Recapping 2019: The Worn & Wound Team’s Top Watch Pickups of the Year

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Part of what comes with being as watch-obsessed as we are is selling, buying, and trading watches. With 2019 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 2019 pickup was by leaving a comment below.

Christa Chance – Warehouse Manager
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Black PVD

I’ve long been a fan of the Hamilton Khaki, ever since being gifted one a few years ago. Combining a rugged robustness with classic military looks, it’s by far one of my favorite watches to wear. I’ve worn it everywhere, from camping in the Catskills to fulfilling orders at our warehouse. On leather or nylon, one-piece strap or two-, it looks great on everything, with everything. For someone with as many watches as I have, it’s hard to find a single watch that scratches all my collecting itches, but Hamilton did it with the Khaki Field — and then they did it again. A month ago Hamilton came out with a version of the Khaki Field Mechanical in black PVD, and when I first saw it my eyes nearly popped out of my head. It was so sleek, so sharp, so cool, and with an 80-hour power reserve, it was no slouch in the technical department either. Almost as though they were reading my mind, the guys here at Worn & Wound surprised me with one for Christmas, and I haven’t been able to take it off my wrist ever since.

Mark McArthur-Christie – Contributor
Omega Speedmaster X-33

You’d think I’d learn, wouldn’t you?  I got my first Omega Speedmaster X-33 back in 2014. It’s a wonderfully practical bit of kit — a little like an Aerospace but for people who like alarms that’ll wake you with six hour jet lag and a display you can actually read. Within six months, I’d sold it. I missed it, so I tracked another one down a matter of weeks later. Sold that one, too. Now I finally have another and I’m keeping it. In fact, would you excuse me — the alarm’s just gone off and that means the Christmas beef’s done.

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Justin Hargett – Director of Public Relations
VERO x W&W 36 Automatic LE

I have a watch roll full of dive and pilots watches, so when I got to spend some time with the Vero X Worn & Wound 36 Automatic LE at the San Francisco Wind Up Watch Fair, it was exciting to see something else on my wrist for a change. Personally, the midcentury vibe matches all the furniture in my house and my LP collection, but I am also a huge fan of the work Vero is doing in their Portland, Oregon workshop.
Pairing Vero’s American-made casing, dial, and hands with a Sellita SW 200, in a limited edition of just 33 pieces, I knew I had to pick one up before they were gone for good. The 36 LE is now my go-to dress up watch, but more often you’ll find it on my wrist with a black t-shirt and jeans. It just looks that good.

James Helms – Director of Product Management 
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Earth PVD

2019 was the year I broke out of my automatic watch shell and opted for a hand-wind mechanical. I’ve always felt that mechanical watches would not fit my lifestyle — the idea of having to remember to hand-wind them kept me fully away from the option. But then I tried the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical and was blown away at what I have been missing. Complete with an 80-hour power reserve, this reasonably priced mil-inspired watch boasts multiple color options, but I went with the Earth-PVD finish because it’s just such a unique look. It’s perfectly sized and dead simple to read, and I’ve been wearing it a ton. I’ve even grown to love winding the watch, though given the increased power reserve I only do it every couple of days.

Brad Homes – Contributor
Rolex Milgauss

The Rolex Milgauss has been a long-term target of mine since I first got into watches years ago. I flitted between the Z-Blue and the regular GV (Glace Verte = Green Glass) models, before settling on the simple black dial without the green tinted crystal. To me, this is the cleanest of the modern Milgauss variants and therefore the one that is likely to age the best (I intend to keep this one for the long haul). It sits well outside the rest of my collection in terms of cost so I had some very real apprehension that I would baby it and not wear it, but I have had this on the wrist more than any other watch this year and it continues to bring more joy than any other three-hander I’ve owned.

Ed Jelley – Contributing Editor
Tudor Black Bay 36 Blue

In last year’s article I had mentioned that I just tried on a Tudor Black Bay 36 in blue, and, well, I immediately went out and grabbed one a few days into the new year. The Black Bay 36 has seen a ton of wrist time for me. I love the versatility of the watch — it’s easy to dress up or down and the specs are tough enough for practically anything I can throw at it. Check out my full review for the rundown. I also caught and released a Seiko SRP775 over the summer that I liked, but didn’t wear enough. Most recently, a Raven Solitude with gray dial entered the collection, and while I like it, it’s going to be hard to dethrone the Tudor as my top pickup of the year.

