When I first saw the renderings of the palm-dial Datejust, I thought: Why would Rolex produce such a tacky design? Then I saw it in person and, like many watches, the real thing looked superb and much more subtle than I had initially imagined it to be. Soon, this watch moved to the top of my wish list as my desire for a not-so-typical Rolex core model grew.
Photo by Perpetual Passion
That’s the beauty of this hobby. Tastes evolve and one moment you could be swearing off the design inconsistencies of a particular watch and then suddenly something clicks and you see that same watch in an entirely new light. Most often for me it’s seeing the watch in real life, under natural lighting conditions that really changes my perspective.
Another example of this happening to me is with the Omega Seamasterdiver with the skeleton hands and scalloped dial. My neighbor had an older version and in the configuration he owned, the watch was completely flat as far as visual appeal. I also dislike, and still do, the standard, overly complex five-link bracelet that this watch typically comes with.
Photo by Fratello Watches
Then I started seeing more of these Seamaster watches in person. The scalloped bezel and skeleton hands became pluses in more modern renditions and various strap options, rubber or the aftermarket releases from Forstner Bands, changed the entire look of the watch for me. In this instance, the shinier ceramic bezel insert works better for me on this model.
Moving back to Rolex, there are several models that I just didn’t understand the appeal of when I first started collecting watches. Maybe it’s because I am older now, but certainly the basic Datejust seemed like the Rolex watch I would least likely purchase. At my early stages of watch appreciation, I felt like the Datejust was for a different generation, one that wanted to show off Rolex ownership in a safe, conservative way. The classic 36mm Datejust seemed too small and I didn’t love the cyclops date window magnifier.
The more I learned about this watch and saw it on the wrists of a variety of walks of life, I realized that this is a watch that can really look different based on how the owner chooses to wear it. Preppy, punk, hip-hop, whatever cultural inflection one takes on, the Datejust remains steady, a suitable match that just screams tradition. With so many variations in dial style, color, bracelet and bezel, Datejust owners can make their watch very much personalized. As a huge bonus, as my need for reading glasses increased, I grew to appreciate the practicality of having a date window magnifier.
Photo by OC Watch Company
Panerai watches in general I never really got until I saw someone wearing it and I understood the context. They can be a literal flex, and wearing a huge Panerai with a muscular frame is an ideal match. No wonder Stallone embraced the brand and put it back on the map in the 1990s. I saw a co-worker wear his in a meeting after he had returned from the gym and had his PAM000 on. As he gestured with this hands, I was just admiring his Panerai, unapologetically oversized, but looking purposefully attention grabbing.
I went on to own this bold watch in the form of the PAM112, and wearing one I finally got it.
What are some of the watches you didn’t like at first but grew to love?