“Watches, Stories, and Gear” is a roundup of our favorite content, watch or otherwise, from around the internet. Here, we support other creators, explore interesting content that inspires us, and put a spotlight on causes we believe in. Oh, and any gear we happen to be digging on this week. We love gear.
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This installment of “Watches, Stories, and Gear” is brought to you by the Windup Watch Shop, which now offers home goods.
Roger Smith and Mike France Form The Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers
In what has to be considered a sign of strength for the state of British watchmaking, we heard this week of the establishment of a new organization meant specifically to the art and craft in Britain. The Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers was founded with a few key goals in mind. Among them are to promote British watch and clock making all over the world, to advocate for British provenance, and to encourage jobs in the watchmaking supply chain in Britain. The Alliance was founded by two pillars of modern watchmaking in Britain, Roger W. Smith and Christopher Ward’s Mike France. France, of course, is a friend of Worn & Wound (he appeared on a recent podcast to discuss his brand’s new Super Compressor dive watch) and Roger W. Smith is one of the foremost independent watchmakers in the world, crafting handmade works of horological art from his workshop on the Isle of Man. Those who wish to support the cause can purchase an Alliance membership for £55, which gets you a number of perks, including access to meetings and events, permission to access a library of video recordings, and more. If you have an interest in British watchmaking, be sure to check out the Alliance website right here.
Phillips to Bring McQueen’s Monaco and Newman’s Daytona (Not That One) to Auction
We are heading right into the busy fall auction season, and this week saw a splashy announcement from Phillips when they previewed a few key lots with some impressive provenance from their upcoming “Racing Pulse” auction, to take place December 12 in New York City. These watches have ties to two absolutely towering figures in American pop culture, and are sure to generate a ton of interest not only from watch media, but from mainstream outlets as well.
Steve McQueen’s Hauer Monaco ref 1133
The TAG Heuer Monaco is tied inextricably to Steve McQueen. The actor was known to be a watch fan, and there are a number of watches that are casually referred to as the “McQueen” for various reasons. He was not, it’s safe to say, a one watch guy. But the Monaco is a little different. This is a watch that he famously wore on screen, in Le Mans, the 1970 film about the famous 24 hour race. The Monaco’s unique square case shape and modern racing dial, combined with McQueen’s star presence, immediately made the watch an icon, and the watch remains closely associated with McQueen to this day.
This particular watch up for sale in December was actually worn by McQueen during filming, and later gifted to McQueen’s personal mechanic, Haig Alltounian. An engraving on the caseback reads, ““TO HAIG Le MANS 1970,” memorializing the filming of the movie and clearly indicating the watch’s connection to McQueen. According to Paul Boutros, head of Phillips Watches, Americas, this special Monaco is still in original condition, and can rightly be considered one of the most important Heuers ever sold. This watch was literally on McQueen’s wrist while driving a Porsche 917 at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour during filming. It will almost certainly generate interest from watch collectors and well-heeled movie lovers alike.
Paul Newman’s ref 6263 ‘Big Red’ Daytona
The other major watch to hit the block in December will be a Rolex Daytona 6263 worn by Paul Newman. This is not a “Paul Newman Daytona” (with the famous exotic dial) but, more simply, a “Big Red” Daytona worn and owned for many years by one of the most beloved movie stars of all time.
To refresh some memories, it was in 2017 that the Paul Newman Daytona was found and later sold for an absolutely mind boggling sum totaling over $17 million. This watch, a reference 6239, was gifted by Newman to James Cox, who was dating his daughter Nell at the time, and he held on to it for years. In that time, the value of the reference skyrocketed based on iconic photographs of Newman wearing the watch. It can be argued fairly convincingly that the Paul Newman Daytona essentially created today’s vintage watch market. Its importance can’t be understated.
The 6263 seen here doesn’t have the same reputation. It didn’t create an entire marketplace. But it’s still a vintage Daytona of impeccable provenance, and to those of us who watch the vintage market carefully, it will be fascinating to see what this watch sells for in December. The current, almost hysterically vague estimate from Phillips is “in excess of one million dollars.” Yeah, I’d say that’s a safe bet. Lots of observers will be curious to see how close it gets to the height of the OG Newman sold three years ago, but at the same time it feels like nobody expects it to get that close, and certainly it won’t exceed that watch’s hammer price. But you know what? Nobody knows for sure. And that’s the exciting thing about auctions – they can be emotional, and unpredictable, and it only takes two people who must have something to generate a crazy bidding war. We’ll find out together in December, but even before that, we’ll see the rest of the Racing Pulse catalog, which Phillips is expected to release in the coming weeks.
Lewis Hamilton Surpasses Michael Schumacher, Dons Unique IWC
Last weekend, Lewis Hamilton won the Portuguese Grand Prix, eclipsing the great Michael Schumacher’s 91 career Formula 1 victories in the process. The win brings him a step closer to his 7th world championship, which would tie him with Schumacher. He sits a comfortable 77 points ahead of Bottas with just 5 races left in the season. After the race, our friends at Monochrome noticed the unique, all black IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar on his wrist, built to honor the driver’s work in bringing awareness to social issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement in particular. It’s a cool watch built for a better cause and it makes for a great post-race spot. Catch more details from Monochrome right here.
NASA Gets Spooky With Galaxy of Horrors Posters
It’s Halloween, and NASA is acting like it with the release of their Galaxy of Horrors. These posters highlight some of the most mind blowing observations about our universe in the form of seasonal posters. From Dark Matter to Zombie Worlds, these posters capture real science in a very artful manner, and they’re even available to download in high resolution. “One of the things I really like about these posters is that if you spend some time studying the art and then maybe go learn a little more about each of these topics, you’ll see there was a lot of thought by the artists about the choices they made to highlight the science,” said astrophysicist Jason Rhodes, who consulted on the posters. Read more about the project here and check out the posters right here. Don’t miss the interactive elements such as Eternal Darkness and Monster Mash alongside the beautiful artwork.