Rarely do I find automotive inspired watches compelling, but one consistent exception to that are the watches from Autodromo. Here, the watches are clearly born of a passion for the particular automotive genres they reference. The Intereuropa receives its name from a race held in Monza during the mid 20th century, pitting Italy’s finest against one another on the track. The image of Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Lancia being rung through on the track during their formative years, and stand up well enough to provide a stylish ride home brings a smile to my face. And so does the Autodromo watch by the same name. The sunray blue dial on this example pairs beautifully with the raised chapter ring, each carefully designed with restraint to evoke the spirit of the event it’s named after. The blue leather rally strap provides a perfect compliment, and begs for a set of driving gloves.
A nice strap can be a lot like a great pair of jeans, it gets better with age and proper break in. The Model 2 Premium is just such a strap, constructed from a combination of Wickett & Craig vegetable tanned lining and Horween top leather. This is a strap with substance that will last nearly as long as the watch it calls home. Rendered in Marsh Green, this is a strap that will sing on watches like the Sinn U50, Black Bay 58, or Seiko SPB149 (trust me, I’ve tried).
If you’re shopping for a watch lover with adventurous taste (or you’re just looking for an excuse to pick something up for yourself that’s a little unusual), Zodiac has you covered with the Olympos. This reissue of their classic dress watch from the 1960s has a distinctive, asymmetrical “Manta Ray” case. It’s the kind of case that forces you into a double-take the first time you see it - something just seems a little off, but in a good way. The lugs, which appear to be elongated on one end, and pinched inward at the other thanks to some clever case geometry, are actually quite elegant, and the Olympos wears surprisingly comfortably, as it measures just 37.5mm in diameter. It’s pure style, and a great entry point to the world of shaped cases, a rabbit hole collecting category if there ever was one. The details don’t disappoint on the Olympos either, with applied markers and a domed dial with sunray finishing divided into quadrants, the Olympos is loaded with great design, and a true sleeper at less than $1,000.
Gray suede is the returning champion of watch straps. Whenever I can’t figure out what strap to pair a watch with, it’s the color and material combination I always come back to. Gray works with everything, and a good suede offers an appealing texture that feels at home anywhere you’re wearing it. It’s refined without being dressy, and rustic but not overly casual. It’s right in the middle, and it just always looks right. I’ve been wearing the new Sackett strap in storm gray on a Speedmaster Professional and it’s a great pairing, but this strap is all about versatility, and will work equally well on a vintage diver with colorful accents or a sleek dress watch (like the Olympos) that you’re looking to wear a bit less formally.
This is a watch that probably doesn’t need introduction. Hitting the scene back in 2017, this charming hand-wound mechanical field watch made quite the impression. For me, it just checks all the right boxes. The 38mm blasted steel case is only 9.75mm thick. It wears really well on the wrist, hitting that perfect balance between too big and too small. You get classic field watch looks with the added bonus of the modern H-50 movement inside that boasts an impressive 80-hour power reserve. I particularly like the white dial — it separates the Khaki Field Mechanical from the rest of the field watch pack even further, and to me, it’s one of the best applications of vintage creamy lume. Coming in at just under $500, it’s a great value for a Swiss-made watch too.
If you’re not going all in on a watch, then a strap makes a perfect gift this holiday season. And the Worn & Wound Model 2 Premium is about as perfect a leather strap as you’ll find. Make no mistake, this is not a statement I make lightly. I’ve tried a few of the Worn & Wound straps, as well as countless other straps from a variety of makers both mass made and bespoke. The Model 2 Premium is one of the finest straps I’ve had. Nice, supple leather coupled with excellent craftsmanship (made in the U.S. no less!) make for a truly stylish and comfortable strap. The detail that I love the most is the dual keepers, one steel and one leather, a really nice touch that you don’t see often. There is a large variety of colors to choose from to go with any watch or outfit. To be honest, I’m not one to spend $95 on a strap very often, but this is one strap that I won’t hesitate to plunk down a Benjamin for.
Even for those of us who immerse ourselves daily in the imagery and lore of amazing mechanical timepieces, the draw of simple, purposeful, highly-accurate quartz watches is not lost. After adding a no-date Marathon Navigator to my collection early this year, I’ve found myself regularly choosing it over more complicated and expensive timepieces. First is the case, which mixes an iconic asymmetrical mil-spec design, with a bi-directional 12-hr bezel (a personal fave) and uniquely colored high-impact fiber case. Barring a few ultra-high end ceramic watches, desert tan is not a common color for watches. Then you have the dial, which is once again a function-driven mil-spec layout, but includes tritium gas tubes for amazing legibility at night. With a price tag under $300, it’s simply a lot of watch with a lot of character.
When the weather warms up, and wearing a thick leather strap is no longer the ideal option, I go for a nylon option. Bracelets look good and masculine, and rubber straps are stylish in the right setting, but only nylon offers the long-term wearability I prefer. Lightweight, breathable, washable, and often in exciting colors, nylon straps are a sort of set-and-forget choice. The new ADPT US-Made Single Pass straps are my go-to choice now as they have a more minimal appearance and less bulk than traditional mil-straps, while still being made out of rugged nylon is a great array of colors. For those who are thinking of picking up the Marathon above, an ADPT Single Pass is the perfect combination.
The perfect accessory here isn’t a strap or spring bar tool (because I wouldn’t be taking it off the bracelet), but the Cantonment Kerchief with ‘opti’ printing. The red and grey retro photography based designs are perfect as a backdrop for some quick photos, and for keeping the Hamilton’s digital display smudge free.