Corporate Style – Part 5: Watches


Men have a tenuous relationship with jewelery.  Almost without fail, more is definitely less.  However, I would highly recommend saving room for a watch.  And not just any watch, a watch that makes sure you’re dressed acceptably wherever you are, or perhaps one that puts you in a certain mood in light of its associations with car racing, scuba diving or sailing.  In the words of British GQ editor Dylan Jones, “You can be walking along a deserted Caribbean beach, wearing only a pair of shorts, but if you’re sporting an expensive watch, then you’re still well dressed.”  There is no question that this is a true statement – there are very few better ways to tell quite a bit about a person than to take a glance at their choice of wrist wear.  For example, a man with a Chopard Mille Miglia (see below) is likely to be interested in cars.  The guy with a Corum Admiral’s Cup is almost assuredly someone that sails (or wishes that they did).  And a man with a Patek Philippe is very likely a man with great taste that run towards the traditional and has very deep pockets.


But you shouldn’t buy a nice watch to send a particular message to other people; you should buy it for yourself.  For many men, it comes down to a fascination with the incredible engineering that goes into a fine Swiss watch.  For others it’s a love of the elegant design or, as I said before, the frame of mind that a particular watch puts you in.  I know men that have a particular watch they wear during the work week, and something sporty like a chunky TAG Heuer diving watch that they put on over the weekend.  That watch means its time for them to relax and enjoy their time off and shakes off the prim and proper elegance of their more business appropriate weekday wear.  For others, watches are a means of celebrating something, such as a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary or a promotion.  They can even be a means of remembering a loved one or cheering yourself up a bit.  Overall men, we’ve been given a grand canvas for our personality, our interests and our own projection of who it is we want to be, and so we shouldn’t waste that opportunity.

As someone that for quite some time did not wear a watch, I now realize that this was a mistake.  Even though we now are surrounded by gadgets that tell us the time (BlackBerry’s, iPods and the like), there is still something manly and prepared about having the time strapped to your wrist.  It suggests to others that you’re responsible and, well, a man.

To that end, here’s as thorough an article considering all the knowledge that I think should go into purchasing a watch as I’m able to write.  Undoubtedly there are those that know far more than I do, so I would encourage interested parties to read as many other sources as they can get their hands on, particularly those available here and here.  Please do not shoot the messenger if you find I’ve swapped the “e” and the “i” in Breitling a few times, or undervalued Audemars Piguet as compared to Vacheron Constantin. (but, feel free to comment below as I’m always willing to make warranted corrections).  Other things you should definitely do: 1) Click on pictures to zoom in and really enjoy the finer details of these beautiful timepieces; 2) Check back for edits and additions to this article as I tend to edit these articles on the fly especially this one which is getting dangerous close to short novel length; and 3)  Please excuse the aesthetic appearance – there are so many pictures that I tried to stuff into this article that it’s gotten a bit unwieldy in places.

Also, keep in mind that when I say “watch”, I mean “Swiss watch”.  This isn’t to say that Japanese (or other) watches are not of fine quality; rather, generally speaking, the world’s finest watches come from Switzerland, or at the very least, feature Swiss movements.  In my experience, there is often something lacking in the design and execution of non-Swiss watches (with the exception of a small handful of German makers which I will feature below) and the distinction is akin to eating a hamburger in Europe – they just don’t quite get what it’s all about.  Better to buy the original, at least in my opinion.  So, unfortunately, there will be no discussions of Seiko, Bulova, Citizen, Invicta or Timex in this article.  I’ve divided this article up into sections, dealing with factors you should be aware of when purchasing a watch, the most common genres of watches, common watch features and what they do (NOTE: I will be adding this later) and, finally, a summary of the major brands that you should be aware of.  On to the watches….




The price of watches comes down to a number of characteristics:

1.  Materials, Metals and Precious Stones

Given that gold prices are at record levels, the use of gold in a watch adds an amazing amount to the price (sometimes more than doubling the cost of the same model in stainless steel).  A gold bracelet will cost a great deal more than an alternative one in leather, rubber or steel.   You should also be aware that there are three gold col0urs commonly sold: yellow, white and rose (with rose being the lease common).  It’s not just gold that can raise the price of a watch – watches now feature platinum, titanium, carbon fibre, ceramics, diamonds, pearl and a host of other exotic material.  Furthermore, watch straps can be made of exotic skins, such as alligator, crocodile, ostrich, snake or even shark.  Once again, the more exotic and costly the material, the higher the price of the watch.  Some manufacturers offer a range of materials, while others offer only stainless steel or only gold, so approach any potential purchase with an understanding of what type of materials you want and what type of materials a particular watch contains.  In many cases, the stainless steel with leather strap model will cost less than half of the equivalent gold model with a gold bracelet.

2.  The Movement

Generally speaking, a watch can have two types of movements: mechanical or quartz.  It can be said generally that mechanical watches are far more expensive than their quartz counterparts.  For the most part, high end watch makers often deal exclusively in mechanical movements.  That said, Breitling, Baume et Mercier, TAG Heuer, Omega and others do offer quartz watches, often at greatly reduced prices as compared to their lines of mechanical watches.  The difference between a mechanical watch and quartz watch is that a quartz watch is powered by a battery, while a mechanical watch is powered by a wound mainspring that slowly unwinds and powers the gears of the watch.  An “automatic” mechanical watch utilizes the movements of your hand to wind the mainspring via a rotor (the rotor is the half circle piece of metal pictured on the movement below on the right).  Interestingly enough, a good quartz watch is actually far more accurate than an automatic watch, as the interaction between the dozens of parts that make up an automatic movement result in a subtle loss of time.  However, the best automatic movements run within plus or minus five seconds a day, and therefore the difference is negligible.  The reason why automatic movements cost so much more than quartz movements is the incredible workmanship that goes into them.  Unfortunately, there are very few “heirloom” quartz watches, and their value decreases far more rapidly than an automatic’s.

