Anyone who spends a decent amount of time (or an indecent amount of time, for that matter) looking at watches will undoubtedly have developed a particular taste. We here at HODINKEE HQ certainly have. Cole loves himself a beat-up vintage diver. Jack can’t help himself when it comes to an esoteric complication. Stephen will barely look at a watch if it has more than three hands. But sometimes we surprise ourselves. Sometimes you can’t help but love something, no matter how much it might conflict with your usual preferences. Here are the watches that, upon seeing them at Baselworld, our editors couldn’t help but love – even against their better judgement.
Cara Barrett – Rolex Day-Date 36 Rainbow Ref. 128345RBR
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that my guilty pleasure watch is the latest Rainbow Rolex – the Day-Date 36 Rainbow Ref. 128345RBR. This precious metal classic gets an upgrade with pavé diamond-set center links, bezel, and dial with rainbow sapphire indexes. The watch is available in white, rose, and yellow gold and retails for just a hair under $125,000. It has the brand spanking new movement – the caliber 3255 – and looks fantastic on the wrist, if I don’t say so myself. And what is a guilty pleasure without a little sparkle? Pretty dull I would say (no judgement on the rest of my teammate’s choices though).
Jon Bues – Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic
This is a watch with genuine horological pedigree, it’s the product of rigorous R&D, and it has a design that is really all its own in today’s watch landscape. It’s also an in-house automatic chronograph with GMT function that doesn’t crack the $20k mark. All of this is to say that it’s debatable whether or not a watch like the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic makes sense as a guilty pleasure pick. But I think it does for me. While I can appreciate avant-garde designs in watches, the timepieces that I wear most often would be fairly described as conservative. I’ve found myself thinking about this watch a lot since its first write up on our site, and if I were to go for it, it would be the guiltiest pleasure in my collection.
Jack Forster – Grand Seiko SBGZ001 20th Anniversary Of Spring Drive Platinum Limited Edition
A Grand Seiko as a guilty pleasure? It says something about just how far Grand Seiko has come that this is even possible, but here we are in 2019 with a Grand Seiko that’s set a new record for price for the firm, at $76,000. The thought of that kind of a price tag on a Grand Seiko comes as an initial shock, but the watch is just so good – the hand carved platinum case and “snowflake” dial are a delicious combination, and inside is a Spring Drive hand-wound movement so gorgeous it gives the Eichi II a run for its money. Yes, by all means, now and forever, yes.
James Stacey – Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT
Yes, it’s a gold Ferrari Hublot, I know. Despite it being as much of an outlier as you can get from my general taste, I’m rather about the new Classic Fusion Ferrari GT. It is 45mm wide but wears smaller due to its dished case shape, this is the premium version in King Gold (you could go for titanium or 3D Carbon, but this is a guilty pleasures round up). It doesn’t wear or look like any other Hublot Classic Fusion and I like that it was designed by Ferrari and that the branding is limited to the prancing horse at 12 o’clock. It’s also an ideal guilty pleasures pick as I don’t think I’d have one without a Ferrari to call my own, perhaps a GTC4Lusso in Verde British. Really, anything with a V12.
$38,800 (in King Gold); hublot.com
Cole Pennington – MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
Max Büsser built the FlyingT for the ladies in his life. It’s sort of a tribute to his wife and daughter, but without the backstory, it’s just a crazy watch. And it’s a crazy watch that I think I’d love to wear. There aren’t really any definitive gender design cues present anyway. The whole thing is just bonkers. To be clear, I can’t really get into any watch with diamonds, but hell, if I’m going to wear this thing, might as well go for the iced-out version right? I really like the HM7 Aquapod, and I’m a huge sucker for domed crystals on vintage divers, and this is just like that except to the Nth power. A massive beautiful bubble encapsulates a flying tourbillon with a cantilevered double arch upper bridge. Gorgeous. Guilty as charged.
Stephen Pulvirent – Rolex Yacht-Master 42 In White Gold
At first glance, you might be thinking “guilty pleasure, really?” But think about it. At its core, the new Yacht-Master 42 is a Rolex sports watch, which is about the most no-nonsense sort of daily-wearer you could imagine. Only, this Rolex sports watch is larger than usual (42mm), made of precious metal (white gold), sports a slick-as-hell bezel (made of relief-engraved matte black ceramic), and is mounted on a rubber strap (more properly the beautifully over-engineered Oysterflex bracelet). So yeah, it’s a “Rolex sports watch” but only in the loosest sense. In actuality, it’s a totem to having fun, caring not-at-all about the sideways glances you’ll get from purists, and embracing Rolex’s slightly more whimsical side. I’m fully onboard.