I recently became aware of the concept of a shared watch. In reading HODINKEE’s “The Watch I Wore Most in 2019” Jason Heaton, Editor-at-Large, talked about his Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe LE for HODINKEE. The sentence that caught my eye was: “Since then, it’s been on my wrist weekly and when I’m not wearing it, Gishani does, which I guess makes this the watch WE wore most in 2019.” He shares the watch with his wife, if he wasn’t wearing it she was. I had never thought of this before. A watch that I could share with my wife! I love watches, I love my wife, what a natural fit. Another reason I find this concept so appealing is from an heirloom perspective. I also have a young daughter who I plan on passing down my watches and love of watches to. Getting a watch passed down to her from me I’m sure will be nice, but how cool would it be to get passed down a watch that you can remember BOTH parents wearing regularly? A watch that you identify with both mom and dad. It’s hard to think of another type of heirloom that can be shared in this way. Because watches are built to last much longer than our other daily accoutrement, we live with them, they show the marks of their lives as they age just like we do. Even as a couple without kids there is something watch nerd romantic about sharing a watch. The concept of the shared watch instantly resonated with me, and it’s something I would love to see more. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought this was the perfect time to further explore the concept. To help with picking your own shared watch, here are some watches I think can easily fill this role.
Grand Seiko Heritage Spring Edition SBGA413
There is so much to love about this watch. It is an American exclusive watch so you can only get it stateside. It’s a part of Grand Seiko’s seasons’ collection of four watches each representing a season of the year. This watch represents spring. The first thing that drew me to this watch and what sets it apart as my favorite Spring Drive model is the gorgeous subtle textured pink dial. It almost looks like cotton candy but the pink is much more subdued than that. I’ve seen pictures where it almost looks off white. Moving to the case its varying brushed and polished surfaces play with the light well and allow the watch to transition from formal to causal easily. The case and bracelet are titanium making the watch durable but lightweight and comfortable. 40mm in diameter can be a little on the large side for someone with smaller wrists, but the lightness of the titanium and 12.8mm thickness make this wearable by a wide range of wrist sizes. Inside, the watch is powered by the famous 9R65 Spring Drive movement. Hands down my favorite modern watch movement because it is just that, a truly modern mechanical watch movement. The movement utilizes an electromagnetic escapement that is regulated by a quartz oscillator, no batteries required. This use of a quartz oscillator allows Spring drive watches to have a truly fluid sweeping seconds hand that adds a level of elegance that other mechanical watches without the Spring Drive movement can’t match. In short, this watch is gorgeous, durable, comfortable, mechanically innovative and perfect to share.
Nomos Orion 33 Duo
I picked the Orion 33 Duo from Nomos but there is a case to be made for Nomos being a shared watch brand. The clean German design and sweet spot case sizes ensure that every piece in their catalog is well suited for a wide range of styles and wrist sizes. The Orion 33 Duo is as its name suggests 33mm in diameter and thanks to an in house manual winding movement is a svelte 7.6mm in thickness. On the smaller side, this piece is the definition of understated elegance. With just two hands and dress watch proportions, you could easily pair it with formal wear. But that’s limiting the watch, it has a pinch of sporty design elements that, with a quick strap change, allow it to be pretty casual. As a bonus, Nomos offers free case back engraving upon purchase so you can add to the sentimental feel of the watch you’ll be sharing. Speaking of purchase this watch is a great value proposition at $1,600.
Any Rolex Daytona
A timeless classic and icon, there isn’t much to be said about the Rolex Daytona that hasn’t been said already. But here goes. The Daytona design and proportions make it the best Rolex sports watch for all wrist sizes. The Daytona looks just as good on Victoria Beckham’s slender wrist as it does on Sylvester Stallone’s not so slender wrist. The Daytona is the most refined of the Rolex sports watches, but it’s still a capable tool. Like a beautiful sports car, it’s a piece of art but it’s also ready to perform at a moment’s notice. It’s this combination that makes it a perfect watch to share. On top of all that, this is one of the most iconic watch models of all time. The most expensive sports watch ever sold was a Rolex Daytona, Paul Newman’s personal Paul Newman Daytona. A testament to its popularity, there are currently wait lists years long to obtain a brand new one at retail. While the wait lists are not ideal, the Daytona still maintains the same lines and proportions of Daytonas past meaning any Daytona reference will make for a great shared watch.
I think this is a watch you either love or hate. It has a polarizing design that’s made even more polarizing by the fact that it’s very different from the original Constellation watches introduced in the ’50s. While it’s very popular in the Asian market, this is a watch that would set you apart in the western world. Not your usual luxury sport design, this piece has a very 90s look to it. A study in contrasts, I’m also not sure if I would call this a dress watch or a sports watch but I love that about it. It’s a left of center watch that has no need to follow the crowd. Sure you could have picked a Datejust, but that’s the default. You don’t do default. Probably the biggest factor in this being a great watch to share is that you can have your pick of the litter with a staggering amount of configurations. With the gents and ladies collections combined, you can select from over six hundred different configurations of this watch. If you like the general design then there is most certainly a model configured exactly how you would like. I have heard complaints about watches having large amounts of configurations and while I like the purity of just a handful of versions, it’s also nice to get exactly what you’re looking for. Especially with a watch that needs to align with two peoples’, distinct tastes. Being able to look through six hundred and nineteen models to find the one that resonates with you both is a huge selling point. While there are a number of aesthetic configurations there are also different movements in the constellation line. The one you select will depend on budget and preference but I would recommend selecting one with the Master Chronometer movement. This is Omega’s marquee movement and one of the best watch movements in production. It’s incredibly accurate and robust. Great watch movement, hundreds of configurations, rich history, definitively sharable.
When I first thought of this concept and what watch I would pick for my wife and I to share, the Rolex Datejust was the watch that immediately came to mind. When a lot of people think of a watch in general it’s the watch that comes to mind. The Datejust design has changed very little over the years because it hasn’t had to. It’s a legitimate classic and a pillar of the Rolex line. It has some serious history behind it as it was the first automatic watch to have an automatically changing date and has been worn by some of the most powerful people to walk this earth. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Roger Federer, and Sylvia Earle are all icons who have famously worn the Datejust. Like the Constellation it has a lot of configurations unlike the Constellation you can change core elements of how the watch looks. Fluted bezel and jubilee bracelet is the classic combo and while it works in a casual setting, it is one of the more dressy configurations. Or you can go smooth bezel with an oyster bracelet and get a watch that’s down right sporty. If you have the means you can get it in solid gold on a president bracelet with a full diamond bezel. No other watch in Rolex’s catalog allows for this level of customization. A watch that will go great with a cocktail dress or tux that can also be worn to the beach and with a little care will easily outlive you. The Datejust might be the epitome of shareable watch.
This is a small selection that I hope gets people thinking about picking a watch to share. Keep in mind though, the watch that inspired this story, a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, is very different than any of the watches I picked. Ultimately it’s up to you and your partner to decide on a watch that you both love and want to share with each other. Here’s to finding excuses to buy another watch.
One thought on “A Watch Built for Two”
I really enjoyed reading this. I too am a fan of Jason Heaton and the entire Hodinkee team!
LikeLiked by 1 person