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A Stunning New Watch that Looks Old? Try Out of Order

Posted on March 24 2021

Out of Order Watches

How long do you cook spaghetti for?

I had to use Google for the answer.

Imagine you needed the answer and you don't have google. Where would you find out?

Have a look at your watch.

What??

If you owned an Out of Order Automatico the answer is right in front of you. I'm serious. This Italian watch tells you how to cook spaghetti.

There's nothing ingenious. It's not a smartwatch. It just has wording on the inner dial that says 'Do not cook spaghetti for more than 8 minutes'.

And if you thought that was insane? They take pride in damaging your watch before they send it to you.

The Best Out of Order Italian Watches


That's a lot to take in. So let's start with the basics.

Out of Order watches have a simple mission. That is to damage their watches for you - they run with the tagline Damaged in Italy.

They make their watches look worn-in.

When you receive your new watch it has tarnish, discolouration and scratches. The idea is that you get a new watch that already looks like it's lived a full life.

It's an intriguing concept and they've incorporated other lighthearted elements. Like the spaghetti advice.

I'll look at this in more detail later. First, let's have a look at the best watches from this quirky Italian brand.

Out of Order Cronografo

Recreating iconic chronographs of the 1960s has been a winner for watch companies. It all stems from the Rolex Daytona, and the watch worn by Paul Newman.

It's one of the most expensive watches ever sold. There is always going to be a market for affordable alternatives.

The Out of Order Chronografo goes back to the source. It has the same Panda Dial layout of black sub-dials on an off-white background. It's very reminiscent of Newman's watch.

Of course, they've taken it a step further and added an exotic worn-in look to the watch. It's this personalisation that sets the brand apart.

Each watch is slightly different as they've all been aged by hand.

This model is a great example. The design is based on a vintage Rolex and the ageing process gives the impression that this is a vintage piece.

But it's not. So the specs are contemporary. It has a 42mm case and a reliable quartz movement. In a nice touch, the sapphire crystal is domed. It adds to the vintage aesthetic. Another quirky touch is the bezel text - Damages per Hour.

The strap is hand-made and rounds out the look.

You can't have Paul Newman's Daytona, but you can have this modern Italian chronograph. And they'll make it look like you've had it for decades.

Out of Order Cronografo OOO.001-4.PA.CR

  • 42mm Diameter
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

Out of Order Automatico Watch

This is the spaghetti watch.

There aren't many brands that boast that they damage your watch before shipping. There are even less that include cooking tips on their watches.

So this odd piece is a novelty. Whilst the design isn't 100% original or captivating, it is unconventional. And that's enough to pique my interest.

It reminds me of a Rolex Submariner that has suffered abuse. But the hands are closer to those used on an Omega Seamaster. It's somewhere in the middle.

Of course, it's not trying to be either.

That is the point - Out of Order watches are personal. This model is the same. The stainless steel case has been aged and the dial looks coarse. They describe it as 'sandblasted and sunburnt'.

But don't let the ageing process trick you into thinking that this is a damaged watch. The dial, for example, uses C3 Superluminova and is protected by a sapphire crystal.

The movement is a Swiss-made automatic. And that battered-looking bezel? It's uni-directional and has lumed markers.

The patina is more evident on this model than the chronograph, and if that appeals to you, you'll love this piece.

I can't think of anything comparable. And that's a great selling point.

Out of Order Automatico OOO.001.20.VE

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

Out Of Order GMT Merry Xmas Watch

Now it gets weird. So bear with me.

This is a GMT watch in the style of the Rolex GMT-Master II. You know one of those is nick-named The Batman, right? And another get's called the Clint Eastwood?

Well, this Out of Order variation is the Santa Claus.

I'm not making this up. It has a picture of Santa on the case back. He's drinking a pint. I watched this video but it doesn't explain more than that.



And the dial? That has Christmas trees that only show when it gets dark. This is either a mad design or a brave one. I'm going with the latter.

Surprisingly, you don't notice any of this when you first see the watch. You see the patina and the scratches on what is otherwise a very nice GMT model.

The ageing works brilliantly on this watch and contrasts with the clean white of the dial. That dial is fully lumed and those trees aren't visible in normal sunlight.

The Mercedes hands and the markers are gold - again I didn't notice this straight away. It adds a touch of colour. As does the red tip on the GT hand.

Despite the damage to the case, the bezel remains very legible.

And when you turn it around? There's a picture of Santa on the case back. Again, this could be another watchmaking first.

It's limited to fifty pieces. That's probably a realistic number.

Out of Order GMT OOO.001.19.CHR

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


Out of Order Firefly Watch

By the standards of Out of Order, this is a restrained piece.

The case is a simple minimalist design and only the crown is ornate. The dial is more extravagant and includes some distinctive features.

