Photo by Salt Water New England

Saturday, November 14, 2020

A Reader Question for the Community: What watches are considered preppy?

 

A reader question for the community:
Watches with colorful ribbon straps (or comparable polyester NATO or Zulu straps, I suppose) and Hamilton field watches strike me as preppy.  Curious what your readers think.  

[Caveat, I only wear dive watches because I hike and canoe a lot; my lifestyle tends to be lethal for watches that aren’t made to get wet and/or struck by rocks, branches, and other debris from time to time].  

 

42 comments:

  1. My watch was (high school) an Elgin Sportsman (windup) on a Speidel expansion band. That got stolen some 25 years later (early 1980s) and since then I've used a succession of about half a dozen quartz-driven Timex watches on bands by Speidel and other makes (Speidel's gone defunct it seems). Seems silly to pay more.

    Essential watch feature for me is NO day/date, just basic time of day. I have zero patience with keeping the day & date feature in sync with the world, so best avoided altogether.

    Also essential is an expansion bracelet — hate those flip-lock things which are either too loose or too tight. Stupid device. Same goes for straps of any kind — the holes are never right.

    Funny note: on a trip to China years ago, I got myself and my father-in-law each of us a counterfeit Rolex in the Pearl Market in Beijing. (No, neither is still running — why do you ask...?)

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  2. Cartier Tank. Timex Indiglo. Swiss Army.

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  3. What watches are trad? Simple watches with as few features as possible, on either a leather band or NATO strap. Good examples of trad watches are the classic Cartier tank watch, and simple face watches from Timex, Tiffany, and Patek Philippe and anyone in between.

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  4. Timex Fairfield with a Leather Man ribbon strap.

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  5. I don't know if there is such a thing as a Preppy Watch today, because so many of the kids just use their cellphones to tell the time. Not like back in the day, when either you wore a wristwatch, or bothered somebody for the time.

    Although I've owned the gamut from Timex to Rolex, right now I wear a German watch -- the Lilienthal Berlin Zeitgeist with a gray leather band -- very Bauhaus, minimalist and built like a panzer. https://lilienthal-berlin.com/z01-101-b009a?c=47

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  6. In university, I wore an LL Bean field watch with a NATO strap, which was replaced by a Movado Museum watch gifted to me by a dear aunt upon graduation. I have worn many watches since, and my watch today is a Cartier Panthère. I tend to think that the most traditional watches that will stand the test of time and taste are the Louis Cartier Tank, the Patek Philippe Calatrava, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, and my favourite, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. Except for the Cartier tank (much more handsome in yellow gold), the rest of them would be in white gold or steel, please. Should you opt for something under $2K, I suggest the German Nomos (in Glashütte), which is quite respectable, with Bauhaus sensibilities.

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  7. And...as I am a big fan of the Northern European aesthetic (in watches, furniture and houses, and I do love Scandinavia) and functionality, I also recommend Ole Mathiesen's handmade watches. They've been around since 1845 and were considered purveyors to the Royal Danish Court. They may not have the pedigree of Swiss and German watches, and I cannot swear to their reliability, but they are considered quite respectable, not to mention beautiful, in their simplicity. I may just travel to Copenhagen after the lockdown to avail myself of one!

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  8. Although I cannot say that they are preppy, I have and like, watches that are simple, must be wound, and provide the hour and minute but nothing more. I have three, the stainless Rolex Oyster that was given to me upon graduating from high school, the elegant gold Chopard my wife got me about forty years ago, and my great grandfather's gold G-P pocket watch. The Rolex gets striped nylon straps, the Chopard has gone from black lizard to black calf. Now and then my wife wears the Concord I gave her years ago. Its strap has gone from black lizard to coral calf. The Rolex has only minute markings, and the others have white faces with Roman numerals. Our children seem to prefer Apple watches. I no longer wear a watch often enough to have a tan line from it.

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  9. Simple and cheap Timex Weekender on a rotating round of NATO straps. Never out of style, never have to worry about scratching it or breaking it- easily replaceable but looks timeless.

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  10. My vintage L.L.Bean field watch, and vintage Rolex steel Submariner have stood the test of time for me! No pun intended! Thank you!

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  11. Regardless of what I wear (Hamilton flieger, Apple Watch), I’ve noticed mostly Submariners and Apple Watches on men, and Apple Watches and tanks (various brands) on women over the past few years.

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  12. My wife gave me a gold Tiffany tank watch for our 10th anniversary. I wear it on a brown leather strap. Some day I will pass it on to my son.

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  13. The Submariner I got back in the late 80’s/early 90’s still works and I have it serviced by Rolex regularly... Hiking or skiing, an Apple Watch, maybe not the most “preppy” time piece, keeps me in touch with the world...

