It’s the story of the wearer, not the watch itself, for it is nothing without the wearer.
There’s nothing a watch enthusiast loves more than the creamy patina and scuff marks coupled with the story being told by a wind-worn, scruffy bearded, and gravel-toned orator. The mystique of a well-worn watch, the places it’s been, the things it’s seen, the life lived by the person who wore it. I think we each quietly hope, in our own way, that in 50 years, we will be that person with the watch, and the stories of a life well-lived.
It was no surprise to me, in the early days of my collecting, that I was drawn to watches with these design elements already built in—the mil-sub homages. I’ve owned a Steinhart OVM 2.0, a Ginault Ocean Rover 2, a custom Scurfa Diver-1, a Richard LeGrand Odyssea, and featured numerous others on my YouTube channel for review. I was a mil-sub fan boy through and through.
The stories we associate with our watches will come from our own adventures and milestones. We convince ourselves of “milestones” and attach sentimental value to any watch purchased at that time. I’m not immune. During the winter of 2022, I was nearing my 20-year work anniversary. I was aware of individuals in my industry—the upstream oil and gas industry (specifically offshore drilling)—who received Rolexes at their 20-year work anniversary. Envious, I felt spurred on to find my own 20-year milestone watch. With no companies lining up to gift me a Rolex, as I’m a contracted quality assurance consultant, I was left to my own devices, much to the chagrin of my wife.
Staring my first world problems dead in the eye, I took stock of my collection and ear-marked 10 pieces: a Tissot, a Bulova, a Hamilton Khaki Field, a Gruppo Gamma, a San Martin Tuna, a Corgeut sterile dial Omega Seamaster 300, a Panerai Replica, an Alpha Daytona, and a Seiko SKX (x2). Time to sell some watches! The Seiko pieces sold fast, no surprise. The San Martin Tuna, Hamilton Khaki, and Alpha Daytona followed quickly behind. The remaining pieces were pushed through a group, fire-sale to a single buyer.
With the funds burning a hole in my pocket, I was off to see my friend Paul, who had a gently used, Bell & Ross BRV2-92-MKA-ST/SF (military green dial). Ever the consummate gentlemen, he gave me a smoking deal on the watch which included the full kit: box, papers, watch on bracelet with an Erika’s Original elastic strap. Paul knows his watches! This watch has all the vintage design elements I craved without the dangers of vintage watch ownership. Military-ish colorway, thin case profile, warm aluminum insert in the bi-directional bezel, slight bubble to the crystal, H-Link bracelet with female end-links for that oh-so-comfy fit.
It’s been one year since I purchased it. I cannot stop changing the straps; it complements so many different fabrics and designs, but looks best, in my opinion, on deep brown leathers or any solid green NATO-style straps. The bracelet has a few scuffs but will need some more. Farley Mowat once said, “Without a function, we cease to be.”
I need to give the Bell & Ross a function, which means wearing it more often and living my life a little more fully.
About the author
Jamie Andrews is a watch enthusiast on a budget. He doesn’t own a safety deposit box and he’s slightly cynical about investment pieces. In his own words, “I think best when I’m in the shed.” You can check out his YouTube channel, Madrock Watches & Adventure, or follow him on Instagram.
Notes from the Watch Shed: rants, reflections, and ruminations on watches and life, by Jamie Andrews.
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3 thoughts on “Notes From the Watch Shed: Give Yourself a Function”
The extra touch on the seconds hand is fantastic. B&R is so underrated.
Insightful article on how stories are associated with watches. Perhaps it’s about adventure or accompanying a sense of accomplishment, but this stays true for everyone!
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