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TRIBE Member
I'm in the market for a new watch soon and could use some recommendations.

Budget: $6-8k

My brother is pushing for me to get a Rolex Submariner which I do like but I'm looking for something a little classier that pairs nicely with suits for both formal events and eventually for work.

I would ideally like a watch that has a leather strap but I want the option to swap it out for the stainless steel/metal for the times I want to swim with it, etc.

I admire Omega watches but I find them too sporty to suit formal occasions.

I used to like Panerai's but they seem to be extremely common, possibly because of how many fakes there are out there.

So far, I'm eyeing the Calibre de Cartier

About $6g's on Amazon

Can anyone recommend a similar style to this, or tell me why this one might not be a good choice?


Staff member
Baselworld, Where the Watch Is Still the Greatest Gadget


Basel, Switzerland — “Are you wearing a Fifty Fathoms?”

Scrubbed of his cat-whisker greasepaint, Eric Singer, the drummer for Kiss, sounded as intrigued as an entomologist spotting a rainbow stag beetle in a jungle in New Guinea. He peered over his gradient sunglasses at what he mistook for a Blancpain diver’s watch poking from the sleeve of a reporter who had joined him in a roped-off V.I.P. lounge at the Hublot booth at the Baselworld watch fair earlier this month.

He corrected himself after a closer look: “Oh no, it’s a Sub” — a Rolex Submariner. The drummer, whose collection has some 200 fine watches, pursed his lips, thought for a moment, then nodded in approval. “That’s cool. It’s a classic. Never goes out of style. Been copied by everybody.”

In any other setting, it might seem forward, perhaps even rude, to pass judgment on the make, provenance or price of a stranger’s wristwatch.

At Baselworld, the giant watch fair held in this Swiss city about an hour’s train ride from Zurich, it is simply how you say hello.

For one week in March, this glittering watch and jewelry show (which ran March 19 to 26), attracts 150,000 industry insiders, collectors and fans, emerging from the digital mists of the 21st century like Brigadoon. It is a village unto itself with its own language, values and celebrities.

And a curious village it is. In an iPhone-toting era, where millions go out in public every day flaunting naked wrists, this is one corner of the globe where the wristwatch — that centuries-old feat of micro-engineering once considered as obsolete as the rotary phone — is the only personal productivity device, status symbol and idea on earth that seems to matter.

That certainly seemed to be the case for Mr. Singer, whose passions were stoked in childhood by his father’s rectangular Jaeger-LeCoultre triple calendar moonphase. Clad in black, with a giant Gothic silver cross around his neck, the 58-year-old heir to Peter Criss’s drum stool may not look like a garden-variety watch geek.

But he had something in common with the armies of middle-aged watch professionals roaming the vast exhibition halls in tailored suits: Technically, he was here on business (a private gig for Hublot). But he was really here for love.

“I come,” he said, “because I’m a watch fanatic.”

To an outsider, such unbridled enthusiasm for watches may seem at odds with the current business climate. The vast Chinese market has cooled. The Swiss franc has surged, complicating the export picture.

And, as you may have heard, a certain maker of laptops in Cupertino, Calif., has decided to enter the business, posing the biggest potential disruption since the advent of quartz in the 1970s and ’80s.

But Baselworld hums to its own rhythms. Nothing, not even Apple, the mostly highly valued company on earth, was going to spoil this party.

“This is the Oscars: high octane, money,” said Robert Johnston, the style director for British GQ, which gave a lavish party at the neo-Gothic Elisabethenkirche at the center of town. “I remember the first time I came to Basel, you’re not prepared for the power of the brands, the money they spend. They have stands in the exhibition hall which are grander than most of the stores on Madison Avenue.”

The Graff Diamonds booth in the main hall was just one glittering example. Its entrance flanked by Heidi Klum look-alikes in evening gowns, the vaulting space made a perfect stage for, say, a member of the House of Saud, to inspect the new Diamond MasterGraff Structural Tourbillon Skeleton model, price available on request.

The floors were inlaid with Verde Assoluto marble, the walls paneled with rich American walnut. A giant Bohemia crystal chandelier, fashioned from handblown gold-, copper- and bronze-color glass, dangled from a 23-foot ceiling, above a bar where a white-jacketed server offered free Delaire Graff Sunrise Brut champagne.

That air of megalomania echoed throughout the vast Hall 1, which is more than four football fields in length, with three hangar-like stories filled with lavish booths for seemingly every watch brand in existence. Rolex was there. So was the Timex Group. Imagine a corner Tourneau store blown up to the size of the Superdome.

The atmosphere in the hall (not to mention the heavily male demographic) recalled a Saints playoff game, too.

Giant LED marquees pulsed and flickered. Leggy models in skimpy metallic dresses beamed frozen smiles near the turnstiles, as a black-coated drum corps marched past, pounding out deafening cadences.

Needless to say, if you make timepieces, it was the place to be.

Boundary-pushing independents that represent the couture of the wristwatch world were there. (The avant-garde MB & F HM6 Space Pirate, with its five bubblelike domes and bathyscaphe-inflected design, looks ready to explore the Mariana Trench; it retails for more than $200,000.)

So, too, were celebrities looking for a little brand extension. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a noted watch aficionado, stared down a phalanx of selfie-seeking fans to show off his new line of Terminator-macho watches which, at 52 mm in width, could double as dinner plates.

