My Watch: Watches and Personal Style with The Armoury’s Mark Cho

Share this story:

Mark Cho is one of the sharpest-dressed guys I know, but that’s exactly what one would expect from the co-founder of The Armoury, one of the best men’s haberdasheries in NYC and Hong Kong. From fine tailoring to high-quality accessories, The Armoury has a curated selection of goods from some of the world’s finest makers, among them Ring Jacket (Japan), Caruso (Italy), Drake’s (England), Alden (USA), Carmina (Spain), and many more.

I first met Mark when he hosted an in-store presentation some years back. The topic was an exploration of different tailoring traditions, like what differentiates soft Neapolitan jackets from the sorts one might see from English producers. As someone who rarely ever wears a sports jacket, let alone a suit, the primer was absolutely fascinating, and I honestly learned quite a bit. Later that evening, I pulled Mark aside and thanked him for his hospitality, and we got to chatting about clothes and, as I quickly learned he was a fellow collector, watches.

Mark Cho.

When you speak to Mark, you figure out pretty quickly that he has a real passion for watches, not just price tags. We chatted about all sorts of watches, from those on the the more affordable end of the spectrum (he’s a fan of Stowa), to those from some of the finest independents around (he’s also a fan of Journe).

Advertisement

I really enjoyed our conversation that night, and I thought it’d be fun to get Mark in front of the camera to talk about his work, cultivating personal style, and, of course, watches. So enjoy this latest installment of My Watch with Mark Cho, and when you’re done watching the video be sure to scroll down for a closer look at The Armoury and some of Mark’s watches (pssst – if you’re a fan of Grand Seiko, then you’re going to love this one).

A Look Inside The Armoury

A Deeper Dive Into Some of Mark’s Watches

Grand Seiko Ref. 3180 and Ref. SBGW040

Grand Seiko Ref. 3180.
Grand Seiko Ref. SBGW040.
Grand Seiko Ref. SBGW040 (left) and Ref. 3180 (right).

The Ref. 3180 is the first-ever Grand Seiko watch, and the Ref. SBGW040 is the reissue from 2011 (not to be confused with the one from 2017). Mark’s 3180 has the carved-logo dial, which is a bit more common than than the printed-logo dial, though common is relative here as these are still quite hard to find in good condition today. Owning both watches speaks to a period of time when Mark’s collecting philosophy revolved around completing sets, which in this case means having both the original and the modern recreation.


Grand Seiko 62GS and Ref. SBGR095

Grand Seiko 62GS.
Grand Seiko Ref. SBGR095.
Grand Seiko Ref. SBGR095 on the wrist.

The Grand Seiko 62GS was introduced in 1967, and it holds the distinction of being the first automatic-winding Grand Seiko model (note the recessed crown at 4:00, which makes sense if you don’t have to worry about winding the crown every morning). The Grand Seiko Ref. SBGR095 was released in 2015 as a tribute to that watch, and to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Grand Seiko.


Grand Seiko 45GS and Ref. SBGW046

Grand Seiko 44GS.
Grand Seiko Ref. SBGW046.

The 45GS was released in 1968, a follow up to the prior year’s 44GS — a brand-defining watch for Grand Seiko. The design was essentially the template for Grand Seiko going forward, and remains today as the finest example of Taro Tanaka’s “Grammar of Design.” What’s cool about this reference is the high beat caliber running at 36,000 bph. Ref. SBGW046 was part of a series of limited edition Grand Seikos released back in 2013 that pay homage to the 44GS. There were four variants — one in steel, and three in gold. The SBGW046 is rendered in rose gold, which gives the watch a distinct look.


Grand Seiko Ref. SBGV009 and Grand Seiko 57GS

Grand Seiko Ref. SBGV009 (left) and Grand Seiko 57GS (right).
Grand Seiko Ref. SBGV009 (left) and Grand Seiko 57GS (right).

This is an interesting pair. The watch on the right is the 57GS, a model first introduced in 1963. It was nicknamed the “Self Dater” due to the — you guessed it —inclusion of a date complication, which was a first for Grand Seiko in ’63. There were three versions of this watch, all based around a slightly different caliber, but all iterations shared that distinct, broad-lug case.  The watch on the left, Ref. SBGV009, is another modern nod Grand Seiko unveiled back in 2014, though it’s a touch curious because it comes with a quartz movement (the original is mechanical). It gets the look right, but swaps the movement for one of Grand Seiko’s impressive 9F82 calibers. As a fan of the movement and the general aesthetic of the watch, this is a personal favorite of mine.


Grand Seiko 61GS V.F.A.

The 61GS series began production in 1967, and the V.F.A. is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting variants in that line. V.F.A. stands for “Very Fine Adjusted,” and a watch with a V.F.A. badge on the dial meant that it was regulated to a whopping  ±2 seconds a day, and the watches were guaranteed to be accurate within one minute a month for the first two years. This was really high-end watchmaking for the time — hell, it’s impressive today — and these V.F.A. watches are exemplary of Grand Seiko’s rather distinct approach to mechanical timekeeping even half-a-century ago.


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 56175

Moving away from Grand Seiko, here we have the Royal Oak Ref. 56175. This reference dates back to the early 2000s, and what makes this one really interesting is that it’s a) a quartz Royal Oak, and b) it’s made from tantalum. It’s also smaller at around 34mm, which makes it a much better fit for smaller wrists, something that Mark considers with his watches.


Omega Speedmaster from the 1957 Trilogy

The star of Baselworld 2017, the Speedmaster from the 1957 Trilogy collection is a tribute to the original Speedmaster from ’57, which is distinct from the Speedmaster Professional we all know and love.


Tudor Submariner Ref. 7021

Snowflakes galore! Tudor Refs. 7016 and 7021 introduced the legendary snowflake handset to the brand, which helped to differentiate the younger and more affordable firm from its crowned sibling. Mark’s Sub is incredibly clean, with a vibrant blue dial, even patina, and honest case.


Patek Philippe Ref. 3923

As far as classic dress watches go, it’s hard to knock a good “Calatrava,” and this rarer steel reference from Patek is as good as they come. Exclusive to the Japanese market, the watch shown here has a smaller case and is powered by the Patek Philippe caliber 215S movement.


Nomos Ahoi neomatik Atlantik 561

Nomos is no stranger to the pages of Worn & Wound, and this Ahoi is one of the Glashütte-based firm’s best. What makes this particular watch so good is its smaller size (36mm x 9.6mm), 20 atm depth rating, and in-house DUW 3001 automatic caliber. It’s a sportier, younger take on a classic Nomos design, but one that’s kept pretty subtle all things considered.

Images from this post:
Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
ryvini

Watch Mods: Fewsome Watches

By
Watch modding can be a scary process.  For those of …
Article / Featured

The Armoury’s Mark Cho Conducted a Survey on Wrist Size and Watch Size Preferences, and It’s Awesome

By
If you’re at all interested in the world of menswear, …