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Blake Malin – Director of Business Development
Omega Railmaster from the 1957 Trilogy Collection

I first saw the Railmaster 60th Anniversary in the metal at Baselworld 2017, along with its two trilogy-mates, the Seamaster 300 and Speedmaster. As with so many of the watches we see at Baselworld each year, I remember thinking to myself, “These watches are f—ing great. I’ll probably never own one. Now on to the next thing.” Flash forward three years and, while in Plano, TX for an event at Timeless Luxury Watches, I saw a gently used Railmaster and had to try it on. It immediately felt right – the proportions are great and the vintage styling is spot on. While I hadn’t thought of the Railmaster pretty much at all since Baselworld 2017, I developed a bit of an obsession after trying it on again. A week or so later, the Railmaster was delivered to our office. Definitely my most impulsive watch purchase to date, but also my favorite pickup of 2019.

Zach Kazan – Associate Editor
Vintage Zenith Defy a7682

This year saw a lot of changes in my personal watch collection. Many of the watches I started the year with are no longer with me, and some of those I’m ending the year with, I couldn’t have possibly anticipated. The Zenith Defy a7682 is one of those pieces. I was drawn to the originality of this Defy, which is right out of the 1970s, but also out of time completely. This wasn’t exactly a huge hit for the brand, after all. Even in the decade of bright, bold colors and funky case shapes, the Defy struggled to gain a foothold. Looking at it with the eyes of a collector of primarily modern watches, it seems like an entire generation made a mistake. This is one of the most solidly built watches — of any era — that I’ve owned, and the “lobster” bracelet, while an acquired taste, is incredibly comfortable and an engineering marvel. The red dial, though, is the standout, and while I don’t have the wardrobe to match this thing on a regular basis, that doesn’t stop me from reaching for it almost daily since I picked it up in the fall.

Christoph McNeill – Contributor
Eagle Star Squale Master

Well, for once this is a very easy question to answer for me. This year was quite a slow year watch-wise for me, as I only acquired one watch, a vintage 1960s Eagle Star Squale Master. Although to be honest, even if I picked up twenty watches this year, in all likelihood this Squale still would have been the pick. Vintage Squale Masters are fairly scarce in any condition, and one as minty-fresh as this one is downright rare. The two-tone faded gray/black dial with the black acrylic bezel insert and the bad-ass chunky Master case are simply sublime. It’s no wonder Squale has been releasing heritage versions of this watch for years. I currently have the watch on a hand made green canvas strap that I think pairs perfectly.I was lucky enough to pry this beauty from the hands of a fellow collector last February, and it seems to have been enough for me this year.

Ilya Ryvin – Managing Editor and Video Producer
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

For me, it has to be my Black Bay Fifty-Eight. My Grand Seiko Ref. SGBX061 undoubtedly got the most amount of wrist time in 2019 by virtue of the fact that I’ve owned it longer, but since acquiring my Black Bay earlier in the year, the fan-favorite diver has dominated. It’s such a good-looking watch, and, like the Sub, it’s highly versatile with whatever I’m wearing. Now, I’m no diver. Heck, I’m barely comfortable in the shallow end of a swimming pool. But I appreciate the robust, dive-watch build of the case and bracelet of divers like the Black Bay, and since the birth of my child earlier this year, I feel comfortable with it on my wrist when I’m washing bottles and pacifiers and during bath time. I can’t say the same of some of my dressier pieces with their leather straps and lower WR ratings. I’ve recently taken to wearing it on a nylon strap. I really dig the style, and it’s a nice change of pace from the steel bracelet. And, unlike some divers, the head is well-balanced when off its bracelet.

Zach Weiss – Executive Editor and Creative Director
Junghans Max Bill 027/3701.00

This year my top pick up was the Junghans Max Bill 027/3701.00. While my most worn watch would be the Farer Lander Chrono I wrote about during the summer, the Max Bill is a watch that I had wanted for, well, I’m not even sure for how long. I recall seeing Max Bills in display cases at the MoMa design store as a kid and taking an interest back then (in all fairness, I was always into watches). Then, for some reason, I kept not buying one, likely because they are so readily available, so I never felt the urgency to do so. And now that I have picked one up, I see how regrettable that was. Featuring a true all-dial design, the 34mm hand-wound model is true-to-the-originals from the ‘60s and a perfect watch for me. It has a genuine, elegant, and sophisticated style that I dare say few other watches have or will ever achieve, and it’s mixed with the kind of details a watch nerd can really appreciate, like a massive domed crystal and curved hands.

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