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ClearDot.gif (85 bytes) It's Time... (cont.)
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We chat a bit about the Reverso, I tell him I'm from Boulder, where few brands are sold, even if you go to Denver. I tell him there are a few watches I've sort of decided on, but which I have never seen in person: An AP Royal Oak in tantalum and pink gold, and a Patek 5035. I quickly decide I don't really want the 5035 today or any of the other Pateks that Philip shows me. I don't want a dress watch, because that would mean I would rarely get to wear it, and today's watch is a special one.

We focus on the Royal Oaks. The tantalum and gold one looks great, but it's $15,000 or thereabouts, and I'm thinking, if I ever get into that range I'll start looking at Langes, not Royal Oaks. What's more, tantalum, which I am seeing for the first time, is a dead ringer for titanium, but many times heavier and more expensive. The watch looks just as good in stainless steel and gold, and even the all-steel version looks good. Philip shows me the new Royal Oak chronograph (a reasonable size and weight, not like the Offshore) and a dual-time version, but the automatic is good enough for me. I ask Phillip if he can weigh the tantalum and gold one, since I'm afraid it will be too heavy for me, and he asks someone to go to the mail room and weigh it. It turns out to be nearly 160 grams, which might be too much for me. (I know this because my Bell & Ross Space Two weighs that much, and it is too heavy.)

I'm also hesitant, because as much as I like the Royal Oaks, they just don't look as good as they should for their price. Too industrial, I guess. But I still like them.

So I'm not ready to buy any Royal Oak yet, and I've seen them all. I'm not in the mood for a Blancpain, Breguet, or IWC. Some of the JLCs are exciting, but I'm wearing a JLC, and I want something I don't already have. I ask about Hublot, but Philip says something disparaging, and it's obvious why. They look OK in pictures, but terrible in the flesh.

Lange 1 (photo courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne) Then I say, "You know, I've heard a lot about Lange, but I've never seen one close up. I never understood what the big deal was." With that Philip pulls a couple of Lange 1s out of the window, one in yellow gold with a white dial, and one in rose gold with a black dial. (It's on the cover of Watches 1998 Annual.) Now I see what the commotion is all about! These watches are sensational, especially the black one. While I'm looking at the watch with my loupe Philip is talking about it. About the history of the company, the design of the movement, the way the jewels are held in, everything. Clearly he is very excited about the Lange 1, and I am, too. We talk about the Lange for a little while longer. I tell him that I think I can bring the watch down a notch, by which I mean make it less dressy. With a black dial and a more casual strap, I think I could wear the watch any time I want. The dial is so unusual that you can consider it anything you want to. I play with the date, which you set with a rather large button at the 10 o'clock position. (Except that that isn't really 10 o'clock, since the main dial isn't concentric with the case.) Philip pulls out a red string holding at least a thousand leather samples, and says that if I buy this watch he will have a custom strap made for me by Camille Fournet in France. Philip shows me elephant skin, which he says is legal because it dates from before it was outlawed. Can't wear that in Boulder, I tell him.

I tell Philip that I'm very impressed, thank him for his time, and tell him that I have to visit some more stores, as was my plan. I tell him I'm staying in the hotel, so obviously I will return.

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