The Tribes Part II: The Purist
As the second in our Tribes series, The Watch Gallery takes a look at a sect of watch wearers holier than thou. Gentlemen, leave the quartz movement at home – the Purist has arrived.
Watches are often seen as the final bastion of style to conquer. Menswear has seen something of a more democratic movement, with every man, child and dog blogging their outfit of the day (#OOTD for the cool kids) in a kaleidoscope of sportswear and the stark realisation that ’90s’ now means ‘vintage’. But watches, however, have retained a sense of sanctity – and the Purist has played no small part in this.
For this breed of gentleman, nothing but the most prestigious of brands will do: after all, a timepiece is a trophy, a work of art to be respected and preserved through a love of the traditional. The upper echelons of the watch world are worth every penny: Purists usually have a bank account to match (or a terrifying credit history). Don’t even get them started on counterfeits. Movements are all almost always manually wound. Dials are eternally classic. And, to be perfectly honest, the Purist would rather amputate at the wrist then wear a non-Swiss timepiece: yes, these fellows really are that ardent when it comes to horology (or precious, take your pick of adjective).
But let’s get one thing straight – the Purist is particular and has every right to be. These gents appreciate the hard work and expertise that goes into modern horology and just won’t accept a compromise when they know greater treasures lie elsewhere. Yes, they might be dropping a fair whack on the perfect watch but we could all learn a thing or two from the wealth of knowledge these men so proudly possess.
The Watch Gallery loves a good Purist (we couldn’t survive without you) so peruse and muse upon our superior collection and take a leaf from this Tribe’s holy tome.
Exceptionally simple, nobody does classic like Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Master Ultra-Thin boasts perfection both inside and out with the iconic 925 movement (something a Techie knows for sure) housed in a crystal clear design.
Key Features: 28,800 alternations per hour, 43 hour power reserve with 30 jewels and 246 pieces with the movement measuring only 4.9mm thick. Wow, that was a mouthful.
Purist Qualification: Technical specifications that go way beyond the usual expectations of a Swiss watch – the Purist would go weak at the knees.
The Historiques American 1921 is a watch steeped in history (you don’t need a French degree to spot that one). Originality lies in the piece’s tilted dial – a feature Purists around the world would love without detracting from the brand’s prestige. Bravo, Vacheron Constantin.
Key Features: Swiss made, 40mm, rose gold case, alligator leather strap, manually wound movement, scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass, water resistant to 30m.
Purist Qualification: An elite timepiece from one of the world’s oldest watch manufactures: need we say no more?
As Cartier’s seminal timepiece, the Ballon Bleu exhibits everything the Purist desires: prestige, tradition, craftsmanship and the name of one of the most iconic manufacture’s in the world.
Key Features: 42mm round stainless steel case, fluted crown set with blue synthetic spinel cabochon, Roman numerals to outer dial.
Purist Qualification: As if bearing Cartier’s flag wasn’t enough, the Ballon Bleu is considered one of the most covetable timepieces out there.
Fitted with a Panerai OP XI calibre hand-wound mechanical movement, the Radiomir is a signature style from a world-renowned manufacture. Add in a little Italian heritage and you’ve got the ideal timepiece.
Key Features: 56-hour power reserve, 45mm polished AISI 316L stainless steel case, 1.9mm thick glare-proof sapphire crystal, black dial with luminous Arabic numerals and hands.
Purist Qualification: Panerai prides itself on technical proficiency in addition to aesthetic perfection, and the Radiomir works just as well as it looks.
An all-black dial on a black strap may seem like a thoroughly modern foil for the Purist but appeal lies in the Zenith name: exquisite craftsmanship with the prestige to match.
Key Features: Swiss made, automatic movement, 42mm stainless steel case, scratch-resistant sapphire glass, water resistant to 50m.
Purist Qualification: The Zenith name alone is enough to get the Purist ticking but a high level of technicality makes the Captain Central Second a strong contender.