The fifth installment of our Staff Favorites series features Mr. Amos Kwon. Amos is, simply put, a man’s man. He’s entirely focused on family (he’s a proud husband and, more recently, a father), but he’s also passionate about cars (he’s the heart and soul of our automotive coverage), cigars (it’s amazing that he hasn’t yet hired a personal Cuban roller), Scotch, and a mean EDC. He’s a diligent, talented writer, zipping absurd humor (we still can’t get over his “Whoever chose this… should be slapped with a pair of wet Depends” line) into the tight copy of his otherwise earnest reviews. We’re proud to have this lifelong Chicagoan on the team — and his favorite gear doesn’t disappoint.
Omega Seamaster Railmaster Co-Axial
This horological beauty was a wedding present from my wife, after persistent persuasion on my part. The crisp non-date dial is superb, the in-house co-axial movement is smooth and accurate, and at 39mm in diameter, it’s the perfect dress watch size and will never go out of style. This reissue of the original has been discontinued, so if you find one out there, grab it. It’s a new classic, for sure.
Spyderco Police Stainless Steel C07 Knife
I’ve had this knife for over ten years, and it’s the most serious member of my EDC, a no-nonsense knife that’s indispensable for self-defense, random cutting jobs and some seriously intimidating fruit slicing. Don’t leave home without it, unless you’ve got a date with the TSA.
Montecristo No. 2 Cigars
Why Fidel Castro gave up smoking is beyond me, especially when he had full access to glorious Havanas. The Monte 2 is the best cigar I’ve ever had that’s also consistently delectable, with an earthy depth that escapes description (I’m not James Suckling, you know). Some of my best moments of solitude have involved Miles Davis, a mellow whisky and a Monte 2. And yes, it’s Cuban, so if you can find it somewhere, don’t tell anyone.
SALT Optics Stuart Aviators
I went in for a pair of glasses and came out with an excellent pair of prescription sunglasses instead. I’ve had these SALT Stuart aviators for six years now. Simple, classic and remarkably resilient, they look as good with a suit and tie as they do with shorts and a t-shirt. The Stuart is no longer for sale, but similar models are available with the same SALT quality and timeless look.
Harris Tweed Angus Blazer
I thought tweed was for nerds. (Well, that’s not completely untrue.) But Harris Tweed has taken an age-old fabric and designed a classic tweed jacket with a modern cut. The Angus Blazer looks great with jeans, provides plenty of warmth and eschews the boxiness of old. It’s both current and evocative of bygone days. I always feel great when I wear it, unless it’s 80 degrees out.
The Balvenie Portwood 21 Year Old
I’ve imbibed whisky for the past twenty years, but I didn’t have my first bottle of Portwood 21 until halfway through. What was I missing? The distinct honey and fruit coupled with a remarkable smoothness makes it delicious each and every time — too bad it’s not something you can afford to drink every day. It’s celebratory even if you have nothing to celebrate, and it sure makes Chicago winters a heck of a lot easier to deal with. It also makes very good friends with the Monte 2.
AUTOart 1/18 Scale Cars
My office is littered with these classy, beautiful die-cast cars. They fuel my passions and bring back my childhood. Designed to meticulous specifications, the only things they’re missing are tiny, grungy race car drivers and fake gasoline in the tank. The 1972 Lancia Fulvia Rally is one of my all-time favorites. Rugrats are banned from carpet racing these.
2001 BMW E46 325Ci
I ditched my perfectly good 1999 Honda Accord for this beauty and never looked back. It was special-ordered with a manual transmission and sport package, and I waited for three months to get it. The inline six engine in stock mode is impressive as is, but mine’s been slightly modified to get every last drop of horsepower. Linear torque, great brakes and the slick five-speed manual make it truly enjoyable. I’ve driven it everywhere, including the track, and it’s been unflappable. With such beautiful balance and fantastic steering and handling, I’ll be sad to see it go someday.
CZ USA Canvasback 12-Gauge Over and Under
When my girlfriend (now wife) said she wanted to buy me this for my birthday, I knew it was destiny. The Canvasback is affordable, accurate and well-balanced, making sporting clays and hunting a pleasure. I also love its dark, subtle design that doesn’t make me look like a Mega Millions-winning Roy Rogers toting his silver-festooned showpiece.
Danner Acadia Boots
I’ve had the same pair, issued to me by the CIA, since 1997. They make lesser boots pee on themselves. Through deep water, jagged ice and snow, muck, nasty bramble and just about everything else, they still perform as well as the day I got them, though they look like they’ve been to hell and back. The Gore-Tex liner and Vibram sole have kept my feet dry and planted every year. I imagine I’ll have them ’til the day I die. I also imagine my daughter will reject them as an heirloom.
The Grail: 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO
Not nearly as pricey as the historic 250 GTO, but far more menacing. This baby was the first Ferrari supercar, the father of the F40, F50, Enzo and the LaFerrari. It was also the fastest car of its day and its low, wide and muscular body housed a vicious twin-turbo V8 that could hit 186 mph. The very Italian black leather interior was as sexy as it gets, and the classic Ferrari gated manual shift knob is an automotive work of art. I’ll have to inherit millions from an unknown wealthy relative back in Korea or knock off an armored car to get my hands on one. Oh, to dream.