These Are the 20 Watches Our Staff Can’t Live Without
In 2018, we asked our Gear Patrol colleagues to contribute a watch and associated personal story to a list of watches we can’t live without. Well, were about 25 people back then, and now we’re roughly double that, so we’re doin’ it again! Yee-haw.
From Japanese dive watches to fancy Swiss mechanicals to smartwatches and just about everything in between (except sundials — no one around here wears one of those), we wax poetic on watches that matter to us. So brew yourself a fresh cup of whatever it is you’re drinking, subtly tilt your monitor away from your direct supervisor’s line of sight such that he thinks you’re actually still working on those TPS reports, and get ready.
It’s time for Watches We Can’t Live Without Part II: The Sequel.
Cartier Tank XL
“This is my first horological love. I wear this watch close to every day. It’s casual enough to pair with my Supreme t-shirts, yet classic enough to wear with my finest suit. I find the classic design to be just the amount of panache I desire without going overboard.” -Brenden Clarke, Platform Producer
1967 Seiko Sea Lion M55 Weekdater
“This watch was my grandfather’s and was given to me by my grandmother. It was in pretty rough shape when I got it — no crystal, no hands, the dial was scratched and many of the indices were missing. But thanks to Seth Roberts of Hub City Vintage, the watch was able to be saved and restored to its former glory.” -AJ Powell, Project Manager, Gear Patrol Studios
“We all know the Seiko SKX is the obvious choice for an entry-level automatic diver. However, 99% of the time the focus is on either the black dial/black bezel 007 or the blue dial/”Pepsi” bezel 009, which come in size-wise at 42 mm in diameter. This little guy is the SKX013, coming in at a diminutive, yet still substantial-feeling 38 mm. It’s small yet sizable, understated yet eye-catching.” -Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing
Citizen Eco-Drive Chandler
“I didn’t wear a watch for years. Figured I didn’t need one, what with the clock on my phone; besides, I was never a big accessory guy. But when I started looking for ways to cut down staring at my phone, slapping a watch on my wrist seemed like the easiest place to start. A couple friends recommended the Citizen. It’s simple, light, legible, and durable. I love it.” -Will Sabel Courtney, Editor
“I originally bought this watch because it looked cool, but since then it’s become my daily duty wear. I normally wouldn’t fall in love with a quartz watch (I think they lack a soul, more or less) but for some reason I really enjoy this one. What I find especially attractive on the CWC G10 is the elegant dial typography, the domed acrylic crystal and the seemingly long seconds hand that reminds me of one on an IWC pilot’s watch.” -Hunter D Kelley, Associate Designer
“My partner bought me this watch from an antique dealer in Charleston, South Carolina on a whim. I don’t know watches, but I knew this one, and I was thankful. I was also hesitant – it’s a very, very tiny watch and I don’t have what anyone would call ‘style.’
The first day I wore it to work an informed watch editor immediately spotted it and complimented it. On that same day a designer I was interviewing, who has never said anything kind about my clothes or my person, looked to my wrist and seemed surprised and confused. ‘Nice watch,’ he said. On another occasion, a man belting Travis Scott’s ‘Goosebumps’ on the Brooklyn-bound Q train stopped mid-verse to let me know the watch looked good.
Despite my crippling insecurities and a feeling that I am not cool enough for this watch, I now can’t stop wearing it.” -Will Price, Staff Writer
TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time Automatic
“This is the watch that changed me from watch-oblivious to watch-obsessed. It took receiving it as a grad school graduation gift and beating the hell out of it for years before it really sunk in and started making me curious. Then, there was no turning back. Even now that I have a much deeper appreciation of watches of all kinds, this little Carrera represents to me the ideal of understated, practical watch perfection.”-Zen Love, Associate Staff Writer
“I’ve never been particularly good about caring for the things that I own. I crack smartphone screens, tangle headphones, and scratch glasses. And so I bought a Timex Weekender not only because it has a nice, simple style, but because since I only paid $30, I won’t care if it winds up in the wash or gets scratched by brushing up against the exposed brick behind my headboard. It’s far from high fashion, but swapping out NATO straps is a cost-effective way freshen up the look every now and then. The only downside of this otherwise A+ beater is that its movement is so extremely loud that I can’t sleep with it in the bedroom.”-Eric Limer, Editor
Vintage Mickey Mouse Watch
“This watch belonged to my grandfather, he probably bought sometime in the 70s or 80s. He was a big Disney fan taking his family — and eventually me — to Disney World about once a year. Over the years he amassed quite a collection of Disney watches (50+). I rotate through a handful of them most of the time, but this Mickey Seiko is my favorite.”-Charles McFarlane, Content Producer
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust
“Originally owned by my grandfather and namesake, J.D. Edwards, this watch was passed on to me by my grandmother a little less than a year ago. As the story goes, he wore it regularly until he got his hands on a more accurate quartz watch in the 1980s. The man was a CPA through and through. The fact that it’s a Rolex is cool, and it’s nice that people compliment it — but the watch only really holds meaning for me because of who it once belonged to.”-J.D. DiGiovanni, Associate Editor
Garmin Fenix 5
