Watch Words - December 2017
IWC Mark XVIII Heritage
We are happy to welcome to Oliver Smith the newest Pilot's watch design from the quintessential maker of pilot's watches, IWC. The Mark XVIII Heritage is the latest of several designs by IWC paying homage to their history as a military watch manufacturer. The 'faux vintage' trend has spread across several brands, and has received polarized reactions. I find myself always drawn to vintage, and many vintage styled pieces; but many ask why pay more for a vintage looking watch when you can have a vintage watch for less? They criticize poorly executed 'vintage' design elements that come across as kitsch or almost cartoony. For those who are skeptical of vintage styled watches, the Mark XIII will be the watch that changes your mind. Unlike some of the competitors, which create a vintage look with faux bleached dials or forced patinas, IWC gives this watch a 'like new' vintage feel. The dial is the same black seen on other watches in their collection, but the lume is switched from a bright white to a beige color. This lume in conjunction with the blued steel hands is a sight to behold! The case itself has also been modernized. It is rendered in a sandblasted titanium, which in combination with the dial elements, serves to give a similar visual to the patina; without feeling dirty or forced. For me, this watch is in perfect balance. A great size, and a look that brings a vintage feeling without feeling like a prop from a B-movie! Oh, and at a great price point of $4,150.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Sector
Continuing with my obsession for pieces that have a vintage flair, we have the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Sector Dial. Jaeger, as with everything they do, has taken a much more reserved approach to creating a vintage styled watch. They brought back a sector style dial layout for it's Master Control series. The sector dial refers to the very precise sets of markings on the dial of the watch that break time out into 'sectors.' This dial style has roots in military officer's watches and was popular for scientific use due to its precise legibility. This watch is truly stunning on the wrist. The high polished case contrast beautifully with the silvered, multi-finish dial. The dial's finishes combine to give a depth to the dial, while the tachymeter scale and blued steel hands add the perfect pop of color. Blue has been a popular color for watches the past few years, and this combination manages to make this watch feel like a 'blue watch' without having a blue dial. While not heavily advertised, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Master Control collection, and the Master Control Chronograph Sector, as well as two other sector dial pieces, will only see a one year production.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph
The newest brand here at Oliver Smith, and a personal favorite, we are proud to be carrying A. Lange & Söhne. For those who don't know, this Germany brand is known for its functional beauty and movement finishing that rivals the finest timepieces on the planet! One of the jewels of the collection is the Datograph, a watch whose movement has been called "The best finished, serially produced, chronograph in the world!" by none other than Philippe Dufour (maybe the greatest living watchmaker on the planet -next to our own Ben Lam of course!). The beauty, functionality and rarity of this piece are hard to quantify. We have the piece on hand. Please stop in when you can and get the live show on this one. It's worth the trip!
Estate Oliver Smith Edition Chopard
Last but certainly not least we currently have, gracing the estate case, a very special piece to all of us at Oliver Smith Jeweler. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Oliver Smith Jeweler, Oliver partnered with Chopard to create a special watch, available in a very Limited Edition of 30 pieces. The Mille Miglia GT XL Chronograph base design was reimagined in Oliver's signature silver (or in this case stainless steel) and brown accents. This piece features handsome rose gold detailing on the chronograph registers and his OSJ logo on the exhibition caseback. To help bring this watch to life Chopard shut down all other production to focus on these 30 watches. This watch sold out quickly, and this is the first time we have seen one come up on the estate market. This is a rare opportunity to get ahold of an amazing design in a very limited edition from a great watch brand.
That's it for now from Oliver Smith's world of watches. On a personal note, thank you to everyone who helped make my first six months here at OSJ, some of the best in my 30 year (yikes!) career! For myself and the whole Oliver Smith family, I would like to wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to seeing you soon!