Three Overrated Modern Watches (And Their Alternatives) — Rolex, Patek, And More
Sometimes it’s just fun to be grouchy! Who doesn’t love a good whine session every so often? Well, that’s me, and today, I’m going to talk about three popular modern watches that I simply don’t “get.” However, I will bring solutions…
We now live in an age where there are luxury products that seemingly everyone has to have. No, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill “newest” iPhones or the latest Air Jordan sneakers. Instead, these are some mega pricey objects and many are watches. Here’s the thing, though, as a watch lover, I just don’t get some of these watches. Every watch I’ll show you today is undeniably nice, but the secondary prices have the aroma of tulips if you know what I mean. Like I always say in my other life, though, don’t bring complaints if you aren’t bringing solutions. So, I’ll do exactly that and suggest some options to either blow the same amount of money or, whoa, save some. Time to kvetch!
The Rolex Submariner 116610LV “Hulk”
Sorry folks, when it comes to silly prices on popular modern watches, the Hulk is the poster child of ridiculousness. Yes, I am a traditionalist and, therefore, I like my Subs sans date and Henry Ford style. This means that I’d take a Submariner in any color as long as it’s black. Now, the Submariner 116610LV does look ok in certain lighting. I especially enjoy it when the lights are off at midnight. To me, this watch is gimmicky and borderline cheesy.
Ah, “but Rolex was doing green well before the others caught on,” you say in a snide hipster voice. Green is the brand color, indie rockers, so I don’t think this had anything to do with clairvoyance. Anyhow, the Hulk smashed its way out of the catalog in favor of a new watch with a cringe-worthy nickname (the Starbucks) and, as a result, prices are silly. Figure on something around 20 grand for one of these silly Submariners from your friendly neighborhood huckster.
Or you could buy: If you’re jonesing for a Rolex dive watch with a date window, why not turn your attention to just about any Sea-Dweller? For whatever reason, the Sea-Dweller rarely makes it onto the shortlist of popular modern watches, but I think that will change at some point. Granted, recent models are also luxury goods with a strong case of overkill. Still, I like the fact that these watches are pretty focused, but they still give the wearer all the Submariner design characteristics.
Grab a decent 16660 “transitional” (head to this informative article for some history) and take comfort that you’re buying a bit of an heirloom with some neat history. Whip that baby out at your next Williamsburg GTG at the local whiskey/mezcal/Tinto sherry speakeasy and watch your compatriots turn “green” with envy.
The Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy
If ever people needed a tack hammer to the head when it comes to the price of a watch, this is it. Seriously, the same folks behind the GameStop run-up must be behind the Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy. Now, I am not one of those haters who jump on Omega Forums to decry the latest Speedmaster LE. I find them fun, people enjoy them, and there’s a relative harmlessness to all the camaraderie that comes with owning a Speedy.
A price of 40 grand on the secondary market, though, has me thinking about pigs and hogs. You may recall that I truly enjoyed using one of these popular modern watches as a punching bag during the Speedmaster World Cup. Honestly, if this thing were made of precious metal, it would start to make more sense. If it had an upgraded movement, maybe I’d start to understand. As it stands, though, this “limited” edition of 1,970 pieces just feels off and that’s before I start making cartoon jokes.
Or you could buy: Honestly, with 40 grand you could buy a lot — including a pretty sweet late model 911. If you want to stay in watches, just buy the newest 3861 Moonwatch. Heck, you can buy both the Hesalite and the sapphire sandwich version and still have loads of cash. Buy a different Porsche and use that Speedy to time yourself on Starbucks runs each and every morning! Actually, what I would do (and I did) is to buy the 50th Anniversary Speedmaster in Moonshine gold. When and if it all comes tumbling down, you’re left with a gorgeous watch that’s made of something with tangible value. Here’s the crazy thing: in today’s market, you’d still have enough left over to buy a new steel Moonwatch.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711
If I find the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 mildly laughable at its $35K list price, then I find it downright obscene at $90K plus. As attractive and well finished as this watch is, it’s a steel watch with an automatic movement. The Nautilus is one of those popular modern watches that ticks a lot of the right boxes. It was designed by Gerald Genta, which is a huge box check for collectors. Then, add the Patek name and you have the perfect recipe for madness. As I said, I like the Nautilus, but the market feels completely overheated.
Or you could buy: If you’re actually thinking about spending six figures for a new time-only steel watch, I guess it will be hard for me to convince you otherwise. However, there are so many great watches out there with integrated bracelets or models that look like they have them. I can also make it really easy on you. Just go buy the Moser Streamliner because it’s such a beauty. Or, because some are calling it the new icon, consider the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo. With the latter, you can just waltz in and buy one — zero schmoozing, begging, whining, or crying required.
Ta ta for now on overheated modern watches…
If you own one of these popular modern watches that I picked on, congratulate yourself! Double (or triple in the case of the Patek) pat yourself on the back if you bought it at retail without having to buy a bunch of other things to sweeten the deal. In all seriousness, these are all fine watches and if the Rolex, Omega, or Patek make you happy, that’s great. However, if you’re angry at the world because you missed out on one of these when they were for sale, you’re in luck. The moral of the story is that there are tons of other watches to choose from and most will even save you serious money. Enjoy the search! Finally, don’t be afraid to be different because all good things come to an end one day.