieces. That video aired all the way back in October of 2013, and to be totally frank, we were just winging it â two guys talking about a few watches with Will there to film it. Now, 22 episodes later, it’s safe to say Talking Watches is one of our benchmark editorial products; and so we thought it might be kinda fun to bring back our original guest â Mr. John Mayer â to pick up the conversation and focus on just one of his many horological passions â IWC.
17. In-Depth: The ‘Dirty Dozen,’ A Collection Of 12 (Mostly) Inexpensive Military Watches That’s Almost Impossibly Difficult To Put Together
The Dirty Dozen is the name of a movie from the 1960s, depicting the misadventures of 12 fictional soldiers during the Second World War. It is also, in watch collecting circles, the name given to a group of 12 watches worn by those who actually fought in it â specifically, British soldiers. They were commissioned by the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) during World War II, and while they may not be as highly rated as other military watches when they are presented individually, as a set, they become some of the most collectible â specifically (but not exclusively), by British collectors.
16. Introducing: The Cartier Drive, A New Men’s Watch With An Eye To The Past (Details, Official Pricing & Availability)
This could be the Cartier many of us have been waiting for. In fact, earlier today, when CNN asked each HODINKEE team member to pick one watch that they really liked from the day’s presentations, it was the new-shape men’s watch from Cartier â the Drive â that I chose. Why? Because I’ve been dying to find a modern day men’s Cartier that fits me, and my taste. The Calibre Chronograph was a step in the right direction, the Calibre Diver even more so, but they were still a little bulky, a little sporty for me. I mean, I own great sports watches from Rolex, Omega, and others, so why buy a Cartier sports watch? That’s not what Cartier is to me, but the Drive is exactly what Cartier is to me. It’s beautiful, it’s refined, it’s masculine, and its movement is made in-house! And the price? You’re gonna like it.
15. The HODINKEE Editors’ Top Picks From SIHH 2016
We saw a lot of watches last week â A LOT of watches. So after a much needed weekend off from writing and taking pictures, we have pulled together a list of our favorite watches from six different categories: Best Value, Most Unexpected Watch, Best Everyday Watch, Dream Watch, Guilty Pleasure Watch, and Most WTF Watch. Some are more surprising that others but all in all this is a comprehensive list of our favorites from SIHH 2016.
14. Talking Watches With Howie Kendrick
If you’re a fan of vintage watches, and you happen to be on Instagram, then you likely know the username “HKendrick47.” You might not, however, know who this vintage-watch-loving, Leica-shooting man really is. Howie Kendrick, or Howard Kendrick, as his friends call him, is truly one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet, inside or outside of watches. After spending nine years with Major League Baseball’s Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels, he moved across town to join the Dodgers in 2014. He’s a fan favorite in Los Angeles for his always-positive disposition, family-first mentality, and his genuine interest in interacting with baseball, photography, and watch lovers all over the world. Howie Kendrick is also, as far as we know, the only professional baseball player to truly collect vintage watches. This is your official HODINKEE Talking Watches with Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
13. In-Depth: The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 And How A Classic Chronograph Actually Works
On a certain level, after wearing the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 almost every day for a week, my feelings are as uncomplicated as “I like it. A lot.” On another level, to leave it at that would be to do the watch, and the history it represents, a disservice. The Cornes de Vache is a watch that challenges a tremendous number of assumptions many of us have about what exactly it is that makes a watch important. Though in its own way it’s a definitive, and even final, statement about a certain kind of classic watchmaking, it’s also the opening line in a whole new conversation about originality, design fidelity, and authenticity.
12. Hands-On: The IWC Mark XVIII
It was one of the most talked-about watches of SIHH 2016 and with good reason: the IWC Mark XVIII is both a great looking instrument watch and a return to long-wished-for clarity and simplicity in the Mark series of wristwatches from IWC. We went hands-on with them in Geneva; read on to find out what impression they made “in the metal.”
11. The Road Through Britain Episode 1: Roger W. Smith
If it wasn’t for the beautiful coastline that appeared as we drove up the Mountain Course, or the evidence of the island’s most famous race, the legendary and sometimes-fatal Isle of Man TT, found in the form of warning signs at every narrow bend, it would have been easy to think we were driving towards La VallÃ©e de Joux. The road that leads to Roger W. Smith’s remote workshop is not so different from the one that leads to Philippe Dufour’s. It is solitary, cutting through fields that stretch as far as the eye can see, and appears to be going in the direction opposite civilization. But while the Swiss can blame tradition for their isolation, this Brit’s exile appears to be self-imposed.
10. In-Depth: 9 Basic Things You Should Always Look At Before Buying A Vintage Rolex
Shopping for a vintage Rolex can be an intimidating task â frightening, even â given the number of fake and “Franken” watches lurking all around. We even showed you a bad one earlier this week. You’ve likely heard the advice âbuy the sellerâ a million times before, and just as likely dismissed it. I wouldn’t blame you, because in most cases a transaction doesn’t scream shady business at first, leaving you to discover much later that your watch may not be as original as you were led to believe, hurting its collectibility, and thus its value. Therefore, this article aims to equip you with the key points that you should always check when hunting for your dream vintage Rolex.
