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The Perfect Daily Wearer (*according to me): An exhaustive search (loooong, but lotsa eye-candy)

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{Updated! Again! And again - and re-organized!}

So, here's my dilemma: I'm me, and apparently me sucks. Especially at being not picky. Or obsessive.

I created the below lists really as a log for myself, to document my research as I search for "The Perfect Daily Wearer" (PDW). But I thought maybe I'd share for posterity (or catharsis; or a cry-for-help). My searches have covered a ton of different watches, and I didn't want to go down the rabbit hole looking at a watch more than once, loving it, then re-discovering why it won't work. So some of what's here clearly doesn't qualify, but my notes reflect why I took it out of the running.

During this process, I found some cool watches I probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise, and discovered that some mid-range Swiss brands make some really weird choices (I'm looking at you, Roamer). And that some brands really do offer incredible value. Like, Hamilton has over a dozen watches that meet these requirements! If I didn't already have a Khaki Field that I love...

So what is JakeJD's PDW?

Price: up to ~$1,600 (yeah,

you heard me

) (I'm not going to ditch the rest of the collection, but I do intend to make this the centerpiece of my rotation and trim out a few that aren't being worn)Business bullet-proof: Steel (no gold or PVD/DLC), great anti-reflective sapphire, at least 10ATM/100M, strong lume (hands at minimum), cuff-friendly. Automatic.Aesthetics: Black dial; silver or white hands; interesting dial/indices, but not too shiny (a la SARB); minimal gold, but a touch of gilt is fine; strong lume; 3 or 4 hands (no more or less); date preferred but no DAY (have enough of those); not a dress watch; no external diving or timing bezel; 39mm - 43mm, max. And did I mention great anti-reflection? I.e., a gentleman's sport watch.Aspirational: Interesting movement; something other than yet-another-2824; 2892 preferred. Also, if it has date, then a color-matched date wheel.Basically I want an Aqua Terra. But without dropping Omega coin. And I want first-fraking-rate AR. I'm sick of reflective crystals. (Yeah, yeah, "Get a white dial." Compromises are for chumps.

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)

Now,

I have collection rules

. One of those rules is "no more than one watch per brand." Sucks to be me, but I've honored that rule for 4 years, and I'm not going to break that rule and the bank all at once.!Off-Limits Brands!: Aevig (reserved for Thor or Balaur), Epos (reserved for Originale Chrono), Hamilton, Lew & Huey (reserved for Phantom), Longines (reserved for Evidenza or LLD), Orient, Rotary, Seiko, Yonger & Bresson.

Here's the field of challengers, starting with the Front Runners.

1. The Front Runners: {You guys aren't exactly making this easier!}

a. Oris Artix Pointer Day: Number 1 seed. Waiting on AD to get it in so I can get my hands on it in person. Hopes are high! {deprecated: This Oris gets a pass on the "no day" because it's a cool complication. I find this version of the Artix to be less dressy than the 3-hander Artix; or I just like it better. SW200-1 movement. Trying to find one in person to see if I dig it.}

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b. {New} Union Glashutte Belisar GMT: Tough call between this and the Artix. Artix may have the lead on versatility. UG seems to be the baby brother to G.O., and sits alongside Rado and Longines in the "upper middle tier" of the Swatch brands. Europe only, naturally. But I'm loving this design, with it's double AR and lume-filled, applied numeral indices. Looks great in wrist shots. If I have the slightest hesitation over the Artix, I'm getting this.

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c. Muhle 29er Big: Currently in third place; if I don't like the Artix or Belisar, I'll go Muhle. {deprecated: How did I forget Muhle?? 29er Big isn't really all that big. Ticks every box, and reviews are all stellar. SW200 movement.}

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d. Raymond Weil Freelancer: Fourth-ish seed. Maybe I'd buy one used rather than spend for a 29er, but it's not going to beat out the Artix or Belisar. {deprecated: Visually, apart from the Rado Hyperchrome, might be my favorite. Not to "worn'n'wound it" too much, but that's a versatile, masculine looking watch. But in videos and candids, it looks like the anti-reflection sucks. Trying to find one in person to see for myself. Update: Tried on the banner day version at a local AD and really quite loved it. AR is stellar, wrist presence is great, and it feels really well made.}

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2. Still in the hunt (second tier options in case of calamity or great fortune)

a. {Moved} Eterna Kontiki (Sellita SW-200 version or newer 2824 version): I wanted to love it, and in many ways I do. But the high reflectivity of that crystal spoils the experience for me. The newer version with the larger indices looks like it has better AR, so I may try that next, but I'm somewhat down on Eterna right now since they seem to have pulled all support and sales from the US (even their "authorized service center" can't get a response from them). {deprecated: Front runner. Not sure about the 2 tone dial or 43mm, though. Haven't seen any reviews for the SW200 model, but I haven't read a poor word about any version of the Kontiki. Newer version with the white triangular indices looks better to me than the one with green (or orange). Update: Kind of frustrated that I can't find one on the East Coast to try on...}

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b. Certina DS-8 Powermatic: Even though its the same movement as my Hamilton, it's a nice looking watch. Only an option if the AR is good/better than the DS-1, and that I'll have to see for myself. New enough that I can't find any reviews at all.

