Saturday, August 22, 2009

Watches are all about crowns

This is going to be a long post. Be prepared...

As you probably already know, I have passion in watches. I like to wear them, collect them, read and talk about the them.

However, what you probably never knew, is that I'm finding a special beauty in the crown position on the watches.

Nowadays you can find watches with as much crowns as you wish. However, I'm more conservative on this matter. I prefer just one (and an extra rare case -- two crowns on Anonimo's Firenze Dual Time, but that's for reason), with maybe a few accompanying buttons. But it should be only one crown, and I prefer it to take the major positioning on watches.

So here comes my list of crown positions on watches. Ideally, it would be great if I can make this list the most complete one, so I'd keep this blog post updated whenever I'll get any more additions to it (also posted separately, so you don't have to look back all the time).

So here we go:

1 o'clock. While it's a little cheat, the limited edition from Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques line, the Historiques American 1921 has a cushion-shaped case with a crown positioned at 1 o'clock. However, if you'll read the dial, it's on 12 o'clock. Either way, it doesn't make it less interesting for me.

- Historiques American 1921

2 o'clock. Pretty unusual position. Several watches in this category, Vostok Kommandirskie (with several version like Paratrooper, Tank, etc), Guiliano Mazzuoli Manometro S, and of course I can't forget about Dino Zei San Marco one.

- Vostok Kommandirskie

- Guiliano Mazzuoli Manometro S

- Dino Zei San Marco

Of course, there are might be more watches in this group, however, I feel that they are pretty well represented here.

3 o'clock.
Well, the crown on 3 o'clock is no doubts the most popular position. The majority of watches have crown on the right side, right on the 3 o'clock. My collection of 6 watches has 5 watches with crown on 3 (at the moment of writing this).

The image is clickable in case you want to see more details.

4 o'clock. Anonimo is very rich on watches with crown on 4 o'clock. But the most I like Anonimo Professionale GMT. Other then that, there also plenty of other brands are putting crown on 4 o'clock, mostly for diving watches. To name a few Doxa Sub 250, Sinn 1U and many others.

- Anonimo Professionale GMT

- Doxa Sub 250

- Sinn U1

5 o'clock. I don't know any. Send it to me!

6 o'clock. Very rare position, Anonimo Militare and Firenze Dual Time (a little bit cheatish, as they have two crowns actually). Also, there is vintage Breitling Pult Bullhead dated 1970's that is a good sample.

- Anonimo Militare
- Anonimo Firenze Dual Time

- Breitling Pult Bullhead

7 o'clock.
I don't know any. Send it to me!

8 o'clock. Originally, I though this position to be almost impossible to find, however I was wrong. So far I discovered at least two different watches featuring crown on 8 o'clock. That first one that has a crown on 8 o'clock is Dievas Vortex and as of end of August 2009 it's only available for pre-orders. The other one is pretty mature Citizen Promaster. I think there are several models featuring the 8 o'clock crown, but this particular one is NY0054-04EB and it's pretty inexpensive. 8 o'clock still looks like extremely rare position, but is very cool.

- Dievas Vortex

- Citizen Promaster

9 o'clock. Pretty popular crown position for watches. Sometimes it's called left side crown.

I find it typically on watches to be worn on right hand or with a huge crowns. I've got one watch, Moscow Classic "Vodolaz" 3133/01461051, with crown on 9 o'clock.

- Moscow Classic "Vodolaz"

The image is clickable or you can see more photos of my Moscow Classic watches at my Flickr page.

You can easily found more cases of putting crown on the left side just by googling this.

10 o'clock. The few ones that I know so far is Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro designed for left handed users, and Haffstreuner Blockade or very similar Rebosus RS002.

- Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro

- Haffstreuner Blockade
- Rebosus RS002
11 o'clock. I don't know any. Send it to me!

12 o'clock. That's a pretty rare position, and I believe it to be one of the most beautiful. Well, the 6 o'clock one is also great though. I didn't see a lot of watches with 0 or 12 o'clock crown. Sometimes, people refer to them like crown on top or lugs-placed crowns. They are Anonimo Firenze Dual Time (not really, as they have two movements), one of the rarest Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk, Bovet Sportster Saguaro (and many more Bovet models) and few fashion watches like Quicksilver ones.

- Anonimo Firenze Dual Time
- Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk

- Quicksilver HEDI
- Bovet Sportster Saguaro

There is one more type of unusual crown positions here. While it doesn't fit the other positions well, it's still a great design approach worth mentioning.

The crown on the back side of the watches. There are many samples in this category, however, the most of them, that I found, were vintage ones. Good examples are Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) Futurematic and Bulova Accutron 214, both submitted to be by fellow WUS member SkooterNB. (Thanks!)

- JLC Futurematic

- Bulova Accutron 214

I remember seeing a great post or article about how these crowns are supposed to work, but I have problems finding it again. I'm going to look through my bookmarks and browsing history and put a link to it.

One more rare design to mention is crown-less watches. No, not like quartz ones without crown, but mechanical ones without crown. At all.

No crown. While it might be not so rare design approach nowadays -- frankly speaking I never looked into it -- it probably still pretty hard to spot around. A good and descriptive representative in this group would be a Hardwood watches, that started in early 1920's. They got rid of crown at all, using the kinetic energy of the wrist for winding and using a rotating bezel as a setting mechanism. I believe all of the Hardwood watches are using the same design principle, but I'd like mention the Hardwood Steel 516.10.11 here.

- Hardwood Steel
Well, that's it. I'll do my best to keep this list up to date and once again, I'd greatly appreciate your help with nailing down rare crown positions. Or if you just know any gorgeous watches that you want me to mention, please also send it to me.

(I still don't know anything about watches with crown positions on 5, 7 and 11 o'clock.)