The Internet was growing and the first message boards and forums dedicated to excitement and education were born, paving the way for sites like HODINKEE and everything we know today. If the 1980s was the decade in which the Swiss watch industry began to find its mojo in the face of the quartz revolution, then the 1990s was when interest and the market in mechanical watches started to make serious steps forward, at an international level.Today's German watch industry was born in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, during replica watches German reunification earlier in the decade, and Japan's Grand Seiko introduced its first mechanical movement in two decades in 1998. Meanwhile, the Swiss industry has welcomed new power players, ranging from small-scale independent operators to booming conglomerates. The 1990s is the decade that, more than any before, shaped today's collecting culture and enthusiasm. In fact, the Omega Speedmaster “MK40” Triple Calendar Automatic that ultimately inspired this very website was born midway through the decade, in 1996.
The watches introduced in the 1990s have influenced today's collecting habits in countless ways, and many of the most famous watches born in this decade are well known to all of us. But what about some of the hidden gems? What are the notable watches from the 90s that remain off the radar? Don't they deserve some love too? I've put together a short list of nine watches from the 1990s (plus a few honorable mentions) that I believe deserve more attention than they currently receive. This is by no means a conclusive list, but I hope it will spread the word about some overlooked icons of the decade.
The Rolex Yacht-Master turns 30 this year and, like many young millennials, is still figuring out who – or what – it wants to be. In three decades of production, the Yacht-Master has never enjoyed the same collector's prestige as the company's older generation sports watch siblings, such as the Submariner, GMT-Master and Explorer. The Yacht-Master is unabashedly luxurious, embracing precious metals and rejecting the legacy of the first function that remains iwc replica present in Rolex's original tool watch creations. While any sense of anxiety about Rolex's luxury trajectory might have made sense 30 years ago, I say it's time to let it go.The Yacht-Master, therefore, could be considered one of the most authentic Rolex watches available today: it doesn't have a humble background as a watch for divers, cavers or pilots. It's a watch made for lazy days at the beach, and despite the six-digit airs that the Yacht-Master's name gives off, you can still find a very good late '90s Yacht-Master ref. 16622, in a 40mm × 11.5mm stainless steel case with a platinum bidirectional bezel with embossed executed numerals, in the 10,000 clam range—that's far less than you'll pay for a Submariner or GMT-Master of any era .