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c. Oris Artix GT: I know what I said about the bezel. But it's so subtle I think I could live with it. Maybe. But I also might want to save my Oris slot for an Aquis, eventually.

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d. Rado Hyperchrome 42mm: Double drool.

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Might actually be bullet proof. The 42mm gets 10 ATM, but costs $2500 new and the black dial only comes in small seconds with two-tone (black/silver) case... The only watch I might also consider in white dial if the price is right. I can't afford it, but I can't bear to take it off the list.

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f. {New} Frederique Constant: I'm shocked that this is the only FC that meets these criteria. Beautiful dial, even though there is a lot going on. Looks like a 2824/36 variant, but obviously with some embellishments for the date and moonphase. Great deal for that functionality.

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g. {New} L&H Cerberus Black-Tie: Rule. Breaker. This and the Conquest are really going to make me re-evaluate my approach to collecting.

But this has to be one of the most photogenic watches on F71. Love this color scheme.

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3. The (Many) Disappointments (never made it out of the gate):a. Alpina Alpiner: 5ATM. Grr.

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b. Alpina EverythingElse: >44mm

c. Ball Train Streamliner: 5 ATM

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d. Ball Engineer II Ohio: 5 ATM

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e. Baume & Mercier Everything: apart from the Capeland, they don't appear to believe in lume.

f. Certina DS-1/First/4/Podium: all in the ballpark, but testimonials suggest the fit-n-finish is lacking and the anti-reflection sucks. DS First would be strong were it not for the day/date and that reflection issue.

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g. Edox Grand Ocean: 45mm, no lume, anywhere.

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h. Edox WRC Classic: Maybe. 5 ATM.

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i. Glycine Combat 6: 5 ATM! This one kills me...

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j. Maurice Lacroix Pontos: Budget buster, 5 ATM. Seriously, WTF is up with Mo Lacroix? I feel like I would really like to fill this slot with an ML, but they literally have no watches at 10ATM. They go from 5 ATM for most pieces (3 on a many) to 20ATM for the FC Barcelona Pontos S, to freaking 60ATM on the Pontos S Diver (which is some

badass kit

, btw).

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k. Mido MultiFort series: See Certina DS First, above

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l. Nivrel Cour de la Sarre: Look at that freaking dial. Just look at. Like a pool of black ink. Covered by a mineral crystal! Gah!

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And 5 ATM, to boot...

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m. Oris Classic Date: Nice looking, but 5 ATM.

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n. Rado Hyperchrome 39mm: Drool. But 5 ATM!

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o. Roamer SeaRock: No Lume!

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Roamer SeeSquat (it seems that some older versions have an anemic strip of lume on the hands, but from reviews I've seen, it is crappy. New version has none.). Also, AR looks poor in owner photos.

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p. Roamer Rotodate: Pretty decent AT homage. 5 ATM

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q. Tag Monza: Drool....

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5 ATM!

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r. Victorinox Alliance/Officer: Just don't do it for me, despite technically meeting the requirements. The Officer is maybe a little too field-y, as welll. Anybody own an Alliance in black who could comment on the AR?

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s. Zeno Vintage/Gentleman: Really like the look of the Gentleman, but 5 ATM for both (Vintage may be even less)

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t. (Forgot one!!) Marvin M119 (several variants): I rate the looks of this watch really high - 8, at least. But 5 ATM. Boo.

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u. {Moved} Armand Nicolet M02: Nope! How did I miss the banner day? Maybe that means I wouldn't mind it. But for that much money and "meh" design, I'm kidding myself that I'd live with this. {deprecated: Ticks all the boxes, but kind of meh. Not much out there about the brand. That said, if my budget was $2500, I'm pretty sure

this watch

would be a second or third seed.}

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v. {Moved} Tissot T-Tempo Chronometer: Too boring. Also, I've decided I hate that lug design. {deprecated: I don't really care about accuracy much, but a chronometer grade movement is pretty cool, especially at this price. All around I like it (and dig that caseback), 39mm. I might hate that lug design (doesn't look like it plays nice with leather). Trying to find one to evaluate the AR and feel. Any owners to comment?}

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w. {New} Louis Erard Heritage Sport: This is very clearly a "sport watch." How on earth is it only 5ATM?? What kind of sports do these Swiss dudes play, anyway?

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x. {Moved} Ball Fireman Victory: Decided I don't care for all the pointy and shiny going on here. {deprecated: Solid contender. Might be a tad too dressy. Budget buster unless used.}

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y. {Moved} Epos Passion Aquadive: Found some videos and candids of other epos Passion watches in this series - don't care for the AR and they just don't look as high quality as some of the other contenders. {deprecated: Sophie's Choice! If the Originale did not exist, I think this might be the winner. Might wear huge at 43mm; also comes in a 39mm version, but guess what? That one is 5 ATM!! No way to handle one in person without a flight to Arizona. Anybody own an Epos? How's the AR?}

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z. {Moved} Citizen Signature Grand Citizen: Welp, I gave it a shot. Found the white version locally and spent some time with it. A little too blingy and the AR isn't as good as the Swiss. Also, I really don't care for that date window. {deprecated:Lose 10 WIS points for sleeping on the SGC. It really would be a solid choice, and at a great price. Even the AR is well-praised. Worth a look. Any owners in the DC area? I'll buy you coffee if you let me fondle your watch!

