jaeger reverso how to buy a watch
Following my first post in this series, on buying value in a watch, here are a few pictures of my own watches. A few readers have asked for details of what I wear myself, and these will be useful reference points for the last installment, on watches and style.

These watches were all bought second-hand, represent my favourite styles across the gamut of wristwear, and form a highly versatile collection – from formal to casual, black shoes to brown.

iwc portuguese chrono how to buy a watch

Top: Jaeger LeCoultre yellow-gold Reverso, manual.

Next: IWC Portuguese rose-gold chronograph, automatic

Below: Cartier yellow-gold Tank Francaise chronograph, quartz; steel 1966 Rolex GMT, automatic.

cartier tank francaise how to buy a watch

The IWC was my first purchase and my first love. It is still my favourite watch and perhaps the most beautiful thing I own.

The JLC feels like the dressiest of watches, given its slimness and simplicity, while the Cartier is the watch I most often travel with – particularly given it has two straps, tan and navy (made for it by Jean Rousseau).

The Rolex is a classic but given much greater character by its age – the original watch strap, the marks on the second hand and the lovely fading of the dial in particular.

rolex gmt how to buy a watch

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I too have a great rolex gmt and loved the way that the dial faded; it had great patina. Then I sent it off for a service and it came back with a ceramic dial that never fades! I have had the new dial on for six years now and its still the ******* same colour! Take care Simon when you send it off for a service and do specify that you want the original dial replaced.
BTW was going down the row on Sunday and spotted much going on at Gieve’s. They seem to have a K&C store in part of their old place. Are they still having problems making money and is this a cost saving thing?


I don’t want to sound a snob and I know that you rate Kent & Curwen flannels but I don’t think they belong on that particular street. Which does sound like a snob!


Actually, I believe you mean the bezel, not the dial faded, and was replaced by a ceramic version.

There are other posts in this thread that also confuse the dial/face (where the hands display the time, date etc.) and the outer rotating ring – g The bezel…


The Reverso is a fabulous choice. In fact, the Jaeger watch,whatever model, is always beautifully designed and very well made. I also like your idea of using the Cartier tank when travelling . The Tank Francaise is another iconic design that always works well. Buying these beautiful watches second hand is an excellent idea,but that can be a very tricky situation. Any advise on purchasing second hand high end watches?

Andy Liu

Hi Simon:
Excellent choice for Jaeger LeCoultre. if you are a regular traveller, i highly recommend JL Geographic master for you, beautiful finish and very unique design. I just ordered a light blue alligator strap from Jean Rousseau to match with the hands’ colour on the dial.
My first watch was IWC Portuguese with white dial and gold hands, still looking stunning nowadays.



Dexter Dunstable

Hi Simon,

What a lovely collection of watches. The JLC, IWC and GMT are favourites of mine. It’ll be interesting to see how many comments mention the IWC not having an in-house movement! It’s an age old debate but my thoughts are if you like a watch that should be all that matters. The IWC in the rose gold is glorious, the first time I had one on my wrist I knew we were a match made in heaven.



I agree, I think if you really like the watch then what does the movement matter? As long as it is reliable and easily serviced. I think only true ‘watch geeks’ really obsess over movements.


Some lovely watches; I’ve never been much of a fan of IWC but that Portuguese is beautiful.

On a slightly unrelated note, I’m planning to get a dinner jacket made, having finally accepted that, while the American custom of black tie weddings feels a little wrong, it does at least mean I will get enough opportunities to wear it to justify the purchase.

I’m pretty sure on most of the details (SB, peak lapel, midnight blue mohair blend with black grosgrain facings, fishtail back trousers with braces) so I’m now wondering who I should get to make it. I want it to last me a long time and be fairly classic, which probably rules out Thom Sweeney (although I do love the one on their website.) I like the idea of the lighter construction of a Neapolitan tailor but haven’t seen many good examples and am worried the less structured cut might not suit a dinner jacket. The other option would be a drape cut from Steven Hitchcock but I worry that it wouldn’t look as sharp as something with a closer fit. I also considered Cifonelli but, beautiful as his suits are, I can’t really justify the cost for something I’m only going to wear a few times a year.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you know of any tailors who make a particularly fine dinner jacket? Are some styles more “correct” than others?


Simon – up until very recently you were famously not into watches. What changed?


Some really great watches. However I would not want to buy a second hand, I would much rather give the watch ‘history and character’ myself – even if this means that I have to buy a ‘lower end’ brand. Do you have one that wear the most often?


No Grand Seiko?
Its the only one on my list…


That’s a nice collection. I have a Cartier Must 21 in black and my Grandpa’s Omega Seamaster when they used to give watches as a retirement gift.


Do you keep them on automatic winders? If so then what make of winder? Does it damage an automatic watch to let the mainspring run down completely? (Like you, I’m not particularly interested in watches beyond aspiring to own a very select number of models that I really like. I don’t think that I’d ever become a collector.)


Hello Simon. I have a question about something you haven’t really discussed before. What is your opinion on what the width of a jacket’s sleeve should be?


Great photography, the outdoor setting and the interesting, organic backgrounds make a great context for the mechanical and man-made.

