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 lounge 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!

G2’s Preliminary Round Picks

Omega March Mania

Omega Speedmaster Professional Hesalite / 3570.50 / 2006

My first real watch, love. A watch that shaped the rest of my professional life. That, once in a sudden, didn’t feel like work anymore. The Speedmaster is a watch that belongs in every watch collector’s closet. Just like a few others on my list. You should know the feeling of owning and wearing an Omega Speedmaster Professional at least once in your horological life.

G-Shock March Mania

G-Shock Square / GW-5000-1 / 2011

An iconic masterpiece from Japan. At the beginning of the eighties — of the last century — many Western watch brands still didn’t see the thread. The Casio G-Shock is a perfect example of what the East was able to, while Switzerland was sleeping. In a time when watches still were delicate timekeepers, Kikuo Ibe managed to make a watch that could withstand being dropped from 10 meters, was waterproof to 100 meters — which quickly became 200 meters — and had a battery that lasts 10 years. This kind of INNOVATION is written in capitals. The G-Shock GW-5000-1 is currently the most significant offspring of the original G-Shock.

Seiko March Mania

Seiko Darth Tuna / SBBN011 / 2008

Another important innovation from Japan. A diver’s watch that’s suitable for saturation diving, using materials that were pretty unheard of at the time of introduction (1976). The iconic tuna-can shape proved to be an important side-effect and is still unmatched. My nr. 3 in this preliminary round is a neo-vintage version of the first quartz Tuna, the Darth Tuna SBBN011.

Rolex March Mania

Rolex Air-King / 116900 / 2019

I always liked the Rolex Air-King, just like I like most watches with a simple appearance. Three hands, no date — clean and functional. But it always made me wonder why Rolex chose mediocre anti-magnetic and shock-resistant specifications for a watch that seems to be aimed at aviation use. With reference 116900, that changed drastically. The specifications of this model — without Rolex making notice of it — are equal to the Milgauss. But now there’s something else that bothers; the simple appearance is totally gone. Still, and probably because it’s such an odd-ball, I like the Rolex Air-King 116900, and that’s why it makes it to the March Mania preliminaries.

Sinn March Mania

Sinn 142.St/142.010/2005

The Sinn 142 became famous because astronauts had used it. Its ancestor, the Sinn 140, was thought to be the first automatic chronograph in Space when German astronaut Reinhard Furrer wore it during the Spacelab D1 mission in 1985. In 2007, however, that changed. It was then established that US Air Force Col. William Pogue wore an automatic Seiko 6139-6002 chronograph during the NASA Skylab 4 mission in 1973. Anyhow, the Sinn 142.St was my second chronograph love — after the Omega Speedmaster Professional — and therefore deserves to be in this round.

Rolex March Mania

Rolex Day-Date / 1803 / 1967

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many times again. No way any watch aficionado can do without a Rolex Day-Date at some point. And if you, like me, aren’t always fond of the modern Rolex style — or price level — a vintage Day-Date will be the solution. Even on a NATO-strap that some consider sacrilege, it will convince. In the preliminaries, here’s a 54 years old reference 1803. Originally sold by the Rolex distributor in Madrid, Spain, directly to an ‘important customer’ in Latin-America.

Patek Philippe March Mania

Patek Philippe Nautilus / 3700 / 1978

How to talk about Heavy-Weight Hot-Shots and not including the original Patek Philippe Nautilus, reference 3700? Impossible. So here it is in my March Mania preliminary round. The Nautilus how it was meant; slim, sleek, without a seconds-hand. It’s a sports watch without being a sports watch, and its 43 years of age just shows that it was so right. Born in Switzerland, this Nautilus was raised in The Hague, Netherlands, where it still resides.

Breitling March Mania

Breitling Aerospace / F5606 / 1994

One of the guilty pleasures. A quartz watch with an ana-digital display in titanium and gold. How wrong can you go? But there’s something in the Breitling Aerospace that triggers interest. Utterly readable, it fits like a charm and is — or at least was — worn by airline pilots all over the world. This one for March Mania is from a time that professionals wore Breitling instead of a bunch of artificial surfing influencers. Instantly recognizable, and — see the age of the Breitling Aerospace here in the prelims — reliable as well.

King Seiko March Mania

King Seiko / 4502-7001 / 1970

A perfect example coming from Taro Tanaka’s Grammar of Design school. Defined in the sixties, that design code brought this utterly attractive hand-wound watch in 1970. A huge step-up for Seiko that in that time tried to leave their regular, reliable but not too exciting, movements behind by having two factories compete. History learns that, in the end, it was Grand Seiko that survived. Although both King Seiko and Grand Seiko weren’t present on the international scene for years, from 2010 onwards, Grand Seiko was chosen to lift Seiko’s image. Now making King Seiko the neglected child, but not making it less attractive nor effective.

Zenith March Mania

Zenith DEFY Classic / 95.9000.670/51.M9000 / 2019

What is it with Zenith? Just like, for instance, Girard-Perregaux, they always have a hard time finding their audience. Yet, product-wise — specifically movements-wise — they’re so good and interesting. As visible in the picture, the current Zenith DEFY Classic is a multi-faceted player. Probably not for everyone, but the titanium makes it feel and wear extremely comfortable. Zenith’s skeletonized, and of course, an in-house movement is a pleasure to look at and performs very well. All ‘n all, a player that does deserve more attention than it gets.

Ianos March Mania

Ianos Avyssos / IA02 / 2019

The Ianos Avyssos diver’s watch has a relation to Symian sponge divers. Those are ancient Greek, brave sponge divers before scuba diving was even invented. Add this bravery to the fact that Ianos is taken from the God Janus, the god of beginnings and ends, gates, doorways, passages, transitions, duality, and time, and it’ll be clear why the Ianos Avyssos belongs in the March Mania Preliminaries. Besides all the inspiration from ancient Gods and Greek sponge-diver history, I’m glad the Ianos Avyssos is a perfect watch. I’m sure you’ll rather choose a good watch than a good story.

Eterna March Mania

Eterna KonTiki Bronze Manufacture / 1291 / 2017

Eterna produced this limited edition of the KonTiki divers watch in 2017 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s legendary KonTiki expedition. The use of bronze has a long nautical history. For centuries, ships have relied on this metal alloy for its strength and resistance to corrosion. But for Eterna, it was the very first time that they made a watch out of bronze. But in March Mania, a first-timer deserves a place as well, so I offered that place to this Eterna KonTiki Limited Edition.

Hamilton Banner

So now it’s over to you! We want your votes but we also want to hear your thoughts. Better still, by sharing them with us, you’ll put yourself in the running to win either a LIC leather watch strap or (drum roll, please), the HAMILTON INTRA-MATIC AUTO CHRONO. Yes, that’s right, as Karina detailed in her post, we will be giving away one of Hamilton’s most popular models for one lucky commenter. How do you win? Comment on the March Mania tournament as often as you can, engaging with other readers, helping to create a happy community atmosphere. The best contribution will be handsomely rewarded, so what are you waiting for? Let your voice be heard!

March Mania: Preliminary Round THREE

    The top eight progress to the first round proper