Traveling Collection: The Watches I Take With

Full 3-watch traveling case
I go on the road for work… a lot. So it’s good to bring my trusty timepieces with me.

 

Dadtritus: On the Road and On My Wrist

This blog has been on a bit of hiatus as work and family and, well, just life has conspired against my healthy outlet, ruminating on the perfectly grilled meal, ridding myself — virtually — of a stack or two of dadtritus, poking fun at myself for the shit I tend to do and say, and hopefully uncovering a few of the truths that make Dadhood and the bustle worth it.

But the weight of all the things left unsaid eventually reaches a tipping point. And sometimes when life dials it up to 12 or 13. In this case, I’m on another dotted-line trajectory across the globe for work. And while I couldn’t, somehow, find the time to type out a few entries during my 18 hours on planes yesterday, waking up to a clear, sunny, 80-degree Tuesday morning in Hong Kong while the world at home winds down on a Monday evening has got the juices flowing again.

Hong Kong is a great place to go on a bit of a writing tear. One of my topmost favorite destinations in all the world, I’ve been fortunate to get here at least once or twice a year since 2015. Traveling, and especially traveling abroad, just seems to fire up the exploring neurons, which directly lead to creative output, and seem to hit the checkboxes in the list I aim to cover in this space:

Amazing and adventurous food? Check.

A plethora of endearing oddities to acquire? Check.

Gripes and delights a plenty? Check, double-check.

That I’m here in Hong Kong again in the week or so before Thanksgiving — the ultimate compendium of all things core and home — just brings the exotic opportunities into starker relief. So, before the Thanksgiving binge, why not expel a few of my thoughts related to Hong Kong?

Custom Undone Aqua Diver
It only seemed right to make the 24-hour trek, door to door, wearing my custom-made Undone Aqua dive watch — made in Hong Kong earlier this spring.

Great Watches for a Great Watch City

It was travel that started me off on one of my latest obsessions. Spending a week in China at the beginning of the year, my Fitbit conked out after a day or two separated from its power supply, and staring at the mole on my naked left wrist drove me to distraction — and aspiration. Why shouldn’t I, as a man of a certain age and ambition, step up my watch game?

Watches aren’t my only obsession, of course, but I’ve spilled a few bottles of digital ink on them in this space. And I give a bit of thought, while packing for trips fun and professional, to which watches I’ll bring along.

I usually travel with three or four, if it’s a several day trip. I usually split my time on work trips between punching the clock at the office, presenting in front of clients, and hopping around to explore at night. So I balance the load between workmanlike, everyday pieces; dressier, buttoned-up models; and the sturdy, devil-may-care weekend and night watches I won’t come home heartbroken if they earn a scratch or take a hard knock.

For my long hours in airports and on planes and buses Sunday, I chose a watch made by a Hong Kong manufacturer. My custom Undone Aqua diver was a birthday present this summer, and in the months since I’ve somehow fitted it with four different straps, including a canvas and leather Bund that proved too hot and sweaty for my wrist in July, and some Blu Shark natos that accompanied my Aqua into the lake at summer camp, the ocean on vacation, and a few hikes and campouts. It’s a versatile daily-wearer that, to me, still works nicely on the original black leather strap when tucked under a work button-down. Not something I’d wear to a wedding, but rugged and playful and designed by me, so what’s not for me to love?

Packed into my sturdy, three-watch Casebudi are a few other options for the week. I confess, I don’t think so much about which watch will match my outfit so much as I tweak the wardrobe to fit the watch I want to wear. But guys have it pretty easy — a mix of jeans in a few shades, some dressier pants, the usual closet full of button-downs, a suit coat or two, anchored by belts and shoes in browns and blacks. What won’t match that?

First up in the rotation, and first in my heart, is the Tudor Black Bay Bronze. I’ve had it since July, and it’s a good thing my wife can laugh at my Gollum impression from Lord of the Wrings: “my… prrreeeeeeccciiiooooouuuussssss.” Because I gratefully swore off all other watches for a couple years in order to strap this one on. I never get tired of looking at it, whether it’s on the original, weathered leather strap or the Tudor-manufacturered alternate NATO. I switched back to the leather for winter and the upcoming conference, and I just dig its looks — patina, baby, patina — and that precise 8 ticks a second that loses maybe 1 or 2 seconds every two weeks. The best-looking bit of manufacturing I own, and just one reason why I zip these babies right into my laptop bag and never let them go far away. Even though I give the BBB a break a few days a week, I’ve been known when it’s had a day off the wrist to come home, put the kids to bed, and then wear it a few hours. I tell myself it’s just to keep it wound up, but yeah. That’s my level of (obsession) devotion.

Myyyyyyy… preeeeeeeccccciooooooousssssss.

Ahem. OK. Moving on.

I wrote about the Bulova moonwatch in a post earlier this year. And for its looks, and cool story, and high-precision quartz that loses just seconds a year, it’s another winner. Maybe I’ll get dragged onto the bandwagon and acquire an ubiquitous Omega speedy someday, but the “poor man’s” alternative is A-OK for me.

Finally, we come to the Timex Expedition chrono. What’s not to love about a watch under $50 that can go everywhere — campouts, hikes, mowing the lawn, timing the kids’ soccer matches. I was raised on Indiglo in a tent on the other side of midnight, so this baby speaks to me. And it’s able to take a few hard knocks, whether that’s wrestling on the floor with my boys or trekking up Victoria Peak on a sweltering Saturday morning before weaving in and out of the shops and stands on Tai Yuen street.

More on those adventures soon. And fighting the urge to splurge in one of the great watch cities of the world. For now, I’ve got these companions from home to mark time with, and it’s well spent.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze
My love, shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Or, maybe a hot day in November in Hong Kong. Wherever I go, I give “my precious” serious time on wrist.

 

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