Favorite Watches of James Lamdin, analogshift.com

1. What watches do you currently own?

Honestly? Lots.

My vintage watch collecting at times borders on the compulsive, and is one of the main reasons I decided to “go Pro” in the business years ago – justification!

A few pieces in the recent rotation include a Universal Geneve Polerouter Date, Heuer Autavia 2446CSN, DOXA Sub 300 Professional, Movado Sub Sea Tempo-Matic, Rolex GMT-Master 1675/8, and a Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute To Deep Sea Alarm.

2. Currently, what is your favorite watch that you own and why?

This changes daily – or probably several times daily. I change my watch at least twice a day, sometimes much more, and I tend to fall in love with whatever is on my wrist at that moment – even if it is one of my regular go-tos.

That’s one of the key signs you’ve got it bad – falling in love over and over with the same watches!

As I write I am wearing an early 1970s Speedmaster Professional on an unusual Hecho en Mexico steel bracelet that I purchased from the original owner in Canada. The watch came with its original box and papers and was delivered to me in New York by his son. It is by no means the rarest or most valuable Speedy that I’ve owned, but I love knowing its story and is an absolute beauty. Another current favorite is an original Zenith El Primero A386 that I sold a year or two ago to a friend. Somehow he had talked me into parting with it, and I missed it intensely the whole time. We were recently able to work out a trade deal for another piece, so now it is back, and firmly in the permanent collection.

Zenith El Primero A386

3. What is your grail watch and why?

Another moving target!

Ultimately doing this professionally affords me the opportunities to see, handle, and purchase some pretty incredible timepieces – both vintage and contemporary. My idea of grail watches has evolved greatly in the past few years having this experience, but there are certainly a few pieces that continue to a elude me. I’m still on the hunt for the right Reference 5402 Jumbo Royal Oak, Speedmaster 2998, and Tudor Big Crown Submariner. Also, although I am generally a die-hard vintage watch guy, there are a few modern pieces that have me tempted of late, including a discontinued Lange and the new Everose Yachtmaster. Might be seeing a few newer pieces entering the collection in 2016!

4. In your opinion, what is the best “bang for the buck” watch available today? (new or used)

I think “bang for the buck” can mean different things to different people. If we’re talking about outright price, then it is hard to beat the rugged simplicity and practicality of the Seiko SKX series divers – great looks, robust movements, and a design that can take a beating – for under $200. In the next tiers of modern value-proposition, watches such as the Tudor Black Bay, Tudor Pelagos, Bremont MB-II, Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim, Jaeger-LeCoultre Ultra-Slim Perpetual Calendar, and Zenith El Primero 410 all offer tremendous looks and quality for a relative pittance compared to many comparable pieces in their respective categories.

When it comes to vintage, there are plenty of bargains to be had – particularly when comparing older versions to watches still made today. Omega Speedmasters, Rolex Submariners, GMTs, and Datejusts of the well-aged variety are often thousands less than their contemporary equivalents. Why anyone would buy these watches new when there are cool patinated examples with real history to be had is sometimes beyond me. At the lower end of the price spectrum, military-issued watches such as the Hamilton/Benrus DR-2F2 contract GI Watches are supremely cool for around $500, and there are LOTS of really great early American timepieces from brands such as Waltham, Gruen, and Elgin that are almost completely overlooked by collectors today. At the time these were made in the 1920s-1940s, they represented some of the finest craftsmanship and mechanical precision available, and although they are relatively small by today’s standards, they are sure to come back into vogue as the fashion trend swings away from oversized tool watches. Coupled with the fact that they are becoming harder to find as they are parted out or melted down by the bucketful, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these beauties on top of the watch-collecting food chain in the coming years.

5. What is the URL of your watch website, when did you start it, and how do you plan on making it stand out?

analogshift.com

Since our launch in 2012, we have prioritized authentic interactions with our clients and followers, as well as offering up truly interesting bits of vintage horology alongside traditional offerings. Unlike any other vintage watch shop on the net, we offer in depth descriptions and the stories behind our timepieces with each listing, making it a destination for enthusiastic students of timepiece history and consumers alike. We also pride ourselves on our outstanding visuals, brought to life by the one and only Atom Moore (@atommoore), as well as our close association with the Red Bar Crew collector community. Ultimately, my staff and I love watches, and think “dealer” is a dirty word. We do what we do because we love doing it, and if it ever stops being fun, we’re out. In the meantime, we’ve grown our curated collection to include thoughtfully handmade accessories, interesting vintage curios, and launched a video series called (surprise!) Why We Love It. For those of you who can’t swing by our offices in Midtown Manhattan, please come by our site or follow us on Instagram @analogshift.