Time Pieces 3
Down the Rabbit Hole – building a collection
a. Initiation – lucky watch
b. Double-down – I told you: hands like no others
c. Surprise – small watch, big personality
d. Guilt – you need a bit of blue
e. Legacy – the antique pocket watch for your wrist
3.a Initiation – lucky watch
So this is my first MG.
Blue ATUM High Art.
Number 3 of 15 (number 3 because it’s never worse than par).
I know I’m not supposed to wear a watch for golf. Watchmakers keep telling me it’s a bad idea. But they don’t understand the power of a lucky charm. When I first got it, I wore it to wow a watch collecting golfing pal. I was four under par with four to play which is pretty rare for me. Sadly I then worked out how well I was playing and immediately dropped three shots at 15, followed by one more at 16. But I had two pars to finish, was round in 70 and the watch is now officially my lucky charm.
Plus it’s beautiful as you’ll agree.
Arrival day – out of the box
Arrival day – out in the garden
Arrival day macro fest. Seconds out
Movement number 574
Screw it – I’m a watch collector now
3 – never worse than par
Grossmann Index adjuster – you’ll see one nowhere else
It’s really mine
Time to get on the tee! On the way to a round of 70! Plus, if you see this Jag stopped by the side of the road, offer me a lift. It’s probably broken down.
A great day – victory in Wales playing for Sunningdale against Royal Porthcawl. Rugby internationals everywhere.
3.b Double Down – I told you: hands like no others
The blue ATUM High Art was an easy choice for my first watch.
I thought the ATUM Enamel was going to be my second. It’s crisp dial, opulent-looking, lancet-shaped brown violet hands and cheeky blue XII all said “buy me”.
Then, sitting in our suite at BaselWorld, I had a thunder bolt moment. I couldn’t live without the rhomboid BENU shaped hands and two ATUMs wouldn’t do.
I put the ATUM down and picked up the new limited edition BENU Enamel. The cornflower blue hands weren’t MG’s normal house colour, but with the white enamel dial and striking blue Arabic lettering they were perfect.
Choice made. Number three was still available, so #3/18 was duly reserved for later pick up in Glashütte.
And when I did pick it up, that post got me my first 200+ likes IG post. Mini milestone.
Hands like no others
18:09:40 – nine minutes and forty seconds past beer o’clock. Fancy another?
“Number”. For Crossword solvers – Nightingale? As though of hemlock I had drunk
Glashütte pickup. First time on and many likes
Mayfair. Popping in to see Revolution in their office near La Gavroche.
Home. Autumn garden.
Repose. Having a lie down.
Hot. The homegrown naga chilli was pretty spicy too.
Pals. Lancet hands on the lucky watch – rhomboid on the BENU Enamel. #synchronised
3.c Surprise – small watch big personality
Two watches down.
Without intending to, I’d selected two steel watches for my first two pieces. The lack of rose gold started to nibble away at me. Maybe a super-elegant BENU Power Reserve? Maybe a slinky TEFNUT?
Super elegant Benu Power Reserve?….
….. Or maybe a slinky Tefnut?
The one I chose was a complete surprise.
Leading up to BaselWorld 2018 I had seen images of the range of eleven new pieces we were presenting there. Eleven pieces. Not counting different colourways. This puts companies with hundreds of times greater resource to shame. But that’s another story.
A few of them stood out from the design drawings. Certainly the platinum Backpage looked superb on paper; as did the prototype for the Hamatic with its crazy-beautuful and unique automatic movement. The black enamel Anniversary piece looked sharp as a tack too.
When I saw the pictures of the BENU 37 – plain but elegant – it looked like a fine watch. A little like a smaller Patek. Crisp and understated. But I didn’t think it was an outstanding piece.
How wrong I was. It’s a piece that has so much personality in the metal that you’re immediately charmed. The lustrous grain of the argenté dial looks so good you could lick it. The slightly oversize modern font says a big hello – and then you notice that the lettering glints at you.
And the hands. As usual, they are magnificent. The more so for being shrunk into the 37 case. They seem to expand, not get smaller. And the colour is to die for.
All of this is before you put it on your wrist. You expect it to look small. It’s only 37mm after all. But it looks so much bigger on the wrist. This trompe l’oeil is down to the super-fine bezel. There is sooooooo much dial that the watch wears much bigger than its 37mm. But remains super comfy and discrete.
Truly a small watch with a big personality.
And the third piece in my collection.
BaselWorld watch tray frisson
Perspective: foreground 37mm case, background 44.5mm Tourbillon
I’ve been driving in my car – it actually is a Jaguar
I warned you it can get expensive
The kit that made the hands
Watch number 3 for me
Movement number 1359
3.d Guilt – Enamel torture
And then another piece got me.
