Once again I find myself swooning over a watch that for me, just checks all the boxes. This Tudor Prince Oysterdate does just that. It’s the perfect size at 34mm, it’s understated, funky yet classy and has historical and horological significance.
Tudor was first created by Rolex in the 50’s to offer a more working class option for people wanting the brand recognition and style of Rolex but not wanting to fork over too much cash. The cases and bracelets on Rolex and Tudor watches are almost interchangeable as well as the quality of the dials and hands. The big difference is the movements, which on Rolexes, starting from that time, were made in-house, whereas the Tudor watches used ETA and sometimes AS movements. These are great movements that have stood the test of time but the quality is a little more industrial and a little less elegant.
The service went well and it was apparent by how dry the movement was, that it had been quite a while since it had seen another watchmakers touch. The movement is an ETA 2784 which is the older cousin to the famous ETA 2824. It is also a high beat movement ticking away at 28,800 bpms. The little differences are in the setting mechanism and the calendar works which have noticeably been upgraded to a more “watchmaker friendly” set-up. The 2824 has fewer little springs to deal with that sometimes find their way into the abyss…
The bracelet is a beautiful folded linked Oyster dating from the late 1960’s. You can read about this interesting history of these bracelets in this nice article from Hodinkee.
I would’ve loved to have polished the case and bracelet up but I didn’t upon the request from the customer. This one definitely shows its age but I can understand wanting to keep those memories intact. When I was reassembling the bracelet, I realized that I hadn’t recorded the exact size that the bracelet was set. This was an easy problem to solve as the worn out parts of the bracelet were exposed leaving the untouched parts underneath the clasp. This made it easy to determine the original sizing.
Now where to begin with this one? As a watchmaker, there are times when I feel this little tingle of joy when a rare and valuable watch comes across my desk. I also feel grateful to the owners of these treasured objects for entrusting me to give their watches the care that is needed.
This puppy is a family heirloom and checked all the boxes for me. I dream of owning many watches, many that are way out of my budget, and this one is on the top of that pile. Oh the stories they could tell. If you want to learn more about this reference, check out this similar watch that was featured on A Collected Man
The watch was no longer winding and the crystal was quite scratched. I opened her up and discovered no evidence that the watch had ever been serviced. Watches of this vintage, usually have service marks scratched on the inside of the case-back. The markings rarely give any real information, sometimes a date, but usually it’s just a signature of sorts. There were no such markings, and the movement was almost brand new, except for the dried out lubricant and dirt that had collected over time. I was confident that once I popped in a new main-spring and serviced the movement, it would work great without the need for any serious repairs or adjustment. I was right, once I cleaned it up and put all the parts in place, It came alive like Encino-man. I cased her up, polished up the crystal, and that was that.
A highlight for me was the opportunity I had to make a custom leather strap for it. The owner wanted a fresh vibe and called on my leather crafting skills to add some vintage spirit. We decided the veg-tan with matching brown stitching would be the right fit. I think it turned out pretty nice. Over time, this strap will get that sweet sweet patina.
Sometimes, when I have to give back such a great watch, this song goes through my head.
Yes, I’ll admit that when I started in watchmaking I was all like “If it ain’t swiss it ain’t nothing!” I am so glad that I’ve come around and seen the huge contribution to watchmaking that Seiko has given. As well as the very cool style offerings and customization that really puts their customers first, instead of some arbitrary ideal.
Now this is a unique story in the world of watch repair. However, I feel that over the next few years, this type of anecdote may not be such a rare occurrence. The world of counterfeit and fake watches is a billion dollar a year industry, and it is positioning itself as a very real competitor for those established and historic watch brands. In some cases, such as this, the established brand shoots itself in the foot by producing a sub-quality product under an assumed standard and the counterfeiters have no choice but to out-perform.
Now, I waited to showcase this watch not because it’s #10 but really, because it’s #1. This is the watch I “go to” when I want to wear a watch but have nowhere “to go”. The conversation among watch lovers is that we all dream of the One watch and most of us never really find it, no matter how much we spend or how long we look. There’s always another one waiting down the road (this opens up a conversation about the expectations we have on material things to bring us joy. I’ll save that for another blog entry). This watch for me will always be a one of a kind and cherished keepsake, not just because its rad, but because I had the honour of being part of its conception, development and manufacturing. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
This watch is now up for sale. Come visit my For Sale page for more info
It’s no secret that I love chronographs. It’s the one complication that I just can’t get enough of. There are countless variants and approaches and I love the beauty and complexity of the differing systems of levers and springs. I’m amazed at how many different styles and types of chronographs are out there. All doing a similar function of timing something. Column wheels and vertical clutches, cam systems and automatic integration. It’s poetry really.
Some watches you just gotta have while others grow on you. Some you regret buying and others you could never afford. Some watches don’t make an impact but others define you. But can a watch take you hostage? That’s exactly what this Vulcain Chronograph did to me.
This 1969 Omega Cosmic is the watch I wore when I got married two summers ago. Now, being a watchmaker, the choice of which watch to wear for such an important day comes with an added pressure. It’s gotta be technically advanced and socially interesting. It has to have some of my own DNA in it as well as a fresh perspective. It needs to look amazing and it needs a good story. Check!
Finding yourself interested in watches has many roads. For me, it was a mechanical route as I first caught the bug from seeing a movement in an old Omega pocket watch. For some, it’s a combination of influences like style, history, and just plain coolness. It’s always an interesting conversation when someone new to the hobby questions why one watch is very expensive and a watch that seems identical or similar, is drastically cheaper. This is a question that I still can’t answer. Yes, quality in many instances, is dramatically different, but sometimes the reason cannot be rationalized. We all know that more than not, the brand on the dial is the most valuable thing.
Now it may appear that I am a big Bulova fan here, being that my third watch is yet another Bulova. Well, I guess you’d be correct as there are a few other vintage Bulovas that I also have my eye on. At the moment though, my collection is capped at 2.