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}

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aa.{Moved} Tag Carrera: Tried one on that a local AD and while I like it better in person (dial is much more interesting), it feels daintier and less "solid" than the Link or Freelancer (or the Citizen SGC, for that matter). Maybe I'd like the 41mm better, but it's in another price bracket. AR is first rate, though. {deprecated: Gray Market, I could get a Caliber 5 Carrera 39mm at the top of my budget. And I feel like it should, but it just doesn't sing to me...}

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bb. {Moved} Catorex Voyager 3 GMT: As much as I like the watch, that's a lot of scratch for a basically unknown brand - there's almost nothing on WUS about them except that they used to just do private label manufacture. If I get disenchanted with any of the front runners, maybe I'll try one out in the shadow of a return policy. {deprecated: Three freaking time zones! 2893 movement. "Voyager" name is consoling since I think I'm going to flip my Junghans for this purchase. I can live with that bezel, and love the GMT hand.}

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cc. {Moved} Longines Conquest Classic/GMT: The Conquest Classic is perfect, except for the 5ATM WR. The GMT and straight up Conquest are nice, but in person I despised the crown guards. {deprecated: It pains me that I like so many Longines designs... Maybe I need new rules... GMT definitely wins over the 3-hand version.}

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dd. {Moved} Tag Link GMT: Yes, it's a great dial (and deal), and yes, its got a great crystal. But I really hate the bracelet, which is sort of the Link's whole raison d'etre. Plus I want the option to wear this watch on bracelet, and the Link bracelet doesn't work for. {deprecated: Damn that's sexy. That bracelet gotta go, though. Update: Tried on a non-GMT version at a local AD and quite liked the size, feel, and AR. Really good AR. Still hate the bracelet, but it comes off.}

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ee. {Moved} Sinn 556i: This is a beautiful watch that just isn't me. And according to blackdot, that's okay

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, so I give myself permission to take it out of the running. {deprecated: Kind of hard to argue with an icon. Not precisely the aesthetic I was looking for, but certainly one I love, and it can definitely do business casual with aplomb. This is a "ready for anything" watch.}

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ff. Ball Engineer II Marvelight: Not discontinued, just not stocked a lot of places. Glorious watch ruined by an oversized cyclops. {Discontinued (why???), might find one old stock or lightly used. But CYCLOPS. Ugh.}

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Tl;dr: Yeah right, bub.

So, what am I missing? What should get greater consideration despite the requirements? Lobby away! But especially, what am I missing? Any micro or boutique pieces that should be here?

But in advance: I'm kind of adamant (irrational?) about the 10ATM. I've been burned by a "5 ATM" watch before. I need a watch that I can wear while washing my hands, or watering the garden, or walking to work in the rain, or giving my kids a bath, without worrying that an hour later I'm going to see fog on the inside of the crystal (been there, it sucks). Especially for this kind of money. 100 meters gives me that peace of mind.

Questions? Comments? Criticisms? Referrals to a good therapist?

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Sinn 556i? I know it's not as dressy as some of these watches, but it's become my go to watch. If I could only wear one for the rest of my life it very well could be the one.

 

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Not a bad suggestion. I do tend to forget about Sinn. I looked at the Frankfurt series, which were all a little on the pricey side, but didn't really dwell on the more toolish choices like the 556. But that's a pretty versatile-looking watch...

 

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FWIW, I snagged a new WAR211a with bracelet on f29 a couple months back with AD warranty for a couple hundred under your budget, and I love it. That said, all of the applied markers, applied logo, and applied date window are very polished, so I'd add a note of caution related to your concerns about "shiny" a la the SARB. You could certainly wear it with jeans or shorts, especially on the bracelet which is mostly brushed, but I wanted to provide the little bit of real-world experience I have relative to your search.

EDIT: Oh, and though the hands are lumed, the indices are not, one of the reasons the indices are relatively shiny.

 

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Dude. Your list is so comprehensive that you live me speechless. I have a similar quest also and this helps me so much, thank you!

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I know Seiko was on Off-limits list but I still leave this pic here...

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SARX015/017

 

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Lol, no, but I totally understand. I recently discovered the SARG line and also really dig the look. Apart from the rule though (I do make room for Seiko and Jacques Lemans, actually), I couldn't do Seiko because of the Hardlex. It's plenty hard, but I've never seen a Seiko that doesn't reflect like a mirror... I actually thought about getting this (or the SARX15 below) and investing in a crystal change! But after looking into it for a while it seems like it would be more trouble than it's worth, and probably not afford me any benefits (aftermarket AR sapphires apparently aren't as good as the OEM stuff).

You're welcome!

 

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