August 16, 2023
While Anna was finding hoards of great deals on shoes, beauty products, accessories, and outerwear (including the coat of her dreams) from the Nordstrom Sale, I was struggling to find anything that spoke to me in a sock-em-boppers-as-an-8-year-old sort of way (I never did get those — probably a self-preservation move by my parents).
Maybe it was retail fatigue in the dog days of Summer, or maybe I just wasn’t in the market for golf polos. Whatever the reason, only one thing really stood out to me: this watch storage box. Aside from a small watch case Anna got me earlier this year, my time pieces had historically remained ticking loosely and unhoused with abandon.
I wasn’t much of a watch guy in college — I was delaying buying windshield wipers for my car as long as possible, so my priorities were different — but as time’s moved on, I’ve developed more of a taste for having the miniature version of Flav’s necklace on my wrist.
For whatever reason (be it a need to feel like I’m a special little boy or actual eye for design), I’ve tended to lean on the eclectic side with my taste in watches, which has led me down an interesting path of collecting both old and new pieces with fun stories behind them along the way — as with any sort of collecting, this is usually the most fun part of the process.
Now that I have a home for my time-telling bracelets, I thought I’d share my watch collection and the [brief] stories behind each one! (Including links in case you’re interested in finding them for yourself or a friend.)
*Listed from left to right…
Vintage Hermes Regulator (Regulateur) – Manual Winding Watch – 1950s.
Regulator watches were essentially created to help people set their watches in a uniform way. They were meant to help tell time as accurately as possible by separating out the minutes (featured most predominately), seconds, and hours hands, allowing people to be able to read each dial separately — it makes sense then that you’d find these types of clocks in train stations back in the day.
This particular watch was one I was eyeing for a Father’s Day gift from Anna. I sent it to her, and it sold out by the time she opened the link (it was available at a fraction of the price of others I’ve seen before or since). So, as a last ditch effort, I reached out to the seller to see if they’d be willing to sell it to me for $50 more than they had just sold it. Since the buyer hadn’t paid yet, he agreed to work with us on it! A little shady? You bet, but man it was thrilling, and a super exciting way to get my first mechanical, manual wind watch.
*If you find yourself looking for a watch like this, you may also see it listed as a “chronograph”.
Seiko Presage – Automatic – Modern
This was my first every “mechanical”, automatic watch, and Anna got it for me as a Valentine’s Day gift. Someone else can probably explain it better than me, but an automatic watch (the “movement” that makes it tick) essentially works with the movement of your wrist. In other words, it only tells time when you’re wearing it — as opposed to the manual watch listed above, which has to be wound in order to tick). The idea here is that you never have to wind it like with a manual watch or replace a battery like you would with a quartz movement. You may have to get it serviced once in your lifetime, but otherwise it will remain fuss free!
Seiko as a brand is an excellent entry level watch brand, with tons of high level options that are technically and mechanically brilliant, but are also very accessible for their quality. I love this watch for it’s versatility, and I highly recommend Seiko for anyone looking to break into the mechanical watch world!
Gucci Grip Watch – Quartz – Modern
This is one of the coolest watches I own, and I love it’s unique look. It was apparently inspired by skateboarding (not that I’ve ever seen a skateboarder wear a designer watch), and while I don’t know why that’s the case, I’m more than happy to play along. Visually, it tells time sort of like one of those old school scales you’d use to weigh fruit at the grocery store, and it has a small date bubble, which is a fun feature.
Overall, this is just a fun watch that really pops without being too gaudy. It’s still available on Amazon and comes in two different sizes, replaceable straps, and other colorway options.
Daniel Wellington Classic 35mm – Quartz – Modern
This watch is the first one I ever really started wearing consistently — it’s also one of the first things Anna was able to get it for me by requesting it for a brand in exchange for content, which was kind of a cool moment for us! It’s a great size for any wrist, is super affordable, and I’ve always find it to be excellent quality for the price. I highly recommend this watch for anyone looking for a classic time piece without breaking the bank!
Fossil Golf Watch – Quartz – Vintage
This is one of my daily drivers, and one of my favorite finds!
I admittedly got super lucky with it. I saw that it was an archival/design inspiration piece for one of my favorite brands, Aime Leon Dore, so I did some digging to see if I could find one myself. There were only a handful total available online, and I happened to find one that was for sale for $15. I noticed in the description of the listing that the watch wasn’t currently working, but a buyer could pay $25 if they wanted the seller to put a battery in the watch and see if it worked. The caveat was that the buyer still had to buy it even if the battery didn’t work.
So with the high risk proposition for both sides, I told him I wanted to pay the extra $10 to have him try a new battery. Sure enough, it worked! I was able to get a relatively rare watch for a steal — some cool news I found out after is that if you reach out to fossil, they’ll still service the watch for you for a nominal fee!
It’s fun to find something rare online, but infinitely more fun when you get it for a great value!
The Exaequo Softwatch “Salvador Dalì” – Quartz – 1990
This is probably the most fun watch on the list, even if it’s mechanically not anything special.
In 1990, this predominantly random watch brand, Exaequo, created a watch inspired by Salvador Dali’s melting clocks painting (also somewhat inspired by the Cartier Crash watch). The quirky and unorthodox design idea wasn’t widely embraced at the time, and the watches weren’t even sold at a high price point originally, but they’ve become very coveted timepieces today.
The best part? Dali literally wasn’t involved in this at all! This brand just jacked his art — and his actual signature — and sold a boatload of watches without ever asking for his permission or giving him a dime. Could you imagine something like that happening today?
For the exact piece I got, I once again was fortunate enough to find one for about 50% of the current market price (you can find them in the $1,100-$1,500 range), and it’s absolutely one of my favorite things that I own!
Casio MQ24-9B – Quartz – Modern
This unassuming, $10 watch is an all-time classic because of one man: Tyler the Creator. The fashion icon wore this watch to the Met Gala a few years ago, and thus gave it instant and eternal credibility for all who wear it. It’s absolutely a, “if you know, you know” type of piece. It’s also got a classic look and smaller face, which definitely stands out and fits the current “tiny watch” look people seem to be gravitating towards. This watch, from a trusty brand like Casio no less, will always be worth having on standby.
1992 US Olympics Watch – Quartz – Vintage
I found this at the Grand Bazaar on the Upper West Side (which you can find every Sunday starting at 10am, near the Natural History Museum). I saw a booth with a few trinkets on it, and this one stood out — I got it for $5. I’ve never worn it, and I’m not sure I ever will — it still has the plastic on it from when it was in the box — but I love having a vintage piece like that as part of my collection.
We hope this post was informative and entertaining, or maybe even gave you some ideas for your or your partner’s watch collection!