Fratello Classics: 8 Watches for Friday the 13th

Rolex GMT-Master IIAs we all try to survive another Friday the 13th, I thought it would be fun to re-post this “Fratello Friday” article highlighting eight watches that have the number ‘13’ in their reference number. It is, admittedly, an unusual method for generating a list of watches, and the results were somewhat surprising; before I started searching for “13” in the strings of characters that make up watch reference numbers, I didn’t know what would pop up.

As many of you know, the reference number of a watch is there to identify a very specific model. The numbers and letters can signify a certain dial color, case material, type of movement, type of complication, et cetera. These make it easy for the jeweler and brand to identify each model. In a few rare cases, these numbers appear to be chosen randomly.

In any case, the watches in this listed in an entirely random order, and the only thing they have in common is the fact that they use ‘13’ in their reference number. Any other similarities are totally coincidental!

The list consists of eight watches. We use eight because, for the Chinese, it represents luck. (It is no coincidence that the country code on Rolex warranty cards is 888 for Hong Kong, KLM Flight from Hong Kong to Amsterdam is flight number 888, Air Canada’s route from Shanghai to Toronto is flight AC88 and that the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing began on 8/8/2008, eight minutes and eight seconds after 8:00 pm local time. So, why eight watches? To mitigate the “unlucky” number 13, of course.

1. Rolex GMT-Master II – Reference 116713LN

The Reference 116713LN Rolex GMT-Master II is the version also known as the ‘Rolesor.’ Rolesor is Rolex’s indication that the case and bracelet are made from a combination of stainless steel and gold. Otherwise, the GMT-Master II 116713LN is identical to the stainless steel model (116710LN). The GMT-Master was introduced in 1954 and developed in close cooperation with Pan Am. It is a true pilots’ watch that can indicate multiple time zones. More information can be found here.

Rolex GMT-Master II

2. Glashütte Original Senator Diary – Reference 100-13-04-04-04

The Glashütte Original Senator Diary is not only a beautiful, classically designed timepiece;  it also has a very useful complication. The “diary” complication is an alarm that can be programmed on a certain day and hour (accurate to the quarter). Up to 30 days in advance, the day and hour can be set by using the extra pushers. The crown at 10 o’clock is used to ‘wind’ the alarm. The alarm will sound for 80 seconds (and then the crown at 10 o’clock must be wound again for a new alarm).

Glashütte Original Senator Diary3. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra – Reference

The Aqua Terra collection is a sub-brand of the Seamaster collection – a dressier version of the Seamaster, but with a healthy dose of sportiness as well. The Aqua Terra Reference is water-resistant to 150 meters and contains Omega‘s in-house co-axial Caliber 8500. The very first Seamaster watches of the late 1940s didn’t look like the sporty models we know as the Planet Ocean or 300M models; they were dress watches that could handle a drop of water and a bit of dust. The Aqua Terra is reminiscent of those very first dress watches. It was an Aqua Terra model that James Bond was wearing in Skyfall, for the more ‘formal’ occasions.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra

4. Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Chronographe 46– Reference A1332024

Breitling has a long aviation history that influences most of its models, but the SuperOcean is more of a diving watch. The SuperOcean Heritage chronograph has many ingredients of vintage timepieces, but don’t let the looks deceive you, it is a very modern wrist watch with ditto specifications. The 46-mm case is certainly not for everyone, but the watch is water-resistant to 200 meters. The chronograph movement is chronometer-certified. Breitling is one of the first big brands to have a ‘made-to-measure’ option on its official website. You can configure the watch yourself by choosing the dial color; material and color of the diving bezel; material and color of the straps (rubber or leather) or a stainless steel mesh bracelet.

Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Chronographe 46
5. Rado Sintra – Reference R13 477 17 2

Rado was one of the pioneers of the watch industry in working with scratch-free materials, specifically ceramics. The Rado is perhaps the odd one on this list, being a quartz-driven chronograph movement and having an integrated ceramic design. Some watch enthusiasts might shudder at the idea of wearing a quartz-driven chronograph with a shiny ceramic appearance, but enthusiasts of certain design styles will appreciate it. In any case, Rado deserves credit for being first in ceramic watches.

Rado Sintra

6. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon 39 – Reference 136.25.20

Jaeger-LeCoultre is the watch company with the largest variety of movements. It is a true manufacture that develops and produces all its movements in-house in its factory in Le Sentier, Switzerland. The Master Ultra-Thin Moon in 39-mm case is a classy-looking timepiece with one of the most desirable complications in a mechanical wristwatch, the moon-phase. With a case that is only 4.9 mm thick, the name “Ultra-Thin” is very apt. The Reference 136.25.20 Master Ultra-Thin Moon 39 has a rose-gold case and comes on an alligator strap. The movement, Caliber 925, consists of no less than 246 parts.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon 397. Longines Heritage Tachymeter Chronograph – Reference L2.781.4.13.2

Longines, founded in the Swiss village of Saint-Imier in 1832, has a long history in watchmaking. To emphasize this rich traditon, Longines introduced the Heritage collection. Based on watches produced in the past, these models revamp them for modern tastes by using the latest technology in watchmaking. The Reference L2.781.4.13.2 Heritage Tachymeter Chronograph is based on vintage 1940s and 1950s chronographs with square pushers and busy dials with printed tachymeter scales. The date aperture reveals that it is a modern watch, as does the sapphire crystal, of course. With a diameter of 41 mm, and water resistant to 30 meters, this is a nice example of a watch that is inspired by your grandfather’s timepiece but really is very wearable today.

Longines Heritage Tachymeter Chronograph8. Hublot Big Bang – Reference 301.SB.131.RX

Even though Hublot, founded in 1980, is the youngest brand represented here, its popularity is on the rise. In some countries, it ranks in the Top 10 of most sought-after watch brands. Hublot’s strong marketing strategies have yielded clear and impressive results, thanks to the savvy vision of its former CEO, Jean-Claude Biver. Hublot’s watches, created by Carlo Crocco, represented the first time that a watch brand combined the use of gold with rubber.  In 2004, Biver became CEO of Hublot and launched the first Big Bang just one year later. The Big Bang carries on the Crocco vision of a “fusion” of materials. The Big Bang 44-mm 301.SB.131.RX could be considered a modern yet classic Hublot. It has a case made of stainless steel combined with a ceramic bezel, a crown guard made of a black composite resin and a carbon-effect dial.

Hublot Big Bang

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