Within the realm of mechanical watches, there is also a great disparity in cost.  Generally speaking, this is directly related to who constructed the movement.  The vast majority of Swiss movements are manufactured by the Swiss firm ETA, which is part of the Swatch Group (which also owns Omega, Tissot, BlancPain and a range of other watch manufacturers).  Watches containing basic, unmodified ETA movements are generally the lowest in price (an unmodified ETA movement at left on the bottom).  Some manufactures purchase ETA movements and then modify them to their own specification and needs.  The more that a given manufacturer modifies the movement “in-house”, the greater, generally speaking, the price.  Finally, there are a small group of manufacturers that build their own movements completely in-house.  For the most part, these watch makers are the most expensive in the world.  That said, ETA movements have been proven to be highly accurate and durable, with the ETA 2892.A2 comparing favourably to movements made by Rolex (pictured above at left) and others.  There is no shame in having an ETA movement, however it is deemed to be a purer expression of the art of watchmaking for a manufacturer to produce their own movement in-house (see the Patek Philippe movement above on the right).  There has been a trend of late of watch makers that have traditionally purchased ETA movements, doing just that, including Cartier and Bulgari to name two.

In addition, watch makers can add complications to their movements, such as calendars, chronograph dials, dials that tell you what phase the moon is in, dials that show how much reserve power is left in the mainspring, etc.  Generally speaking, the more complications added, the higher the price, with prices hitting the hundreds of thousands for highly complicated watches made by the world’s finest manufacturers.  This means that choosing a watch with a GMT function, chronograph dials or even a date window can add cost to a watch.  It can also make a watch rarer, depending on the complication, and therefore more valuable over time, usually provided that the watch is purchased from a low volume manufacturer such as A. Lange & Sohne, or Vacheron Constantin.

3.  Pre-Owned vs. New

Watches and cars are very similar in terms of how they are valued over time.  For the most part, a new watch costs more than a used watch (in the same way that a new car tends to cost more than a used car, for obvious reasons).  However, the rate of depreciation for a particular watch (or car) depends primarily on the manufacturer (but also the features and characteristics of that particular watch).  In the same way that a Bentley depreciates slower than a Ford, a Rolex depreciates at a slower rate than a Tissot.  This is partly because it is rarer, and partly because it is more of a status symbol and therefore is always in high demand.  This can be particularly evident where a used watch is actually worth quite a bit more than a new watch (such as with certain watches from Rolex, Patek Phillippe, Breguet or other manufacturers).  In the car world, a Ferrari 250 GTO or Bugatti Royale are worth far more than any new car, despite the fact that they are generations old.  This is due to rarity and other factors that I will not get into.  Nonetheless, what this means is that the used watch market can lead to immense savings (provided what you’re buying is the genuine article) or, immense cost (although you’re likely not in the market for a 1960’s era Paul Newman Rolex Daytona, pictured below, if you’re reading this article).

Where this can be helpful for you the buyer is determining whether a particular watch you’re interested in is better purchased new or used.  In the case of a Rolex, it may be better to purchase new as you’re then given the benefit of a full warranty and the assurance of purchasing it from a reputable source while you’re also subjected to minimal depreciation over the early period of your ownership.  Other watches, such as Baume et Mercier or Tissot can often be purchased at relatively low prices to begin with, and therefore it isn’t really necessary to purchase them used (and certainly not worth the time and heart ache of tracking down exactly what you want on the pre-owned market).  That said, certain models, such as the TAG Heuer Monaco may be different than other models sold by a brand and so this dialogue can change even within a manufacturer’s lineup.  There are also circumstances where purchasing pre-owned is clearly the better deal.  The best example for cars that I can give is that of the Land Rover Range Rover.  These cars are extremely expensive status symbols new that rapidly depreciate.  Purchasing a two year old Range Rover can save you quite literally tens of thousands of dollars, with little in the way of difference (aside from less warranty).  The Range Rover is a beautiful and highly luxurious vehicle and therefore you can often score quite a deal if you purchase it used.  The same is the case for certain watch brands.  You can regularly find fantastic prices on gently used Omega Seamasters, TAG Heuer Monacos, Bvlgari Diagonos, lower-end Breitlings and a host of other highly covetous watches.  Watches that would have cost you between $4,000 and $7,000 new can now be found for less than $2000, provided  you search in the right places.  In addition, it is the initial depreciation that is always the worst (both for watches and cars) and so missing out on that can actually leave you with a very decent investment watch that will hold its value quite well.  There will always be a market for these watches and it is unlikely for their prices to slip much further in the near future.

In other instances, a given watch may no longer be in production, such as the TAG Heuer Targa Florio and therefore you’re driven to the used market by necessity.  Again, this may mean that your chosen watch is rare and therefore costly, but it also may mean that deals are at hand, such as would be the case with an older watch such as a TAG Heuer 1000 professional quartz diving watch, which can often be tracked down for $400 or less.  Overall, it is a necessity, if you want to maximize value (and potentially pull a few of your dream watches into your budget) to determine whether buying pre-owned may be a better deal.

4.  The Brand

The cost of watches is most heavily dependent on the name on the face.  As mentioned above, the majority of watch movements come from the same source, ETA.  Therefore, there is often little difference in terms of mechanical quality between a number of different watches, but a wide gulf in terms of price.  In many cases, a Baume & Mercier is very similar to watches from much higher priced manufacturers, and this is directly related to the perceived quality and greater brand cache held by certain brands.  If you flip open almost any magazine catering to men, you’ll find glossy advertisements for a number of watch brands (usually the same ones).  I often see ads for TAG Heuer, Rolex and Breitling, but far less often do I see ads for Glasshute Original, Chopard or Tudor.  These advertisements generally create greater demand for the offerings from the former manufacturers than the latter, for obvious reasons.  Keep in mind that these advertising campaigns must be funded somehow, and these costs often find there way onto the retail price of the watch.  This isn’t to say that you should steer clear from the Rolex, Breitling or TAG, but rather is simply a reminder not to discount the more niche brands who make beautiful, and sometimes under-appreciated, products.  Both a recognizable name and a more discreet ones say something about you, neither entirely negative or  positive.




