Watch lovers will immediately recognize the phrase that LA-based collector, Josh Hendizadeh, chose for his Instagram handle. Hendizadeh, aka @TropicalPatina on the social media platform, posts beauty shots of the watches he loves, owns or hopes to soon acquire. As the LA chapter leader for RedBar, the world’s largest watch collecting community, he’s more plugged into the world of West Coast collectors and sellers than most.
“‘Patina’ on a watch means aging, and ‘tropical’ means it’s aged to a caramel brown or dark brown color,” Hendizadeh tells InsideHook, breaking the idiom down for those of us who might not be enlightened yet. “This is a natural process done by the sun, usually. They’re the most desirable vintage watches and the most beautiful. It’s a characteristic exclusive to vintage watches.”
Ever since he was led down the path of watch collecting by his mentor and now friend, Eric Wind, the owner of vintage watch marketplace Wind Vintage, Hendizadeh has been fascinated by the aesthetics and collective impulses that drive the industry. “Everything I’ve learned and collected is owed to Eric,” he says, but he’s also carved out his own categories for judging and appreciating watches. According to Hendizadeh, there are “three responses to a piece of design: yes, no, and ‘Wow!’” It might seem obvious, but “wow is the one to aim for,” he says, and his posts tend to center on “wow watches” that hit his criteria.
“The case construction is very important,” Hendizadeh explains. “It has to have an interesting case, or a really simple case that’s been done to the next level. Like, the finishing of the case is gorgeous, or something like that. Aesthetics is the number one key to any purchase. I don’t care if a watch has an in-house movement, or a run-of-the-mill movement, a Chinese or Japanese movement — I don’t care. If it’s aesthetically pleasing, and I know I’ll wear it, then I’ll buy that watch.”
Now close to hitting the decade mark as an avid collector, Hendizadeh is here to help newbies — or those just looking to boost their own collections — to find “wow watches” in all price categories. To that end, he’s selected a couple of examples under $5,000, three under $10,000, and one white whale that comes in just under $50,000 that should help round out anyone’s collection. Take a look at his picks, and the reasoning behind them, below.
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Two Best Watches Under $5,000
“The reason I love this watch — I don’t even own it yet, because I own its older brother, the Black Bay 58 — but I love the 54 because it’s the perfect vintage size. It looks exactly like a vintage Tudor Submariner. The sizing is there, but it has the modern, robust reliability of a Tudor, which is, essentially, what Rolex was fifty years ago.”
“The Cartier Tank, for me, is one of the most elegant and refined watches of all time, in any category or any price point. This black dial version is just so fluid on the wrist, it sits beautifully. I’ve had this watch several times before, and every time I’ve regretted selling it. I’m probably going to buy another one within the next week. It’s a quartz watch — I have no issue wearing a battery-operated watch.”
Three Best Watches Under $10,000
“It’s a classic, a beautiful blend of sportiness and dressiness. I truly don’t think for under $10,000 you can get a better watch than a Rolex.”
“Any dial variation would work on this one. Rolex gets a lot of flack for not being creative and innovative, but it’s completely unfounded. They literally tick every single box: history, pedigree, beauty, rarity.
“Should be right around $8,900. It’s an interesting watch that I’ve never owned, but I plan to buy it sometime this year. The one that I prefer is a manual wind movement. It was originally made for polo players. You could lay the watch flat on the metal side of it, then flip it back to the actual time side, or the dial side, when you wanted to stop playing. Originally meant as a sport watch, it’s among the most elegant watches on the wrist and among the most beautiful watches from Jaeger. It’s a no-brainer under $10,000.”
The Best Watch Under $50,000
“G represents white gold, R represents rose gold. It’s the very best modern dress watch money can buy. Patek has fitted the movement to the case perfectly. It’s a brand-new release, only a couple years old. The movement is fit to the case, just like vintage watches. The dial proportions are perfect, the size is great. On the secondary market you’re getting great value for it. They’re even tough to find at retail. So you’re getting lots of value there, and I think it’s a very underrated watch from the most prestigious watchmaker on the planet.”
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