This is a web site about grails: Watches people spend their lives looking for. Approximately zero people will spend their lives looking for a beat up, common, 1970’s Breitling like this Datora 592. But I bought it, and I thought it might be interesting to my readers to know why and what I’m doing next.
How would you like to own an extremely rare and interestingly complicated watch from a legend of independent Haute Horology? This worn but interesting world timer watch was constructed by Svend Andersen in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the new world. And it’s definitely worth the starting bid of € 4,000.
Some grails are special because of their association with history (see my piece on the “Scuderia Ferrari” Zenith, for example), while others are just plain odd. This is the latter. The Girard Perregaux Casquette (Ref. 9931) is a mid-1970’s LED quartz watch with innovations throughout. It’s just too bad the quartz revolution ended with a whimper instead of this kind of excitement!
Sometimes when browsing watches one stumbles upon something that seems seriously out of place. Such was the case when I spotted a Scuderia Ferrari-branded Zenith Chronograph in the listings for tomorrow’s Chrono24/Auctionata auction: Sure, there are Ferrari-branded watches today, but this one dates to “around 1950” and has a yellow logo!
When it comes to stealth complications, this H. Moser & Cie. Perpetual One is about as good as it gets. Lurking under an understated and classy exterior is a mean horological machine with a perpetual calendar and double barrel power to last all week!
Can a “grail” be attainable? Sure! It just depends on how much money you have and how hard you’re willing to work for it. And some grails aren’t limited in production, just in availability. It’s awfully hard to find a Nomos or an Arnold & Son in a store, and Seiko Credor are unavailable in most markets.
Few modern watchmakers have the charisma of Peter Speake-Marin, and his watches are jealously collected and guarded by enthusiasts. It is always remarkable when one of his pieces comes up for sale, and especially so when it’s one of the hand-engraved “Collection 2” models decorated by Kees Engelbarts.
Let’s say you wanted a classic Rolex Submariner to wear on a daily basis. What would you choose? If it was us, it would be this 1984 Rolex Submariner 5513. Here’s why…
It used to be that Grand Seiko was the one and only grail for watch lovers looking for a new, reliable, and above-all Japanese timepiece. But now that Grand Seiko (and Ananta) are available worldwide, attention has turned to Seiko’s other Japanese-only brands, including Credor. And when it comes to attainable Credor grails, few can match the unique combination of features found in this Seiko Credo Signo GMT, ref. GCBZ995.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox is a true classic: A novel watch that sold well when it first appeared and lasted for decades after, continuing even today. Although not the first alarm wristwatch, the Memovox came on the market in 1951 and became the first ever automatic watch with an alarm function in 1956. Jaeger-LeCoultre upped the ante with a high-beat version in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and has continued offering this useful complication in today’s Master Memovox and related models.