I am a watch guy; not dedicated to one particular style or maker, my tastes run the gamut. Vintage, brand new, elegant complications or chunky dive watches; I like them all.
I have become a bit of an evangelist about one thing though – I think people should wear mechanical watches or watches that don’t need traditional batteries, if any.
With all the talk about going green, we should each take along hard look at ourselves; at our wrists, specifically. Are you still wearing one of those battery powered timekeepers? Well, shame on you. Just think about what it takes to manufacture, ship, store, replace and throw out millions of those little batteries each year. It’s enough to make a Swiss master watchmaker cry.
These days we have some great high- and low-tech options for marking time in an environmentally friendly fashion. Mechanical watches in particular have made a big comeback in recent years and they are the perfect investment if you’re looking for something to pass down to your kids. You can find quality mechanical timepieces in a range of prices, from $500 to $50,000.
Leaving aside the $25,000.00 Patek Philippe that most of us will not be acquiring in the near future, there are many affordable mechanical watches that will last a lifetime and remain stylish through most any trend. Some are automatic, meaning that the motion of the wearer drives an engine that automatically rewinds the watch, and some are manual, meaning that you must wind the watch at regular intervals.
Many men I am sure find this to be a thankless and arcane chore. To them the watch itself is outdated and obsolete, the equivalent of a wrist-borne Edsel; just use a cell phone. To me the mechanical watch is an elegant complication that is akin to art; the obligatory maintenance of which I see as an enjoyable task of personal management. Watches are style.
The range of available options means that there is always something for everyone. The Rolex Submariner is a classic sports watch and at around $5,500.00, while not exactly cheap, is a potential choice for many professionals. If you are looking for one “good” watch you can’t go wrong with at Submariner or it’s more robust (and more expensive) brother, the Sea Dweller.
A very affordable alternative is the $375.00 Seiko “Orange Monster.” Yes, I said Seiko; watch aficionados know that they make some of the most reliable mechanical movements in the dive industry and the Orange Monster has its own cult following.
Want microsecond accuracy without having to shake your wrist? Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology transforms your watch into a big solar collector. The watch’s face and crystal absorb all types of light and convert it into the energy that runs your watch indefinitely. One of the most popular is the Citizen Skyhawk Black Eagle which lists around $475.00. It looks tough enough that no one will make fun of your social consciousness.
Jack Bauer with MTM Blackhawk
If you’re a fan of the unstoppable Jack Bauer from the TV action drama “24”, check out a favorite of mine, the Blackhawk by MTM. This is the very one Jack wears and it has a cool illumination feature that can be used to signal commandos, blind an assailant or just track down your car keys. The company’s revolutionary rechargeable lithium ion battery is good for 10 years and the watch needs only an overnight recharge every three months or so to keep it running strong. And don’t worry; the Secret Service and Delta Force have already tested it for you, so it’ll survive a rough afternoon on the back nine.
Kobold Polar Surveyor
A favorite brand of mine is one many people have never heard of: Kobold Watch Company. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, founder and namesake Michael Kobold hasn’t even hit 30 yet. This young watchmaker has, however, built a strong reputation among an influential and growing cadre of fans that include Hollywood A-listers and former presidents.
From beautiful complications like his Polar Surveyor to the single purpose and decidedly hefty Soarway SEAL diver, Kobold’s designs are modern classics that will age very well.
These are just a few of the hundreds of watches that can help you look sharp, telegraph your values and interests, and take a small but important step to reducing your personal carbon footprint. They also give you an excuse to add a great watch to your own collection.