it’s not just the incredible storytelling that’s so appealing about Mad Men. It’s the style and setting narratives that relive a fabled American decade. Tailored suits and bespoke dresses. Cigarettes. Colors. The Rolling Stones and Beatles. More cigarettes. And the subtle dress watch. We round up 5 stunning watches from the American mid-century in celebration of the season 6 premiere.
Since dressing up is finally back, we’re going to rehash an obvious point: every watch collection needs a dress watch. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Full Calendar in white gold ($25,600) may not be the right selection for a gentleman on a budget, but if you play in the horological big leagues or want to add a grail to your collection, this triple calendar with moonphase timepiece is an excellent contender.
California Dreaming, By Way of Switzerland
The XETUM Kendrick ($995), introduced this week, is the third watch collection to be released by relative horological newcomer Jeffrey Kuo since he founded XETUM several years ago. Kuo designs his collections around a singular California-modern vision of a vintage performance aesthetic; his previous models, the Tyndall and the Stinton, were inspired by pilot watches and instruments of times gone by. While the Kendrick continues the vintage theme, it takes inspiration from classic automotive instrumentation.
Never mind the mouthful of a name, this brawny Panerai stole the show for us at January’s Salon International Haute Horlogerie. The Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio‘s familiar design cues are unmistakably from the Firenze Officine, but the splash of color and an innovative new in-house chronograph calibre seal the deal.
Integral travel companion
I have terrible luck checking luggage, and the list of destinations where I’ve arrived with only the clothes on my back spans the globe: Iceland, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Germany. The problem is, most carry-on bags are unwieldy, anonymous “roll-aboards” or lumpy backpacks that are better suited for campus or the trail. The TUMI Tegra-Lite ($595) bucks those trends and has quickly become my second favorite travel companion, behind my wife.
The relentless pursuit of accuracy
Let’s get one thing out of the way: a chronometer is different than a chronograph, though one can also be the other. We’ve heard the terms confused one too many times, and while we’ll forgive past sins, it’s time to know the difference once and for all. Read on.
The term chronometer comes from two Greek words, and roughly means “time measurer.” The word first came into use in the early 18th century with specific reference to timepieces designed for navigational use onboard ships. In those days — before LORAN, radar and GPS — getting a ship around the world, much less around a rocky peninsula, was a challenge to mariners. Two parameters are necessary to determine your exact whereabouts on the globe: latitude and longitude. Latitude, your position relative to the Poles, can be determined by the angle of the sun relative to where your boat is bobbing; that was discovered and used by sailors relatively early on.
This year, little-known manufacture JeanRichard made a concerted effort to refresh its product line — new designs, new movements, new image — and it showed at BaselWorld. We recently got our hands on their latest: the Terrascope ($3,500), an old dog with new tricks.
Good for desk-diving or otherwise
Relatively young watch manufacturer Maurice Lacroix has been generating a lot of interest of late its their new collections, and the Pontos S Diver is no exception, standing out in a crowded field of me-too pieces. At turns retro and modern, the Diver, which builds upon the success of the Pontos S Chronograph from last year, presents a uniquely attractive face to its lucky wearer.
Racing for 50 years
This year, Swiss watch manufacturer TAG-Heuer celebrates the 50th anniversary of their iconic timepiece, the Carrera, so it was only natural that they throw a party in its honor. And oh what a party is was. Think champagne, vintage Porsches and models serving hors d’oeuvres and you’re halfway there. Held in the shadow of New York City’s celebrated Highline Park at a converted art studio, the bash was a fitting tribute to an iconic timepiece that has so indelibly imprinted itself on the worlds of horology and auto racing.
FIRE IN THE HOLE
If you’re looking for a bombproof watch, the Kaventsmann Triggerfish Bronze A2 should be in your sights. Not only has its massive 44 x 20 millimeter case been pressure tested to 300 bar (the equivalent of 3,000 meters of water pressure), it was subsequently blown up with 10 pounds of C4 in an explosive detonation test conducted by the U.S. Special Forces (damn… the crystal got scratched).
PICK IT UP BY MIDNIGHT
The Breitling for Bentley Light Body Midnight Carbon ($12,045) may have been crafted for the eminent car company, but it could just as easily have been made for the Dark Knight.
Shave and a happy wallet, two bits
Tired of feeling like they were “paying a tax on razors imported from the future”, the smart gentlemen behind Harry’s (Warby Parker co-founder, Jeff Raider, and his partner, Andy Katz-Mayfield) set out to make a well-groomed face affordable. What they’ve created is much better than a disposable and much (much!) cheaper than said “future” razors.
Bad for running, worse for fighting
For a completely different idea on winning in Afghanistan, take a look at the brain child of two former Army Rangers and a friend. Working from the idea that we can’t kill our way to victory in a counter-insurgency conflict and from the inspired slogan, “Business, not bullets”, Combat Flip Flops ($65) promotes a strong Afghan economy to sustain and build on the successes of the past 10 years.
In Too Deep
Editors Note: If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. Watch companies maintain a continuous flow of tantalizing images of their new creations, the Web is rife with chronic watch flippers offering good deals on minty timepieces, and suddenly that watch you’re wearing is starting to look a little rough around the edges. Time for an upgrade. But reality steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your watch love remains unrequited. What’s a guy to do? Gear Patrol’s new series, Want This, Get This, presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.
Look Like a Local
It doesn’t matter if you’re heading to Whistler for early spring powder turns or Fort Lander for the summer climbing festival; mountain style is a little different than your garden variety runway fare. Put the moonboots and sweat pants down. You’re not fooling anyone. We’ve put together a few indispensable mountain style standards, chock full of storied, quality brands, to help you blend in with the locals — unless you’re heading to any ski resort in Montana. In that case, it’s time to stock up on Wrangler and Carhartt.
