In these times of restricted mobility, access to new watches in person is almost nil. As such, and to keep things ticking over, I am just looking at some watches in my collection. In this case my selected piece is still in production so I am categorising as “new” for review purposes – although of course initial comment came out a few years ago.
I think it was in 2008 that I decided I would fancy a nice watch with a blue dial. It was not because such a hue was gaining in popularity, but that I had no watch like this and, er, my favourite colour is blue! In fact even a cursory glance of my wardrobes will reveal a strong propensity for shirts, trousers, jackets and coats in that colour.
My first real view of this watch appeared (I think) in a QP magazine in 2017 when this model version (ref 1378480) came out (the Master range came out in 2012. Ed). I was immediately taken with the overall appearance, and with further reading determined that the watch had some interesting complications, along with quality mechanics. As such the watch moved onto my hit list!
At this point I just wish to cover briefly the matter of “first impressions”, or in my case GR – gut reaction. Normally I will scan though a magazine or online review and halt at watches that, well, grab me – but initially skim over those that don’t. I feel for me this is an almost unconscious act, having perhaps an inbuilt picture of what I really like in terms of case shape/lug type/size and dial. If all is well so far, I will then investigate what the watch provides – in terms of information and the display thereof. If we are still on track, I will see what the mechanics hold. The brand itself can also be important as that may project a certain image which one may favour or not. I prefer quality, discrete subtlety and history. Price? Well, we all know what spare cash we have and if it all can be spent on a timepiece, oh, and being single or not may also have a bearing! Does all this confer watch choice perfection? Well for me it has been pretty good – but not entirely. An example: A few years ago I decided to buy another Patek. At the time I had a known budget and this steered me to the more modest end – relatively of course! I had seen and read about the 6006G. It was quite novel for Patek in some ways, having an outer date pointer, but for me it did have a classic look. The piece was in white gold, had a black dial and a nice shaped/sized case. However, I prevaricated over buying and in fact viewed the watch at a national retailer several times. In the end, on my final visit, I convinced myself that yes, I did like enough to buy, so did. I have now had the watch for a couple of years but have worn, precisely, 5 times. There may have been no obvious reason for this, but clearly something is not quite right. On reflection I think that my hesitation was possibly due to the feeling that the dial was maybe a little busy, and, with the small seconds dial at 4, my usual symmetry desire had not been met. Of course I have nobody to blame but myself. I dithered upon purchase and that should have been a warning to perhaps move on, and at a cost of around £23 k, I should have! Don’t get me wrong, the watch is fantastic – as Patek’s usually are, and many people I know love it. However, it just goes to show that sometimes initial gut reaction should not be underestimated and compromise does not work out.
Back to the matter in hand. I happened to be in Windsor and was walking down the main high street and approached Berrys. I had slowed to a crawl as I passed by, but came to a complete halt when my eyes alighted on the exact watch I had been considering. I went in and asked to view. Whist this was being arranged I idled over to their Patek booth and started to peer at the wondrous pieces on display. At that point a man approached and asked if he could assist. I explained what I was up to and we fell into conversation. I confessed to being a collector and we chatted about various watches. The JLC appeared and he kind of took over. It then transpired that he was Berry’s general manager and was down on a visit. The watch was wonderful in all respects so I knew that I would buy at some point – however, my usual retailer up North was supposed to be getting an example for me to view. That said, some 6 weeks had passed with no word. I explained this, saying that I did have some loyalty. I also mentioned that I had been told that no discount was possible, something I always angle for! It was at that point that the matter of “what price” loyalty was? I said I had no idea – which at that moment was true. Anyway, he disappeared for a few minutes and then reappeared placing the watch (now back in it’s box) in front of me. He looked at me and said that I would probably should buy the watch there and then! I looked somewhat bemused probably, and more so when he mentioned a price. Well, I am not going to actually reveal what I paid but suffice to say it was somewhat below the rrp and, yes, sufficiently so to overcome loyalty – plus I could have it immediately! The discount was presumably a commercial decision at the time (and I feel due to the nature of our overall discussion), but it paid off as I bought another watch from Berrys a year later!
Unlike the Patek, I do wear the watch a fair amount. However, as it does really have some “evening” pretensions, and is more “delicate” than other watches I have, I do not wear as a “beater”. But, it is a keeper!
So what have we got? Well, in brief, a stainless steel case of 39 mm x 9.85 mm, with some delightfully modest lugs and a traditional crown. A deep blue dial with three sub dials. The aesthetics are complimented by a dark blue alligator deployant strap.
As earlier reviews have commented, it is the dial which is the watch’s main and frankly gorgeous feature. JLC describe the dial as midnight blue, lacquered, with a sunray brushed design. The blue colour changes as you move the watch in the light, from quite dark to more vivid. The dial also contains three recessed sub dials – a radial date at 3, crosshair small seconds at 6, and power reserve segment at 9. They are well proportioned, clear and do not crowd the dial. The hands are dauphin in shape and rhodium plated. There really is nothing I can criticise over the dial – so I shall not! A sapphire crystal protects all this. The case is waterproofed to 50 m.
Turning to the engine, this is the calibre 938/1 and is an in-house automatic movement. It beats at 28,800 vph and has been tested for 1000 hours. It boasts a 43 hours power reserve, all smoothed along via 41 jewels and 273 parts in total. One can study the movement by a glazed case back and this is a pleasurable experience. A large skeletonised gold rotor (with ceramic ball bearings) somewhat dominates the view, but a good deal of hand decoration can be seen and helps balance things. The main plate has perlage, with Cotes de Geneve stripes on the bridges, balance cock and the rotor. Screws have been blued.
Lastly, the strap is alligator in a very deep blue and has a comfortable fit. A deployant type fix is used with stainless steel fittings and this can be adjusted easily.
In conclusion, this is one watch purchase that I truly like and frankly cannot think of anything I would change. It is attractive, legible, accurate, high quality and from a cracking manufacturer with an illustrious history. It can be used as an everyday piece but equally suited for evening dress purposes. Note: I was taken by it at first sight!
The price? Well, currently £7,650. I feel for what you get this is fair.
Words/Images The Writer.