Will.i.am, of Black Eyed Peas fame, made an appearance in a black ska hat to show off a prototype of his new smartband with Gucci, which he christened the “dopest” entrance into the sizzling smartwatch category.

And the horological exuberance did not end at sunset.

On Thursday night of Baselworld, the hundreds of guests who turned out for Breitling’s Basel Bangkok party were greeted by a platoon of Teutonic drag queens as tall as N.B.A. power forwards, who led them into double-decker buses that deposited them at a hulking factory space on the banks of the Rhine that had been converted for this night into Patpong district as reimagined by Steve Wynn.

Models in gilded miniskirts roved through the crowd, swaying their arms like narcotized dervishes in something approximating “dance,” past Disney-esque recreations of galvanized-steel sidewalk stands, where vendors dished out crispy aromatic duck, dumplings and ice-cold Singha beers. High overhead on an iron catwalk, dancers obeying the actual laws of choreography Bob Fossed their way through production numbers worthy of the Academy Awards.

In the upstairs lounge, meanwhile, a model wearing not much more than a lotus in her hair performed a ritualized “massage” on an even more scantily-clad model lying face down on a table on a platform with gold columns and a tent roof, meant to look like a not-exactly-therapeutic massage parlor

“Like an establishing shot for ‘Blade Runner,’ ” one attendee wrote approvingly on Instagram.

One might say that this was a lot of Las Vegas glitz for a trade show devoted to timepieces, particularly one where the real substance of the daytime activities consisted of private silk-glove viewings by buyers, collectors and journalists behind closed doors. These were the runway shows of Baselworld, except that most were as hushed and uptight as a high-stakes poker game.

In a sense, the real business gets done after hours, at settings like the parquet-floored bar at the opulent Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, a 19th-century gem near the center of town. That’s where relationships are cemented, deals are done.

After a private Patek Philippe dinner on Friday, the assembled power brokers retreated to the bar, which by 11 p.m. resembled a Basel equivalent of Studio 54.

No, the Governator was nowhere in sight, nor Will.i.am. But they were not missed. Celebrity means something different at Baselworld. A “star” in this setting is more like Stephen Forsey, a founder of the ultra-high-end watchmaker Greubel Forsey, who was seated at a corner table overlooking the Rhine, chatting with Benjamin Clymer, the editor of the influential New York-based watch site Hodinkee.

Actually, the star of the evening was poking out of Mr. Forsey’s shirt sleeve: a masterpiece of his own creation called the Quadruple Tourbillon Secret, in red gold, which took almost a year of man-hours to make.

A tourbillon, for the uninitiated, is a tiny rotating mechanical cage that helps a watch fight the effects of gravity. A virtuoso feat of micro-engineering, a tourbillon is a prized “complication” (watch-speak for mechanical function).

Many watches with a tourbillon cost more than $100,000. Four? That is like dropping a quartet of V12 engines into a single Lamborghini, which, in fact, might be cheaper, given that this particular Greubel Forsey creation retails for $815,000.

Mr. Forsey admitted there were few settings on earth that require four gravity-fighting tourbillons. A stroll on Jupiter, perhaps? “We’re waiting for that out-of-atmosphere experience,” Mr. Forsey joked.

On this planet, of course, most Earthlings would find it difficult to imagine spending close to seven figures on a stand-in for their Casio G-Shock, even if they had eight figures in the bank. Isn’t that like investing in a diamond-encrusted blender?

But at that level of watch lust, showing off is not the point.

“I know people with six-figure watch collections that drive a Toyota,” said Mr. Clymer, 32. It is the same with his understated, yet rare Philippe Dufour, in which virtually every part is handmade. “There is a tiny percentage of the world’s population that would even know what they are or how much they cost if they saw them,” he said. “A true watch lover buys for himself.”

Talk of tourbillons and minute-repeaters may have animated the true believers in Basel, but silicon-based technology — the potential, the threat — grabbed headlines.

TAG Heuer, for example, made the biggest public-relations splash of the week by announcing a forthcoming smartwatch collaboration with Google and Intel, the industry’s most obvious parry to Apple yet.

But even at the TAG party, held at SUD Basel, a nightclub converted from an old brewery, it wasn’t Silicon Valley futurism that seemed to animate the assembled as they munched on limoncello-marinated salmon squares and sipped Moët.

“My taste in watches stopped maturing in 1972,” joked Jack Forster, the dandyish 52-year-old United States editor of Revolution, a quarterly magazine for collectors, as David Guetta’s “Dangerous” pounded overheard. “You could go broke making watches for guys with tastes like mine, and many companies have.”

Looking retro-chic in a tailored blue blazer, pocket square and black vintage Pumas, he began an impromptu manifesto that might as well have been chiseled in marble above the entrance to Hall 1.

“Guys like machines,” he said, then elaborated: “We like machines because we can relate to them kinesthetically. There’s something about force being transmitted through gears that we can relate to on a physical level. With watches, we feel that there is something in some inexplicable way alive about them, in a way that electronics are not.”

And that’s the problem with any battery-powered time keeper, be it quartz watch or smartwatch: “The minute you put it on your wrist,” Mr. Forster said, “it starts to die.”

International New York Times
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Staff member
The thing that gets me, is you buy the Space Pirate watch for $200,000 you get a leather strap. should't it be made of some form of precious metal? Metal would look better on a weird pacey watch like that anyway...


TRIBE Member
Just wanted to thank this great thread for showing me a watch I actually wanted! After a few years of consideration I finally pulled the trigger on an IWC and couldn't be happier