March Mania Preliminary Eight: Bert — Casio, Grönefeld, Rolex, Seiko, And More…
Welcome, one and all, to the preliminary round of March Mania 2021, here on Fratello. Are you a watch maniac like we are? If so, you’re sure to love our month-long feature. 96 watches reviewed last year line up for a battle royale like nothing that’s gone before. We need your votes. We want your comments. Help us decide the champion and share in its glory! Let the games commence…
In this round, your task is simple: vote for your favorite watch. Below you will find a selection of 12 timepieces that we covered here on Fratello throughout 2020. Why not refresh your memory by clicking the links and reading those eruditely penned odes to wrist-wear? Once you’ve made your selection, vote using the poll form below. Every vote counts because only the top eight will make it through to the next round.
Login to your Fratello account and drop us a comment. Who did you vote for and why? What’s your prediction for the later rounds? Will the Omega Speedmaster 321 triumph once again… Who knows? You decide!
Seiko Prospex SLA039
What a great way to kick off my March Mania list with a recreation of a vintage monobloc diver. This watch brought Seiko into the professional diving category. It is made from a material labeled as “Ever-Brilliant steel” — a term for the world’s most corrosion-resistant steel. The combination of a blue sunburst dial and black bezel simply looks great combined with the matching blue silicone strap with a pyramid structure. It does come at a significant price, though. Whether it’s worth it or not is something only you can decide.
Rolex Submariner 116610
If you need a crown on the wrist, it’s got to be in the shape of the Submariner. Few watches can say they stood the test of time better than the Rolex Submariner. In the 68 years of its existence, it has only gotten better. It is one of the very few watches that I can wear 24/7, which pretty much says it all. This reference was recently discontinued and replaced by a newer model. The update has its fans, but, to me, the 116610 is among the best dive watches out there.
Oris Big Crown Bronze
It was Genta who first designed a watch in bronze and when he does something, you know it will be a success. Although his designs have been copied a lot, the use of bronze took a while to make its mark on the watch industry. Nowadays, however, it looks here to stay. Although bronze isn’t to everyone’s liking, its quick aging gives each bronze watch its own unique look. Combined with the stunning design of the pointer date and the deep red oxblood colored dial, the Oris Big Crown Bronze is my choice for a bronze watch.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Lumen
What can I say? Something I’ve considered multiple times was selling some watches from my collection in exchange for a Lange Datograph. It is one of the most amazing high-end chronographs out there in my book — especially the Datograph Lumen with the up-down indicator. The combination of classic looks with a sporty-sized case and modern materials like a sapphire dial and all that stunning lume. While I usually don’t like power reserve indicators, on the Datograph it is the cherry on top. Unfortunately, this watch remains part of the “out of my league” category.
Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday 1
Choosing this watch can’t be a surprise for those who know me. You will find this on my wrist most of the time in combination with the 1171 bracelet. It is special for many reasons and wearable on pretty much any occasion. With the inverted panda dial, you get a lot of contrast on the wrist and the radial dial is the closest you can get to the Speedmasters worn on the moon.
Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000D-1ER
Watches don’t always have to come with a hefty price tag and there is nothing wrong with digital either. Hence I’ve bought a handful of G-Shocks over the years. Most recently, I bought the stainless square and instantly realized that this is possibly the best square G-Shock ever. However much I like the standard G-Shocks, the resin straps usually keep me from wearing them for long periods. The bracelet on the GMW-B5000D-1ER completely changed that. It is incredibly comfortable and easy to adjust without hassle.
Omega Speedmaster 345.0802
Everybody needs a bit of gold over forty (or earlier, even). And how much better does it get when it is in the shape of a Speedmaster? Ever since the Omega Speedmaster 345.0802 crossed my path, it’s been one of my favorite watches. Considering this watch is rather rare (only around 300 pieces have been made, plus 20 in white gold), it spends most of its time in my safety deposit box. Yet whenever I have it on my wrist it brings the biggest smile to my face and, at the end of the day, that is what watches are meant for.
Back in the day, this brand was known for being the poor man’s Rolex. However, marketers have done a great job creating a great collection of watches and carving Tudor its own niche in the industry. The Black Bay models are immensely popular but I can’t get used to combination of snowflake hands and round hour markers. That’s why I bought the Tudor Pelagos some years ago. The original design of this diver with its true snowflake look makes it a great choice in my book. Add the lightweight titanium case and you barely notice this watch on the wrist.
Breitling Aerospace (E79362)
Another digital watch and also in titanium from my collection — the Breitling Aerospace E79362 in a rather special execution. Although there are many of these watches out there, this one came from an RAF member. It features a special engraving on the case back and a squadron logo and aircraft on the front. It combines the great looks of a mechanical watch with the functionality of a digital one. Also, it possibly has one of the most affordable minute-repeater functions for the wrist.
Grönefeld 1941 Principia
Made in Holland by the Grönefeld brothers, this brand specializes in high-end watches with immaculately finished stainless steel bridges in its movements. The Grönefeld 1941 Principia is the brand’s entry-level watch, which comes with the same level of finishing as its more complicated siblings. It still commands a hefty price tag but it is easy to wear and humble on the wrist. Overall, this watch features a great design with an impeccable quality from a family with a Dutch history in watchmaking.
Seiko Prospex SNR045
Another Seiko diver and one of five divers on my list, even. This shows my interest in dive watches in general. Not because you can find me below the surface regularly but merely because they are robust and no-nonsense watches, capable of handling every situation. While saying that, I am aware that this is the least no-nonsense diver on this list. The combination of brushed and polished surfaces and the colorful and textured dial make it a special piece for the wrist. Despite being limited, you can find them for reasonable pre-owned prices also.
Omega Seamaster 2531.80
Despite how much I’ve loved this Omega watch over the years, my true admiration for it has always been tempered by its bracelet. That was always easy to overcome by wearing it on something different which I always did, but I’ve learned to appreciate its true form and have started wearing it in its full beauty. It is such a great watch with the helium escape valve in that odd location just over 10 o’clock. And the best thing is that you can still find them for reasonable prices, unlike the Rolex Submariner. This one is definitely worth a look when you’re in the market for a reliable and affordable dive watch.