While a shiny new watch is all well and good, there’s a certain “je ne sais quas” about a beat-to-hell tool watch that’s clearly seen some shit – that old Submariner with the faded bezel that’s been with you to the bottom of the ocean, or that pilot’s chronograph that’s timed all manner of things (whether they’re holding patterns in an aircraft or eggs boiling on the stove) for years on end without complaint. Whether it’s an $80 G-Shock that never left your wrist during military service or an $8,000 dive watch with a complicated mechanical movement, a tool watch is meant to take beating and be none the worse for wear.
We asked our Instagram followers to send in some pics of a tool watch from their collections and an associated personal story, and then we picked our favorite. And without further ado, the winner is…
Ryan Clarke’s Oris Diver TT1
From Ryan: “I wanted a Rolex. The red-and-black “Coke” Rolex GMT II reference 16710, to be exact. But as a 26-year-old journalism grad fresh out of college you’re still chasing the dream on a baked-beans budget. So this “Coke”-inspired Oris Diver TT1 would have to do.
You know what? I’m glad I couldn’t afford my grail watch at 26 because I would have beat the living hell out of it. Look at this thing – you’d think I dragged it under a flaming bus to the gates of Hades and back. Dings, dents, scratches, natural fading and a missing pearl… and that’s just on the top half of the bezel. In 10 years I went through two, seemingly indestructible, rubber straps, four servicings and three terrifying “oh sh*t did I finally brake it?” moments. It’s travelled to four different continents, 15 different countries, hiked to some of the highest peaks and snorkeled some of most pristine reefs on earth. I got married and divorced in it, held newborns and embraced my dying father as he took his final breaths. Bike racing, mountain biking, trail running, ocean swimming, board meetings and conference calls – a life lived, one sweep of the second hand at a time.
I’m sure there will be a time when I can finally justify my grail GMT, but a decade with my Oris has taught me that watches, much like life, are meant to be lived in to the fullest.”
Yeah – this guy gets it. Stay tuned for more calls for submissions on Instagram in the near future!