You may have noticed that there are strong parallels between watches and cars and it therefore comes as no surprise that the cars and racing have heavily influenced watchmaking.  There are quite a number of watches built to commemorate particular races, cars or racing teams.  Others have complications meant to be useful for measuring things like lap times, speed or distance.  One manufacturer with particularly close ties to racing is TAG Heuer.  Currently, the Monaco, Carrera, Silverstone and Formula One lines all were directly inspired by racing, with the Monaco most famously being worn by Steve McQueen during the car racing movie Le Mans.  TAG has also produced (and re-produced) the Monza, which was inspired by the race track in Italy of the same name but is no longer in production.  Of these watches, I would particularly recommend the Monaco, Monza and Carrera models










Omega has long produced the Speedmaster, which features chronograph dials and a tachymetre for measuring speed and lap times.  While it is most closely associated with being worn on the moon, it is nonetheless racing inspired.  Cartier has also began producing its “Roadster” line which is clearly influenced by automobiles (given both its name and the manner in which it has been advertised) and features chronograph dials and a tonneau shaped case.

Other modern watches with obvious racing ties include the Chopard Mille Miglia and certain watches made by Girard Perregaux and now Panerai for Ferrari.  The Mille Miglia watch is named after the Mille Miglia race which was held annually in Italy as a competitive race until 19XX and is now run as a historic race.  Chopard produces a new Mille Miglia watch to commemorate each running of the race.  The watches feature chronograph and tachymetre dials and also have the added element of a rubber strap with grooves that resemble those of a vintage racing tire.

Girard Perregaux has produced commemorative watches to symbolize important racing victories for Ferrari in the past, with that relationship having been taken over by Panerai in recent years.  Oris has produced a watch in partnership with the Williams BMW Formula 1 racing team as well, although this watch runs more towards the sporty end of the spectrum than the other ones mentioned here and is likely unsuitable for daily wear.

Finally, Rolex has long sponsored the 24 Hours of Daytona, an endurance race that is held annually at the Daytona International Speedway.  The Daytona line of watches (an modern example of which is shown on the wrist of Paul Newman below)  is named after this famous race and features all of the complications that one would expect from a racing watch, including chronograph dials and a tachymetre.  The Daytona is perhaps most famous for being the personal watch of race car driver/actor Paul Newman and the model that he owned is highly sought after by collectors and nicknamed the “Paul Newman Daytona”, with models of this type selling for more than $50,000 at auction.


Two companies, one old, one more modern in approach are closely associated with aviation: Longines and Breitling.  Longines was the watchmaker of choice for Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhardt, perhaps the two most famous pilots of the early era of flight.  Longines’ best known watch is the ‘Hour Angle’. On the other hand, Breitling produces watches geared for modern pilots, including the Navitmer and Emergency.  These watches have features including dials for calculating air speed and CCCC, and the Emergency features an antenna that can be released out of the side of the watch (once and only once) that transmits a distress signal on the aviation emergency frequency.

Another famous pilots watch is the “Big Pilot” sold by I.W.C., which features a large and easily legible dial (which is larger than I.W.C.’s standard “Pilot” watch) and the traditional onion shaped crown often seen on vintage pilot’s watches.  I.W.C. also sells the “Top Gun” watch which is a more modern take on the pilot’s watch (more in line with the offerings from Breitling.  At the high end of the pilot’s watch market, Breguet has produced the Type XX (pronounced “Type 20”) since the early ’90’s inspired by a model of the same name made by the company for the French Air Force during World War II.

Newer to the scene is the Bell & Ross BR 01, which is inspired by the instruments in vintage aircraft.  The Rolex Air King line was also originally inspired by aviation.


Because their purpose is slightly different, I’ve broken up “Aviation” and “Travel” into different subsets.  A popular complication is a GMT function, which features a second hour hand that tracks an additional time zone.  The first GMT watch was made by Rolex and was named the GMT Master (with GMT standing for Greenwich Mean Time, the centre of the timing world).  It was built for Pan Am Airlines pilots allowing them to keep track of the time in their home state or country while they were travelling the world.  Many manufacturers have found a place for a GMT watch in their line, including Breitling, Baume et Mercier (within the Hampton line), Omega (within the Seamaster line), TAG Heuer (the Carrera Twin Time), Bvlgari (the Diagono Professional GMT) and Ulysse Nardin (the GMT Perpetual) to name just a few.


Even more direct is the famous World Time (Ref. 5130) watch sold by Patek Philippe (pictured below) that features the names of the major cities of the world around the dial.  A number of other manufacturers have created similar watches, including Oris, Tissot and Girard Perregaux.


Another common inspiration for watch designers is the world of sailing.  Similar to car racing and aviation, there is a sense of “men at play”, along with competition and design elements to draw from.  Watches that are directly marketed at the sailing crowd include the Corum Admiral’s Cup line, which features sailing flags on the dial, the Girard Perregaux Seahawk (which is associated with the America’s Cup yacht race), the TAG Heuer Aquaracer, which features a mode specifically for regattas, and the Rolex Yachtmaster.

Sailing watches typically feature a high degree of water resistance (in case you end up getting a bit wet) and either a metal or rubber bracelet, as water tends to rot leather over time.  In many cases, sailing watches feature chronograph dials to allow for measuring speed and lap times during sailing races.  But, clearly the most important element of a sailing watch is its clear association with sailing.  There are few clearer status symbols in our society than a large boat (or, a boat used for racing) and summarizing that in 40-or-so millimeters on your wrist is a powerful statement.  So, if you’ve just stepped off your yacht (or you want to look like you did), a sailing watch is a great way to capture that.  The two watches that may do the best job of combining elegance, function and a direct tie to boating are the IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph, and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, pictured below.


The most common genre of watches, other than the classic dress watch, are those associated with scuba diving.  This may seem strange on the surface, given how few people actually scuba dive.  However, it is my theory that there is a large market for scuba diving given that they are designed to be very rugged (and highly water resistant) while the traditional scuba watch design is very simple and elegant in order to allow for easy viewing underwater.  If you were a navy diver during World War II, than you didn’t want to be fiddling with a small face and tachmetres, tourbillons and the like.  Simple is better in the world of diving watches (with perhaps an allowance for a chronograph dial to measure oxygen levels), as is easy reading.  Which is why diving watches lead the way in terms of the application of luminous materials to the hands and numbers of a watch, allowing the owner to read his (or her) watch in a dark place, such as underwater.  One other feature contained in a number of higher-end diving watches, such as the Rolex Submariner, is the helium release valve.  When a diver begins to rise from a deep, helium begins to build up inside of their watch.  Without anywhere for this helium to dissipate, the helium can actually blow the crystal right off of a watch.  Therefore, if you’re actually planning on using your diving watch for deep scuba diving, look for this feature.  Nearly every major watch designer offers a diving watch amongst their lines.  The most famous of these are the aforementioned Rolex Submariner (and it’s more advanced sister model, the Sea Dweller), the Omega Seamaster, BlancPain Fifty Fathoms (pictured below on the left), Patek Philippe Aquanaut, Panerai Luminor and Radomir, and IWC Aquatimer (below on the right).

