Time & Tide with Andrew McUtchen

Time & Tide with Andrew McUtchen
You have been in the watch industry for quite some time tell me how time and tide started and how you developed the passion for watches and why? What were you doing before? And what’s next?
Andrew: Time+Tide started when I decided to take a leap from GQ, where I was an Associate Editor and double down just on watches. At that point, there wasn’t a dedicated watch website in Australia. Hell, there wasn’t even a dedicated Instagram account that covered new releases! So it was a calculated risk, and that time there were very few competitors. I, of course, had no idea what the consequences of burrowing into a niche would be. That would only came much later. As for what I’m doing next? More watches, in more interesting ways. Now that we have a platform, and a big established audience, things are really only just beginning.

Can you tell me how you see the watch world at the moment and how it has changed over the years if at all? Did the past 18 months affect trends, releases  and customer behaviour? 
Andrew: The watch world at the moment is simultaneously in a state of crisis and boom. The macro economic situation over the last 18 months has led to a “flight to liquidity” where - at unstable times - people seek asset classes that are more dependable and solid than money. Watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet have proven to be incredibly lucrative investments over time. Therefore, they’ve been ransacked. You go to a boutique or a retailer that carries any of the above brands and you’ll see an extraordinary site. Completely empty cases. There are simply none available, apart from less popular smaller or precious metal models. At the other end of the scale, brands that are less likely to hold their value, or have less durable brand caché have been savaged. Many of these will disappear after the ravages of Covid. Interestingly, lower priced brands like Seiko, have experienced similar demand to the top end of town. The Japanese in general, encompassing both Seiko and Grand Seiko, have accelerated their growth in the watchmaking space with stunning effect. 

For anyone wanting to buy a piece either to start a collection or a statement piece what are some basic rules one should follow? Is it the design, brand, price point etc? 
Andrew: To start a collection, I’m afraid you should pack a head torch and prepare to go down the rabbit hole. In terms of the value end of the spectrum, there are so many options now at that under 1k price point that have credibility and quality well covered. The explosion of the ‘microbrand’ category means that the first time buyer is spoilt for choice. If you are seeking a known brand for your first major piece, it really comes down to finding a style that suits yours - are you seeking a classic look that evokes the golden era of the wristwatch? Are you sporty and wanting something that you can leave on your wrist when you’re swimming, or running? Or are you seeking a ‘one watch’ that can do it all? There are lots of questions, but unfortunately the answers will only come with research. Come to timeandtidewatches.com and kick things off! 

You have many watches, you’ve seen and worn the best if you were to buy only one piece to have for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
Andrew: In terms of my ‘one watch’ if I were to have to choose… It’s funny, after Covid, I would have to go one with a strong rubber strap option. A year in casual clothes has made me seek comfort on wrist more than ever! The cheat’s answer is something like the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, which actually comes with interchangeable leather, rubber and metal bracelets. But right now, my dream watch is along the lines of the Patek Philippe 5968a Aquanaut, which comes with either black or bright orange straps - it’s watchmaking of the highest quality, slim enough to feel that it’s part of you on the wrist, looks great with a suit, can also be a statement watch if you rock the orange, and can be left on 24 hours a day no matter where the day takes you. Of course I’ve chosen a nigh on impossible watch to get which trades at more than twice its retail value, so don’t expect to see this one on my wrist any time soon!    

How important is the watch selection when it comes to completing a look or is it overrated? 
Andrew: To an extent, the whole matching of watch to outfit is overrated. That’s because choosing a red pocket square that matches the red line of text on your Rolex Submariner is going to be a thoughtful touch that precisely nobody will pick up. But in general, the codes have to match. Dress watch with formal or business wear. Sports watch generally ok with smart casual. Coloured watches with weekend and holiday wear, etc. I picked an Aquanaut to pair with a suit above. This model is a little bit of an anomaly as it’s still fine watchmaking just in a sports variation. By contrast, many sports watches, for me, clash terribly with formal and business wear. We’ve written several stern warnings about the faux pas’ of matching that same aforementioned Submariner with black tie. It’s a flat out bogan move. Even real estate agents wearing chunky dive watches with suits always irks me! Other mistakes that jar with me are brown watch straps with black belts or shoes and vice versa. More positively, when somebody nails a pairing, it can floor me - for a budget look that will blow minds, pair your daily business attire with a Dan Henry (listed below), and watch the world swoon.

4 Watches I Want 

Watch 1 - $450 - Dan Henry 1937. We were lucky enough to launch this one for Dan, and it’s been riotously popular. You can see why. A classic vintage-styled Chrono with a robust automatic movement with lots of considered touches. It’s superb.

Seiko spb149j Watch
Watch 2 - $1995 - Seiko SPB149J. Seiko has become one of the hottest brands in watchmaking in general, with an incredibly prolific range of recent releases, including this one - a stunning throwback to the brand’s first dive watch. It’s a ‘strap monster’, too, which means it looks amazing on leather, rubber and metal bracelet. You can’t go wrong here. 

Watch 3 - $10,900 - IWC Pilot’s Chronograph 41mm. IWC has introduced interchangeable bracelets this year, meaning you can have your blue dialled pilot watch on any type of bracelet you please - rubber, fabric, leather, metal - and change it with a clip of thumbnail. Pilot watches are badass and have enduring appeal. This one’s a beauty, and has a chronograph function, making it appear even more purposeful on the wrist. 

Watch 4 - $17,800 - Bulgari Octo Finissimo in Stainless Steel with blue dial. This watch comes from the most celebrated line of modern watches, the Octo Finissimo - which as a collection has broken a staggering seven world records over the last seven years. But forget all that hoopla, the watch itself is a delight to experience - slim beyond belief, immaculately finished and comfortable enough to be a second skin. An absolute showstopper.