For my next piece, I’m looking to get a watch that best captures the spirit and essence of Jaeger-LeCoultre whilst adding some interesting variety to my collection. The two watches I’ve narrowed down to are: the Geophysic True Second in stainless steel and the Reverso Tribute to 1931. Of the two, which one would be the better pick?
Of course, I’m also open to hear your suggestion on watches from JLC that I’ve overlooked, which might better represent the brand. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance.
I’m currently looking to add a fourth watch to my collection and have my sights set on Jaeger LeCoultre. Right now, my collection consists of an Omega Speedmaster 105.003, a Rolex Datejust 1603 with a “Wide Boy” dial, and a Grand Seiko “Self-Dater” 57GS 5722-9990.
The three watches you have are all quite excellent choices — and I do mean excellent, but you don’t have anything in the realm of the Reverso by a long shot and, more than anything else by the company that I can think of, the Reverso really is the very essence of the French design sensibility and Swiss watchmaking expertise that makes Jaeger LeCoultre what it is.Given the watches that you already own, and given that you aspire to own a watch that “captures the spirit and essence of Jaeger LeCoultre,” I would strongly recommend the Tribute to 1931. This is not by any means a knock on the Geophysic True Second, which is an interesting watch in its own right, but the True Second is also a sports watch (or, shall we say, a pragmatically oriented semi-tool watch, if not a sports watch outright) and you’ve got sports and sort-of sports watches already.
I have scraped enough money together to buy the first piece in what will hopefully become, as time goes on, a large and diverse collection. I am deciding between the Nomos Orion (the standard version in 35mm) or the Grand Seiko SBGX059. Both are very clean, simple pieces with design languages that I love. Which one should I purchase? (Or should I save a bit more money to buy something higher on the horological food chain?)
The answer to the question, “should I save a bit more money to buy something higher on the horological food chain,” is, essentially, always yes. However, the reason that both Grand Seiko (as a matter of fact, let’s just go the distance and say Seiko, period) as well as NOMOS attract the sort of respect that they do, is because they appeal to connoisseurs irrespective of the cost involved. There are a very great many collectors who — by the grace of God, good luck, sheer industry, or good birth (or some combination thereof) — may enjoy horology without concerning themselves with questions of economy and a very great many of them (at least, the ones with actual taste) may wear one day a Patek repeater, the next day a Breguet perpetual, and the next day a Grand Seiko or NOMOS without feeling anything incongruous in the choice. As a first watch, a statement of personal taste, and a sound basis for future collecting, either watch will serve you well, and damned well at that.
The one thing I would say, however, is that if you can forego the pleasure of ownership for a bit, you might consider saving for a mechanical Grand Seiko rather than the 9F quartz — unless part of what attracts you to the quartz is what quartz means in the context of Seiko. The difference, if you are practicing economies, is not a small one, but I have to say, while I understand the intellectual appeal of the quartz Grand Seikos, it is the mechanical models that make me want to get out of bed in the morning — even at my age.
I was recently having a watch collection discussion with the husband of a friend of my wife. He’s a nice enough fellow, but I have to say I found him to be a bit of a bore from the start. Anyway, he chastised me for my Grand Seiko, so I didn’t even bother to show him my cheaper watches. And conversely, I found his collection to be so predictable that it left me unimpressed despite his many wonderful timepieces.
I mean, it’s one thing to have some expensive and iconic timepieces in your collection, but it’s another thing when it appears to me that you only own watches that wealthy “experts” tell you that you should own. For example, he had a Patek Calatrava, a Rolex Submariner, a Royal Oak, a Speedmaster, an Overseas, etc. Each a nice watch, but not one piece was something I would call unique or even slightly outside the box. If you only own a few watches, then fine, but he had 10-15 in his collection. In a way, I find that more pathetic than just completely bad taste.
I come from a lower middle class background and started wearing watches at a young age. Like many of my early station, Seikos were considered good, dependable watches that wouldn’t break the bank. So I started off collecting Seiko’s, among other watches. When I became wealthy later in life, I of course expanded my collection to include some fine and expensive Swiss, German, and Japanese watches — for instance, a Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle, a GO 1960’s, GS SBGA081, etc.
But I still love my old watches and also enjoy collecting watches of various price points, or modding Seiko’s and some of the fun microbrands made in China with good Japanese or Swiss movements, such as Helson and Halios. So on one hand I have watches that reflect my interest in, and respect for, the fine artistry of the Swiss tradition, and on the other hand I have watches that reflect my personality. I have no issue with someone who only owns expensive Swiss watches, but I like to see an occasional choice a bit outside the box or at least not completely predictable.
“In matters of taste, there can be no dispute” — an old saying and a good one. I understand quite what you mean by saying that the gentleman’s taste was fatally flawed by its predictability, and many are those who think themselves expert in horology who do the same thing: collect by rote and recipe with never an original thought in their heads. In cookery the analogy is the so called “foodie” who never deviates a jot or tittle from recommendations and recipes, and makes elaborate meals for their friends, entertaining lavishly, with all the right wines, carefully chosen, and at just the correct temperature in the correct glasses… and whose guests somehow never have any fun, because what the host is doing isn’t about enjoyment, it’s about avoiding mistakes.
In point of fact I have several guilty pleasures in collecting, some more guilt-inducing than others. One of my favorites, however, is my quite extensive collection of Mickey Mouse watches, which I started collecting long before bloody Dan Brown put one on the wrist of his protagonist in The Da Vinci Code, so there. It’s quite a large collection, and while there are some early mechanical models, it is in fact largely composed of quartz timepieces, including a gold-toned Laurus of which I’m rather fond. I wear them down to the pub rather more frequently than I would think many of my readers might imagine, and may God strike me down where I stand on the day when an old horological duffer like myself can’t get a kick out of Mickey and a pint of Guinness.