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Good Watch Coverage in the Slicks

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Just got back from the bookstore and caught up on my magazine buying. There are several watchie items in the slicks this month. After the jump, there are details of watch coverage in Vitals, Stuff, and Men’s Health.

Vitals

A couple of items of note in the Summer issue of Vitals. First, there’s an interesting article about What Happens When An Average Guy Receives a $245,000 Watch. Journalist Seth Stevenson gets to walk around Washington, DC with a Jacob & Co Tourbillon. It’s an interesting article and details how at first, no one seems to notice the timepiece and Stevenson explains “I’m tempted to shout, ‘there’s a yacht hanging off my wrist over here! There’s a small condominium strapped to my arm!'” After not getting any comments, folks finally start noticing the watch until Stevenson girlfriend asks him to cover it up because she’s too distracted by it.

The article is enjoyable and fun. But from a watchie perspective, there are a couple of major mistakes here. First, there is absolutely no explanation of exactly what a tourbillon is and what it does. The article describes the watch as “this hefty masterpiece, of which only 18 were made, features a platinum case, 15.8 carats of inlaid diamonds, a crocodile band and a visible mechanism of tiny, hummingbirdlike gears.” That’s it. A tourbillon is reduced to being a visible mechanism of tiny, hummingbirdlike gears. Geez. Oh, and another bad thing, bad for Jacob that is, not the article, is that Stevenson writes “I tick off its faults, starting with the biggie: It keeps stopping!” At first I wondered if the author didn’t understand the nature of an automatic movement, but he only had the thing for a week and he wore it regularly so that can’t be the explanation.

The magazine also features a second article, more in depth, on Rolex timepieces. The Cult of Rolex: Explaining the Most Coveted Watches on Earth. It provides illustrations of seven Rolex models, provides the price and a few words of details about each item. There’s a sidebar on How to Buy Vintage Rolex watches. And there is a detailed examination and explanation of all the pushers and registers on a Rolex Daytona.

Watch folks probably won’t learn anything here. But most watch articles in fashion magazines explain nothing about the timepieces themselves. So I give Vitals credit for really providing some useful information on these watches. This article is invaluable to a non-watchie person who wants to understand just what the heck is going on.

Stuff

In what hopefully will be a shot-across-the-bow in the current fashion of being obsessed about watches without really knowing anything about watches except that they’re big, flashy, and expensive, the September 2005 Stuff presents a short interview with Pras Michel from Fugees. Pras talks about his obsession with fine timepieces and the article highlights his collection that’s “worth around $2 or $3 million.”

Pras points out that what he likes is “the rareness of them; there may be only, like, five in the world. And there’s no bling about it. I’m not really into the blingness.” Pras says his real obsessions are Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Sohne.

So let’s raise a toast to Pras and to Stuff for supporting fine watches. The only scary thing about this article is that Pras makes a foreboding, prophetic statement: “Patek Philippe won’t be trendy until someone puts it in their rap.” Which means, of course, that thousands of rappers just rushed out to jewelry stores everywhere, asking how to pronounce the brand and what it rhymes with. They could just listen to the old Emerson, Lake, and Powell song when Greg Lake sings “Man in the street / Nowhere to sleep / No time for nothing / No Patek Philippe.”

Also in Stuff, there’s a mention of the Tag Heuer Monaco Sixty Nine. And in a traitorous move in the bling wars, the magazine does feature one of the Gotti kids (when are we going to stop being subjected to them?) wearing a $10,000 Avianne & Co A8 King Collection watch and a watch owned by Adewale Ogunleye of the Chicago Bears called the IceLink that has six time zones, in completely encrusted with diamonds and is so ridiculous looking I have to wonder if it’s a gag.

Men’s Health

The September 2005 issue of Men’s Health has the typical fashion watch round-up that we’re used to seeing. Nice photos, no description or explanation. Oh well, there are some good watches pictured here. Seiko Coutura chronograph, Michele Watches MW2, Tag Heuer Manaco Sixty Nine, ESQ Swiss Quest, Concord La Scala Tonneau, Zenith Grande Port Royal Grande Date, Swiss Army Maverick II, Bulgari Assioma, Longines Evidenza, Oris Frank Sinatra Chronograph, Breitling Montbrillant Edition.

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