Sunday, January 13, 2013
What watch is Michael Phelps wearing? - What watch are you wearing or watch should you wear?
So I see these "post breakup" party photos and article of Michael Phelps in my newsfeed from the British Tabloid, the Daily Mail but the first thing I notice is his watch. My interest was what sort of watch was he wearing? I am not sure but I suspect it is an Omega De Ville, Co-Axial Rattrapante.
For those outside of horological circles a rattrapante chronograph is defined as: a watch featuring the addition of a second hand to measure split times; (or small seconds), but it can be called a split-second chronograph. I prefer the latter phrase for the word, "rattrapante," reads as "rat-trap-ante" to those outside watch circles thereby devaluing the engineering.
The De Ville Rattrapante retails for for $12,700 and it is a very fine watch and definitely a watch to aspire to, however, it's not military grade. For open water swimmers, swimmers on deck, even timers on a swim meet, a $12.50 Casio F91W is more accurate, more durable and is considered "military grade" by the Pentagon.
In fact, if you are local in Afghanistan and the American military sees you wearing one, you are a suspect and may be sent to Guantanamo Bay. I kid you not - here are their names: [Link]
The De Ville Rattrapante has a mechanical automatic movement and is not a digital watch. There is no battery in this watch. It is a self winding watch that self-winds with your body motion. The gears, springs, and screws are barely measurable to the naked eye which probably drove the designer nearly blind as he calculated each piece and how it related to the others.
Michael Phelps' watch is meant to be an artifact from the industrial age meant to be admired by others and marveled at by the wearer For swimmers on deck a quartz crystal Casio F91W mentioned above provides more accurate timing, sells for 1000-times less and is way more durable. The Casio brand is a watch that police officers, pilots, fire fighters and army personell wear. Those in the army wear the Casio G-Shock as do rappers and hip-hop artists but perfect timing is not the reason why men wear $12,700 watches. That topic is for another blog.
Finally for open water swimmers I recommend the G-Shock G-Rescue: It features day, time, splits, moon phase, tidal graph for your local beach, water resistant to 200m, time zones for 48-cities, and more. The down side? They look profoundly garish and loud. G-Shock specs: [Link]
I don't wear a sports watch yet. I want one with all of the G-Shock specs but with GPS as well. For now I will gladly settle for my Omega Seamaster De Ville Automatic circa 1964.