The Future

As I see it, I have a pretty good collection. I could stop where I am and be perfectly happy. There is always something more, though, that tickles the fancy. Broadly speaking, I would like representative samples from a wide range of horological milestones. I'll try to break it down into categories.

Mechanical

For me, this category comes down to escapements, independence and timeless style. I already have a Sistem51, giving me a kitsch Swiss automatic with an in-house movement, so in one cheap watch I have ticked off a few boxes: Swiss lever escapement; automatic; unique in-house movement; design classic and, of course, it represents a horological first in being completely made and adjusted by robots, without any human intervention. I also have a hand-wound lever escapement pocket watch that I inhereted from my grandfather, Herbert Masters.

I also have a lever escapement in a flying toubillon, representing a couple of other 'must haves': a tourbillon and a ubiquitous Chinese movement (in this case a Sea-Gull). The Chinese tourbillon is said to have threatened the long-established exclusiveness of the European tourbillon in much the same way as Japanese quartz threatened Swiss mechanicals. I don't think that necessarily follows, though.

I also have a Habring2 jumping seconds watch, and that ticks the 'modified ETA movement' box (every collection should include one) as well as giving me a very nice deadbeat complication from a well-regarded, independent brand.

I could call it a day for Swiss lever escapements, but I would like maybe one or two more:

I would quite like a Rolex Explorer 214270. There are very few Rolexes that I would actually want, but the cheapest of all is also the most desirable. Forget the gold and the bling. The 214270 retains its timeless, classic looks. It has great heritage, having been developed for true adventurers at a time when Rolex was less a 'jewellery' brand and more renowned for making truly superlative tool watches that could take a beating and keep on ticking (accurately). With an updated in-house movement, this 39mm version of the classic Explorer will fit in well at the beach or in the board room, with its solid, understated looks.

Besides the Swiss giant, the other watch I'm hankering after is a Nomos Tangomat. Nomos have gone full 'manufacture' and set a fair distance between their remarkable movements and the common ETA bases of other brands. In so doing, they have, of course, put equally great a distance between their watches and the ETA-based alternatives, in my mind. The Tangomat was the first to feature a 'manufacture' movement (though I understand its design leans fairly heavily on the old ETA stock), and it is a good size for my wrist (vs, say, the new automatic version of the Tangente). The final selling point, though, has to be the Bauhaus styling. This watch would definitely be one I'd wear often.

The one other lever escapement I might want would be something with a hi-beat movement, and I don't think I could go far wrong with a Grand Seiko Hi-beat Special. Possibly something like the SBGH019.

Then there are watches with escapements other than the Swiss lever. Now, I know there were (are) some really cheap-and-cheerful pin and cylinder type movements knocking around, but I do value accuracy to some extent (even though we are talking about mechanical watches, here), so I'd rule out anything I could afford except for Omega's co-axial. Based on the invention of the late, great Dr George Daniels, Omega's version uses the essence of an ETA base (Omega is, after all, a part of the Swatch Group) but modifies it with an escapement that 99.99999% of watchmakers don't use. And with their recent upgrade to silicon balance springs, the Master Co-axial series of movements is said to be absolutely first rate. I'd like something in the DeVille line although, at the time of writing, the Master Co-axial movement hasn't extended to that line, yet. A lottery win would, of course, see a Roger Smith added to the collection.

Electric

Not much to say about this. I haven't got a lot of love for electric watches, but they do mark a significant horological milestone and original Hamilton Venturas are not too difficult to find on eBay. I picked up a high-beat (43,200 bph) Citizen electric watch as part of a job lot with the Crystron 4 Mega, but it has no second hand, looks pig ugly and doesn't currently work, so I may get rid of it and continue to count the 'electric' watch category as unfilled.

Tuning Fork

I already have the original tuning fork watch (the Bulova Accutron), but I would love an Omega Speedsonic (300 Hz) and an Omega Megasonic (720 Hz). I should then have tuning forks fairly well covered.

Quartz

I already have so many quartz watches that only a few truly special examples remain. Some are fairly easy to get hold of (e.g. the Seiko VFA and pretty much all of the Omegas), but I haven't acquired them, yet, because I have been focusing my efforts (and my funds) on thermocompensated high accuracy quartz watches.

Still, there are some 'grail' high accuracy watches that remain at the top of my list and which I would buy in an instant if ever I saw them come up for sale (check out my 'top five' for more details):

  1. Junghans Megaquartz - an extremely rare 4 MHz watch from 1978
  2. Omega Marine Chronometer (or, the Audemars Piguet with the same calibre) - 2.4 MHz watch spec'd to 12 SPY

The following two watches are the next 'most wanted' and each could be purchased today, but I have held off buying them because they are simply too expensive to justify, right now.

  1. Rolex Oysterquartz - in-house thermocompensated quartz movement from the Swiss giant
  2. Omega Electroquartz - first European quartz watch (Beta 21)

The remaining watches are either rare museum pieces, or they are too close to something I already have, or they do not sufficiently fit-in with the core of my collection in order to warrant a place on a 'buy' list. If ever I win the lottery, these might get added to the collection.

  1. Seiko 35SQ - first quartz watch. Super rare.
  2. Girard Perregaux 350 - first 32 kHz watch
  3. Casio Oceanus Hybrid - first (non-G-Shock) watch to combine both GPS and radio control technologies
  4. Seiko VFA - a very early quartz watch refined to a very high degree of accuracy, but not included as a 'HAQ', today, due to having no means of compensating for temperature fluctuations (either HF insensitivity or active compensation)
  5. Waltham Walchron Optel DSM LCD - probably the first LCD watch (no seconds displayed)
  6. Gruen Teletime - possibly the first LCD watch (no seconds displayed)
  7. Seiko 06LC - first 6-digit LCD watch
  8. Uranus - possibly the first LED watch
  9. Synchronar - the first solar powered watch
  10. Citizen Crystron - first solar powered analogue watch
  11. Seiko Astron GPS - first solar powered GPS watch
  12. Pulsar P1 - arguably first digital watch (LED), although it has been said that Uranus released their solar LED watch a bit earlier
  13. Seiko AGS - first auto-quartz
  14. Junghans Mega 1 - first radio controlled watch
  15. Citizen Chronomaster - possibly something in the CTQ57 line. This was the top-of-the-line Citizen in the days before the Eco-drive-equipped A010. The A660, 5 SPY movement in the old Chronomasters was very well regarded and the styling was honestly a lot nicer than on the AQ1000 series. It's getting harder and harder to find 'new' Chronomasters, and to be honest this isn't very high on my wish list because I already have much of the same territory covered in my AQ1000-58B and Exceed E510, but I have a soft spot for the Chronomaster and would like to pick one up if I can.

In the event that I should ever become a rich man, there would also exist places in the collection for another Spring Drive watch (10 SPM cal. 9R15, of course), as well as an atomic watch and goodness only knows what else.

UPDATE: March, 2016

Over the past month, I have been looking to drastically scale-back my collection. I have sold several pieces and am looking to sell a lot more. This hobby has become unaffordable and the money would be better spent elsewhere. That being said, I shall keep my prototype Omega and my other 4 MHz watches and build a small collection around the 4 MHz theme, with one or two other watches of interest kept on for good measure.