Watch Box Stories: Christopher’s Cartier, Omegas, And Swatch
We kicked off our Watch Box Stories series with an article from Philip Blumer, and here’s the second entry from Christopher from Germany. He is a long-time Fratello reader and guest at our events who will share the contents of his watch box — or roll, to be precise.
After we share all the stories, we will raffle off a Peli case and a few other accessories among the contributors. So far, I’ve seen some very interesting contributions, and I am excited to share them here on Fratello in the coming days and weeks. Without further ado, here’s Christopher’s story about what’s in his watch box.
A reader’s collection — Christopher
By definition, this is a watch roll rather than a box, but it has corners, so I hope it counts. I got this nice piece of leather craftsmanship as a birthday present from my wife a few years ago. Why? Because my watches were stored in their original boxes, and therefore, rotation wasn’t so comfortable. I ended up wearing the same watch over and over. She did her research and came up with this super-cool piece. But let’s talk about the watches that I wear the most.
Omega Speedmaster Professional “Tintin”
My very first Speedy was given to me by my late father in the summer of 2015 to commemorate my master’s degree. This watch is close to my heart and has seen a lot of wrist time. In fact, it was my daily watch for a few years. It might be the most scratched-up Tintin in existence. It was on my wrist while traveling to India and the Arctic Circle (in winter), and it never missed a beat. We got the watch brand new from AD at the time and even managed to receive a discount. I pay no mind to the prices this model fetches nowadays and happily use it during classic-car rallies or just for going to the office, for a walk in the forest, and so on. It’s a wonderful piece to look at, and I love that the racing dial differentiates it from a standard Speedy just enough to confuse people who are not part of the watch hobby.
The one that started it all
When I got it, I put it on an original Omega NATO strap, and I have been wearing it like this most of the time. During the 2019 Speedy Tuesday event in Frankfurt, Charlie Duke signed this strap, which made the event very special to me (thanks again to Fratello for organizing it!). In fact, it was the 2015 Speedy Tuesday get-together in Düsseldorf that led me to get the watch in the first place and opened my heart to the watch community. At the time, I was wearing a vintage Heuer Carrera and got in touch with RJ because I was looking for a Speedy. I was overwhelmed with all the different variations from vintage to new and limited editions at the time. I felt welcome in the community from the first moment, and I had a blast of a day seeing all these different Speedies, trying them on, and talking with fellow watch nerds about which one to get. This day really changed my view on the subject and led to five Speedmasters in my modest collection.
Would I ever sell this watch? Definitely not! But it’s not the only one…
Drive de Cartier in steel
This is another watch that is close to my heart. On the morning of our wedding day, I received a present packed in white paper with a red wax seal. Clearly, it was from Cartier, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I unwrapped the package and was blown away by the beautiful watch that my wife got me as a wedding gift. A few months earlier, we were at the Cartier boutique together to see wedding bands. It was during that visit that I asked to see the Drive and try it on.
I tried the steel version, the Extra-Flat, and the gold model. While I loved the hue of the gold Drive, I still prefer steel on my wrist. And while I loved the blue strap and the lightness of the Extra-Flat, I didn’t like the plain dial without the guilloché. This feature of the standard steel version reminds me of classic cars of the 1920s and 1930s. I immediately loved the steel Cartier Drive for its very distinctive looks. But although I clearly showed my excitement, planning a wedding doesn’t leave much room for unnecessary expenses, so we moved on.
A wonderful surprise
But then, when I opened the package I got from my soon-to-be wife on our wedding day, I was blown away. Not only did she get me the watch I was so excited about, but she also had it fitted with a blue strap, similar to the one on the Extra-Flat. My wife clearly listened and made an effort to get the right watch for that very special day. No question I was wearing it proudly during our wedding, and it is clearly visible in the pictures that our photographer took. I still wear the watch a lot and enjoy its design and comfort. Just recently, I realized that Cartier had discontinued it. I think the Drive de Cartier is quite underrated in the brand’s lineup. Perhaps that will change in a few years.
Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 “Ed White”
The third one is a recent addition to the box after being with me for almost two years. Originally, I never thought about buying a new Speedmaster Calibre 321, and I was casually looking for a 145.012 while I was waiting for my Snoopy to arrive. Then, out of the blue, a 321 “Ed White” became available via a friend — no markup and no waiting list. Nobody in our group of watch nerds wanted it, so I took a closer look. I was up for a 321 movement anyway, and I thought I’d give it a try as I was sure the risk was low and I could move it on if I didn’t like it. The watch arrived a few days later by courier (we were still in lockdown here in Germany). Unfortunately, my Snoopy had arrived just a day before by total surprise, and therefore, the 321 had to sit in waiting until the honeymoon with Snoopy was over.
I put the 321 in the vault, fully stickered and unworn. It stayed there for about one and a half years as I missed an occasion to “own” it. One day, we received the news that our first child was on the way and would be due in October 2022. Was this a reason to get a new watch? It was! But what should I buy? A standard Speedy was too easy, and I already had four Speedmasters. A lefty Rolex GMT-Master II was not available without making a fool of myself at the AD, and I certainly wasn’t going to pay over retail. A Cartier? Possibly, but for some reason, I wasn’t smitten enough with what I found.
Wait a second…
During a conversation with my wife, I remembered the 321 in the vault and took it out. I tried it on for the first time and was in love immediately. How could I not have seen the beauty of this piece for such a long time? I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to take it out of hibernation, rip off the stickers, and bring it into the rotation to commemorate the birth of our son. So here it is, another unsellable watch in my box.
This watch is such a joy to wear and so special. Still, it is imperceptible to the eyes of normal people. A colleague at the office asked me the other day if it was an Omega. She said it looks exactly like the Moonwatch that her husband got for his birthday. Little did she know that a 321 Ed White doesn’t have much in common with a 3861 Speedmaster Professional. And this, my dear watch nerds, is something that I enjoy a lot. It’s rare and special and yet so invisible.
…and a MoonSwatch
Well, lying next to the box is always this funny plastic thing that created too much buzz in 2022. While I truly love the watches that I described above, this one is the best to wear when playing with a toddler, so I am afraid the MoonSwatch Mission on Earth gets the most wrist time these days.