9. The Value Proposition: Long-Term Wear Report On The Seiko ‘Turtle’ SRP 775 Black And Gold
The so-called Seiko “Turtle” diver’s watches â new, and larger, versions of the famous cushion-cased 6306/9 diver’s watches, made from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s â were released earlier this year, and we got our hands on them in late February. I’m a pretty big longtime Seiko fan, and the watches looked terrific to me, and to a lot of other people, but as with every watch, liking the idea of a certain kind of watch is one thing, and being able to live with it for days, weeks, and months is another thing â sometimes another thing entirely. We all wish we could know before buying a watch how we’d feel about it weeks, or months, down the road, and any Seiko dive watch ought to have the potential to be a watch you really can live with. So what’s it like to live, day in and out, with the Turtle?
8. Hands-On: The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 (Live Pics, Thoughts, Official Pricing)
This is the best watch I have seen so far at Baselworld â there, I said it. You may have read about the new Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 yesterday â well, I just had a chance to see it in person, and I can absolutely confirm that in the metal, and on the wrist, it’s just as awesome as it looks in the official press images â maybe more so.
7. Editorial: One Year In: Why A Die-Hard Mechanical Watch Lover Can’t Get The Apple Watch Off His Wrist (And Why That Matters)
In April of last year, Apple launched the Apple Watch, with a design by Jony Ive and Marc Newson. Ever since Apple first announced the existence of the Apple Watch, there has been considerable speculation about what effect it might have on the health of mechanical horology, and whether or not it, and smartwatches in general, might actually pose the sort of existential threat to mechanical watches that quartz watches posed in the 1970s and ’80s. Having worn an Apple Watch almost exclusively for the last month, I feel absolutely confident that mechanical watches aren’t going anywhere for now. But the Apple Watch isn’t either. It’s almost improbably well done, and it shows a willingness to think creatively that ought to be heeded by the luxury watch industry â and it also suggests to me that underestimating its impact, and Apple, is dangerous.
6. In-Depth: Twelve Mistakes New Watch Guys Make, And How To Avoid Them (From Someone Who’s Been There)
This is a story I’ve had in the back of my mind for a long time now â a quick reference guide on a few things I often see young or new watch guys get wrong. I am writing this because I was there once (not all that long ago), and I wish something like this had been there when I was just getting going. Now this isn’t a complete list of mistakes commonly made by new watch guys, and not everyone falls prey to every one of these, but I think many of you might pick up a thing or two that you may not have fully understood before. Here are 12 mistakes that new watch guys often make, and how to avoid them, from someone who has made many of them himself.
5. Hands-On: Some Quick Thoughts On The New Rolex Air-King Versus The New Explorer (Live Pics, Official Pricing)
The most interesting, or I should say curious, introduction from Rolex this year is the Air King reference 116900. First, I never really expected to see an Air-King at all ever again after the new Oyster Perpetual was brought out last year, but here it is. And on top of that, the Air-King is back in, frankly, a semi-foreign form as a 40 mm, anti-magnetic aviator’s watch with a multi-color logo. We’ll get to that, so let’s first talk about the brand new Explorer, which is a really similar watch, also introduced this year, that, in my opinion, will be often compared to the new Air-King.
4. Hands-On: The New Seiko Prospex 200m Divers, SRP775 And SRP777, Two Dive Watches Made Like Quartz Never Happened
This year we’ve got two new additions to the Seiko family of entry and mid-level diver’s watches. These are the new-to-the-Prospex line, cushion-cased-shaped dive watches, which for the U.S. market, currently consists of two references: SRP775 (with bracelet) and SRP777 (on a silicon rubber strap). Seiko’s entry level dive watches have probably been the first automatic mechanical watch for more future watch enthusiasts than any other type of watch (except possibly the Seiko 5) and with good reason: they represent a combination of honesty, practicality, durability, and history that, along with a price that puts them in reach for anyone with an interest in mechanical watches, makes them a no-brainer. So how well do the new models measure up to the classics? Let’s take a look.
3. In-Depth: The Patek Philippe 1518 In Steel (Video, Live Photos, History, & Thoughts)
Ever since I found out that a steel 1518 was to be sold publicly this year, I wondered how best to cover it. We’ve called so many watches “grails,” and several even “the holiest of grails,” that you guys probably don’t even take us seriously any more. But the steel 1518 is special â I know it, and I wanted to come up with something that transmitted that message to you.
2. Man Buys Rolex Daytona For $543 in 1973, Takes It To Antiques Roadshow Where He’s Told It’s Worth $100,000, Though Actually Worth Even More (Oh, And It’s Now For Sale)
These are the stories you love to hear. Unsuspecting man â a pilot â because of course he’s a pilot â needs a watch for navigation purposes in the early 1970s. So he stops into his local watch shop, picks up a watch. Maybe that gold one, with the weird dial that nobody seems to want? Sure. He pays $543.38 for it, wears it for a few years, then puts it away. Decades pass. He hears that Antiques Roadshow is coming to town, and think his little gold Rolex might be worth $500, or maybe a little more. Yeah, he was right.
1. Hands-On: The New Rolex Daytona Reference 116500LN (Live Pics, Thoughts, Details On Release)
Now that Baselworld is three weeks behind us, we can take a minute to answer the questions you all have about this â the most talked about watch of 2016, and the one that you’ve been told already has a very, very long waiting list â you know, the brand new Rolex Daytona. We announced the watch’s release on Wednesday, March 16th, and three weeks and 80+ comments later, it is still pulling in a ton of traffic. This watch is hot, and in this post we will cover the specs, the details, and give you our own thoughts on it after spending a brief moment with it in the Rolex booth. What’s more, we’ll give you an idea of when the first batch will hit stores, how many an authorized dealer might hope to get it in calendar year 2016, and how many people are currently on the wait list.