“When I began to take running seriously two years ago with the hope of completing a marathon, I quickly realized I’d need the help of data. Garmin’s Fenix 5 offers runners (and cyclists, hikers, swimmers, skiers, and so on) more of these numbers than they can imaginably crunch, all while measuring heart rate, too. I pay the most attention to pace and distance while I train, and in the remaining hours of the day, time and date are always on my wrist.”-Tanner Bowden, Staff Writer
Omega Seamaster Cosmic 2000
“I’m a huge fan of watches and have a few in my collection that are really special to me. That said, most of what I wear, watch included, need to fit into the style and function uniform that my life commands these days. This piece is exactly that. I was looking for an every-day work horse and the integrated case and bracelet design really spoke to me. The fact that it’s vintage and fairly rare were also selling points. Bonus – I found this watch on Gear Patrol! Thanks, team. “-Zach Mader, VP of Partnerships
Omega Speedmaster Reduced
“I got bit by the watch bug shortly after joining the staff at Gear Patrol back in October. In those first few months my tastes shifted daily, but I had made up my mind that I wanted to buy myself something special for my upcoming 30th birthday. After much deliberation, I ended up going with this Omega Speedmaster Reduced. Originally chosen because it was significantly cheaper than its “Professional” older brother, I immediately fell in love with its slim profile and just-right 39mm case size. It brings me joy every time I put it on my wrist.”-Greg Tate, Campaign Manager
“Sorry, this watch has no Captain Koons-level backstory. I got it at a promotional party in LA that I attended with one of my best buddies, the illustrious Hot Tub Jeff. Still, I love it for a few reasons. It’s sleek, solidly built and, being mostly black, goes with almost everything I wear. Plus, this watch has taught me about repair as, to my great satisfaction, I have replaced a broken band and the battery
Rolex 114060 Submariner
“I thought it would take a long wait on an AD list to get this watch, so I wasn’t financially prepared to take delivery of it. Mentally and emotionally, I certainly was: I stalked some version of this watch since I was 15, when I spent my busboy tips on a quartz TAG Heuer diver. I can’t stop lusting over the non-Maxi case Subs floating around this office, but I appreciate how it flies under the radar, mostly unnoticed by non-watch geeks. And every time I check the time, I’m reminded of all the sweat and hustle it took to get it.”-Brian Louie, Head of Commerce
Breitling Blackbird A13350 Serie Speciale
“This watch was given to me after the tragic events of Sept. 11th, 2001, and has rarely left my wrist since I started wearing time-tellers regularly. Inherited from my late uncle, it has seen the world and been put to the test by its two owners, with many more adventures to come.”-Tim Murray, Account Executive
Bulova (Unknown Model)
“I first spotted this 1970s Bulova last summer in a display case mostly filled with junk, in some seedy shop-within-a-shop on Broadway. The gold-plated case measures a tad under 38mm and packs a Swiss manual-wind movement, and the old lizard-skin strap with the iconic Bulova tuning-fork buckle rounded out the package — it was all sort of the platonic ideal for the watch I felt like I was missing.
The shop’s elderly Japanese proprietor struggles with English, but when I kept coming back into the shop and staring into the display case, he took pity and let me talk him down to a (much) lower price. He even threw in an extra leather strap for free that says “DREAMS” on the inside, in gold lettering. When I laid down my cash, he counted it, then smiled and said the watch would bring me good luck. I don’t really mind that he was wrong.”-Andy Frakes, Editorial Assistant
Hamilton X Gear Patrol Khaki Navy Scuba Auto
“This is the The Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto, the special edition Hamilton x Gear Patrol watch collab. I’m not a diver, but when we released this at the end of last year, I fell in love with it and purchased one. Now I’m obsessed with it. I’ve always owned men’s watches, but this is my first mechanical one. I like how durable and thick it is – it’s my power watch. “-Monica Hare, Head of Gear Patrol Studios
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
“The Black Bay Bronze was my first anniversary gift from my wife. Brand new it felt and looked like something truly unique… something that had history and a story to tell out of the box. There are other bronze watches in the market but the combination of the Black Bay Bronze’s case size, thick leather strap and heavy looking lugs makes it feel like it was pulled out of the seafaring history from which it draws its inspiration and will last another hundred years.
I can imagine it being passed down to my great grandchild along with any stories I’ve passed down to my children to go with the watch. Two years later the watch has lived up to that fantasy and has the patina to prove it. I’ve taken it to several countries, from Munich’s Beer Halls to diving and snorkeling in the Mediterranean, and then switched the nato strap back to the leather strap to dress it back up for dinner with the aforementioned Mrs. I can pretty safely say this is a watch that will be in my family forever.”-Jason Dakota Davis, Sales Director
1947 Omega Pre-Seamaster
“Found by my 93-year-old grandmother in her kitchen junk drawer in the same house she has inhabited since 1956 (sorry to date you, Nanny), this watch must have belonged to my grandfather, though I can’t confirm this. The third watch of his that I’ve inherited (the other two are yellow gold Longines), this Omega dates from 1947, the year before the Seamaster debuted (it clearly shows the same case architecture, too), and features an early bumper automatic movement. It may be beat to shit, but it reminds me of my grandparents, and is a testament to the incredible things one sometimes finds in strange places.”-Oren Hartov, Assistant Editor
These are the 14 watches our staff can’t live without. Read the Story