Friday, 10 April 2009

I Want One - A Not So Occasional Series Pt7

'You can tell gentleman by his shoes and his watch' - Unknown

The two most predictable questions to ask a returning adventurer are:
Q 'Why?' 
A 'Because it's there' [I know what you mean but couldn't you find a new way of saying it?] 

From my earliest days reading about adventure, and adventurers, the intrepid adventurer has always had certain bits of kit that are; if not actually indispensable, at least touchstones. Those pieces of craft that can take us places, especially when we've taken ourselves places. Yes I'm including myself in the adventurer category now that I've led an intrepid solo expedition to the frozen north. Well Leeds anyway.

Predictable Question 2 
Q 'What's the one thing you'd always take?'
As ever Eric Newby had the best answer. 
A'Wanda!' (his Mrs).  

Apart from his beloved the other thing Newby  always had with him was his Rolex, bought on route to the hindu kush. Lacking his wit and good fortune lots of adventurers  seem to go that most pedestrian of answers ' a swiss army knife'. 
Don't get me wrong. They're OK. I've owned a few of them myself but i can think of better options; a stack of $100 bills'll solve most problems, from lighting fires to calming traffic cops. While it cant light fires, when the Benjamins are gone a Rolex can always be swapped  for a ticket home from anywhere.

I've been a fan of Rolex since I first saw them advertised in an ancient copy of National Geographic as a teenager, and how many dreams were born between those pages?  The trouble with Rolex is that every fourth Essex wide boy's got one, and the other three are wearing 'Bangkok rolys'. In order to reestablish some of the exclusivity they once had there's a now a fashion for coating Rolex sports watches in a variety of black finishes - the same sort of coatings people use to weatherproof rifles. Way cool, and there's a certain cache to not-for-sale. 

Then there's the real deal - IWC - The International Watch Company of Schaffhausen Switzerland. Every model is a thing of great beauty in its own way. To my eyes, especially the the sports watches from the 1970s. My friend Nurse Kate has one of the coolest examples. Her stepfather saw her eyeing it up on his wrist and gave it to her in a fit of pique shouting 'Stop waiting for me to die'.  She's spent the price of a Tikka T3 on servicing it and it still doesn't tell the time. Cool paperweight though. 

You can see where this is going. A hand made watch is possibly the ultimate boys toy, completely useless - your phone keeps better time, but some how way cool. In fact the more you spend the less good a watch is at its stated function. If you don't 'get' watches you'll be queuing up to leave pithy comments at the end of this post. If you do get them you'll be too busy following the links to comment. 

So here it is. The latest 'I Want One' its totally customizable, and its a hell of a lot cheaper that even a new strap for an IWC, it combines the time keeping qualities of an phone [almost] with the machinists craft and the cache of super low volume manufacture.  The Swiss assembled models have a few choices. But it's the assembled in the USA models that interest me. Completely custom, you make yours up from an options list that include choices of case, bezel, faces, and hour, minute, second and second time zone hands. All to your own exacting taste. Corr!

MKII call my favorite the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (pronounced "LuRP") which if you include the short walk to school and back is a pretty fair description of my lifestyle.

There's a 'seeker' born every minute - and two to sell him must have accessories.

Your Pal 
SBW (that's Sucker Boy Wants)