This is Watch Bites. This week, we’re looking at the expanding future of watch collaborations, talking vintage AP, and more, so check your wrist, crank up your brightness, and let’s get into it!
🍿 5 min read
Here's what we got today:
Are watch collaborations a gift or a curse? 🤬
Kendrick Lamar needs a new watch guy 😤
Another SwatchPain release to hurt your feelings 🤿
Furlan Marri just keeps winning! 🏆
The numbers above represent market trends in secondhand watch prices. The “Price“ column represents the average secondhand price for the top 30 watches of each brand. This data is sourced from Watch Charts.
The Race For The Biggest Watch Collaboration Is On.
Before we had the MoonSwatch, special edition watches were the most likely way to tease collectors out of daily-wearer-induced comas, encouraging them to buy something ostensibly rare and unique within a brand’s given catalogue.
Now though, special editions don’t seem to cut through the noise of endless releases with the same punch. Instead, we’re being groomed to fancy a new breed of exclusivity - the collaborative release. Audemar’s Cactus Jack Royal Oak, Hublot’s Murakami, and LV’s Akrivia team-up are all fantastic watches in their ways, sure. More importantly, though, is that they’re among the first few snowflakes of what will become an avalanche of mid-to-high-end watch collaborations over coming years. 2024 will see the CWU (Collaborative Watch Universe, duh) grow exponentially - ask any of the major watch houses and they’ll tell you that this is a competition, after all.
The question is, “Is this good for the average watch collector and the industry at large, or will it eventually cheapen the art of watchmaking?” I’m hedging my bets for now…
Furlan Marri is About to Break Into the Big-Time
There are Kickstarters and there are Kickstarters and Furlan Marri (named after the company’s two founders) is the latter.
This Geneva-based watch house is almost certainly (and deservedly) about to sneak into the major leagues, in part thanks to the recent release of two flyback chronographs that are damn near perfect. It’s not often that an independent brand stirs up so much revelry among collectors and horologists, yet this is exactly what FM has done with their 3177 and 3199 Flybacks. Sellita movements, leaf hands, overlapping dials, and a mixture of Roman and Arabic numerals seem like a tad much when thrown together but this is the genius of these watches - Furlan Marri has made the unreasonable reasonable, and rendered previously unthinkable stylistic combinations as utterly approachable.
Looking at these watches feels a bit like staring at the early notes of Albert Einstein, or getting to hear Stevie Wonder write Signed, Sealed, Delivered at 13 years old. Suffice it to say, grab one while you can still afford to.
In the final days of WWII, Glashütte was bombed and invading Soviet troops helped themselves to the tools and plans in the factories there. That’s why some Russian movements still bear some similarities to classic calibers made by the likes of A. Lange & Söhne.
3 Watch Collection: Ceramic Edition
If you’re not into the simplicity of steel or if you find gold a bit gaudy, perhaps you’ll find certainty in ceramic. Let’s dream a lightweight dream of the perfect, all-ceramic 3-watch collection.
Omega Seamaster 300M Black (Sport watch) - This $9,500 piece gets a lot of hate for being hard to read but let’s get real - if you’re doing ceramic properly, you’re doing it in black and as this watch’s title suggests, it doesn’t get more black than… well, black black. Oh, and it just so happens to be virtually unbreakable, by man or water.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic (Dress watch) - Thin enough to slide under any sleeve and sleek enough to catch any eye, this $18,200 Bulgari is a fully ceramic take on the beloved Octo Finissimo. 1 color, 3 hands, and a sub-seconds dial make this watch minimal enough to blend in anywhere unless there are discerning eyes around…
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic (Everyday watch) - Sure, I could’ve chosen a $300K Royal Oak to close out this list but where’s the challenge in that? Instead, I’ve opted for Tudor’s humble Black Bay, a $5,000 workhorse that is as attractive to look at as it is comfortable to wear. This industry-favorite just screams ‘wear me’ in a very modest way.
Total Collection Cost (USD): $32,700
People are doing ‘Midsize’ watches this year and Vacheron Constantin got the party started at Watches and Wonders 2023.
An Ocean of Storms or a Dull Waveless Bay? Blancpain and Swatch release a new dumbing-down of the masterful Fifty Fathoms. It’s…meh.
Will 2024 be the year for vintage AP? Kendrick Lamar would likely say so. If only his watch guy would hook him up with less-battered pieces…
Sleeper-hit alert: Omega’s Saffron Aqua Terra might be the brand’s most unique dial color yet and is sure to become a cult favorite.
Watch Scout by Watch Bites
Case: Stainless steel, 43mm
Condition: Very Good
Box & Papers: Yes, box and papers included
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun ‘Lake Tahoe’
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*Watch Bites does not provide financial advice. None of this is financial advice. This is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. Please be careful and do your own research!