Weekends before Watches & Wonders are typically slow, like the calm before the storm. However, this past weekend, the world witnessed a something akin to a storm, and no I’m not referring to Will Smith bitch-slapping Chris Rock. For those who have not read the news in the past few days, Omega and Swatch released a collaboration of watches, modelled after the former’s iconic Moonwatch, hence the name MoonSwatch. What was surprising was a demand, so tremendous even regular national news sites picked it up. There were queues that made the lines for the first iPhones back when they were a novelty seem like a deserted island. Could this have been foreseen? Was this a marketing gimmick? Could the brands have handled the opening day better? What was the point of the release? These were all questions that came up in the aftermath of the launch (no pun intended) of the MoonSwatches. But first, let’s look at the watches themselves.
The MB&F LM101 is the watch that sucked me into the world of independent watchmaking. Originally, I had dismissed the independent universe as the watches were often either unattainable (F.P Journe) or too wild for my taste (Urwerk). In fact, when a friend messaged me with photos of the LM101 asking if he should buy it, I had told him to pass.
But rather hypocritically, when I saw another friend’s steel LM101 in the metal, it was so jawdropping that I messaged Max Büsser the next day to order and place a deposit for my own piece.
The SBGM221 is one of those watches that I instantly fell in love with. The creamy dial is much more complex than it would seem, going from a cappuccino brown to almost a porcelain egg shell. Whereas some watches are offered on strap and bracelet, this one was never meant to be on anything but leather. This, and the neutral dial makes it the prototypical ‘Strap Monster’.
A watch too dressy to be a sports watch, and too sporty to be a dress watch, it is the perfect business casual piece that can be dressed up or dressed down based on the strap. I anticipated the watch to take on a more casual or formal countenance with different straps, but what I didn’t expect when playing with the different options, was how much the dial changes with the strap colours.
While bracelet watches are all the craze these days, strap watches have always been my preference due to the ability to completely transform the look of a watch by changing the strap. The FP Journe Chronometre Bleu is probably the favourite strap watch that I have in my staple. The Chronometre Bleu’s ever-changing blue dial paired with the dark grey tantalum case means that it will look great with anything from a three piece suit to a shorts and t-shirt ensemble. It also truly deserves the title of a ‘strap monster’ since it handles straps of any colour or material that you throw at it with flying colours. As with all FP Journe watches, the Chronometre Bleu requires curved lug straps, which is normally quite challenging to find in the market. However, Delugs offers great curved lug straps in a variety of materials, which allows me to constantly change the look of this watch.
It was only December 2016 when I really started this hobby and stumbled across a Dutch watch forum and the Zenith El Primero. From the moment I saw that tricolore dial I was hooked. Who needs a Speedmaster when a beauty like the El Primero exists right? Soon my search started to get that grail and then it happened, the size, 42mm... A 17cm wrist like mine is not able to pull that off (imho) so I moved on feeling a bit sad as I truly loved those colorful sub dials. Half a year or so went by and I became a frequent contributer on that Dutch watch forum when on a certain day someone posted a wristshot of an El Primero. I had no idea, the Zenith was also available in 38mm! Feeling ecstatic the hunt was on again. Not much later a 1 year old El Primero was put up for sale at the forum. Without hestitation I sent the guy a message and the next day I drove down to pick it up. Stunning!
That particular El Primero turned out to be quite a strap monster. I enjoyed it a lot over the years and put all kinds of straps on it. Up to half a year ago. A watch buddy asked if I was interested in his spot on the waitinglist for the new El Primero Original. This newer version is closer to the original ZEP and I took the offer. The new OG (full ref: 03.3200.3600/69.C902) has, in my opinion, a nicer case and the dial is just looking a bit fresher. And don't forget that new El Primero movement boasting 1/10th of a second precision and time measurement. What's not to like about it!
Delugs approached me for a strap guide and of course as a 'strap guy' I had to play along. Enjoy!