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  14. I've never understood the whole thing with watches. Are people truly impressed by them? The most preppy preps ask others for the time and silently smirk as others jump to display their supposedly enviable 'timepieces'. Kind of like the way the Kennedys never carried cash and always left others to pay.

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  15. Do kids still wear Swatches? They swept through my prep school like wildfire, and were the watch with which my parents weren't embarrassed to see my in public. Unlike the g shock, which my peers had no business wearing and my parents would not even consider purchasing.

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  16. That's quite a range from Timex to Rolex Submariner.

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  17. I wear the Lord Elgin rectangular face watch given to my father at his high school graduation 68 years ago. It takes a servicing every couple of years. I have a faux croc leather strap. I've been wearing it since he gave it to me 15 years ago.

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  18. My high school/university experience --- graduation gifts were either Cartier or Rolex for girls and Rolex for guys (for some, birthday or Christmas gifts).  My family wasn't wealthy in the "we're rich" way, but my father did very well and my sister and I attended schools where the majority of kids' families had money.  I've always enjoyed watches and have owned different ones, but Rolex by far is my preference and all that I've worn for some years now.  I still remember a B/W print ad showing a woman surfacing in the ocean, a dive mask pushed up and wearing a Rolex, with a headline something like, "She'll be wearing the same watch when she goes out to dinner this evening."  Rolex really is a 'go anywhere, do anything' watch that lives up to its marketing.  Lest it sound too snobbish, remember, some say preppy styles are more expensive to buy but they last 'forever.'  Rolex watches certainly seem to and often are handed down to daughters and sons, and on.  Sorry for what sounds a bit like an advertisement for the brand.  Most of my still preppy women and men friends are wearing Rolex and a couple women wear Cartier.  Interesting side note, I found out some years later, the woman in the print ad was Jill St. John, early on in her career.

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  19. I own a gold Cartier tank. It's my go to everyday watch.

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  20. Timex tank-style, Movado Museum Watch(reminded me of a wall clock my older brother had in his first New York City apartment) and a Tag Heuer picked up in a thrift shop that turned out to be real!

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  21. I have a Hamilton khaki, the officer's mechanical, that I wear with leather and Nato straps. Military watches, especially the WW2 "dirty dozen" are very collectable and sought after.

    My treasured watch is a gold Longines that I inherited from my father received for 40 years service to his company. Old watches, which tend to be smaller, are much more stylish and classy.

    In London, drivers in flash cars who wear expensive watches are often attacked by robbers when stopped at traffic lights. Rolexes are targeted because they are easy to sell on. They are too "nouveau riche" and a bit naff for me anyway.

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    1. ^ I agree about Rolex. Most look to me like the thing you get for being top insurance salesman.

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    2. And winning championships at prestigious tennis, golf, and motor racing events?

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    3. You bet. Doesn't make them look any more attractive.

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    4. It's also why I haven't yet bought one (a Rolex, I mean). Wearing one just makes you a target for thievery and violence because they do hold eminently good resale value. They're always touted as reliable and one of the triumvirate of desirable watches for connoisseurs (Audemars Piguet is another one), but I would much rather spend my francs on a Jaeger-LeCoultre or the Louis Cartier Tank than a Rolex or Audemars (good heavens, the Royal Oak is decidedly even more nouveau riche than the Rolex these days). The Rolex Oyster Perpetual still has a modicum redeemable value as a 'preppy' watch as long as one keeps to a more simple palette, stay away from diamonds and all-yellow-gold (all manner of bling). I sort of find the 2020 Oyster Perpetual models amusing, with their playful colourful (some might say a tad 'loud') dials if one had money to burn, but I tend to stay quite sober and classic with my horological tastes to not even bother with those.

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  22. So many good comments above. If you prefer the disposable aesthetic, there is nothing wrong with Timex field watches--go out, bash 'am up, replace them. If you want a longer more durable (potential hierloom) piece I'd get dateless as they are less fussy and automatic movement (or quartz) so they can be kept on a winder when not being worn.

    One nice frugal option is to look at Tudor (as Rolex's lesser in house brand of Rolex, they are to Rolex what Toyota is to Lexus). Their Black Bay dateless watches have all of the Rolex vibe and 80% of the quality for 50% of the price. I also like that they are not well known, so properly stealthy.

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  23. Patek, Vacheron, Audemars, GP, JLC, or IWC under 40mm time/date or time only in any precious metal on a strap.

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    1. I agree, they're all the choice of a better class of people.

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  24. I wear a Cartier Tank most days, and wear a Timex with a grosgrain ribbon watchband when the Cartier Tank is being serviced.

    I inherited a Cartier Tank that isn’t working properly as it probably needs an overhaul, and a Patek which could use some TLC.