We’ve always had a love for the timepieces of Victorinox Swiss Army, so a new limited edition version of the Victorinox Swiss Army 1989 Original Chronograph ($495), the first watch they ever made, really tugs at the heartstrings.
You should unwind -- but your favorite timepiece shouldn't
A self-winding mechanical watch only lives up to its name if it’s kept moving. On your wrist, there’s no problem — the motion of your arm keeps the rotor spinning, which winds the mainspring. But leave it on your bedside table for a couple of days and you’ll need to crank it by hand and set the time and date. While that’s no great hardship with one or two watches, once your collection grows to more than that, you’re going to want a watch winder.
So which one to get? The one in the SkyMall catalog should be fine for your $40,000 Patek Philippe, right? Wrong. We’ve rounded up five of the best winders, from $40 to $7,000, to help you choose the right one for your budget and your quiver of timepieces.
The time to stow your wool blazers is getting closer everyday — but that doesn’t mean a life of cutoffs awaits. The Arc’teryx Veilance Blazer LT ($500) is sleek and versatile piece of outerwear for Spring 2013 that wears like a fitted shirt, complete with articulated elbows and gusseted underarms, but is fully equipped to handle the rains to come. A rainproof stretch woven fabric that beads water away from the surface, taped seams and Schoeller reinforced laminated cuffs and hem round out this piece’s resume on the durability front, while internal wallet and passport pockets keep valuables safe and secure. If the chic vegas Pit Boss look of the burgundy version above isn’t your thing, the black and grey options should do the trick.
Doppel the fun
Last year HABRING² — a small Austrian independent brand spearheaded by Richard Habring, creator of the Valjoux 7750-based rattrapante complication for IWC — won the Sports Watch of the Year award from the Grand Prix d’ Horlogerie de Genève for its Doppel 2.0. Not content to rest on his laurels, Habring’s upped the ante with the Doppel 3 (~$8,800), a limited-production gem.
That's nothing to sneeze at
Look on your bookshelf, in your armoire, wherever you stash your toiletries. We’d bet a shiny buffalo nickel you’ve got one bottle of cologne there, maybe a second collecting dust. That one you’ve got smells like getting socked with a powdery diaper, but the the packaging made you think of white sand, bracing saltwater and azure skies. What happened? More to the point, how did you end up with that bottle? For all the energy men expend making decisions about what to buy (we should know), we put comparatively little effort into cologne. That changes now. We’re going to take some of the guesswork out by testing men’s cologne here at GP, starting with a look at five men’s fragrances from niche brands we like.
From Here to the Moon
When the Mercury program started putting men in orbit, American astronauts largely chose their own watches to wear. John Glenn strapped a Heuer stopwatch to his wrist and Scott Carpenter wore a specially-modified Breitling known as the Cosmonaute. But by the 1960s, NASA saw a need to qualify every piece of vital equipment in the capsule, and the wristwatch was one of them. Wally Schirra had already worn his own OMEGA Speedmaster on his Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962, and it was included in a quiver of chronographs selected by NASA for rigorous testing. Subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations, violent shocks, vibrations, vacuum and humidity, the Speedmaster outperformed watches from the likes of Rolex, Wittnauer and Longines to be named NASA’s approved timepiece. It was March 1st, 1965.
The Perfect Storm
For many, Harry Winston is synonymous with stratospherically priced jewelry and awards shows, but for watch aficionados, the house of Harry Winston also brings to mind some truly ground-breaking horological masterpieces. The Histoire de Tourbillon No. 4 is a fitting tribute to the eponymous escapement, which is considered by many to represent the epitome of the watchmaking craft.
Ride hard, look sharp
If you’re going to climb on a bicycle and tear up some terrain you’re going to want to first don appropriate gear — the best, most protective and comfortable out there (this has been, and will always be, our concern, dude). Only problem is that high-tech performance cycling clothing isn’t always up to snuff for wearing around the office after your commute (showoff). Giro’s New Road apparel blends the worlds of performance and fashion in a big way.
Bright colored accents have become a trademark for Mark McNairy, and this time it’s in the form of yellow inserts on a pair of classic navy suede Chelsea boots. Enjoy living the lace-free life in contemporary style with these on your feet, and unless you’ve got Elvis levels of cash, make sure to keep ‘em out of the rain.
Order it this minute, man
Samuel Adams and Paul Revere would be proud of this one. The Minuteman MM01 PVD ($398+), a handsome timepiece, is built by the CGA Company in the great state of Ohio. A portion of the profits from sales will go to selected charities focusing on veterans of the US Armed Forces, a worthy cause indeed.
Old School, High Quality, No BS
In the constant pursuit of a high-quality, stylish lifestyle, it’s understandable that we men may stray from the path a time or two — a truck stop frozen burrito here, a discount-grade pair of white socks there. Most times, though, we regret purchasing shoddy products. Owen & Fred, The Store For Men is a response to just such disappointing gimmickry, providing the superbly crafted choice for everything from dopp kits to ties to kitchen accessories and all the rest.
The new Luminox RECON NAV SPC ($450) (that’s reconnaissance team navigation specialist for you civilians out there) is 46 millimeters of tough black carbon-reinforced polycarbonate strapped down with a specially designed synthetic strap. It’s got all the trappings of an orienteer’s best friend.
Survival on, brother
If it was good enough for downed British pilots during WWII, so the saying goes, it should be good enough for you. Though that adage is entirely fabricated, the Survivalon Contrast Jacket ($398) was indeed made to protect Limey pilots; it is also easily good enough for you.