The first is the pie-pan section. It's similar to an Omega Constellation. It's unusual and creates an appealing outer and inner dial look. The markers are in the outer area and everything else is on the inner section.

The inner section unexpectantly includes the logo at nine o'clock. At six is the sub-second dial. It's fully lumed and glows in the dark.

Although the case is damaged, it's not so obvious. That makes this model more conventional than some of these others. But it's still quirky.

It's also colourful. When matched with the hand-made leather strap the effect is exotic, particularly on the deep red variation.

It wouldn't be my first choice for a watch from this brand. But if you want something more subtle than the other designs, this would be the best place to start.

Out of Order Firefly 001-11.BL

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 20 Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz movement
  • Domed Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


Out of Order Torpedine Watch

The Torpedine is another vintage-inspired racing chronograph. Like the Chronografo, it oozes retro-charm. This time in a tarnished barrel case.

Although the design is from a similar era to the Chronografo, the styling is very different. It's more colourful, more sporty and doesn't piggy-back on Rolex's success.

The barrel case and mesh bracelet allow the ageing process to come to the forefront.

It's obvious that the steel has been aged. There's a beautiful discolouring that genuinely projects a sense of use.

It looks like it's already had years of wear. So you get a new reliable watch with a vintage appeal. A modern Japanese movement in a watch that looks fifty years old.

The best of both worlds.

The prominent case and bracelet contrast with a colourful dial. The blue background is complemented by the white sub-dials, hands and markers. Orange accents add more flair too.

It's a substantial watch. The width is 42mm and barrel cases tend to wear big. But that works. It's a bold piece that isn't designed to be hidden away.

If you want a modern watch that looks convincingly retro, take a closer look at the Torpedine.

Out of Order Torpedine OOO.001-12.BL.CR

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 20 Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Out of Order Watches and the Italian Art of Sprezzatura


In England, we'd call it 'studied carelessness'. The Italian's have a more attractive word for it - Sprezzatura. It's the ability to do something well, but without an obvious effort.

That's the impression Out of Order makes on me. A lot of effort has gone into their watches, but by ageing them I feel that part of the appeal is unintended.

And that's what Out of Order want you to think.

They want to skip the years where your watch takes knocks and begins to show signs of wear and tear. Instead, they do that for you.

Your watch looks cool because it looks lived-in. You're not wearing a flashy piece - you're wearing a watch that has been a trusty companion for years.

And that suggests quality.

When people see your vintage watch, they rightly assume that it must be durable. It could be sentimental or even valuable. Why else would you be wearing a fifty-year-old watch?

But of course, you aren't.

Your watch does have patina, scratches and personality.

But it wasn't built gradually over years. These aren't natural bumps and discolouration. This look has been forced.

As the brand is fond of saying, you don't need to worry about manhandling your watch - they've already done it for you.

It's a captivating and unique selling point that adds a playful element to watch shopping. And they don't leave it there. They inject humour too.

Who wouldn't find a watch amusing that sneaks in a note about spaghetti? It's fun and has proven popular.

The company is only a few years old and is already doing collaborations with the likes of the UFC. The strategy seems to be working.

It makes sense that it would. I love vintage watches, but they're often too small or unsuitable for modern use. Sometimes, they're just too expensive to repair or maintain.

Until now the answers seemed obvious.

I'd buy a reissue. A modern remake of the vintage watch that I liked. I have a Bulova Hack that does just that. It's a remake of the military watches that Bulova built for WW2 soldiers.

Another option is to buy an affordable alternative. There are plenty of inexpensive clones of the most iconic vintage watches.

Out Of Order has created a third option. A modern watch that is artificially aged to look like a vintage piece.

How are Out of Order Watches Artificially Aged?


They do it by hand.

It's a patented process that ages the metal. By doing each watch individually, they are able to give the watches a unique character.

No two watches are the same.

Dials can be sandblasted and sunburnt. So it's not just the case that is aged.

And on models with leather straps, they use local hand-made pieces. Again, this allows for a degree of individuality as each strap is hand-sewn.

But it has to be noted that this damage is only superficial. The watches are hand-assembled and use either Swiss or Japanese movements.

These are new watches that look old. That's very different from having an old watch that really is old.

Conclusion


Out of Order watches aren't for everyone.

They're too quirky, too flamboyant and too battered for mass appeal.

If you take your watches seriously you may struggle with this brand. But they work for me.

I like vintage styling. I don't mind my watches showing signs of wear and I love an element of humour.

By working with popular designs they can be fun, colourful and even a little damaged. It's successful because the watches are proven designs. They're not asking you to accept all of that on top of an unfamiliar design.

They use templates we already like. They do Rolex Submariner and Daytona homage models. Then they add their own DNA.

Their versions are more colourful, more lived-in and more light-hearted.

As they state on their website, their mission is to break the rules.

They break the rules by damaging your watch. But in a good way.

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