Welcome to This Month in Gear, a new series from the editors of Gear Patrol. Every month, we’ll be bringing you the releases and trends we’re most excited about, now.
A budget iPhone worth its weight in charm
“Rumor has it that this year’s big iPhone 12 release is delayed but frankly, I don’t care. The most interesting iPhone of the year already dropped. Hitting out of the blue this month, the reinvented iPhone SE is pushing the cost of a modern iOS experience down to a $400 sweet spot this life-long Android user is willing to take a flier on. But it’s not all about price. The SE’s unpredictable life-cycle (dictated primarily by what spare parts and surplus production capability Apple has on hand) makes it one of the only Apple devices that can swing by as a pleasant surprise versus September’s annual, inevitable “best iPhone we’ve ever made.” Mine’s on the way, and I can’t wait to jump back into iOS for the first time since laying my second-gen iPod touch to rest a decade ago.” — Eric Limer, Editor
New Allbirds that go the extra mile
“When I heard Allbirds was launching a serious running shoe, I was skeptical. Transitioning from lifestyle to performance is no easy shift. But taking cues from more seasoned brands, the Tree Dashers are legit. Raves our tester: “… built for five-mile runs in the morning followed by a day of walking, these look and feel great.” And while they’re not super technical, they have a quality most competitors lack: crafted from all-natural materials — a sugarcane sole and a blend of renewable eucalyptus and superfine merino wool in the upper — the Tree Dashers are carbon neutral.” — Steve Mazzucchi, Editor
Make your own chore coat
“It’s the era of DIY: make your own hand sanitizer, face masks, bread and now … chore coats. For people social distancing from home, rising brand Reese Cooper released a chore coat kit complete with a pattern, an instruction booklet, a transparent graphing ruler, deadstock fabric and more. Instead of spending over $500 on one of the brand’s fully-made coats, you can make one for yourself at home — the kit costs just $98.” — John Zientek, Associate Editor
Watch releases will never be the same
“The coronavirus upended the way most watches are launched — historically, through large trade shows, primarily in Switzerland. Baselworld, which for the past few years has seen an exodus of companies decamping for greener pastures, may finally have been dealt its death blow. Because of shutdowns, the show saw its first cancelation in over a decade; and now, Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard have all decided to leave and join forces with the Watches & Wonders crew in Geneva next year. In the future, we may be dealing with one mega-show in Geneva, and numerous small roadshows that appear in local markets to coincide with new launches.” — Oren Hartov, Associate Editor
Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders moved online this year, with Richemont brands announcing new wares all at once through digital experiences. These were our favorites releases.
An award-winning bourbon you should try … while you can
“On the recommendation of our Home desk — and more than 40 judges at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition — I picked up a bottle of Woodinville Straight Bourbon on my last trip to Total Wine. I’m glad I did. Based in Washington state, Woodinville uses homegrown grains and heavily seasoned barrels to craft its 90-proof bourbon, resulting in a rich, tannic sipper that’s just a joy to drink. Grab some while you can; according to whiskey experts, the stuff may shoot up in price (and rarity) soon.” — Jack Seemer, Deputy Editor
BMW’s newest super-sedan is crazy good, and it has a crazy long name
“The BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe has a name that takes about as long to say as the car takes to rocket from 0 to 60 miles per hour (3.0 seconds flat, according to Bimmer), but I took to calling it ‘the sexy M5‘ during the week I spent testing it. The 617-hp sedan four-door coupe is a wonder, packing speed capable of keeping paces with Ferraris and Porsches into a package that’s aggressively stylish outside and luxuriously modern inside. But better yet, it manages to pull off something rare amongst cars of its ilk these days: it’s still fun to drive even at (mostly) legal, real-world speeds.” — Will Sabel Courtney, Editor
The cubicle plots a comeback
“In a Wired report, Ben Waber, president of Humanyze, a company that analyzes digital and physical communications between office workers to gauge productivity and collaboration, was quoted saying, ‘Partitions are really hot right now.’ Silicon Valley hotshot Carol Bartz shared his belief in report in Market Watch. CNBC spoke to numerous representatives from design, architecture and interior design firms who echoed a similar sentiment. Like it or not, the office cubicle Cinderella story comeback has begun, and years of open office concept dominance — the shared desks, the hangout spaces, etc. — may finally be coming to an end. Don’t know how to feel about that? Me either.” — Will Price, Assistant Editor
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