It’s been a while since we’ve done an editor’s list, and this is one I’ve been pretty excited about compiling, especially considering the last list was about our favorite additions to our collection in 2018. I often get asked what is my favorite watch or most expensive watch, but it’s actually not too often that I’m asked about my first “nice” or “expensive” watch. When asking the aBlogtoWatch team about theirs, I intentionally kept it a little vague and open to interpretation by choosing those words rather than adding the “mechanical” caveat.
I love the range of answers, which go from usual suspects like Seiko and Tudor to some independents, to two very different Omega Speedmasters. And, yes, there is a fashion brand watch (not spoiling it, you need to read the article). So, without further ado, here is the aBlogtoWatch Editor’s list of our first nice watches.
Of course, now I’m more interested in hearing from you all, so share your “first nice watch” story (and photo, if possible) in the comments.
ARIEL ADAMS: TEMPTION CGK203
I’m not really sure what was the first nice watch I got, but I have a good story:
By the time I bought my first over-$1,000 watch online, I’d gotten my feet thoroughly wet, having amassed a lot of experience purchasing watches sight-unseen via the Internet. Without that comfort level, I’m not sure it would have been so easy to acquire an extremely uncommon timepiece that I’d never actually seen before in person — especially for a sum that rocked my bank account at the time. The first nice watch that I purchased for myself was already several years old when I got it, but was clearly taken care of by someone like me who really babied their timepieces. The watch was the German-made Temption CGK203 and, since then, I’ve added at least two other Temption watches to my collection.
The Temption CGK203 was also the very first watch I reviewed on aBlogtoWatch, which started a legacy that today includes hundreds of published watch reviews on the site. If given the opportunity again, I would not hesitate to buy that Temption watch, and I continue to cherish it as a prize in my larger watch collection.
ZACH PIÑA: TUDOR PELAGOS
I once swore I’d never spend more than $500 on a watch. That number would eventually creep up to $2000, where it responsibly held strong for several years as my collection expanded and contracted with various dive watches — until the original ETA-based Tudor Pelagos was released. Strikingly simple in its austere, monochromatic presentation, but bristling with subtle details and marked capability, I was hooked. But it wasn’t available in the United States at the time — and as many collectors know, we tend to want what we can’t have, and I had to have one. After nearly a month, hunting the forums stalking various international dealers led to a fellow American forum member who was awaiting the delivery of one that he’d imported from a dealer in Italy.
If he didn’t like the watch, he promised he’d turn around and re-sell it to me for what he paid (a generous offer indeed, considering the Pelagos was trading above MSRP at the time, due to its relative scarcity). Sure enough, after another agonizing week of waiting, he announced that the watch was too big for him, and was ready for a new, permanent home. It landed on my doorstep a few days later, with all stickers intact, warranty card stamped from a small mom-and-pop jeweler in the South of Italy, and the rest is history. It’s since been all over the world with me and remains the only automatic watch I’ve ever owned long enough to service. Someday, I hope to pass it on to a loved one as a genuine totem of a life well lived. And isn’t what all this is really about?
DAVID BREDAN: EMPORIO ARMANI AR5332
By my own standards, my first properly expensive watch purchase was the Emporio Armani AR5332. That’s right. I knew nothing much at all about watches, but because I’d paid around $180 for it, I thought that was certainly more than expensive enough to merit an automatic movement. And so, for the first few months of ownership, I wore the watch everywhere, thinking to myself “How cool is that, that it’s wound from the movement of my arm?” Needless to say, it was quartz, and it had the matching ticking seconds hand to go with it. It’s a good thing I didn’t advertise this belief of mine but was only telling it to myself! Ha!
Still, I loved that watch — I even love it today. It was decently proportioned, had plenty of depth and nice enough variation between its silver surfaces to its dial, nice, layered lugs and variety of surface treatments. Although the brand wasn’t, the watch itself still seems to have been a tasteful choice.
RUSSELL NANNEY: SEIKO MARINEMASTER 300 SBDX001
Like many of you, I’m sure, when I was first getting into watches, I was drawn toward Seiko (still am, to be fair). I started with an SKX and acquired a few other Prospex watches along the way, but for a few years, the watch that sat atop the throne of “ultimate watch” in my book was the MarineMaster 300 SBDX001. At the time, the MSRP of the watch seemed totally out of my range, so I relished myself to admiring it from afar. As luck would have it, a local friend & watch enthusiast picked one up for a great deal and ended up passing it onto me. I wore that SBDX001 nearly every day for at least 12-18 months, at which point Seiko had announced the SBDX017, which improved upon the 001 in a few ways with upgraded lume, diashield coating, etc. So, naturally, I sold off the 001 and upgraded to the 017, which I still have today.
While I now have watches that I would consider to be of higher quality, and while the MM300 doesn’t get worn as much these days, this watch has a really special place in my heart. The design still captures my eye every time I pull it out of the watch box, and it represents a really great quality for the price point. Seiko has once again upgraded the MM300 design, finally adding ceramic and sapphire into the mix, but I think the 017 will be sticking with me for a long time to come.
KENNY YEO: PANERAI LUMINOR 1950 3 DAYS PAM 372
My first big purchase was a Panerai. In fact, it’s a Luminor 1950 3 Days PAM 372, and I reviewed it on the site not long after getting it. I still have it today, and I have amassed a small pile of straps for it. This is a bonafide strap monster. Interestingly, I had my eyes set on the 372’s sibling — the PAM 422 — but after heading to the boutique and seeing the two in the flesh, the 372 won out easily. There’s just something magical about its plexiglass crystal and the way it makes the dial look and feel. It was also this experience that informed one of my watch-buying rules: always see the watch in the metal before deciding.