To call a watch ‘overlooked’ begs the question – overlooked by whom? Of course, there are enthusiasts who dedicate their lives to learning about watches. They seek out unknown brands and models to expand their mental catalog. It’s hard for an enthusiast to overlook a watch because they are. . . well. . . looking. On the other side of the spectrum, we have non-enthusiasts, general consumers, etc. Practically the whole market is overlooked by this cohort. If you don’t do your research, you’re going to miss out. With these picks, I don’t aim to dig up obscure watches you’ve never heard of. This is an exercise in looking at a watch for what it is. When you look past the hype, what gives a watch value? What makes it interesting? Why does it exist? I’ve included individual references as well as entire collections -- take from it what you will.
Omega De Ville Prestige
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Omega’s catalog holds some heavy hitters: the Speedmaster, the Seamaster 300, the Aqua Terra, etc. These iconic silhouettes are culturally significant – even outside of enthusiast circles. In a world obsessed with sports watches, Speedmasters and Seamasters are embraced. Omega’s dressy De Ville collection tends to get lost in the shadow of its siblings. Although the De Ville collection displays the same elegance and quality you would expect from Omega, it’s rarely talked about. The De Ville name doesn’t lack history either: going back 55 years in their catalog.
The Prestige line, under the De Ville collection, has some incredible watches at unbelievable values. Every new, mechanical Omega watch is a Master Chronometer, meaning it has received COSC certification and METAS certification. If that all sounds like gibberish, just know this – the movement inside your Omega has gone through stringent testing to ensure precision and longevity. The De Ville Prestige line offers this assurance under $4,000, in a good looking package, no less. The design language is as simple as it is handsome: roman numerals, baton indices, and classic color palettes. The Prestige line offers date windows, small seconds subdials, and even power reserve indicators, if you’re feeling fancy. This is a watch that will keep great time and look phenomenal for the foreseeable future – at a great price. Why is no one talking about it?
Rolex Milgauss (Ref. 116400)
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If you’re interested in the history of the Milgauss, I recommend reading Who is the Rolex Milgauss For? This anti-magnetic watch has a fascinating past and a perplexing present. Despite people’s fervent requests for Rolex to “shake things up” and “do something new”, the watch that does this most – the Milgauss (Ref. 116400) – is seldom appreciated. This watch is funky: it has a green-tinted sapphire crystal, a bright orange lightning bolt second hand, and perhaps most unexpected (given those quirky features), a Rolex logo! The Milgauss is a huge deviation from the rest of Rolex’s catalog. It’s an enthusiast’s watch. No one buys a Milgauss to show off their Rolex; they buy a Milgauss to show off their Milgauss. Despite its rich history, departure from monotony, and capability as a tool watch, the Rolex Milgauss is hardly a popular choice. I think it's time we give the Milgauss the hype it deserves. Did I mention you can throw it on a rubber strap and dive with it? It’s in an Oyster case, after all. If you need a strap for your Milgauss, you’re already in the right palace. Everest makes rubber straps tailor-fit for the Rolex Milgauss (Ref. 116400).
Longines Spirit Collection
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To call the entire Longines Spirit collection ‘overlooked’ might be a stretch. The 37mm Spirit, released in 2022, was among the most celebrated watches of the year. However, we must consider our introductory question – overlooked by whom? Longines’ Spirit collection has only been around since 2020. Although enthusiasts jumped on the release due to its value, quality, and versatility, there’s plenty of time for the Spirit collection to trickle down to non-enthusiast circles.
The Longines Spirit collection embodies much of what makes a pilot’s watch a pilot’s watch: namely, large arabic numerals and a conical crown. This makes sense, as pioneering pilots such as Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh regularly wore Longines watches. Every Spirit model includes a COSC-certified movement, a screw-down crown, and a quick-release strap/bracelet. These features, particularly all together, are rarely found at this price point ($2,000 - $3,000). The Spirit collection also contains the Zulu Time – a “true” GMT with all of the aforementioned features. This is an unbelievably impressive collection, especially considering the price tag. Even if you’re familiar with the Longines Spirit collection, I recommend giving it a second look. In many ways, this young collection is setting the stage for the future of mechanical watchmaking.