So today we’re talking about grail watches. Now, we see a lot of watches here and sometimes we kind of forget that a Submariner or a Carrera is a lifelong achievement for a lot of people, it is for me as well. We get to see these watches and we want to show them to you. They’re fascinating, they’re marvelous and frankly most people aren’t probably going to get to see them.
But what if budget wasn’t an option?
Watches are technical marvels and intricate machines and they are just cool and at the office we are fortunate enough to see a huge range of watches. Varying with complications and different levels of craftsmanship. Some of these watches can carry a fairly hefty price tag as well and probably aren’t going to end up on most people wrists. But, because they’re so beautiful we still want to share them with you. So, if money was no object these would be some of our picks for the ultimate grail watch. Let’s jump in. All right, up first:
The Rolex Day-Date 40
Now this is the Day-Date 40. So, this is the newer reference in 40 millimeters and this thing’s a beast. And a lot of people may not put a Rolex on their Grail list, but hey, if it’s good enough for Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross, then it makes it on this list. “Put that coffee down.” I mean the sheer heft of this watch with the solid 18 karat gold bracelet is pretty astonishing and this one in particular features the new caliber 3255. Definitely not a watch that people are going to wear every day but certainly something that’s gonna make you feel like a boss. Coffee’s for closers and so are gold Rolexes. “Coffee’s for closers only.” All right, up next is the:
AP Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
Sticking with large gold watches this one does not disappoint and this particular one is in 18 karat rose gold with black ceramic. Yes, the pushers, the sub dials, the crown are all black ceramic. This Offshore does have that classic Tapisserie Dial and it also features black Arabic numbers and black hands. And what’s pretty crazy is that is actually luminescent. To finish off the black and gold styling is a black alligator strap and a matching gold buckle. This thing’s just absurd. “My precious” So now to reign things in a bit. We have the:
IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince
Now the CEO of IWC has a great quote where he says “Today people do not buy a luxury watch because it tells time. They buy it because it inspires them, because it tells a story.” and I think that’s a great reminder why a lot of people get into watches. And this particular watch has quite a story. The Petit Prince collection was started by, oh boy. The Petit Prince collection was started as a partnership with the foundation Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I know I butchered that, but we’ll move on. Saint Exupery was you a French writer, poet, and aviator who wrote “Le Petit Prince.” Or, in English, “The Little Prince”. And this book has inspired several watches from IWC, but I think this one’s the best. A lot of cues go into this watch. So it’s got this marvelous blue dial and an 18-karat rose gold case and coming in at a whopping 46 millimeters. The watch is powered by one of IWCs Portuguese movements and features an annual calendar. Now what really makes this watch so special is when you turn it over the rotor has been replaced with a little prince standing on an asteroid and that is just fascinating not something you’re going to get to see every day especially seeing as this is only one of two hundred and fifty. And the exclusitivity certainly… that’s not a word. Exclusivity. Especially seeing as this is only one of 250 pieces the exclusivity certainly factors into its Grail status. It’s just great. Alright up next the:
A. Lange & Sohne Datograph
Now here’s an example of German watch manufacturing at its finest. Again, probably not a watch that people are going to wear every day, but rather a testament to some of the finest watchmaking. Not only is this a solid gold chronograph from one of the finest watchmakers it also represents a pretty big milestone in the industry. Now this is going to take a second but bear with me. See A. Lange has a pretty crazy history. Originally, they were founded in 1845 but after World War II the company ceased to exist, but then with the fall of the Berlin Wall the company was reestablished in 1990, and four years later in ’94 they introduced four new models with great success. The crowning achievement though was the Datograph, which came out five years later in 1999. And at a time when no one, not even Patek, AP, or Vacheron was producing their own chronograph movements, the new kid on the block made quite a disruption. The Datograph’s dial is just beautiful in its proportions. You’ve got the two sub dials forming an almost perfect triangle with the quintessential Lange outsized date. But to me the best part of this watch is when you turn it over and you get to marvel at the Lange caliber.
The 405-piece movement is nothing short of a technical marvel. There’s the fly back chronograph feature that allows the user to reset and start the chronograph with the press of a single pusher and not only that there’s the jumping minutes counter which was patented by Lange on this watch. Oh, and every part of this watch is hand-finished. Yeah hand finished.
JONATHAN: It came out in ’94 right?
NATHAN: No ’99. They literally beat them to the punch. It had been almost 25 years since an in-house coronagraph movement had been made. Like at that point Patek, AP, Vacheron they were all using a Lemania base. They did not have an in-house chronograph. Because it’s so complex, it’s so hard to manufacture. I think what’s even crazier about it is A. Lange basically goes and makes one and just throws off the rule book. Like you look at their chronograph and this movement and nothing looks like that. So, they basically said we’re going to make it, we’re going to make it how we want and it’s going to kick ass. And it does, pretty dope. All right last but not least:
Patek Phillipe Nautilus Travel Time
Now no Grail list would be complete without a Patek, and we chose this one. And to be honest I think that Patek’s travel time is about as cool as it gets. Now despite having a nearly six-figure price tag this watch is surprisingly practical. Now I say practical but outside of this watch all the other watches on this list are in precious metal, which makes a daily wear that much more difficult. Now I’m not saying that I’d wear any of these daily, but I’m also not going to be in a position where I’m buying any of these so the least I can do is dream. The overall style of this watch stays true to the original Genta design. You got the octagonal case, the integrated bracelet, horizontal plank style dial, and contrasting brushed and polished finish that only Patek can deliver on. But where this thing starts to shine are the four additional complications that Patek put in this watch. So Patek manages to add a date, a chronograph, a day/night indicator, and a travel time all without cluttering up this dial or altering the design that much. So I want to dive in and just talk about these complications a little bit. The date is displayed at 12 o’clock in a sub dial that features all the odd days of the month. Normally this would start to appear overly weighty if it weren’t for the balance of the chronograph sub dial at 6 o’clock. So this column wheel chronograph is a rather simple design. Featuring a single 60-minute counter placed at 6 o’clock to create that nice symmetry on the dial. And a really nice feature is both the central second counter and the minutes counter have the same style hand, so they draw a visual similarity. And it’s the little things like this that you don’t immediately recognize but that’s the extra 5 percent that creates such an exceptional watch. The day/night indicator is displayed in two small apertures at 9 o’clock and at 3 o’clock. Now the 9 o’clock aperture is local time or travel time and 3 o’clock is home time. Now they’re either white or blue. White means day and blue means night, and it’s kind of silly how simple it appears, but I think that’s where the beauty lies in this watch. The last up is the travel time, and this is achieved by a second set of hands coming out of the center of the watch. So, when you look down the main hands you see are your local time or your travel time and they can be advanced one hour at a time simply by pressing either one of the pushers here at nine o’clock. Now they’ve replaced the original Nautilus hinge design, but it works perfectly. And the complexity of this is actually missed because it takes an additional 47 parts to make that work and lastly you have the home time hand which is the skeletonized hand that represents home. You done me right Patek. You done me right.
Now like I said at the beginning it’s fun to dream and talk about what watch you’d buy if the sky was the limit. And I’m dying to hear what you think about Grail watches and I’d be happy to do a deep dive or show you some more crazy watches in the future so just let us know in the comments and as always thanks for