Watches

6 Conversation Starter Wristwatches

Let’s set the scene. You’re at a dinner party, an epicurean spread laid out and conversation as sparkling as the wine. The point of discussion meanders between everything from politics to films to Covid (because it’s always Covid these days) and, being a watch lover, you flash your wrist, hoping to draw in a likeminded appreciator of fine timepieces.

What do you think will be most likely to get the kind of interest you’re after? A nice, safe watch that’ll likely hold its value and maintain decent time? Or an openworked masterpiece showing off the mechanics behind a perpetual calendar; a revived Japanese brand that deserves a quick horological history lesson or enough scales to prove that watches are a lot more useful than your friends give them credit for?

There’s a time and a place for a solid, reliable daily wearer; but if you really want to impress your dinner guests and show your unique horological taste, you’ll want something a little more captivating on the menu – and one of these pieces will make for a serious feast of watchmaking conversation. Whether your dinner guests want to hear it or not.

Rolex DateJust 36 Palm Dial

Rolex DateJust 36 Palm Dial

Last year Rolex took tropical dials to a whole new extreme with this lovely rendition of palm fronds across their DateJust dress watch. A year on and it’s still one of the hottest pieces in their collection – which is saying something. On the one hand, you get the props of it being a Rolex; on the other, a green varihued dial that’s a world away from your typical Sub. And yes, you’re more than welcome to use the ‘tropical’ pun if you should so wish. You’re welcome.

Ref: 126200
Case/Dial: 36mm Oystersteel case, black dial, with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Calibre 33235, automatic, 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £5,800

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Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

If there’s a watch here to extoll the awesome virtues of haute horology, it’s this. Lifting off the dial means a glimpse at Vacheron’s complete calendar calibre below, with all the cogs and wheels on full show. Thanks to the anthracite treatment of the movement, there’s also plenty of clarity to explain, at length, precisely what each and every part of the watch does. Horological lectures aside, it’s a watch that’s hard not to look at with an audible ‘wow’.

Ref: 4020T/000G-B655
Case/Dial:
41mm white gold case, with 30m (3 bar) water resistance
Movement: Calibre 2460 QCL/2, automatic, 40h power reserve
Strap: Grey Mississippiensis alligator leather
Price: £40,200

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Seiko King Seiko

Seiko King Seiko

Any chance to wax lyrical about Japanese watchmaking is worth taking and the case of King Seiko, the unsuccessful competition to Grand Seiko’s upper-echelon crown, is particularly interesting. The fact that the faceted lugs and vertically brushed dial make for a satisfyingly different twist on sporty elegance is just another reason we’re happy to see King Seiko back on the world stage.

Ref: SPB279J1
Case/dial: 37mm stainless steel case, green dial, with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Calibre 6R31, automatic, 70h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: £1,470

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Linde Werdelin Oktopus Moon

Linde Werdelin Oktopus Moon

Looking for a watch that will never go by unnoticed? This chunk of industrially machined titanium and autumnal colours is impossible to miss. Between its striking dimensions and that incredible moon phase, there’s a lot going on here and unpacking it will take at least a couple of courses to do it justice. And yes, the moon phase is photorealistic. See? take a closer look…

Case/dial: 44mm titanium case, with 300m (30 bar) water resistance
Movement: Bespoke LW calibre with in-house photorealistic moonphase complication, 44h power reserve
Strap: Interchangeable rubber in earth brown with titanium ardillon buckle
Price: £14,400

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William Wood Bronze Ruby

William Wood Bronze Ruby

If you’re a fan of firefighting, you’re in the right place – and can likely pick out the various details in William Wood’s eye-catching limited edition for yourself. The chequered chapter ring from the side of a fire truck, the fire bell second hand, even the upcycled strap, made from actual fire hose, there’s a lot worth talking about. It will mean you need to pass it round the dinner table for a show, tell and smell. Is that the smoked ribs or your strap?

Case/dial: 41mm bronze case, with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Seiko NH35, automatic, 41h power reserve
Strap: Red upcycled fire hose material
Price: £795

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Omega Chronoscope

Omega Chronoscope Co‑Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph

Are your dinner guests consistently wondering why you bother wearing a watch in the age of smart phones? Show just what mechanical timekeeping can do with Omega’s tri-scale Chronoscope, which, thanks to its tachymeter, telemeter and pulsometer, can measure speed, distance and, yes, pulse, using its chronograph stopwatch. I bet your phone can’t do that. Without WiFi, I mean.

Ref: 329.92.43.51.10.001
Case/dial:
43mm bronze case, with 50m (5 bar) water resistance
Movement: Calibre 9908, automatic, 60h power reserve
Strap: Leather
Price: £12,580

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