We look to watch complications for an added level of practicality to our limited wrist real estate. We’ve detailed what is perhaps the most practical of all complications, the full-calendar watch, right here. But what about the watches that make use of complications which add no real value to 99.99% of the population? This week’s edition of The Cultivated Wrist takes aim at these less than useful complications on watches that we kind of love anyway. After all, a Honda Civic may get us from A to B just as efficiently as a Ferrari, but who doesn’t love the latter?
The IWC Aquatimer is an unquestionably competent dive watch. It’ll keep working at ridiculous depths, and remain highly legible while doing so. This Aquatimer goes a step further and adds a mechanical depth gauge to the mix. The few recreational divers among us may use a mechanical dive watch in conjunction with their dive computers, but rarely will you see any diver of any stripe using their mechanical dive watch for vital dive data. That may have been the case in the 60’s but it’s safe to say that era has passed us by. But here we have a new watch from IWC with an integrated mechanical depth gauge. It’s totally unnecessary, but it’s a hell of a conversation starter. There’s an Ask of $12,280 on this example.
There is something undoubtedly artful about the proper execution of a moonphase complication. From the representation of the moon to the romantic theme behind it. But let’s be honest, a phases of the moon complication isn’t entirely helpful to the day to day operations of the vast majority of it. Avid lunar photographers aside. But then again, just look at it. This example from Montblanc is executed with restraint and provides a beautiful formalwear option with a, let’s call it poetic, set of calendar complications. Better yet, this one is accessible with an Ask of $3,600.
Heading back to dive watches, Omega’s popular Seamaster Planet Ocean features what might be the ultimate useless complication. It’s called a helium escape valve, and its use is nearly unthinkable, even within the world of divers. Unless you’re a commercial diver embarking on saturation dives with consistency, and one that wears a mechanical watch at that, the helium escape valve will be serving you zero purpose. See this opinion piece from avid recreational diver Jason Heaton right here for more on this subject. However, the PO remains a charming and otherwise completely competent dive watch that’ll work in just about any environment. There’s an Ask of $3,735 on this example right here.