The three watches Zach wore most in 2020: Tudor, Grand Seiko and RolexZach Blass
Editor’s note: You may note one watch gets more air time in this article than the other two. When we originally tasked our team to put this together, we prompted our writers to pick the one watch they wore the most in 2020. But we decided to give you all more bang for your buck, and instead ask what were the three watches they wore most in 2020. Zach … take it away.
When it comes to my watch collection, I always try to spread the love. Unless I am reviewing a watch, or in the honeymoon phase with a new addition to my roster, I rarely wear a watch for a week straight. In fact, I try to avoid wearing the same watch two days in a row. But a common trend I find each morning when I elect to strap a watch to my wrist is that I usually wear watches more frequently when they are on a bracelet – especially in warmer seasons. I am a bit OCD with my watches. I don’t baby them by any means, but I do take care of them. As an example, each time I take a watch off I’ll rinse it if it is 100 metres or more water resistant or wipe my less water-resistant watches with a lightly damp microfibre cloth before putting the watch back in my watch box.
If my wear time was translated into the results of a race, sure there would be a first, second and third place, as you will see below. But the time apart from each finish would be seconds at most. In a given week they all will get worn, but the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue seems to be the watch that will consistently make a second or third appearance in a given week. With Kurono, Ming, Grand Seiko, A. Lange & Söhne, Rolex and more in my collection it is really hard to play favourites. To let any watch sit redundantly in its box for too long kind of defeats the purpose of owning it in the first place. Can’t really justify owning these things if we do not use them, right? So, wondering what was the watch I wore most in 2020? Let’s get started …
#1 Tudor Black Fifty-Eight Navy Blue
What I love about this watch is that it is a much more under-the-radar Rolex Submariner. My 114060 definitely gets wear time, and I have taken it with me into lakes and oceans but, being a less expensive watch with factory-fresh gaskets, my BB58 blue has become my frontline mechanical watch. It provides the same, or at least near adjacent wrist experience, without the same fear of taking off resale value with each wear. I also love how the blue colour scheme goes with literally anything. Sure black is a versatile colour as well, but blue/grey have the benefit of being able to pair well with both black or brown accessories.
The Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy Blue is really everything I could ask for in a daily wearer. The 39mm case diameter, and 47mm lug-to-lug measurement, really suits my wrist. The clasp, secured by ceramic ball bearings, is very robust and does not lose its strength with each open and close. The lack of a date complication, and 72 hours of power reserve, ensures that so long as I wear it every few days I rarely need to adjust or wind the watch (I find it typically gains a maximum of four seconds per day). With a silicon escapement, I also never have to worry about magnetising my watch – which, with my wrist hovering over a keyboard and speaker magnets, is not a small possibility. Considering its screw-down crown and 200 metres of water resistance I also have little concern for the vulnerability to moisture damage.
The dial is very clean, and it is nice to see the tone of the blue change depending on the lighting of your surroundings. It can go from a sort of baby blue to a deep and dark navy blue. The snowflake hands are absolutely stunning, and incredibly legible – making it a breeze to quickly glance at the time. The luminescent coatings on the hands, markers and bezel pip shine super bright in darker settings. The aluminium bezel may be more fragile than modern ceramic ones, but there is an old-school allure to the more matte texture it provides, and mine has yet to scratch – even with the occasional encounter with a doorknob.
Aside from the blue dial, another great differentiator from my Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 is the vintage-inspired case design of the BB58. The lugs are far more tapered than the block-like lugs on my Submariner, and feature a super crisp mechanically finished bevel that blends well into the caseband. The satin brush finish to the majority of its surfaces is a rich graining highly visible to the naked eye and is far less revealing of hairline scratches than more polished components.
When people ask me what I think of the watch, or whether they should buy it, I always explain that Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight watches essentially have vintage builds with a modern heft, solidity and security. For those who like more classic case profiles, but don’t want the fear of ruining a more fragile vintage timepiece, Black Bay Fifty-Eight watches from Tudor are really a great middle ground to get the best of both worlds.
#2 Grand Seiko ref. SBGA211 “Snowflake”
The snowflake nickname for the SBGA211 is appropriate on so many levels. While it has no diamonds, or precious gems, the watch brilliantly shines under the light like the best ice in horology. The titanium is so light to wear it barely feels like it is even there when immersed in your day – as light as a snowflake that falls on your wrist on a cold winter’s day. Then, of course, there’s the white textured dial, which truly evokes the image of a mountain top covered in snow. While not my most worn watch this year, it definitely took the top spot in 2019. It is such a hassle-free watch.
Three days of power reserve ensures it is very unlikely the watch has powered completely down by its next wear, and the spring drive movement gains maybe a quarter of a second per day at most in my personal experience – making it very rare I need to adjust/re-sync the time to my watchville app. Screw-down crown, 100 metres water resistant, I have little concern for exposing the watch to water. In fact, once upon a time I had a moment of beautiful irony wearing this snowy watch to the sunny summer beach – and yes, into the ocean as well.
#3 Rolex Submariner ref. 114060
If the Grand Seiko Snowflake is super light, and the Tudor Steel is medium heft, the 904L steel of the Rolex is the high heft of the trio. The watch has a bit more of a luxurious feel on the wrist, while also being a robust Rolex that can take on any situation. The perfect beach and boardroom watch, my 114060, as I mentioned before, only gets less wear time due to owning the BB58 as well. I know I am touting the durability of the watch, but I have a collector’s sense of obligation to avoid making the Rolex my frontline daily beater. As a result, it became my go-to when I wanted to switch it up from the previous two. Rolex watches attract a certain kind of attention and portray an image you may not always want to put out into your surroundings.