A little over a year ago I started thinking about watches. I know I wasn’t the only one. Fine timepieces were popping up all over – magazines, newspapers, blog posts and photo shoots – they were inescapable. My interest also grew because I was consciously moving away from being tied to my cell phone. I wanted to know the time, but not necessarily who was emailing, calling or texting while I was out for dinner with friends or fishing for steelhead before work. I bought an L.L. Bean Field Watch and a couple NATO straps and I was good to go. My time-keeping issue was more or less solved, but my curiosity with watches wasn’t going away.
The quartz movement of the Bean Field Watch ended up being a good test run. I discovered that I very much enjoyed wearing a watch on a daily basis, but the more I talked to friends (or complete strangers) about their watches, the more I realized that I wanted one that was unique – an automatic watch that was made to last a lifetime. Like many ACL readers, I ended up at Hodinkee on a regular basis to devour beautiful photos of the latest releases and to read about the history of rare and priceless pieces. I soon decided I wanted a hands-on experience and visited Watchworks in downtown Portland, Oregon. The owner Alex Hofberg took me through the basics – he educated me on the potential pitfalls of buying vintage watches online and the costs associated with maintaining a watch properly. He whole-heartedly offered his services in tracking down a vintage Omega Railmaster that I thought I wanted, but suggested a modern watch might make a great first purchase. He showed me a Hamilton Khaki Officer Auto and I nearly walked out of the shop with it, but held off to do more research. It was an extremely valuable visit with an expert. With the help of Hofberg I knew that I wasn’t ready to dive into the vintage watch world. I knew I wanted a new watch that I could wear daily, that was relatively easy to maintain, yet still had a classic look and feel.
The hunt finally came to end with a posting on Hodinkee this Spring. Tudor was releasing the Heritage Ranger – an iconic and beautiful adventure watch with subtle modern updates. It comes on a steel bracelet, in a 41mm case (ideal for my wrist size) and it possesses the timeless style that I had been searching for. A month later Hodinkee published live pictures and gave a detailed review. Game over. I sought one out, pulled the trigger and it arrived last week.
I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled with my Tudor Heritage Ranger. The fit and finish is perfect – beyond description really. It’s rugged and elegant. With the steel bracelet it dresses up or down. (i.e. it looks great with a t-shirt or a sport jacket). Its minimal, hand-painted dial and explorer-style face offer just the right amount of traditional styling. I love wearing it. Will I become a collector? Time will tell, but I’m good for quite awhile. I have my go-to watch. My daily driver. I did the research, I saved the money and landed at my final destination and so far, every day I enjoy it more and more. —AJ