How many watches have you seen in the metal this year? My personal tally would surely be an all-time low. The COVID pandemic cancelled watch fairs while product viewings turned into digital affairs where white-gloved reps waved their timepieces at you over live video streams.
There’s no real substitute for any of this, of course. To truly appraise a watch you have to hold it in your hands to feel its heft, click its bezel, watch how the sunlight bounces off the dial. But when you’re denied that opportunity due to a merciless pandemic keeping you house-bound for months on end, then you have to find other ways to scratch that horological itch.
Luckily, great watch writing brings timepieces to life and makes their intimate details almost tangible. I’m fortunate to work alongside some mighty talented folk who can do that better than most. Here are some of my favourite pieces from Time+Tide’s archives from 2020.
HANDS-ON: The virile vitality of the Hublot Big Bang Millennial Pink – Fergus Nash
Fergus annoys the hell out of me because he makes it all look so bloody effortless. He’s not even a full-time journo, but he writes with such fluency and ease while making the most complex technical concepts graspable in just a few well-chosen words. I could’ve picked virtually any of his articles here, but I’ve gone for the Hublot Millennial Pink just because the last time I saw him, Fergus’ hair was a similar colour to the watch.
Check out Fergus’ article right here
NOT ON MY WATCH: Sorry, but date windows on dress watches are ugly and pointless (and Nietzsche agrees) – Nicholas Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is an affable fellow. I’ve never seen him looking remotely ruffled, and he carries himself with a certain quiet poise. So it’s brilliant to see him totally lose his shit over something. And as this article shows, Nick hates date windows on dress watches with a boggle-eyed passion that feels almost genocidal in its intensity. Luckily, he managed to collect himself sufficiently to explain his loathing with characteristic dexterity.
“Date windows ruin any hope for a balanced and symmetrical dial, causing the watch to have a visual limp, as though in need of a walking cane,” he writes. “Even positioned at 6 o’clock, a date window will disrupt the cleanliness of a dial, weighing it down like an ankle-attached parole bracelet.”
Check out Nick’s article right here
HANDS-ON: The Moser Streamliner Centre Seconds dragon breathes pure fire – Thor Svaboe
You know those Buddhist monks who sit in a remote cave meditating on the nature of existence? That’s how deeply Thor thinks about watches. As a result, he notices microscopic details that you or I would invariably miss. From the nuances of a second-hand to a sapphire crystal’s bevelled edge, if the devil is in the detail then Thor is positively satanic. Where things get really good, though, is that he then relates these discoveries to you with the wide-eyed excitement of a small (Norwegian) kid who’s just eaten too many Haribos. Always worth a read.
Check out Thor’s article right here
3 watches that prove the ‘lug to lug’ measurement is a more important metric for fit than case diameter – Zach Blass
This article from T+T’s New York correspondent will change the way you view watches forever. But its conclusion is so forehead-slappingly obvious that you wonder how you never realised it before. That’s the power of Zach’s game-changing insight. As he explains, forget the diameter of a watch dial, it’s the lug to lug measurement that really counts.
Check out Zach’s article right here
The Zenith DEFY Midnight is a (very) early contender for women’s collection of the year – Andrew McUtchen
I’ve known Andrew for many years and if I had to describe him in one word it would be “operatic”. What I mean is this man feels things deeply. Emotionally, he’s an all-or-nothing kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and can go from soaring excitement to howling outrage pretty fast. Working with Andrew certainly keeps you energised, is often inspiring and never dull. I remember when Andrew came back from Dubai (or somewhere) and started raving about this watch with his usual fervour. This article gives you a very diluted taste of the company of one of life’s true enthusiasts.
Check out Andrew’s article right here