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Curating the Collection – The Return of the Doxa SUB 300 Searambler -1970s Ugly Is Back

Doxa SUB 300 Searambler Dive Watch

For me, the Searambler is the weirdest Doxa of them all—less sporty than orange or black, and totally ready for bare chested-Dads of the 1970s. The Searambler is the watch for men who smoked cigarettes with their wetsuits tied around their waist as they discussed the next dive plan. The Searambler is the watch stuck in a drawer in a lakeside cabin in northern Michigan ready to be discovered by some yet-unborn great-grandchild who will hold it as a genuine antique, a lost family heirloom this great-grandchild may see on his great-grandfather’s wrist in a faded Kodachrome photograph in a shoe box. In this hypothetical photograph, grandad has a cigarette in one hand and the backside of his bikini-clad wife (that’s great grandma?!) in the other. Their carefree smiles and sun-burnt skin suggest a pre-apocalyptic moment when hope and happiness weren’t so rare—a mid-century moment when technology was still a good and simple, not some self-taught AI unleashed to consume its maker. The SUB 300 Searambler is a watch a man could wear while water-skiing without a life preserver, maybe even with a beer in one hand.

Hands-On – Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph

Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph 42mm Swiss Watch

I think it’s fair to say that any watch which replicates another instrument is a kind of gimmick. Dashboard watches come immediately to mind, as do more specific gauges like altimeters and speedometers, and even digital recreations of vintage video game consoles, and so on. Rarely do I find these gimmicks interesting or original, but the Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph is an exception to my general disregard for such timepieces.

Field Report – The Turtle That Crawled Through Chernobyl – A Destroyed Seiko 6309-7040

Seiko 6309-7040, The Turtle That Crawled Through Chernobyl

I take a look down at the Seiko 6309 Turtle, the lume long since faded. I turn the Seiko towards a window. I am almost in complete darkness, my camera seeing more than I can. The Seiko’s bezel indicates that my hour is almost up. I retrace my steps from empty room to empty room and find our fixer and our driver smoking cigarettes at the entrance to the hospital. 

Hands-On – Bremont Broadsword Recon 40mm Limited Edition Military Watch

Bremont Broadsword Recon Dirty Dozen Watch

One of the problems I often have with two-piece watch cases this thick is that the sides can be super boring or, as the kids say, “slab sided.” The 40mm Broadsword case is 11.9mm tall, which is the exact same height as Tudor’s Black Bay 58, a watch I don’t buy precisely because the thing is so “slab-sided.” (The new BB54 is better, I hear, but I digress.) The Broadsword case is simply not slab-sided. It’s actually quite elegant and interesting.

Hands-On – Nodus Sector GMT Watch

nodus sector gmt

The Sector GMT features a twenty-four-hour hand and scale in a clearly delineated sector on the dial. That scale is raised by a step and I was delighted by the legibility of the second time zone. This is in sharp contrast to the more common long GMT hand stretching to the bezel. I finally understood the sector design advantage. The chapter ring subtly breaks up the six AM/PM with a light blue that matches the GMT hand. It’s a remarkably legible design.

Hands-On – Nodus Sector Deep 39mm Left-Hand Drive (LHD) Dive Watch

nodus sector deep dive watch 39mm

I feel lost these days considering a dive watch costing $575. Seiko had been my benchmark; alas, no longer. As the 2020s roll on, Seiko divers have gone up in cost, if not quality, while random Chinese brands are making better Seikos for $179 than Seiko makes for $900. Now in the $500-range, we’ve got Bulova, Timex, Lorier, Vaer, Vero, Yema, Benrus, Vero, Boldr, Unimatic, Raven, and, yes, Nodus to choose from, among many others. At one time when suggesting a cheap diver, all you had to say was. “Just get an SKX007,” and now I feel like you need to lay out a massive road map and begin plotting a course through late capitalism itself.

Insight – The Watch Scene – Will The 2020s Be The Decade of Glitz?

Indeed, there is a bonafide luxury revival going on, a kind of fuck it moment born of what I won’t speculate too broadly, but I haven’t seen anything like it since the 1980s. Whatever down-to-earth aesthetic we had up until the 1980s was tossed aside as the hippies became yuppies, tax reforms favored the rich, and people like the previous president of the USA became (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) tastemakers. Maybe today’s glitz is his fault. Yes, I know he wears a Vacheron, but have you seen his toilet?

Hands-On – Moser Endeavor 42mm Perpetual Calendar Tantalum & Steel With Blue Fume Dial

Moser Perpetual Calendar Endeavor 42mm Tantalum Steel

I can’t think of another serious watch brand—Swiss, nonetheless—of which one can genuinely—that is, without Irony—say: Fucking brilliant, mate…really taking the piss. And it is certainly elevating my foul mood to be awash in thoughts of Moser on this shit morning. This is what I turn to watches for, exactly. I aspire to be as unlike the inhabitants of Hollywood as possible. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool East Coast Aesthete, high-minded and always a little angry at the world for not being as smart as I think I am. I enjoy the illusion that I am an independent thinker, and so when I see something like this Moser Perpetual Calendar awaiting judgment on my desk, I smile knowing that this watch is not going to insult my intelligence, and that it may even challenge it.

Collector Guide – Vacheron Constantin Reference 4073 Time-Only Sub-Seconds Calatrava-style Dress Watch (1940s -1960s) – Complete Information

Vacheron Constantin Reference 4073

The reference 4073 is effectively a second generation descendant of early Calatrava-style wrist watches from Vacheron Constantin. The first generation began to appear in the 1930s as the company began to work with Jaeger LeCoultre base movements in order to serially produce more modern wrist watches for a changing market. Those earlier references that predate the 4073 include the 2871 and a few models that are not clearly specified by reference numbers. The 4073 began production sometime in the early to mid 1940s.