I had got very close to buying the ATUM Enamel when I was at Basel. But then the BENU Enamel hands got to me and I changed course at the last second.
Every time I’d seen the ATUM Enamel since I had jilted it, it seemed to be looking at me with eyes like Puss in Shrek. You remember? Sad, pleading and accusing all at the same time.
Willpower now shot to shreds and addictive mode now fully activated, I said yes to the ATUM enamel too.
Number 3/25 was already taken. So I chose number 21 to remind me of my age during an epic final year at University. That year I achieved the highlight of my CV: I became Oxford University Darts Champion. True story.
Oxford University Darts Club tie – plus matching watch
ATUM Enamel 21/25 arrived to join the rest of the gang and suddenly I was starting to look exactly like a watch collector. A bit narrow, granted. But definitely obsessed.
For me, the overpowering attraction of this piece (aside from the customary sharp styling and impeccable finishing) is a devastating three punch combination.
Firstly, super-rich enamel dial.
Secondly, cheeky blue XII.
Thirdly, knockout brown-violet hands.
One. two, three – knockout
As @jonwatches put it once on IG “stop this enamel torture”.
I would if I could.
This means business
Admired by Philippe Dufour
21 was a great age – last year at Oxford.
3.e Legacy – the antique pocket watch for your wrist
We all know that the correct number of watches to own is between N+1 (N being the number of watches currently in ones collection) and S-1 (S being the number likely to cause separation from spouse).
By July 2019 I was four big watches down the rabbit hole. That was not counting Dad’s WWII Omega. Or my quartz Ebel – now aka ‘my gardening watch’.
This, apparently, was enough. According to Jane, I was approaching ‘S’.
That gave me a problem, because there was now a brand new MG piece that I really had to have. The Vintage BENU Power Reserve.
Vintage Power Reserve. OMG. Photo – MG
This marvellous dress watch is not only an amazing homage to Moritz Grossmann’s life, it is also my first (and likely only) contribution to horology.
In late 2018, I was on a call to decide how MG were going to contribute to Only Watch 2019. Following the love that we got for 2017’s offering (see ‘Humanity’), I said it was clear to me that we had to reproduce the vintage look. As for which piece we should elevate, I said we should go for our Power Reserve – ever popular, loads of gravitas, the most practical complication.
We liked this idea so much that we decided to make the Vintage Power Reserve a part of the regular range, and do a one-off variant for Luc’s charity auction.
The designers got to work and produced a masterpiece. The sketches looked amazing. When it arrived for the launch in London, the watch looked even better.
Give me strength. First sight of the Vintage Power Reserve in the metal.
For me, the antique logo channels to emotion I experienced on my first trip to Glashütte and all that I learnt about M. Grossmann’s contribution to the town’s past and the love that’s still held for him today.
The super-fine, pale blue power reserve indicator seems to embolden the logo, but keep things calm and understated at the same time.
Logo, power reserve indicator and frosted looking opaline dial. #drooling
The tall, thin Roman numerals say ‘antique pocket watch’, as does the sub-second dial at six o’clock and the truncated numerals to either side of it.
The railway track markings on the minute scale are full-on Grossmann tributes, honouring his side-line talent with precision scientific instruments. But the tiny pale blue indices on this same scale to mark each hour are the tiny, subtle piece of 21st century styling that elevate the dial beyond are mere replica.
Roman numeral just so and über-elegant pale blue index marker. #irresistible
The hands I leave until last. Unbelievable craftsmanship is needed to shape them. Even master hand makers Martina Hanzsch and Sebastian Hutkai – for all their skill and experience – find these a special challenge. Polishing a steel cylinder that is thinner than a human hair (50 microns to be precise) is beyond normal humans, and even beyond most master watchmakers. Then, by hand, to anneal the hour hand so that the pear shaped bulb and the needle point both reach the same temperature at the same time is nerve-shredding. One mistake and all of the work of shaping the hand in the first place is wasted.
Hands like no other – except C19 originals from the master himself
So of course I had to have one.
And I had to promise Jane that I’d find a way to cut my collection down again.
At which point I told myself that if I could become an accidental watch collector – which I had now undoubtedly done – then I might as well become an accidental watch trader.
If you register on this site, you’ll see that I’m offering some special routes to own MG pieces. I need to shift one of my own collection, or I’m in trouble. If you can help, I’d love to hear from you.
But I’ll never sell my lucky blue watch. And I’ll never sell my Vintage Power Reserve – it’s my legacy after all!
Now we’re talking
Diversity – also in white gold
She’ll understand – I think