There are numerous other excellent diving watches, including the Bulgari Diagono Professional Scuba (below, in the centre), Tissot Seastar, the TAG Heuer 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000, the Chanel J12 Marine (below on the left), Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Diver (below on the right), Cartier Pasha Seatimer and Ulysse Nardin Maxi Diver.  One thing that anyone considering purchasing a pre-owned diving watch is that their gasket, the piece of rubber that prevents moisture from entering the watch and gives it its water resistance can degrade over time.  Therefore, it’s important to have your watch serviced once a year if you get it wet regularly.  Also, do not take your watch into a hot shower or steam room, as the high heat can deform and therefore degrade your gasket.

Brands You Should Know About



Famously based in Le Locle, Switzerland, Tissot began life in 1853 under the direction of Charles-Felicien Tissot.  Tissot’s original claim to fame was producing the first mass produced pocket watch and it’s this continued desire to produce high-quality yet affordable products that has allowed the company to survive 150 years.  Much like Porsche and Volkswagon, Tissot and Omega have maintained a close relationship for many years and actually merged in 1930.  The watches from the Omega-Tissot era are highly sought after by collectors.  Tissot has long attracted a devoted following, including from the likes of Elvis Presley and Nelson Mandela, both long-time Tissot wearers. Since 1983, Tissot has been a member of the Swatch Group and therefore their automatic movements are sourced from the Swatch Group’s movement company, ETA.

Notable Timepieces:
T-Touch (on the left); Seastar (on the right); Le Locle


Hamilton make affordable, no-nonesense American designed watches that sport Swiss movements.  Part of the Swatch Group and sporting basic ETA movements, Hamilton is most famous for producing the Khaki military watch and also the Ventura watch worn by Elvis in the movie Blue Hawaii and featured in the Men in Black movies. The Khaki is a solid, affordable, rugged everyday automatic watch that will never go out of style.  Hamilton has attempted to broaden the Khaki line by adding complications and new design elements – I would suggest sticking with the basic Khaki model.

Notable Timepieces:
Khaki (on the left); Ventura (on the right)


Movado is a very old Swiss firm, now part of The Movado Group, formed in 1881.  Traditionally, they made sporting chronograph watches, most notably the Kingmatic and Datron.  At one point, Movado watches featured Rolex movements, with these models being highly coveted.  More recently, Movado is best known for their “Museum” line of watches designed by Nathan George Horwitt.  The Museum watches are so named as they were the first watches to be put in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  Designed to look like a sun over a moving earth, they remain an excellent and very affordable choice for a dress watch.  More recently, Movado has attempted to branch out beyond their Museum line and are once again retailing higher priced chronographs, including the return of the Datron, which is now being endorsed by Tom Brady.  As well, Movado’s “Red Label” line do an excellent job of combining the elegance of the museum watches as well as the sporting flair of the Datron.

Notable Timepieces:
Museum (on the left); Datron (on the right); Kingmatic


Started by a husband and wife in Le Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1911, Ebel continues to be a popular brand today.  The company originally was originally known as the “Architects of Time” and the name “Ebel” comes from an acronym of the names of the original owners.  Eugene, the husband, was the technical expert and therefore handled those areas, while his wife Alice was in charge of the aesthetic aspects of the watches.  Today, the design touch most commonly associated with Ebel are the prominent and visible screws on the front of the watch case.  In almost all other cases, these screws are not visible from the exterior of the watch, but they add a rugged and sporty elegance and are similar to those found on the Cartier Santos line.

Notable Timepieces:
1911 (on the left); Classic (on the right)

Raymond Weil

Raymond Weil is one of the last remaining independent brand of Swiss watches which is evidenced by their company motto “Independence is a state of mind”.  Formed in 1976 by Raymond Weil who remains involved in the company as Chairman, they make quality watches with timeless designs which they sell for reasonable prices.  Weil has worked in the watchmaking industry since 1946 and has held a number of important positions in the industry, including President of the Watch Manufacturers Union of Geneva.  Raymond Weil watches generally feature standard ETA automatic movements, however some quartz models are available for the more budget conscious.

Notable Timepieces:
Don Giovanni (on the right); Parsifal (on the left)


The brand Longines and flight will always be synonymous.  Their famous “Hour Angle” model was the watch of choice for famous fliers Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.  Longines also designed the original clocks used at such famous baseball parks as Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and Forbes Field. Founded in Switzerland in 1832, they’re now part of The Swatch Group and produce low to moderate priced watches.  The best of them remain those associated with flight.  Unfortunately, the newer models do not hold their value particularly well, and so it’s better to buy pre-owned or look for a vintage Hour Angle.

Notable Timepieces:
Hour Angle (on the right); Lindbergh Atlantic Voyage (on the left)


Rado, originating in 19717 as “Schlup & Co., began selling watches under the Rado name in 1957.  In 1998, they became part of the Swatch Group.  Rado is known for selling some of the most unique designs in the watch making world, and they’re also known for their pioneering and continuing devotion to scratchproofing watches.  In 1962, Rado released the world’s first scratch proof watch, the “Disaster”, which is still in production today and known as DiaStar Original.  Rado continues to utilize high-tech materials in order to ensure scratch proofing, including the V10K which utilizes diamonds in its case for that purpose.  If you’re looking for something different (and scratch proof) than Rado may be your brand, having won more than 20 international design rewards celebrating the brand’s unique approach.

Notable Timepieces:
Disaster/DiaStar Original (on the left); V10K; Integral (on the right)


Oris was founded in 1904 in Switzerland and is most famous for two things: first, they only produce mechanical watches and therefore have no quartz watches in their line; and two, for the distinctive red rotor that powers their automatic movements.  Best of all, the red rotor is visible in all modern Oris watches as they all feature caseback windows showing off the beautifully technical nature of the movements underneath.  In recent years, Oris has enjoyed a successful partnership with the BMW Williams Formula 1 team and has released a number of watches to commemorate this association.  Oris has also created a new “Jazz” line, naming watches after famous singers including Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis.  More traditionally, Oris has released watches geared for diving and aviation, most notably through their “Big Crown” (or “BC”) line along with more classically designed dress watches.

