The story how I bought my first automatic watch
It is the Sommer of 2023 and I am sitting over dinner with colleagues. We enjoy a beer or two and I come to recon the watch a colleague is wearing. It is a pretty eye-catching model - on the dial is a small globe showing a part of the world. I ask the colleague about the watch and learn that it shows the country he is coming from. Like Kev and Jarrod mention it in their pen pal letters, I enjoy listening to people when they talk about something they are passionate about. Over the evening, I learn a lot about India and watches.
On the way back home - a little dizzy - I think that watches are pretty cool. I wear a Smart Watch since 2019, but was never really happy with it. Yes, the Apple Watch has a great display and the rings are something that I miss. But, the battery was a pain. Best case, it lasted for about one and a half days. Last year, I switched from the Series 3 to a Garmin Fenix 7. I wanted to do more sports, had a bigger hiking trip planned - the focus on sports not smartness felt like a good choice. And I have to admit, the watch is great. The battery lasts almost two full weeks, the sport programs and included training plans are way better than with the Apple Watch - but it comes with the price of a not cool display and that you can recognise from afar that it’s a sport watch. Yet, when I am out of town for a couple of days, I need to carry an additional charger for it.
I was not perfectly convinced. It could be that this relates to my recent thoughts about how much technology and electronics I am using. After the “quiet days” of Corona, life sometimes feels stressful and having a watch constantly telling me that I walked more steps yesterday, doesn’t bring much resilience. I thought, I should ditch the sport watch and buy something dump. A watch, that is just a watch. That can tell the time, maybe the date, but nothing else. With a slim design. And an automatic movement so that I charges itself while wearing it.
I decided to start researching.
On the next morning, I remembered that the colleague recommended Junghans. I googled and and instantly fell in love with the brand. It’s located in the Black Forest, triggering a sense of home. They build watches according to the Bauhaus principles - a German design school in the early 20th century that inspired many of Apple’s products. You can watch a 7 minute documentary about it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Y69wOKg6yp4.
The Max Bill is a tribute to this and an astonishing watch. It has a minimalistic and clear design and directly spoke to me. I wanted to buy it. But - the price tag of about 1.2k Euro, felt expansive for the first watch.
I started looking for alternatives and this can be considered as the first step into the rabbit hole. I googled for Bauhaus watches, found cool watches of Braun (if you look for their product studies it is interesting how many things you can see that look like later Apple products), stumbled upon Sternglas and their Naos, and Teddy Baldassarre.
In the meantime, I was not sure if I wanted to buy a Bauhaus watch anymore. I was in love with their look, but having a small kid at home and spending time in the outdoors, they felt delicate. This was when Field Watches, like the Hamilton Khaki Field went up on my preference list. I like their military look, they are more robust when it comes to water resistance and scratches, but … I was not sure if these are the watches I want to wear in the office.
Switching focus again to look for an “everyday watch”, and came across the Tissot Gentleman. I was about to buy it, when I checked their website again and found the “Chemin des Tourelles”. I love the blue dial in combination with the brown leather strap and the dimensions feel like they fit my slim wrists better. But again, almost 1.000€. Too much.
I did another detour and checked the Seiko portfolio again. The PRX is great, but expansive. The Cocktail Time were ranking up, but didn’t feel right as of now.
Then we moved apartments and the whole topic became quiet. Entering Black Week, I was thinking about it again and thought that I could find one of the favourite watches a bit cheaper.
Unfortunately, I did not. But - I still bought a watch. I went with the “Sternglas Hamburg Neuwerk Edition”. It is a small brand from Hamburg, and they made this limited edition to express their admiration for the Northern Sea. While I am not a sailer, I like Hamburg, the rough weather at the sea and the design of the watch.
I made this decision, because something became clear to me. There is no perfect watch for me. If I check them long enough, I will find something that is not right. Or, as my colleague put it recently, every watch in his collection contributes something to his individual time measurement universe. Meaning, the Hamburg will likely be the start of a small watch collection.