As usually happens, I find myself between the horological rock and hard place. However, this time around I fear opportunity will take the best of me. I can hardly leave decisions like these up to chance. In opposite sides of the field are two very different watches: a vintage Rolex GMT replica watches UK— or why not a Sub — and a modern 7-day power reserve IWC Portuguese. With your permission, I’ll explain my conundrum.
Firstly, the Rolex: I am very aware of the overpriced minefield that is vintage Rolex collecting. However, I can’t help but feel that both the 70s GMTs and Subs are watches that age incredibly well, perhaps even the best of them all. For a vintage watch lover such as myself, that is somewhat important. Also, how perfectly would it sit between my ’69 Autavia and ’66 Speedmaster? Lastly, there’s also the thrill of searching for an original piece with the right patina… Isn’t it all about the journey and not the destination?
Then, the IWC: an old passion for me, the white-dial, 7-day Portuguese is simply divine. It strangely has the same impact as beautiful women have on me… Then, it perfectly marriages a beautiful classic design with a very interesting movement (even more with the new models) and, last but not least, given that I’m also Portuguese, it gives me a very discrete way of showing off my own origins.
There’s of course a slight price gap from the IWC to the Rolex, but, ceteris paribus, what would Lord Snob recommend?
It has gotten to a point where I cannot leave the house in fear of accidentally walking into the wrong store.
The right vintage watch is worth waiting for and as long as you are not so besotted with an ultra-rare model that you will be spending enormous sums on a fundamentally horologically uninteresting watch, no one can reasonably object to hunting for a well preserved GMT Master or Submariner. The only real issue with either is that they are both the watch of choice, increasingly, for people who want a charming vintage sports watch but lack the imagination or energy to explore alternatives; as with modern Rolexes, the downside to popular vintage sports models is that there is a significant risk that once you take the plunge, you will suddenly feel as if you are seeing them everywhere.
In this case, putting myself as much as possible in your shoes, I think I would actually be inclined to buy the Portugieser 7-Day Automatic instead. Not every IWC wristwatch is a home run, by any means, but when they get something right, they really get something right and in my view the 7-Day Automatic is just the right combination of traits. It has a wonderful air of stubbornly adhering to its own character, and the whole design has a lack of affectation and a natural mechanical grace that is matched by few other watches in IWC’s, or anyone’s, collections. Its charm is far more idiosyncratic than that of vintage Rolexes and though I yield to no one in my appreciation for the slightly melancholy aura of a well-preserved vintage anything, in this case I think you get a lot more in the way of personality from the IWC.