Wednesday, September 23

Throwback Sundays: Readers’ Choice: Top Picks for a grail watch

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We polled some of you, and asked you to tell us your grail watches. Here are 6 watches picked by our readers.

Here they are, in alphabetical order of their surnames. In their own words.

Prof. Michael Biercuk

IG: @mjbiercuk

It’s not a secret that I’m an enormous fan of Lange. So it should come as no surprise that my true grail watch comes from this maison. While it’s difficult to select just one Lange that I consider a grail (I’ve been known to covet the unobtainable Zeitwerk Phantom), in my view the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with Pink Gold Dial is just perfect.

A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with Pink Gold Dial

It encapsulates true artistry mixed with technical virtuosity and isn’t afraid to remain pragmatic in its approach to presenting indications. As always with Lange, the pure beauty of their pieces is reflected on the caseback – in this case showing an enormous hidden Tourbillon. I loved the original version for all of these reasons, and it was the watch Tony de Haas wore to dinner when I first visited the manufacture in 2017. But the pink gold dial added a new kind of beauty. It resulted in a modern design with a focus on sharp lines melded with a traditional color palette – now reimagined in solid pink gold rather than salmon pigment. I saw it at SIHH and truly fell in love with this piece of unobtanium.

Siyuan Ma

IG: @watchcandies

Personally, a grail watch has to be somewhat attainable yet represents the culmination of one’s watch collecting journey. Philippe Dufour’s Simplicity is a watch that checks many of those boxes for me.

Dufour Simplicity in Rose Gold. Siyuan’s grail is the same watch in a platinum case.

The Dufour Simplicity was unveiled and the original run of 200 was long sold before I got into watches, but over time, I find myself immensely attracted by the watch’s timeless layout, movement architecture, finishing, and overall elegance. My grail simplicity would be in a Platinum 37mm case with the silver guilloché 369 dial, although they are a little price prohibitive given the current market valuation and rarity of the 37mm platinum version, I simply cannot think of my collection and collecting journey as being complete without a Dufour Simplicity.

Daryll Ng

IG: @brightangelus One of our top commenters as Brighty.

So I stood there, staring at what seemed like a double domed dial. Then this soft spoken gentleman with glasses approaches and passes the watch to me, explaining that the guilloché on the face was historically used on pocket watches so they wouldn’t slip out of gloved hands.

Candaux DC Half Hunter Soltice.

As he talks about how he works with titanium, I run my finger over the guilloché – always hidden under sapphire crystal in other watches – and I start to feel a physical bond with the watch. Then I turn it over and the very likeable gentleman goes on to talk about how the bridges are gently inclined, and how the tourbillon is inclined…heck, everything seems inclined. I try to listen, but the Cotes du Solliat are so brilliant that I just stare. I stare at the beautiful case, the curved lugs, a nifty retractable crown. Then, through a supreme effort of will, I hand the watch back to Monsieur David Candaux who invites me to visit his farm to see how he creates his watches. I thank him. Yeah, thanks Mr. Candaux. You’re responsible for making the DC6 Half Hunter Solstice my grail watch.

Eddie Sng

IG: @eddiesng1011

In 1889, the Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges by Girard-Perregaux was awarded the Gold Medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. More than 130 years later, the architecture, form and design is still relevant and even more so in a crowded field of Tourbillons. The arrows of the bridges of the original La Esmeralda is unmistakable and the brand has done wonderful adaptation of with several variants. Such is the versatility of the Three Gold Bridges Tourbillon that the movement can be adapted to many case types and to suit any gender.

The Girard Perregaux Esmeralda Tourbillon.

And why is this my grail watch? The Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges is an exceptional piece of beauty – the proportions are perfect and the polished bridges in rose gold is a beauty to behold. The design of the Three Gold Bridges Tourbillon will remain iconic for a long time to come.

George Tan

IG: @vintagefusion_george

In watch collecting, it is inevitable that as a collector, each of us have our “grail” watch. It can be one with emotions, a piece with important history, one with complications, one that is of high quality of finishes or even its hard to reach in terms of price wise etc etc…

I too have my own “dream” or “grail” pieces. It’s hard to just pick on one as there are so many great brands and pieces around! But really if I have to pick just one, my “grail” watch will be one of the watches by Greubel Forsey. Specifically the Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1.

Why? You may ask… simple: Greubel Forsey is one of the top independent brand in the industry and to me it represents everything in watch making! One of the greatest master watch makers staying true to watch making tradition yet not afraid to experiment new stuffs and blending both old and new together – keeping tradition alive yet embracing new technology.

Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1.

The watch is beautiful! And the hard work put in, from parts to assembling, all by hand, is absolutely mind blowing! It’s not just a watch or timepiece anymore! It has been elevated to a brand new level! It’s art in its purest and best form.

Of course it would be literally impossible to get. That’s why it’s called a “grail”. To me, if a watch can be easily acquired, it’s not term as a “grail” anymore.

Last but certainly not the least! A Singapore media celebrity:

Bobby Tonelli

IG: @btonelli

When Peter asked me to write about my grail watch that’s literally impossible as we all have more than one grail watch. However to choose one for now I would go with the Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Experience PAM00985 watch.

I’ve been a Paneristi since the early 2000’s even being one of the lucky few to have the Pam195 with my name engraved on the back. My first watch was a PAM 24A which I still own. However I have always had an affinity for the Mike Horn edition watches over the years like the Arktos. The bezel design especially was rugged, utilitarian and bold.

When Panerai introduced the experience watches last year and unveiled the design of each watch it was once again the Mike Horn edition (PAM00985) that had me at hello.

Panerai PAM00985 Submersible Mike Horn Edition.

The bezel had design elements from the Arktos from yesteryear but updated with elements of the new Submersible range. The blue lume pops off the dial and bezel while having the markings etched in the glass bringing elements of the infamous LAB ID to a more rugged design.

Unfortunately all were spoken as soon as they were announced so the dream of owning one would never come true. While yes there is version in the form of the Submersible Mike Horn Edition (PAM00984) with a different color lume and strap color which is still available, it is the Experience piece with that combo of blue with Ecotitanium that was lust worthy.

Concluding thoughts

And there you have it, 6 of our esteemed readers have chosen their Grail Watch. What is yours? Tell us in the comments below!

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5 Comments

  1. Another nod for the Dufour Simplicity. It is the direct culmination of 400 years of traditional, classical watchmaking.

  2. To me, the grail still has to be somewhat attainable, not completely out of reach. This way, you eventually acquire it and then you can have a new grail selection. Therefore, my piece is the Patek Phillipe 3940 in platinum. The perfect PP, and a timeless piece in my opinion. I am saving my nickels and dimes for one . It is not overly rare, so I expect it will be available when I am ready to buy one, albeit preowned.

  3. The Patek 1518 in steel in my personal grail. The first Perpetual Calendar with Chronograph in a watch, it is for me the epitome of horological history, class and style, and the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is quintessentially Patek Philippe.

  4. Pingback: Throwback Sundays: Readers’ Choice: Top Picks for a grail watch | Wristwatch News