Sunday, January 3, 2016

Time Pieces

A couple of weeks ago I bought my first mechanical watch, a Sinn 556I. I wore cheap electronic watches in my teens and twenties and started going watchless after I got my first cell phone.

Why would one pay $1,000 for something like this? It's pretty. My mood improves when I look at beautiful things. The hour and minute markers, the hands, the Sinn logo and the leather strap are especially elegant.

The movement is Swiss, but the rest of the watch was made in Germany. It's heavier than you'd think from the pictures and very solidly-built - I love seeing stereotypes confirmed. Here's a video review.

The classiest-looking watch I know of that's cheaper than that is the Orient Bambino. It costs about $150.

The best-looking watches are completely out of my reach though. Here are some pictures of the Patek Philippe 5970:

It costs more than $140,000. Next is the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph for about $100,000:

Here's Vacheron Constantine's Malte Chronograph:

I know what you're thinking: get a fake. A few days ago I made the 10-minute trip from my job in downtown Manhattan to Canal Street, the Western hemisphere's epicenter of fake stuff. The Patek Philippes they sell are beyond terrible. If that was my budget, I would have done better with the Orient Bambino above.    

Here's a cool interview with a Swiss watch industry executive. The decor of his house is mind-boggling. Forget the Van Goghs, look at the chairs, the chandelier, the china in the cupboard. 

Back to reality, I also bought a new alarm clock last year. I got tired of my old electronic one and scoured the internet for a better-looking replacement. Everything looked terrible until I searched E-bay for vintage clocks. This is what I ended up buying:

It was made by a German company called Junghans in the 1950s and cost me $250. It's not as accurate as a smart phone and I have to wind it daily, but screw convenience. It's a beautiful thing. They literally don't make any better-looking alarms anymore. Most likely never will. And the old ones are breaking down all the time. Here are some pics of the Junghans clocks I passed on:


  1. TBH I much prefer the look of the Orient Bambino over that of the more expensive Sinn 556I. The alarm clock you got does look really good though.

    Complex mechanical timekeeping devices are probably the closest things to an ideal representation of European civilization.

  2. Seiko makes excellent affordable mechanical watches. I think Orient is actually owned by Seiko. Seiko watches start at about slightly more expensive than Orient. The Urban Gentry is a good Youtube channel on watches:

    1. Thanks. While researching watches before buying my Sinn I did see the Urban Gentry guy's videos.