Notable Timepieces:
Chronoris (on the left); Big Crown (aka “BC”); BMW Williams (on the right)

Baume & Mercier

Baume & Mercier is a Swiss brand that is also under the Richemont umbrella.  They typically use high quality (although minimally modified) ETA movements.  Baume & Mercier once attached a Riviera to the wheel rim of a BMW M1 race car during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in order to test the reliability and endurance of the watch through harsh and wet conditions – the watch, of course, passed with flying colours.  Baume & Mercier offers excellent quality and very reasonable prices and should be given a look if  you’re in the market for a watch in the mid-price range.

Notable Timepieces:
Riviera; Hampton (on the left); Classima (on the right, in GT XXL form)


Bedat & Co.

Bedat & Co. began life in 1996 under the direction of brothers Christian and Simone Bedat in Geneva.  In 2000, Bedat was purchased by Gucci and more recently passed on to Malaysian interests but nonetheless continues to produce timelessly designed watches.  The line of watches are generally as simple in appearance as they are named, with the range now including “No. 1”, “No. 3”, “No. 7” and “No. 8”.  Somewhat unusually, there are no round watches in the line, with Nos. 1 and 7 featuring square cases, and Nos. 3 and 8 sporting tonneau designs.  Bedat typically utilizes ETA’s excellent 2892 movement, but also offers a quartz movement in their No. 3 line.

Notable Timepieces:
No. 8 (on the left); No. 7 (on the right)

TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer is most notably associated with race car driving.  In particular, its square Heuer “Monaco” model (TAG and Heuer merged during the ’70’s to form ‘TAG Heuer’) can most famously be seen on the wrist of Steve McQueen during the movie Le Mans.  McQueen also used a Monaco as one of his personal watches.  Other race car drivers that have worn TAGs include famed Formula 1 competitors Jo Siffert and Parnelli Jones, as well as modern racers, former World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikonenn.  TAG’s other racing inspired watches include the Carerra line (named after a famous race held in Mexico), the Formula 1 line and the newly re-released Silverstone line (named after a race track in Great Britain).  TAG Heuer utilizes basic ETA movements and, while perhaps not offering the level of technical sophistication of other marquees, they nonetheless sell stylish and reliable timepieces for nearly any use, even golf where they offer a watch developed with the assistance of Tiger Woods specifically designed for the sport.  TAG Heuer has also traditionally produced diver’s watches, including the 1000, 2000 and 3000 models and the modern Aquaracer.  One other famous TAG Heuer wearer: President Barack Obama.

Notable Timepieces:
Carerra (above on the left); Monaco (above on the right and in the “Automobiles and Racing” section); Monza; Formula 1 (below in the middle); Aquaracer (below on the right); 1000 (below on the left)


Chanel made their grand entry into watch making in 1999, with their unisex J12 model.  Now, you would think that the first watch released by a high-end woman’s clothing and perfume manufacturer that’s unisex would be something of a disaster.  But, incredibly, it’s turned into one of the classics of the new millennium and this comes down to both its simple and elegant look in addition to its use of ceramics for its case and bracelet.  Ceramic is scratch-proof and also allows for a smooth and simple look.  Since 1999, Chanel has released a number of different variations of the J12 line, including the J12 Marine diving watch, J12 GMT and J12 Superleggera.  The Marine is water resistant to 3oom and the Superleggera sports twin chronographs and has an auto racing theme.  The “unisex” label may be concerning, but the watch doesn’t look at all, as it measures a stout 42mm.

Notable Timepieces:
J12 (on the right); J12 Marine (Visible in the “Diving” section); J12 Superleggera (on the left)


Montblanc is most famous for making pens and other accessories, but it has more recently entered into the watch making industry, with a fair amount of success.  Known for their “Star” logo, which is beautifully featured on the crown of their watches.  Their best known watch is the Timewalker, which is a large but classically elegant dress watch that can be purchased with a variety of features (such as GMT) and materials.  The majority of the Montblanc line maintains this elegant aesthetic.  Montblanc is yet another member of the Richmont Group and utilizes modified ETA movements.

Notable Timepieces:
Timewalker (on the left); Summit; Star (on the right)


Omega is perhaps the second most famous name in watches next to Rolex, and its place in watchmaking is effectively the same – similar but slightly less desirable and of slightly less quality than Rolex.  Nonetheless, Omega makes some of the most iconic watches in history and is said by many to offer the best value in the business.  In particular are the Seamaster and Speedmaster lines.  The Seamaster is most famously the watch of choice of the title character in the modern James Bond films, having been sported (in various trims) by both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig and is a diving watch capable of reaching a depth of 300 metres.  The Speedmaster is the first watch to have been worn on the moon (by Buzz Aldrin) and is also associated with racing.  Omegas have been worn by many famous figures in the 20th and 21st Century, most notably JFK.

Notable Timepieces:
Seamaster (on the left); Seamaster Planet Ocean; Speedmaster (visible in the “Automobiles and Racing” section; De Ville (on the right)


Hermès is a noted luxury retailer that has only more recently entered into the watch industry.  Nonetheless, they produce beautiful and elegant timepieces, generally with a bent towards being dress watches.  They also offer watches with chronograph and diving functions for a more sporting flavour.  Given that Hermès became famous for their work with leather, it is no surprise that their leather straps are some of the most elegant and beautiful in the business.

Notable Timepieces:
Arceau (on the left); Carrè H (on the right); Cape Cod


Corum is a Swiss firm founded in 1955.  Corum’s firm motto is “superb craftsmanship combined with the endless search for beauty and innovation”, which certainly is a lofty goal.  Corum’s logo is a key, which symbolizes the idea of “unlocking and conquering” the world and they’re known for producing numerous limited editions of watches..  They are also closely aligned with the world of sailing and yacht racing and their line is lead by the “Admiral’s Cup” series.  Originally, the Admiral’s Cup sported a square “Carre” case, but in 1985, in celebration of their sponsorship of the Admiral’s Cup Regatta Offshore Yacht Race, Corum redesigned the watch to become what is now the modern “Admiral’s Cup”.  Corums are very high quality and have traditionally featured ETA movements; however the new Admiral’s Cup Marrees Tides sports the company’s first in-house movement.