    My husband alternates between a Jaeger-LeCoultre; a Timex with a grosgrain ribbon watchband and an Apple Watch.

    My daughter rarely wears a watch despite my suggestions. Oh well!

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  25. Omega for the office, JLC for nice nights out with my better half and for fancier social events, and my trusty Timex weekender on a NATO in my school colors for just about everything else. I'm absolutely fascinated by the engineering that goes into a good timepiece and my passion even seems to be rubbing off a bit on my high schooler as well! (Or at least that's what I tell myself...)

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  26. To be completely honest, the best watch is the one whose face you can see, without having to hunt around for glasses!

    I am 56 and I will be darned if I will have any watch on my wrist that is anything but functional--meaning I can read the darn time. You can have your PP, Cartier, Rolex, or what have you. Unless I can tell the darn time, I am not interested. Cheers!

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  27. Being a teen into my twenties during the later 70’s and 80’s.... the TAG Heuer brand ,especially the Formula and Diver Models (1500 series) were quite popular. It was for many the first watch they bought with there own money when you started working. I myself had owned a Tag Heuer 1500 series diver which I had for many years..

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  28. I'm a watch wearer. Have been since I learned how to tell time. The most important feature is that they are waterproof - my Rolex, Cartier, LL Bean Field, Tag Heuer & Timex are all waterproof, so they are daily wears, depending on mood. My dad's Tiffany & vintage Benrus (given to him by his groomsmen) and my father-in-law's vintage Elgin (given to him at his prep school graduation) are for special. Not sure of the relative preppy weightings - lol

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  29. I wear a Rolex because I saw Martin Luther King wearing one in an ad in The Atlantic.

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  30. Like all other "prep," low key, quality, appropriate, timeless and built last for years (preferably, generations). I have a Timex Weekender, G-Shock, Hamilton Khaki Field (mechanical), stainless Rolex Datejust (graduation gift), Cartier Tank (wedding gift) and a Vacheron Constantin Patrimony (inherited). There's also an antique gold pocket watch on a chain (inherited and worn twice with morning dress). Listing them out makes me wonder if it's all a little too much, but it gives me plenty of options and most of them will be passed along at some point. I get the most wear out of the Hamilton. It is rugged enough for daily use and works with field clothes as well as business casual. Plus, I don't worry about it being lost or stolen.

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  31. I’m going rogue and going to make a case for the Apple Watch. Hear me out! It’s waterproof, frees one of the phone, and keeps track of critical health stats. It is not trad, vintage, or aesthetically pleasing, but it’s functional, comfortable, and it delivers the time and health measures. Since I’ve sported the Apple Watch I’m getting up and standing once per hour while chained to my desk, drinking more water, and I’ve decreased my social media habits. I’m using data to refine my habits, Naysayers can go to hell.

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  32. My choice: Ladies Omega Constellation, everyday.

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  33. Something that is understated and doesn't scram out loud "look at me". For me, Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso or their Master series. Others include Patek, Lange, Vacheron. Rolex makes a great watch but so many of their watches are very loud. For Rolex I stick to datejust or explorer models. As much as I love grosgrain it still says look at me. Thus after having owned 50 plus watches it is all about quality and understatement. Apple makes a great product albeit it is not a watch but a wrist computer and I cannot stand being connected all the time. Too much technology for me.

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  34. ...own four; all of which carry a story - and all but one were gifts (the Hamilton Khaki quartz was a one-time indulgance that I've not repeated, and curiously the watch I wear the least). On a daily basis, and based on mood, the choice ranges between an Omega Seamaster, Tag Carrera (love the chronograph), or - now less often - a Tudor Submariner (circa 1991), which my Mum purchased for me upon my recieving gainful employment - following years of professional studentism... it's likely the most valuable, and I cherish the memory it represents. Not particularly fond of tech; that's my spouse's realm, though she's yet to hop on the Apple watch bandwagon...

    Your intrepid reader from north of the 49th,

    Banacek

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  35. The one, the only Gold Rolex President , top of the food chain worn by , ...well....Presidents .

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  36. IMO, no one should buy a particular watch because someone else deemed it "preppy". If you like Rolexes, and if you can afford a Rolex, buy a Rolex. I've worn a Seiko Diver's watch for the last twenty years. It cost about $150 and is self-winding. It's neither preppy nor cool, but it keeps time pretty well. It's analog, so many youngsters can't read it. It impresses no one.

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  37. That, and the "President" is also the favourite of certain members of the musical profession (many of whom have now met their untimely demise), nouveau riche bullys, and a smattering of gang-bangers (for good measure). Though, again, purely superficial - our possessions tend to reflect to others the company we keep (whether in fact, or aspiration)...

    B.

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