Four watches you should buy instead of Portnoy’s Brick Watch – US$2.4K or lessZach Blass
When news broke that Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy was launching his own watch company, the watch community immediately reached for their phones to let him know on social media just how displeased they were with his Brick Watch Company watches. And if not going for their phone to troll Portnoy, they certainly went for their popcorn to watch the action unfold. For an unheralded brand to charge US$2,400 for a watch largely generic in design and specification, the debuting collection is definitely a very hard sell. So, I decided to assemble a list some far better alternatives for the price (or even less).
For those unfamiliar, I remarked in my initial story that Brick Watch Company’s Sellita SW 200-1 powered Classic ’22 comes in what appears to be a fully brushed 316L stainless-steel case and bracelet. It is offered in both 38mm and 42mm sizing, with configurations that include white, silver, blue and rose dials, as well as a black dial configuration that has a blackened case and bracelet. Based on the imagery, the twin-trigger clasp has four points of micro-adjustment, which I applaud, and it is 100m water-resistant giving it daily-wear credibility on paper. But, sorry Portnoy – it ain’t cutting it. Here are my four alternatives below.
Longines Spirit 37
Coming in at exactly the same price of US$2,400, the Longines Spirit 37 is leagues ahead of the Classic ’22 in quality. The most glaring value-add is Longines’ automatic manufacture calibre L888.4. This offers 72 hours of power reserve – more than twice as much as the Sellita calibre within Brick’s Classic ’22 – and is a COSC-certified movement that will run within +6/-4 seconds per day. It also utilises a silicon hairspring, making it far more resistant against magnetism than the SW 200-1. Normally, I would not make such presumptions, but I feel confident in inferring that the build quality of the Spirit 37 case and bracelet is far greater, and its finish is certainly of a higher quality with both satin-brushed and polished elements. Also available in a range of dial colours, the hour numerals, handset, and, quite frankly, the entire dial overall is much more handsome as well. Longines is also a historic brand with centuries of heritage and watchmaking know-how under their belt, backed in the present day by the might of the Swatch Group it is part of.
Price: US$2,400 (on bracelet)
The Monta Noble may also utilise a Sellita-based movement, which to be clear there is absolutely nothing wrong with. But the SW300 that the automatic Monta caliber M-22 is based on, offers four more hours of power reserve (42 hours). It has incredibly wrist-friendly dimensions, clocking in at 38.5mm in diameter, a very slender 9.7mm thickness, and compact for the category 47mm lug-to-lug measurement. The Monta Noble also exceeds the Classic ’22 in not only build quality and finish, but affords 50 metres more of water-resistance with a screw-down crown secured 150 metres depth rating. A crucial component of note for the Noble is also its high-quality bracelet, bevelled on the outer shoulders of the links and with a quick-adjust clasp with three slots for micro adjustment. Monta also includes two half-links with every bracelet, so you can really fine-tune its size to find the perfect fit. All of this, including dials with far nicer finish and tone, and yet it will set you back US$605 less than Brick’s Classic ’22.
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Day Date Auto
Now the previous two candidates serve as alternatives to the 38mm Classic ’22. But it also comes in 42mm as well. So, for those who prefer this larger diameter, the Hamilton Khaki Field Aviation Pilot Day Date Auto is yet another alternative that largely outperforms the Classic ’22 on all fronts. The watch, which you may recognise was worn on the wrist of Matthew McConaughey in the film Interstellar, comes in a 42mm stainless-steel case that’s 100 meters water-resistant. It utilises Hamilton’s automatic H-80 calibre that offers a full 80 hours of power reserve. Its large and legible black dial boasts both a day and date complication, so with this watch you are getting more complication, a robust build, the trust and gravitas of the Hamilton brand, the romantic connection to the film in which it was worn, and you get all of this for less than a fraction of the price of the Classic ’22.
Oris Divers Sixty-Five
The timing bezel of a diver does not make the Oris Divers Sixty-Five a 1:1 visual alternative to the Brick Watch Company Classic ’22, but when looking for a watch at this price point, especially up against a Brick Watch Company product, it is definitely worthy of being in the conversation. Plus, the dive-watch aesthetic is immensely popular, so I suspect nobody will really take issue. Movement-wise, this diver actually utilises a SW 200-1 base, so it is even with the Classic ’22 in this regard. Where it separates itself is in its aesthetic and quality in build. The Divers Sixty-Five, as its name suggests, is largely vintage-inspired. It offers screw-down crown secured, 100 meter water-resistant diver with an aged tone to the luminous hands and markers, a faux-riveted bracelet, an aluminium timing bezel insert, and a domed sapphire crystal to evoke the acrylic crystals of the past. This example, with a dark matte blue dial, is extremely versatile – equally worthy of desk diving in the office as it is diving into the ocean on vacation.