Notable Timepieces:
Admiral’s Cup (on the left and in the “Sailing” section); Golden Bridge (on the right)

Bell & Ross

Bell & Ross was founded in 1992 by French watch designers and utilizes Swiss movements.  Bell & Ross models are often vintage inspired, with two of their more popoular being the BR 01 and the 126.  The BR 01 is modelled after the instruments of vintage planes.  A special version of the BR 01 was commissioned for use by the bomb squad of La Surete (the French police force).  The 126 is a more classic looking, elegant chronograph, available with either a black or white face.

Notable Timepieces:
126 (above on the right0; BR 01 (above on the left and also visible in the “Aviation” section)


Chopard is a Swiss firm that has been around for over a century and is one of the remaining independent watch makers.  Having settled into some degree of obscurity, the brand released the Mille Miglia line, which has become a modern classic and celebrates the famous Italian race called the Mille Miglia (1000 miles) that runs as a historic race today.  While there are a number of different models in the Mille Miglia line, they generally feature chronographs and tachymetres that can be used to measure elapsed time and speed, respectively, during a race.  Mille Miglia watches also generally sport rubber straps designed to look like tire treads.  Chopard releases a new edition to commemorate the race each year.

Notable Timepieces:
Mille Miglia (on the left and also visible in the “Automobiles and Racing” section; L.U.C. (on the right)


Bulgari of Rome is sometimes described as the Cartier of Italy.  Bulgari are most famous for their elegant Italian case designs (and ETA 2892.A2 movements).  While some of their models are perhaps a little bit gaudy (featuring Bulgari in large letters around the case), their Diagono Professional line are beautiful sports, diving and GMT watches that have been featured in such movies as Ironman (Tony Stark wears a Diagono Professional GMT), Ironman II (Tony Stark wears a Diagono Retrograde Moonphase), Minority Report (Tom Cruise), Mission Impossible (Jon Voight wears a Diagono Professional Scuba) and Heat, where both Al Pacino and Val Kilmer sport Diagonos).  Bulgaris, still being considered a designer watch, are in the mid to high-mid range in terms of price and are best purchased used as there is a steep initial depreciation given their ETA sourced movements.

Notable Timepieces:
Diagono (above on the left, and also visible in the “Diving” section); Carbongold (above on the right); Bulgari-Bulgari


Cartier, the maker of the first men’s wrist watch for aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, is a Swiss company famous for providing classic luxury goods.  You will never be out of place wearing one of Cartier’s traditional watches, in particular the Santos (named after the aforementioned Santos-Dumont) which is famous for the exposed screws on the case and Tank, which was inspired by the tanks of World War I (the first Tank was given as a gift to Gen. James Pershing, head of the Allied liberating force in World War I).  The newer Cartier models, including the Roadster and Pasha are also fantastic dress or even “everyday” watches.

Notable Timepieces:
Santos (above on the left); Tank (Tank “Solo” model above on the right); Roadster (visible in the “Automobiles and Racing” section); Pasha (below)



If you’re a fan of aviation, than Breitling may be the brand for you as it has become synonymous with flying for a number of reasons.  First is its use of actor/pilot John Travolta as its spokesman, second is its sponsorship of the Red Bull DFDFSDFSDFSDFSD and finally is its long history of technological advancement in the field of aviation horology.  The Navitimer was initially produced for fighter pilot and early astronaut DSDFDSFSDF SDFSDFSD and worn during the Mercury missions into space.  Even more interesting is the Emergency line, which features a hidden antenna that, when employed during an emergency, sends out a distress signal on the aviation emergency frequency.  Breitlings can be seen on the wrist of James Bond in Thunderball, Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld, Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond and Gordon Ramsey in Hell’s Kitchen.  Breitling utilizes ETA movements modified in-house, and also offers a quartz watch, the Colt, sporting price tags anywhere from lower-mid to upper-mid, depending on the model.

Notable Timepieces:
Navitimer (above on the left); Chronomat; Emergency (above on the right and also visible in the “Aviation: section); Bentley Motors T (below on the left)

Officine Panerai

Officine Panerai has become one of the “must have” watch brands in recent years.  Founded in Florence, Italy in 1860, Panerai is most famous for having been commissioned by the Royal Italian Navy to produce large, accurate watches with highly visible and luminous numbers for Italian commandos during World War II.  The watches were predominantly used by Navy divers while planting mines on Allied ships and therefore having a diving heritage.  Panerai is now part of the Richemont group and can be seen on the wrists of many celebrities, including Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  They also produce the official watches for Ferrari. Panerai’s watches are still designed in Italy and utilize Swiss movements (predominantly sourced from ETA and modified by Panerai).  Their Luminor watch features an enclosed crown (further protection for diving), differentiating it from similar looking Radomir model.

Notable Timepieces:
Luminor (on the left and with GMT function above and to the right of the Breitling Bentley watch); Radomir (on the right); Ferrari (Can be viewed in the “Automobiles and Racing” section)


Effectively a “Non-U.S. Rolex”, for those living in Canada, or other countries outside the United States, Tudor may be a familiar name.  Owned by Rolex and built utilizing Rolex parts, movements and with similar designs, Tudor is a high quality alternative to the Rolex name.  Tudor began life as the second gift to the watchmaking world of Hans Wildorf, the founder of Rolex.  Named after the Tudor period in English history, their original logo was an English rose and later became a knight’s shield.  Many of the watches produced by both marquees are nearly indistinguishable, most notably the Submariner with the Tudor version being available at a lower price; however, particular Tudors, especially some of their chronograph watches, are highly collectible in their own right.

