Timepiece

Rolex Oyster Perpetual & Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Image: Rolex

To get to the heart of the matter, as promised in the introduction, I am indeed making two different sorts of selections here. I knew there was a chance that WOW Thailand editor Ruckdee and I were writing about the watches we actually bought, and that presented problems and opportunities. The problem is of course that my pride and joy this year is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss, and you might not believe much of what I have to say about how I bought it. As for the opportunity, well, it lies in the possibility that you get something out of my story. I’m going to present this as an opinion piece, before moving on to my second piece, which is not a watch I bought but rather is part of a series that I’ve had my eye on for over a decade .

You may have read Rolex’s recent statements on the current market situation, and we’re sure anyone interested in buying a Rolex would have been. In fact, this still applies, so all times must be present – see HODINKEE and WatchPro for original news and later tracking. We at Luxuo and WOW were in conflict over this, mainly because we had just done a long series on Rolex watches available at leading retailer and authorized Rolex dealer The Hour Glass. Although it was all sponsored, it was strange to promote watches that might not be available. However, I had a purely personal solution, which I held in reserve. To put it simply, I had planned to buy one of the models listed in the stories, from the same retailer in Singapore.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss
Image: Rolex
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss
Image: Rolex

As you might have guessed, some disclosure is necessary in a story like this. Before getting into the watch I purchased, it’s important to note that no special privileges were used. The Hour Glass staff certainly know me, and Rolex also knew that I was looking for a specific watch. Beyond that, everything went as in the normal course of buying anything. I inquired with other authorized Rolex dealers about the same watch but only The Hour Glass responded which was coincidental. So for those of you complaining about retailers not paying attention to you, there might be something to that.

This brings me to another disclosure, or rather a note. My experience is just that. My experience. It is entirely anecdotal and does not correspond to market realities like a data-driven experiment with stringent parameters would. I offer my story as a counterpoint to the many tales of people waiting a year, and maybe longer, for otherwise standard Rolex watches (i.e., all but some more complicated models). Indeed, some of you are still waiting.

And now, a relevant point which concerns the special privileges and the watch in question. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss has been on my hit list for quite some time now – over 10 years in fact. My watch is reference 116400GV, for those of you who think in terms of numbers. This version, with Z-Blue dial and green sapphire crystal, meets various needs of my own collection. Those of you who follow my Conversation series with WOW Thailand editor Ruckdee Chotjinda may recall that I don’t have a watch with a blue dial. It remains a bit of a shock to anyone who learns of this fact. It’s almost outrageous actually, if I say so myself. Just to be a little irreverent here, this Milgauss is all the green I need in a watch, although my second run at picking watches for this feature might make me a liar.

Back to the point, it took about three months from the time I registered my interest to when it became available. It doesn’t seem blatant at all, and I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t have to buy another watch, let alone watches, to get my Milgauss. Neither I nor The Hour Glass suggested anything like that. Although the Milgauss isn’t the hot ticket to a Submariner or Sea Dweller, it still sells for the price listed above used. This is true even in Singapore, as you can find out for yourself. You will understand why I am quite pleased with myself to have purchased this watch from an authorized dealer for the retail price.

Opinions will be divided here, but bragging rights are important with some watches, no matter how vulgar. I am generally against this sort of thing, but I admit that it is normal for professional or sports Rolex watches. A watch like the Milgauss is as much for the wearer as it is for the beholder, in other words. The fact that I have one when others might struggle financially – is a hallmark of this watch, although in this respect the Milgauss is certainly not in the same league as some other models.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss
Image: Rolex

I will end with a note on this specific Milgauss. It’s one of the few current Oyster Perpetual watches that hasn’t received a movement upgrade – just look at its 48-hour power reserve to realize that. The signature claim of the Milgauss is its ability to withstand the deleterious effects of electromagnetic fields, but current generation Rolex movements can do this job even better. While the new watch will likely be very impressive, the reference 116400GV is the one I wanted, and the launch of the Oyster Perpetual Explorer this year got me thinking. It is possible that the Milgauss will be changed a lot in its new form, and the current version will of course no longer be available. This last point sums up my decision to pull the trigger on this watch.

Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso Nontieeme

For my second timepiece here, I’ll leave the realm of practicality behind and head into the realm of stylish secrecy. If I spend a little less time here than with the Milgauss, it’s because I didn’t buy this next watch. It remains on my list though, and a version of it has graced nearly every version of this type of list I’ve written in the past 15 years. The problem with selecting watches to celebrate 2021 is the terrible reality of our present moment. You might feel it more keenly if you like Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, and Hublot watches. The solution is something that sends a message of refined restraint while keeping another aspect in store just for you. Of course, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is the watch of choice in this area.

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Nonanteeme
Picture: Jaeger LeCoultre

Although I selected the Reverso Nonantieme for this story, any Reverso Duoface works if you like the idea of ​​a backyard party, as they say. As the best-designed reversible watch in the world — no production watch offers competition — the Reverso is a unique proposition that allows Jaeger-LeCoultre to experiment with representations of the time as well as the decorative arts of horology. While the Duoface feature certainly allows the Reverso to at least display the time in multiple places, that’s not the charm. What I’m looking for here is rather an opportunity for poetry, to which the Manufacture Le Sentier has systematically leaned for at least the 80 years of the Reverso. For the curious, the Manufacture tells us that complications only appeared on the Reverso in the 1990s, after its 60th anniversary.

The Reverso is, as we have already written in issue 55, the world’s first true sports watch, designed as it was for polo players in 1931. As such, it remained purely functional for decades, but we like to think that the manufacture has understood the possibilities here, including resurrecting an aspect of the pocket watch. Like the pocket watches of yore, the Reverso has a practical side, but also offers hidden delights for the owner. It can be a miniature painting or an engraving, but also a simple exhibition background. The beauty here is that you don’t have to take the watch off to take advantage of these extra facets to the watch. In 2021, with travel being out of the question for most of us, I discovered that
it’s useful to keep track of time in at least one other place, as a reminder of times before. The Nonantieme, and really any Reverso Duoface, does just that. It’s comforting to know that life goes on elsewhere too, and that even if you can’t visit, you can still be physically and viscerally connected.

This year is of course the 90th anniversary, which calls for a special touch, which the Nonantieme delivers. Nonantieme means ninetieth in French, which is a nice touch from JaegerLeCoultre, and the watch offers a first for the Reverso collection: the semi-jumping hour on the reverse of the case. The standard watch face – what Jaeger-LeCoultre calls the watch face – features a standard time display, with the addition of a double-window date and moon phase. Nothing particularly unusual there. On the other side, the time display is laid out in the shape of a figure eight, with the hours at the top and the minutes at the bottom. The hours and minutes are separated by a day/night indicator and a hand-painted blue three-quarter plate. This entire arrangement, including the work of the Atelier des Métiers Rares at Jaeger-LeCoultre, is both poetry and horological pleasure. By fun here, I mean the kind of party stuff you only do for watch collectors, at a gathering for watch collectors. Any other time is like telling a Swann’s Way joke – in any business.

On a serious note that always emerges from any reference to Remembrance of Things Past, the Nonantieme’s digital face will serve you well as a reminder of any place you desire. It’ll do it quietly and reliably – unlike any other dual time zone watch, you’ll never need to show it to everyone. In our time, discretion is more valuable than ever. You may have concerns about semi-jumping hours, but if you only need the watch to keep time in the background, that’s not a deal-breaker. Indeed, it could be a rather appealing oddity.

For more watch readings, click here.