The Top Ten Watches: For the Cigar Connoisseur

By Yuri Vanetik

A gentleman that appreciates rare cigars and liquor is undoubtedly a person of refined taste. Having good taste is a quality that’s both a function of experience and thoughtful constitution. The cigar connoisseur lifestyle includes appreciation of artisanship. It would follow that a savvy cigar collector is someone who also enjoys and values complicated horological instruments. This is a fancy term for mechanical watches that offer functions (aka “complications” in watch parlance) that go beyond telling time and date. Below is a list of top ten watches that qualify for the wrist of the serious cigar collector.

These ten brands and models fall roughly into two categories. The first is the epitome of subtlety and tradition— the other embraces innovation, dispenses with rules and challenges tradition like modern art. All are examples of artisanship—perhaps even art. All are rare and generally sought out by watch collectors.

Patek Philippe Repeater

This brand is the conservative man’s homage to microengineering. It’s still considered one of the safest investment-oriented brands. The entry level Patek (Calatrava) typically retails under $20,000. The Repeater can be acquired in the mid to high $300,000 range. Much like Breguet, it’s a conservative watch, and its production has increased tremendously with its success. It’s the sophisticated Rolex—more of a production instrument than an expression of artisanship.

A. Lange Sohne

Lange was founded in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in the town of Glashütte, near Dresden, in the state of Saxony, Germany. It’s the only non-Swiss watch on our list. Under Ferdinand, and then, following his death, his sons Emil and Richard, Lange produced upscale pocket watches. Under subsequent generations of the Lange family, the company continued to produce pocket watches and, like many German watchmakers, produced oversized wristwatches for use by German airmen in World War II. In 1948, the post-war Soviet administration nationalized the company’s property, and the Lange brand ceased to exist. However, in December 1990, following German reunification, the founder’s great-grandson Walter Lange (together with watch industry executive Günter Blümlein) restored the company with the assistance of several Swiss watch manufacturers. These included IWC and Jaeger- LeCoultre. The “new” Lange is based in Glashütte. They presented their first range of wristwatches in 1994. Today, A. Lange & Söhne wristwatches are sold globally. Lange, like IWC, is a member of the Richemont group. Lange is probably the best made traditional wrist watch—rivaled perhaps by only Greubel in terms detailed craftsmanship. It produces in the neighborhood of 5,000 watches per year, and compared to the alleged 70,000 watches that some experts claim Patek makes, is on the smaller scale. An entry level Lange can be acquired under $20,000.

Richard Mille

Mille is the courageous contrarian in the high-end or haute horology world. It’s the brand that a high and mighty “player” graduates to after having been initiated into high-end Audemars Piguet Royal Oak tourbillons or limited sport watches named after sports influencers. This person usually started out with a Rolex Submariner or Daytona and moved on to Panerai. Mille is a niche brand in the uber expensive category. The entry level Mille is around $40,000 and the line is an acquired taste. The brand suffers a little from the same challenges as AP does on our list. Nevertheless, both AP and Mille are worthy, and at the very top they create amazingly complicated watches that rival the best. Mille does the unexpected to what the horology world expects. Most of the components are outsourced; the company embraces the tonneau (sort-of rectangular) watch case usually shunned by the industry, and they consistently experiment with light and unusual metals and case material.

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By |2020-08-03T09:57:28-08:00August 3rd, 2020|Lifestyle, Style|Comments Off on The Top Ten Watches: For the Cigar Connoisseur
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