David nex

From my personal experience, I always calculate a service into the price when buying a watch. So, if the watch doesn’t function properly but you don’t want to return it (maybe it’s still the nicest watch you’ve ever seen), you’ve at least kept a bit of budget available to have it overhauled.I use nextonly.uk sites to find classic & vintage watches.Many books have been written on collecting certain brands, diving watches, chronographs, iconic watches, and so on. Often, these books can be found on Amazon Nextonly or WatchPrint.

Jordan Edwards

How much did yo pay for the IWC if you do not mind me asking?


England is a nation of shopkeepers where prices are higher than elsewhere. it is no wonder the price for second hand is higher than the price for first hand from my source of watch supply!


How much did the Rolex set you back? Just curious considering how much it has risen in the last 3 years it would be a nice to have an estimate of how much it was worth back then.


Hi Simon,

I know this is an old post, but hopefully you’ll see this. My questions concern the Reverso. 1. What model is that? and 2. Do you find it is a delicate watch, or relatively up to the wear of daily life? I myself love the look of the Reverso, but part of my hesitation at buying one is that it may (in yellow-gold) damage easily.



Is this the 260.1.86 by any chance?


Dan G

Hi Simon,

Would you consider doing a post on tips on how/where to shop for vintage watches?

Thanks, Dan (New York)

Dan G

Do you mind sharing how you located your watches then (even if you are not an expert)? I own several watches I purchased new, but am lost at sea when it comes to vintage.

Thanks, Dan

Jens Andersen

Hi Simon

Are square watches considered more dessier?

What do you think about Cartier’s more simple and smaller watchs? (Galbee, Tank Louis etc)



Simon – is your Reverso the Small, Medium or Large?

Also, I know I’ve asked before but from the photos all your watches appear to be gold but you wedding band appears to be silver (white gold/platinum) – is this the case?


This is one thing that does my head in Simon… so I wear a white gold wedding ring. Does that mean I am best wearing a white gold or steel watch (as opposed to yellow/pink gold)? And then the bit that really confuses me, if I am wearing white gold or steel that typically is on a black leather strap if a dress watch – so does that then rule out brown shoes/belts? So many considerations!


How much was your Jean Rousseau bespoke strap Simon? If you had one strap, what kind of color/leather would you choose? What does Mr. Rousseau typically charge?

If I were to buy one and only watch and love a simple design, would the JLC Reverso suffice? Or is it too formal?


Hi Simon

You mention today that you have tiny wrists. Yet the Submariner fits ok? I’m struggling to find a nice sports watch, 39mm seems about maximum for me, maybe Vintage Rolex are smaller?



J. Suggest you look into the Oris Aquis line at 39mm.

It can be a bit bold, but most watch enthusiasts rate it as one of the great values in sports/dive watches…

And yes, pre 1980(?) Rolex is at 32, 34, and 36 mm., but then you get into servicing costs, is it still waterproof, etc.

You may also want to check into Rolex’s sister brand – Tudor….generally the same watch per watch/style per style, key difference is some of the metals, and lack of official chronometer certification..


Sorry yes the ‘66 GMT. I think they are 40mm yet it looks appropriate on your “small” wrist?


Hi Simon, I’m curious as to your impressions about the relative quality and value of leather goods by Serge Amoruso and Jean Rousseau? I recently bought a yellow-gold Rolex day-date from 1977, which came strapless. It has a beautiful taupe/light grey dial and I want to pair it with two straps. The first I bought from Jean Rousseau, in a taupe calf leather. I’m thinking about commissioning a second strap, perhaps in navy or green crocodile, from Serge Amoruso, but wanted to hear your thoughts first. Thank you.


Do you have any recommendations for buying a second hand watch online?


I very much enjoy your fully rounded your collection!
Would be curious to know whether there was one or more watches you enjoy and would now consider adding to your collection? Something that caught your eye?


Hi Simon,

I’d like to buy a Cartier watch and I am curious to get your opinion on the color and specifically the temperature of the color. My favorite of the Cartier watches is the Cartier tank louis (https://www.cartier.com/en-us/collections/watches/women-s-watch/tank-all/wgta0011-tank-louis-cartier-watch.html).

I really like the color of the band, and I think the rose gold looks beautiful. However, my wardrobe mostly consists of cold color pieces (navy, greys and taupes). Although I like the watch, I feel like the color of the rose gold (which seems like a warmer temperature color) would not be harmonious with the rest of my wardrobe. Do you think the yellow gold fits better for someone like me? Please share your thoughts on the matter.


Got it. Just out of curiosity, why did you opt for the yellow as opposed to the rose gold?


Hi Simon,
How do you store your watches?
Do you have a watch case / roll or something similar?
I am looking for a high quality option for 3-5 watches. A number of the UK leather accessories companies have some sort of offering. What is your view on the quality and build of brands such as Smythson, Ettinger and Rapport London? Are you really getting top notch quality and build or are you paying more for the brand and marketing? Happy for any suggestions you might have.


Thanks Simon.
Unremarkable is an apt way to put it. I’m sure you’re probably paying mostly for the brand.


Hello Simon, I plan to buy a bespoke leather strap for my dress watch. Black alligator, nothing unusual, looking for the very best quality really. What would be your advice? Thank you!


How do you choose between your Cartier and your Reverso? The style is quite similar, so how do you make a decision in the morning?