One of the biggest stars of the recently concluded World Cup was ‘Paul, the Octopus’ – a prophetic cephalopod that predicted correctly the outcome of every single one of the eight matches he was asked to. Well, I’ve got my own Oktopus and it also gets it right… in many different ways.
When Tom Mulraney and I were discussing all the hoopla regarding Rafael Nadal’s $525,000 Richard Mille tourbillon a couple of months ago, he asked me to write a feature about a watch of mine for The Watch Lounge. Back then I was swamped with work, not only writing for my Espiral do Tempo watch magazine but also doing a lot of tennis commentary for Eurosport, so I had to decline. But recently I had a few days off after Wimbledon and thought about the challenge – I’ve always enjoyed talking about my watches and used to have a column in the magazine with that kind of personal/emotional insight, so I decided to give it a go.
Initially I thought of writing about one of the best, affordable sleepers in the watch industry that always gets praise whenever I use it on my wrist: the Klassik Chronograph, an atypical watch within the Chronoswiss collection that sadly just went out of production. But then World Cup fever made me decide to go from the most classical to the most contemporary timepiece in my collection and pick my diver’s watch from Linde Werdelin instead for the article.
A great diver’s watch with titanium case, helium escape valve and water resistant to 1111m.
I had a couple of friends over at my house and we were discussing who would be the favourite team to win the final; of course, Pulpo Paul’s predictions came into the conversation and I said: «Well, I also have a psychic Oktopus, this watch I’m wearing right now – and it says Spain is going to win, because from all the five international ladies working at the Linde Werdelin headquarters, this one was handed out to me by Eva Mureddu, who’s Spanish». And it turned out my Oktopus was right – Spain actually won (though I have to underline they beat us in the last 16 with an offside goal that was the only one Portugal suffered in the competition!).
I picked up my Oktopus during my stay in London for this year’s Wimbledon championships. I’m always happy whenever I can mix my two passions that are also my two jobs (writing about tennis and watches); I had already visited the Linde Werdelin premises in the past, located in the Notting Hill area and also invited Jorn Werdelin to watch some tennis at the O2 Arena, where the year-end ATP World Tour Championship is played, and at Wimbledon’s famous Centre Court.
I have to say that I was divided until the very last second (and had doubts even after the decision!) between the grade-5 Titanium version and the blackened DLC version, but from the beginning it was pretty much clear that the Oktopus would be the model I’d want from a brand that got my attention right from the beginning.
For those of you not familiar with the two different models, Morten Linde has created an excellent video where he discusses the two. Check it out below and then keep reading:
So why the Oktopus? Well, for emotional and rational reasons. Emotionally, I think I’ve always been attracted to Nordic design – and even though I’m a purist that loves vintage timepieces (especially those from the 60’s and car racing inspired chronographs from the early 70’s), my taste is versatile enough to also embrace a great modern design like Linde Werdelin’s: it was a ‘coup de coeur’ right from the beginning, when I saw the first pictures. Rationally, I find the Linde Werdelin concept quite ideal – a stylish designer watch powered by a traditional mechanical calibre combined with an electronic instrument able to provide all sorts of downloadable data.
There were also a couple of prior references that might have prepared me for Linde Werdelin: I remember going to Baselworld more than a decade ago and looking for another Nordic brand, albeit Swedish (Linde Werdelin has Danish roots), called Sjöo Sändstrom, that also combined a mechanical and a quartz calibre (a bit like TAG Heuer’s Monaco Sixty Nine, a few years later); I also remember vividly a discussion I had with Franck Müller a long time ago where he told me that the future of watchmaking would lie in a combination of a mechanical watch and a quartz-powered device that would provide all the extra information required in these rapidly evolving times.
So, there you go: I was somehow unconsciously prepared to pay a lot of attention to Linde Werdelin. I’m quite demanding, but everything I saw was convincing and, as a member of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève jury, I even put Linde Werdelin’s Trigon & Land Instrument combo on top of my top 10 list in the ‘Sports Category’ because I found it to be the most innovative entry. Turns out my colleagues from the jury thought otherwise, but by then I knew sooner or later I’d make the decision to have one for myself.
The Linde Werdelin original analogue-digital combo of watch + instrument.
After the sturdier Oktopus model was introduced in 2009, I knew it was the one I’d be expecting when I had the chance to see it closely at the Baselworld fair: it is slightly bigger than the previous models, I find the bezel a bit more attractive and it’s the first Linde Werdelin line with numerals instead of only indexes on the dial. Yes, it’s also watertight to 1111m with a helium valve, but I mainly wanted a sports watch with a contemporary design, rather than a diver’s watch…
So, after the decision was made I had to choose which model from the Oktopus range. I love the Moonphase introduced this year, but it’s a specialty version and out of my budget; I also find the Tattoo quite interesting and think it can be the starting point for a series of limited editions dedicated to contemporary icons. But I knew my choice would be between the Titanium and the DLC versions… and, because I’m thinking of getting one of Project X Designs DLC blackened customizations, I ended up picking the Oktopus Titanium – with a dark gray case that offers a nice contrast with the lacquered black bezel.
DLC and Titanium versions: undecided until the very last moment.
Now, which strap? I’m really demanding (almost maniac!) in what concerns strap selection and Linde Werdelin offers a great variety of sumptuous straps/bracelets; probably for the Oktopus Titanium the right choice is the rubberized calf strap, but since I already have a black-dial Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore with black rubberized calf, I opted for the black textile strap – but planning on getting a pointed calf strap and a tracked calf strap later on so that I can adequate the look of my Oktopus to more urban circumstances.
The strap attachment system invented by Linde Werdelin is quite interesting and a fundamental part of the modernity of the design. Eva Mureddu just took a couple of minutes to change the straps and I could finally get the timepiece on my wrist.
So, as you can see, my Oktopus got it right in so many ways – from the outcome of the World Cup final, to the design and architecture of the case, to the sophisticated details. It even predicts what time it’ll be in exactly 5 minutes. And if they gave the name ‘Paul’ to that now legendary octopus, I think I might as well do some baptizing around here: from now on, this beauty on my wrist is going to be ‘Otto, the Oktopus’.
*Miguel Seabra hails from Portugal and has been covering tennis for 20 years and watches for 15. Check out Miguel’s profile on his Twitter page: «Tennis & Mechanical Timepieces – editor of Jornal do Ténis and Espiral do Tempo, Eurosport commentator and watch specialist. It is great to have both passions for a job!»
Category: My Watch