Watches and Nicknames

Rolex Submariner ref. 116619LB "the Smurf" image from @watchbroker
Rolex Submariner ref. 116619LB “the Smurf” image from @watchbroker

I’m not quite sure why, but watches get nicknamed a lot, vintage and new alike. Some get nicknames hours after they’re released, others years after when they get associated with someone or something famous. Maybe it’s to help us dial back all the reference number jargon, maybe it shows how personal these little clocks are to us. Regardless I’m a fan of the nicknamed watch. It makes what may seem like a boring stuffy hobby more personal and fun. Overall I think nicknames help the watch hobby as a whole. Whose interest isn’t peaked when they hear about a Rolex called “The Smurf” or a Seiko called “The Turtle”? Both watches match their nicknames perfectly, and even someone who knows nothing about watches would quickly understand how they got their names.

Seiko SRP 775 “Turtle” image from Hodinkee

Many watches get nicknamed after famous people who wore them, like the Paul Newman Daytona of Siffert Heuer. The best way to make a watch collectible and sought after is to be famous and do really cool stuff while wearing it. But are there watches out there that should have nicknames that don’t yet? I think they might feel a little left out. So here is my list of watches without nicknames and my attempt at giving them one!

Rolex GMT 126710BLNR “Bruce Wayne” image from Ming Wang

The Rolex GMT Black and Blue on a jubilee bracelet just released at Baselworld 2019. It was released as an update to a GMT with the same bezel just on an oyster bracelet. That watch was quickly nicknamed the Batman due to the bezel coloring resembling the caped crusader’s iconic color scheme, but this watch is a little more dressed up. The jubilee bracelet was originally made for the Date Just line and is much more of a dress watch bracelet. So what is the more dressed up, fancy version of Batman…Bruce Wayne. I dub this GMT the “Bruce Wayne GMT.”

Omega Speedmaster MK40 “Ben Clymer Speedmaster” image from Lunar Oyster

The Omega Speedmaster MK40, a watch that I believe in 30 to 40 years will be a very valuable watch. Like the Paul Newman Daytona before it, this watch is special because of its relationship to an important person. This specific watch reference is the watch given to Ben Clymer by his grandfather when he was a teenager. It is what sparked his interest in watches and thus is the seed that grew into Hodinkee. Hodinkee is an online magazine and the go-to source for all things in the watch world. It’s at least partially responsible for the boom in the vintage watch market that has taken place over the last decade. Without this watch, there is no Hodinkee, and the watch world itself would be very different. I dub this watch the “Ben Clymer Speedmaster.”

Tudor Black Bay Bronze “The Black Pearl” image from Hodinkee

The Tudor Black Bay Bronze Grey Dial. A very cool looking watch. It has the classic lines of a Submariner with a 3–6–9 dial and the cherry on top is that the entire case of the watch is bronze! Bronze is a very cool looking metal, but the thing about bronze is that it ages very uniquely especially in an environment with an abundance of moisture. This is a dive watch, it was made to be in “an abundance of moisture.” Within a couple years of regular wear, this watch is going to resemble a maritime tool found in an old shipwreck. Which can be awesome or horrible depending on the kind of watch guy you are. Nevertheless it will make for a very interesting looking time piece that evokes a time when the open sea was filled with swashbuckling pirates. I dub thee “The Black Pearl.”

These are my takes on watches that deserve nicknames. What other watches deserve a cool nickname? Let me know in the comments.