Kicking Off PRNDL’s Watch Section With This Author’s Starter Collection

Let me start by emphasizing that I am no hardcore zealot dedicated to becoming the ultimate purveyor of timepieces. Instead, I’ve simply come to appreciate the look and feel of something so well-crafted, and you should give it a shot, too. 

I took a stroll through our ever-expanding home at PRNDL only to notice a lonely little section at the bottom of the homepage. It was all about watches, yet there wasn’t a single thing on it at the time of writing. And while I’m not quite the picture-perfect “watch enthusiast,” I figured there would be no greater opportunity to showcase this author’s basic starter collection in a bid to help PRNDL grow. So put down the project car keys and pour a bottle of overpriced scotch because I’m taking you on a short tour of my four-piece inventory. 

The East Coast Memento: Seiko Solar

Behold. I present unto thee my Seiko Solar, and I know it’s a Seiko Solar because it says “Seiko Solar” on it, see? But in all seriousness, this simple, half-dollar-sized nugget of metal and leather is the first watch I purchased brand-new (so far), serving as a reminder of the most rad summer camp adventure I’ve ever had: pre-deployment combat training for the Air Force. 

In preparation for a short stint to the Horn of Africa, my unit flew to the lovely tropical paradise known as “New Jersey” for a two-week crash course on urban combat, wide-open battlefield combat, convoys, etc. You know, all the things that seemingly every other branch already knows. Weekdays were spent meandering around Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base, but weekends were for us school children to let loose across the playground of New England. 

My friend, who is more of a purveyor of finer accessories than I am, wound me up to seek a worthwhile timepiece across two cities, which I eventually found calling to me from under a glass case in a downtown Philly Macy’s. It ticks all the right boxes for a starter. It was flashy but definitely not gaudy. It was sharp enough to work with dress attire yet simple enough to be worn casually. Solar power means less maintenance, and it’s relatively inexpensive. The Solar wasn’t the most remarkable watch in the case if I’m being honest. But for a simpleton’s first purchase, it was just about perfect.

And come on. Playing with the dichotomy of an Air Guardsman on active orders was fun, trading weekdays with a kevlar vest and ammo pouches for weekends with a blazer and a watch.

The Blue-Collar Dress Suit: Casio Men’s MDV106 Dive Watch

There’s not much of a story to be had here. The only tale to tell with this Casio Dive Watch is that it was a no-cost add-on to a purchase I made for another timepiece I bought from a friend. He didn’t care for it. He didn’t want it. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and I struck gold with what is now my everyday “beater” piece.

The gleaming bezel and rugged leather strap scream that this is a higher caliber product for discerning enthusiasts of a higher tax bracket. You could probably imagine my surprise when I learned that Casio is the Volkswagen to Seiko’s Audi and that Amazon and Wal-Mart will sell you this thing for as low as $40. FOUR. ZERO. FOR THIS WATCH, PEOPLE. 

People can say whatever they want about Casio, but this sole product convinced me of their status as “The Nokia of watches,” as another owner put it. That crystal is a resilient piece constructed of trillions of microscopic Nokia cellphones. Nicely weighted, easy-to-read, and just the right look to pair with almost an entire wardrobe are hallmarks of this blue-collar special, and I can’t wait to inexplicably lose it after a drunken brawl at my local Applebee’s. Because what else do you do after buying anything from a Wal-Mart?

The “I’m A Hardcore Racing Enthusiast Because I Use My Watch To Record Lap Times And Not Computers, I Am Such A Big Boy Badass, And I Deserve A Big Boy Trophy” Special: Tissot T-Sport Chrono XL

On February 30, 1853, Swiss artisans said “gang scrap” and yoinked a timepiece off the dash of a Porsche 911 Carrera, grafted a strap onto it, and ta-da. The Tissot T-Sport Chrono XL was made in one fell devious lick.

The Tissot was the nugget I originally intended to purchase from the friend who also threw in his unwanted gem of a Casio. I had swooped it off his on the first night of my recent trip to Salt Lake City and just in time for the upcoming track event at Utah Motorsports Campus. As it turns out, artisan watches designed to pair with certain hobbies actually work really, really well for pairing with their respective hobbies. 

The matte finishes on the dial and stainless steel bezel make for much less glare when going for spirited drives or, better yet, track days where a split second of distraction could spell a trip to the body shop. The unique strap offered an incredible range of adjustments for nearly any wrist size to fit perfectly, never sliding loose as you crank the wheel or grab the gear lever. The massive, bold font is brainless to read, and the chronograph made for a lovably-fun gimmick for timing other cars in my class as they ripped by.

I clocked a 987 Cayman S at 2:01.6 around UMC’s West Track. Can anyone do better?

The Crusty Family Heirloom: Tag Heuer Formula 1

Ironically, the oldest watch in my collection, which is a hand-me-down from my dad, doesn’t have the longest, most convoluted story to tell. This Tag Heuer Formula 1, circa 1990-something, was a gift to my dad from my mom, who rocked it for a little over a decade before retiring it. It sat in his closet for some time before passing it down to me, a then-17-year-old philistine with little understanding or appreciation for watches at the time. 

Even so, I took it under my care and wore it throughout the end of high school and into my early years of a disastrous college career where I gradually wore it less and less before consigning it to its case on my desk. I just now dug it out of its den with the intent of bringing it back into the fold, especially as my collection boomed. It still works, but only barely. It seizes up and stops randomly before resuming normal movement. A local specialist insists that a battery and a proper service are in order which I’ll have done, uh, eventually. In addition, the strap needs a clean-up plus an additional link to its jubilee bracelet as I’ve grown in the last seven years. 

However, the patina on the bezel will stay put as a testament to its age, a watch from another era handed down to a younger generation. This is the family heirloom, and I hope to keep it around for my future kids, who will hopefully preserve it for their offspring, who will presumably pawn it off for robotic enhancements as we learn that Cyberpunk 2077 was a prediction, not an exaggeration. 

I’m not the connoisseur to obsess over every little detail of a watch, but I will admit that the appeal of a well-crafted, cleverly engineered, and fashionable timepiece has grown on me quite rapidly in recent months. Why not, right? The right watch can allow even the most ragged and boorish smooth-brains (i.e. me, myself, and I) to present themselves as sharper and of higher taste. And even if you’re not a fashion guru in the slightest, it’s still fun to ogle over all the shiny bits and moving parts like the apes we are deep down. 

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at what little I have at the moment, and I look forward to watching it grow in the near future. Anyone here should pick up a decent watch for themselves, new or used. I bet you’d be impressed at what you can find. 

Published in Watches

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