John Mayer's '5 Best Vintage Rolex for under $8,000': Where Are They Now?

Just for Fun

Way back in 2012, John Mayer wrote an article for a young Hodinkee titled “The Five Best Buys in Vintage Rolex for $8,000 or Less”. It was a fine article with a lovely premise: you don’t need to be rich like John Mayer to own a desirable vintage watch from the Crown.

Well, 2012 was a much simpler time. John Mayer’s collection has grown up, as has the vintage watch industry as a whole. Let’s take a look back at John’s list: if you had invested in his portfolio of five vintage Rolexes, how would you have made out over the ensuing seven years?

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The Best Everyday Watches in 2019

One Watch

It’s that time of year. Far and away, our most popular article of 2018 was The Best Everyday Watches of 2018. Turns out a lot of people are searching for the best everyday watch, the best go-anywhere-do-anything (GADA) watch, or the watch to make the perfect one-watch collection (yes, you can have a one-watch collection. That’s a hill I’ll die on).

With the 2019 trade shows (meh as they were) in the rearview mirror, it’s time to update the list for 2019. In 2018, I looked at the best watches that you could still buy new. For 2019, we’re changing the rules. I’m going to look at the best vintage, pre-owned, and new everyday watches out there.

A reminder: there are no real requirements for an everyday watch besides general durability and comfort. We’re talking about watches that can be dressed up or dressed down. Watches that look as good with a suit as they do alongside a t-shirt and jeans. Lume and water resistance are nice, but not necessary. An everyday wearer can come on a bracelet or strap, as long as it sits comfortably on the wrist. And while we’re willing to pay good money for a watch we’re going to be wearing every day, we can’t spend so much that we feel we have to baby it through every door jamb.

First, up, the best everyday watches you can buy new. I’ve broken them down into three categories: (1) the Under $2,000 Club, (2) the Microbrands, and (3) the Classics.

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For Your Reference: The Movado FB 95M

For Your Reference

 This is a study of Movado 95M chronographs, particularly those housed in François Borgel manufactured, water-resistant, 35.5mm cases. Much of the following derives from a library of examples, compiled thanks to many collectors and sales across the web. The independent conclusions are based on this library as well as period advertisements and literature. Naming conventions presented and used are my own.

 Movado, in a previous era, offered a catalog more on par with Longines and Universal Genéve, than Michael Kors and Hugo Boss. The brand boasted a horological pedigree dating back to 1881 with innovations such as the ingeniously curved calibre Polyplan, and over six decades of in-house movements. Mid-century Movados are remarkable watches, none more the case than Borgel 95M’s.

While FB and Movado offered a waterproof two register in 1939— the first hard evidence of a FB case 95M comes from 1946. Movado made most of its 90M watches in the 40s and 50s whereas 95M examples seem to date more to the 50s and 60s; an eight-year delay between a water-resistant 90M and 95M is not unbelievable. My conclusion is that the 95M was certainly in a FB case by 1946 and could have been offered in the years prior, I just do not know.

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Favre-Leuba: A Brief History

Guides

Switzerland’s little known, second-oldest watch brand and its fascinating history that intersects with Bovet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and others.

The history of the watch industry is littered with defunct brands, many of which met their demise during the quartz crisis of the 1970s. Others were gobbled up by large conglomerates during this time. And finally, some companies transformed into just a skeleton of the fine watch manufacturers they had been for years, sometimes centuries prior. That’s what has happened to Favre-Leuba. It’s a Swiss watch manufacturer still in existence to this day, headquartered in Zug, Swizterland (separately referred to as the “Crypto Valley” by some Ethereum nerds, more on that in a minute).

Favre-Leuba traces its roots back to 1737, making it the second-oldest watch brand in Switzerland, after Blancpain (1735). It was founded by Abraham Favre in Le Locle, Switzerland, who was eventually appointed the “master watchmaker” of Le Locle, a position that every city should have.

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The Best American Watches in 2019

Guides

I recently posted about why I want Merci’s LMM-01 field watch so bad, but there was a small detail about that watch that’s stuck with me: French President Emmanuel Macron wears one. Like President Obama, Macron seems to find joy (and easy political points) in wearing a watch from his home country. But as I thought about it, it’s an idea I’m drawn to as well. Sure, we’re all citizens of the world, but we’re also proud of where we’re from. “American made,” especially in the context of watches, can be a hard term to pin down; it’s part marketing ploy, part statement of origin. And it’s not without controversy.

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The Best Luxury Watches for Young Professionals

Guides

Are you an investment banker, lawyer, consultant, or young professional looking to make the right impression with your bosses and clients? There’s no better way to do it than having the right watch on your wrist. In professional, hierarchical settings, it’s important for young professionals to have the “right” watch. This means your watch can make a statement, but you can’t be flexing on your boss. It can signal to other watch enthusiasts that you’re into watches, but you probably shouldn’t be wearing around your (or your boss’s) grail yet.

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The Best Everyday Watches from Baselworld 2019

One Watch

And just as quickly as the blog boys descended upon Baselworld a week ago, they were gone. Now all were left with are a few great watches, a bunch of press releases, and a few more names on the local Rolex AD’s waitlist. Admittedly, it’s difficult to tell when all we have are a few photos and a spec sheet, but these are the watches I’m most excited to see in the metal. These are our 10 favorite everyday watches from Baselworld 2019.

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Vintage Grand Seiko: A Brief History

Guides

Why should you care about Grand Seiko? I’ll give you two pretty good reasons: first, its modern watches remain some of the most affordable options out there while still being beloved by watch enthusiasts; second, vintage Grand Seiko remains one of the last undervalued brands in vintage watches (in the West at least), as the vintage watch boom has meant skyrocketing prices for almost all Swiss brands.

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