Notable Timepieces:
Submariner (a vintage model can be seen on the right); Tiger (on the left)


Rolex is without question the best known name in watches in the world, and for good reason.  They remain fiercely independent and produce all of their movements in-house to a high specification.  Many of Rolex’s designs have become iconic, in particular the Submariner (and its sister watch, the Sea Dweller), which can be seen on the wrist of Sean Connery in the early James Bond films, the GMT Master (and GMT Master II) originally designed for Pan Am Airlines pilots and the watch of choice of Che Guevara; the Daytona, which is famously associated with race car drivers, including actor/driver Paul Newman; the Milgauss, which sports anti-magnetic properties particularly suited for use by scientists; and the Datejust line, which includes the top-of-the-line “President” that is sported by many of the world’s luminaries.  Rolex’s maintain their value better than nearly any other brand of watch and have a long and storied history.  During World War II, many British officers ordered Rolexs as their service watch – when these watches were confiscated en masse from POWs by the German army, Rolex offered to replace the confiscated watches and not require payment until after the war.  This level of service brought the marque to the attention of American soldiers, where the brand was previously relatively unknown.

Notable Timepieces:
Submariner and Sea Dweller (Submariner, above on the left and as featured in James Bond’s Dr. No below on the right); GMT Master and GMT Master II (can be viewed in the “Travel” section); Daytona (can be viewed in the “Automobiles and Racing” section; Explorer (vintage “Steve McQueen” model pictured below on the left); Datejust (especially the “President” model seen above on the right); Milgauss; Air King



Zenith is most famous for creating the excellent “El Primero” movement that has been used by a wide variety of manufacturers, including Zenith itself.  The El Primero has proven to be a reliable, technically sophisticated and highly accurate movement that is still being used today.  Zenith watches tend to be provide a great deal of bang for your buck in terms of quality vs. cost.

Notable Timepieces:
El Primero Rainbow Chronograph (on the left); Port Royale (on the right)

Glashütte Original

Glashütte Original is a German firm that is part of The Swatch Group and began to make watches in the German town of Glashütte in 1845.  They utilize movements made in-house of very high quality and their most famous models are the Pano and Senator.  The Senator line generally features a more traditional, straightforward dial that can be purchased with chronograph dials or other complications.  The Pano is notable for feature the time on a smaller dial within the face, accompanied by a date window reminiscent to those featured in A. Lange & Sohne watches (another German firm).

Notable Timepieces:
Senator (on the left); Pano (on the right)


Chronoswiss is a German watch maker established in 1983 by Gerd R. Lang.  Gerd Lang was a man who greatly valued details, and incredible and intricate details are one of the hallmarks of the Chronoswiss dials. However, Chronoswiss is known, above all else for its exclusivity, only manufacturing a maximum of 7,000 watches a year.  Movements are based on the Enicar 165, but are highly modified in-house.  Chronoswiss watches trend towards the classical dress watch look and actually represent one of the best values in the watch industry from a quality vs. cost perspective.  Despite their exclusivity, Chronoswiss watches tend to sell at lower prices than other technically equivalent watches.

Notable Timepieces:
Chronoscope (on the left); Lunar; Opus (on the right)

Universal Genève

Universal Genève was established in 1894 in Geneva.  Since then, they’ve entirely made their movements in-house.  The most famous of the Universal Genève watches is the Polerouter, designed by the famous Gerald Genta in 1958.  For 15 years, Universal also held the record for the thinnest automatic watch in the world, the White Shadow at 2.3mm in thickness, which was also designed by Gerald Genta.  Much like Chronoswiss, Universal Genève sells watches that are amongst the best in terms of quality vs. cost.  Universal Geneve’s most famous advancement is the micro rotor featured in the White Shadow and many of their modern watches.

Notable Timepieces:
Polerouter; Microtur (on the left); White Shadow


Part of the LVMH Group, Hublot sells mid to high priced watches almost exclusively on rubber straps.  Hublot (which means “porthole” in french) has strong ties to diving and sailing, which are activities linked to watches with rubber straps.  Hublot created the first natural rubber strap in history and the “Big Bang” line is their most popular.  Hublot cases are available in a very wide array of materials, including yellow and white gold, stainless steel and ceramics.

Notable Timepieces:
Big Bang (seen on both the left and the right)

Girard Perregaux

I.W.C. (or, more accurately, International Watch Company of Schaffhausen), is a famed marquee founded in Switzerland in 1868 and is now part of the Richemont Group.  IWC produces a wide range of watches, sporting ETA movements (most notably the 2892.A2 and Valjoux 7750).  IWC is most famous for their “Portuguese” line of dress watches, that sport simple designs and one or two chronograph dials.  They also produce the Aquatimer line of diver’s watches, the Ingenieur watch associated with racing, the easily readable Big Pilot and Top Gun for pilots and the simple and classic Portofino dress watch.  Very few watch makers have the range of IWC and just anybody can find something they like in their range.  Priced in the upper middle of the market, they can make for excellent investments and tend to hold their value well.

Notable Timepieces:
Sea Hawk (on the left); Classique (on the right); Richeville

I.W.C. (International Watch Company)

I.W.C. (or, more accurately, International Watch Company of Schaffhausen), is a famed marquee founded in Switzerland in 1868 and is now part of the Richemont Group.  IWC produces a wide range of watches, sporting ETA movements (most notably the 2892.A2 and Valjoux 7750).  IWC is most famous for their “Portuguese” line of dress watches, that sport simple designs and one or two chronograph dials.  They also produce the Aquatimer line of diver’s watches, the Ingenieur watch associated with racing, the easily readable Big Pilot and Top Gun for pilots and the simple and classic Portofino dress watch.  Very few watch makers have the range of IWC and just anybody can find something they like in their range.  Priced in the upper middle of the market, they can make for excellent investments and tend to hold their value well.

Notable Timepieces:
Aquatimer (visible in the “Diving” section); Ingenieur (below on the left); Pilot (below on the right); Big Pilot (above on the right); Portuguese (above on the the left); Portofino; Top Gun (below, in the middle)

Ulysse Nardin

Ulysse Nardin is a Swiss firm founded in Le Locle in 1846 that produces high quality, primarily diving themed watches with ETA movements.  Many of their watches utilize ETA’s top of the line 2892.A2 movement.  Ulysse Nardin have featured a wide variety of incredible complications in their 150 years of existence, including the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei which indicates the height and direction of the sun, moon and stars.  Ulysse Nardin produces its watches in very limited numbers and makes them available in gold, platinum and stainless steel with a host of complications.

