Recapping 2018: Our Top Pickups of the Year

Part of being a watch-head is selling, buying, and trading watches. With 2018 coming to a close, we thought it’d be fun to get the Worn & Wound team together to share our favorite pickups of the year. As always, let us know what your favorite 2018 pickup was by leaving a comment below.

Mark McArthur-Christie – Pinion Atom

If they were giving out awards for sheer grit and determination, Piers Berry—the man behind England’s Pinion—should be top of the list. It makes it all the sweeter to see the watchmaker featured alongside the big boys, as, on my wrist as I type this is a Pinion Atom. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about the watch at first, and I wondered how often I’d pick up the simple, three-hand Atom. It’s a testament to Piers’ design skill that the answer is “more and more often.” Each time I wear it, I find something else to like—from the Atom’s “50 paces” clarity to the flatted, bead-blasted case, the smooth winding action, and the Clous de Paris dial. And the English leather strap is one of the most comfortable and substantial I’ve worn. This one’s a winner. 

Allen Farmelo – ’73 Rolex Datejust Ref. 1603

I bought this 1973 36-millimeter Rolex Datejust out of a beautifully curated small offering of vintage Rolexes at Nashville’s Keep Shop. This was an entirely impulsive acquisition, executed randomly from within a still-inebriated early-morning haze, and horribly timed financially. But this Ref. 1603 lured me to with unknown powers and then whispered in its steely Swiss-French accent, “Take me with you on this road-trip. Free me from this place!” I tried to find a reason not to buy it, but the sharp casework is perfectly in tact, the stainless-steel engine turned bezel still sparkles, and the dial is one of the cleanest I’ve seen on a silver Datejust this age. Further, it had been recently serviced and came with a one-year warranty, making it impossible not to splurge. Zero regrets, totally in love, and I have barely taken it off since that fateful, hung-over morning.


Jon Gaffney – Unimatic U1-DW

My favorite pickup for the year would have to be my Unimatic U1-DW. 2018 was a slow year for me in the watch world as other priorities cropped up, but that’s no knock on the U1. It had me hooked from the moment I saw it online, and in person it’s lived up fully to my expectations. It’s a watch that garners a lot of looks, and it has kept me pretty enamored for the better part of the year. And the new bracelet they launched for it only raises the U1’s value in my collection.

Brad Homes – Halios Seaforth

My favorite pickup this year was the Halios Seaforth. Ok, so I’m a little behind the curve on this one, but now that I own it, I get it. It was the refreshing pastel blue dial that first drew me in, but the more time I have spent with the watch, the more I began to appreciate all the other details, chief among them the great case. I’m always a little hesitant to pick up a new diver without a bracelet, but I’m loving the way the Seaforth looks on this self-distressed denim strap.

Ed Jelley – Modded Seiko SKX173

After a very watch-heavy 2017 (a new Speedmaster Professional and a Sinn 856 a few months later), 2018 was spent enjoying what I have in my collection. I wanted to pay a little more attention to some less-worn pieces, so I decided to spruce up my trusty SKX173 with a new stainless steel, 12-hour bezel insert. This quick mod really changes the look of the watch and also adds the ability to track a second timezone, and it has made the watch much more enjoyable to wear after years of looking at the same black dive bezel with the 60-minute scale. I have a feeling that 2019 will be a good year for my collection, especially after trying on the Tudor Black Bay 36 in blue a few weeks back…

Christoph McNeill – Tudor Black Bay Blue (with ETA Movement)

2018 has been a slow year for me with only a few pickups, but there were two clear standouts, and, truth be told, this pair would have stood out even in a banner year. One is a vintage piece (1968 Tavernier Squale Master), and the other is a modern one (Tudor Black Bay Blue with an ETA movement), and as much as it pains me to admit this, the Black Bay is going to have to win out for my choice of favorite pickup of 2018.

I fell in love with this watch when it was first announced at Baselworld way back when, and it has been, hands down, my most worn watch since it arrived. It looks and wears equally great on the OEM bracelet, a variety of leather straps, or on an Isofrane. And the icing on the cake? No date window! If you’re in the market for a modern dive watch, this beauty really can’t be beat.

Ilya Ryvin – Grand Seiko Ref. SBGX061

If you follow Worn & Wound or our podcast with any regularity, then my answer shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise—it’s the Grand Seiko Ref. SBGX061. Since this one has joined the collection, the rest of my watches have unfortunately just been sitting there collecting dust (though I do break out my Omega FOIS Speedmaster from time to time). The SBGX061 is, for me anyway, the perfect watch, with its classic-but-not-boring design to the case proportions that seem to be tailor-made to my wrist. And then there’s the set-it-and-forget-it proven reliability of Grand Seiko’s 9F quartz caliber, which was one of the deciding factors in my getting this watch in the first place.

Zach Weiss – Worn & Wound x Vero 36 Automatic

This year, I was pretty self-serving in my watch purchases, which is to say I only picked up the watch collaborations we released. Being that I had a hand in the design of them all and am quite fond of all of them, choosing one is kind of like picking your favorite kid—but I’ll do it anyway. Though I love the Raven Trekker, which will be my go-to dive/tool watch, and the Stowa Partitio, which will definitely be my blue watch of choice, the Vero 36 Automatic might be my personal favorite of the group. With that watch, not only did Vero execute the manufacturing perfectly, I think we achieved something unique by mixing a mid-century design with a small, but functional sport watch case. The fact that Vero manufactured the case, hands, dial, and crown in Portland, Oregon is just the cherry on top.

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