Notable Timepieces:
Maxi Diver (on the left); GMT ± Perpetual (on the right)


Piaget is a Swiss firm founded in 1874 that produces high-end jewelery and watches.  Piaget is now part of the Richemont group and is most recently famous for producing the thinnest automatic movement in the world, which can be found in the Antiplano.  Incredibly, the Antiplano’s case measures only 2.1mm in thickness, making it one of the most discreet luxury watches in the world (but nonetheless attracting the interest of famed DJ Mark Ronson).  Another famous model, the Polo, was designed in the late 1970’s and was the watch of choice for famed artist Andy Warhol.  It remains available today, but only in gold or titanium.

Notable Timepieces:
Emperador; Altiplano (on the right); Polo (on the left)



Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC) was founded in Le Sentier, Switzerland in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre.  The motto of the company was, and remains “We must base our experience on science” and this motto has been made a reality through the use of new manufacturing techniques and tools to create the handmade, in-house movements utilized by JLC.  These movements have proven to be so successful that they have been sold to a number of other high-end watchmakers, including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and more recently, Alfred Dunhill.  JLC’s most famous watch is the Reverso, which was born out of the sporting ambitions of British army officers.  Created to prevent the occurence of damage to wrist watches while playing polo, the Reverso’s face can be flipped over to, traditionally, reveal the stainless steel back, thereby protecting it from damage.  The modern Reverso often features a second face or other complications when flipped over, as they are now rarely used for polo.  JLC’s Master Compressor line is a classic sports watch, with some featuring chronographs and others being geared towards diving and other sporting activities.  JLC has recently become involved with car manufacturer Aston Martin, producing Aston Martin themed luxury watches.  Going beyond a simple salute to Aston Martin, these watches feature a number of special features, most notably the chronograph feature on the AMVOX2, which is started and stopped by pushing on the watch’s crystal, rather than pressing a button on the side.

Notable Timepieces:
Reverso (on the left); Master Chronograph (on the right); AMVOX2


Breguet is one of the world’s oldest surviving watch maker, having been founded in 1775.  It is then no surprise that its list of customers serves as a “Who’s Who” of history, and includes: Louis XVIII and XVI, George Washington, Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, Winston Churchill, Leo Tolstoy, the Duke of Windsor, Aristotle Onassis, Victor Hugo, Prince Charles and even the fictional ‘Baron Danglars’, banker for Parisienne high society, in Alexandre Dumas’ classic The Count of Montre Cristo.  Breguets are most famous for their guilloche dials and blue pomme hands (often simply referred to as ‘Breguet’ hands) – both of the stylistic elements have been frequently copied by other brands.  They are also the first watchmaker to produce a wrist watch with a tourbillon regulator.  Breguet primarily manufactures classic looking dress watches, however they began to offer a remake of the ‘Type XX’ they produced during the Second World War for French pilots during the early ’90’s that sports three chronograph dials and a beautifully sporting appearance.

Notable Timepieces:
7027; Classique (on the left); Type XX (on the right)

Franck Muller

Franck Muller designs watches under his own name that live up to his nickname of “Master of Complications”.  With his love of watches beginning in his teens when he would scour local flea markets in his native Swizerland for antique watches and astrological instruments to disassemble, Muller entered the famous Geneva School of Watch Making, graduating with highest distinction.  Franck Muller went on to form his name sake brand in 1983.  Sporting a number of interesting features, his most famous model is the “Crazy Hours” and the majority of Muller watches sport a tounneau case shape along with a substantial price tag.  This is the watch for somebody with a big budget that wants something a little different.

Notable Timepieces:
Crazy Hours (at left); Casablanca (at right)


BlancPain is a Swiss firm that dates back as far as 1735 and produces some of the world’s finest watches and is currently a part of The Swatch Group.  BlancPain’s most famous model is the Fifty Fathoms, the diving watch favoured by famed explorer Jacques Cousteau (including being worn by Cousteau and his crew during the filming of his Cannes Palme d’Or winning film, The World of Silence) and also utilized by the U.S. Navy and their counterparts in Italy, France and Germany.  The BlancPain’s line trends towards making beautifully finished, understated luxury watches and they have attracted the interest of guys like Brad Pitt and Vladimir Putin.

Notable Timepieces:
Fifty Fathoms (at right); Villeret (at left); Leman

Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watchmaker in the world, having been in continuous operation since 1755, making it over 250 years old.  Vacheron famously features the Maltese Cross as their logo, which was based on the appearance of a revolutionary part utilized in their early movements that reduced the need for winding.  Famous owners of Vacheron Constantin watches include the Duke of Windsor, Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius XI, President Harry Truman and King Farouk of Egypt, who, in 1935, ordered the most complex pocket watch every created, which took 5 years to complete.  In 1955, Vacheron released their famous Patrimony model which was, at the time, the thinnest automatic watch ever created.  Vacheron Constantin is now part of the Richemont group, but they remain true to their roots, with the very first Vacheron Constantin store, in Quai de L’ile in Geneva still open today.

Notable Timepieces:
Quai De L’ile (on the right); Patrimony (on the left)

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe is renowned for producing arguably the finest quality timepieces in the world and being at the forefront of watch technology.   Patek has created the first perpetual calender, split-seconds hand, chronograph and minute repeater.  They also made the world’s first wrist watch (although it was for ladies).  Founded by Polish watchmaker Antoni Patek in Geneva in 1839, they continue to produce independently produced, hand assembled famous models including the simple dress watch the Calatrava, the diving inspired Aquanaut and the Nautilus, said to be the leading example of modern watch design.  Unfortunately for potential Patek owners, the price of admission is often extremely high.  The majority of Pateks models cost in the tens of thousands new (with the lowest priced offering being the Aquanaut.  Pateks are one of the most collectible watches brands in the world and many older models have actually appreciated significantly in value over time.

Notable Timepieces:
Calatrava (above, on the right); Nautilus (above on the left); Reference 5130; Reference 5960 (below, at left)

A. Lange & Söhne

Making some of the finest timepieces in the world is the German firm of A. Lange & Sohne.  An older brand that has been brought back to life after its original factory shut down after World War II due to its location in East Germany, A. Lange & Sohne is owned by the Richemont group and makes extremely complex classic dress watches.  One often seen element is the large date window modeled after the 5 minute clock in the Semper Opera House in Dresden.

Notable Timepieces:
Lange 1 (on the left); 1815; Lange Zietwerk (on the right)

6 Responses to “Corporate Style – Part 5: Watches”

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