Ask a 30 Under 30(ish) Honoree: What’s Your Game-Changing Watch? 2023 Edition
As part of an ongoing series, Watchonista asked our 30 Under 30(ish) honorees of 2023 what their first game-changing watch was and how it shaped their path in the industry.
Every watch enthusiast takes different roads to get into the game. However, the one thing we all seem to have in common is there always seems to be one defining moment or timepiece that fuels our journey. And our 30 Under 30(ish) honorees for 2023 are no different.
That is why the question we are focusing on today is:
Which watch changed the game and set you on your current path in the watch world?
“Without hesitation, I’d say the Omega Planet Ocean 8500 in white ceramic. The combination of sport utility and relatively understated design caught my eye initially; then I learned this watch features the George Daniels Co-Axial escapement. By removing almost all sliding friction, this three-pallet fork-locking system yields improved mechanical efficacy. The ceramic bezel also prevents the ‘fading’ typically associated with general usage.
“For me, this discovery was the moment when watches became so much more than just what we see on the wrist. I have continued to learn about the progression of technical designs in modern pieces ever since.”
“I became aware of watches probably at age four or five. My aunt had a Pulsar Tank watch, which caught my attention as a kid. My mom had a Casio F-91W. Which she would let me wear to school.
“However, the watch that changed the game for me is my Bulova 1945 Excellency because it made me feel comfortable buying vintage and small case watches.”
“My first memorable watch was a Tissot PR 100. My parents got it for me when I first got my job at GQ, and my partner helped pick it out, so it has a really special place in my heart.
“I remember being emotional receiving the watch because I made this big career change to get into writing, and it felt like an object that really solidified the moment I ‘made it.’ That’s one thing that’s so great about watches: they’re well-built, long-lasting objects that are capable of holding and representing these powerful occasions.”
“My first big watch purchase was probably my first game-changing piece since it led me to start Tell the Time and meet so many amazing people within the watch community. I had been working for a few years and was doing well at the time, so I wanted to get something for myself as a milestone marker. I found this beautiful 1970 Rolex Root Beer GMT (ref. 1675/3) that developed an even patina on the bezel and the dial.
“The watch has been on my wrist for many big moments in my life, from interviews to my engagement and everything in between.”
“I remember my father wearing a vintage OMEGA Seamaster – one of the 1960s chronographs with the 321 movement inside of it.
“It was originally my grandfather’s watch, the man I’m named after, and it’s developed this great character.”
“As Hodinkee’s in-house photographer, my first memorable watch is a little Mickey Mouse watch with red straps.
“It was gifted to me by my grandmother, who will soon be 89 years old. I still have this watch as it reminds me of all the fun trips my siblings and I took with her.”
Rashawn Smith: “My first meaningful watch would have to be the G-SHOCK gifted to me by my granddad. All-black, it had the GW-6900’s classic silhouette, and it started my love affair with watches. It was super affordable but felt like it was worth a million bucks on the wrist.”
Ben Grullon: “Interestingly, mine was the 41mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 with the green dial. Now, if anyone reading this knows me personally, then you know that when those watches were released, it wasn’t the Rolex I wanted. So, when a friend put me in touch with his local Rolex AD, I registered for the 36mm with a yellow dial 36mm, of all things.
“Sadly, that was discontinued. Then, at the beginning of August, I made a chance with a career-altering decision, and it must have brought me good luck because within 24 hours of making that decision, I got a call saying: ‘I know you wanted yellow, but I gave a green 41 for you right now if you’ll have it.’ Of course, my answer was yes, and it quickly became my daily wear because green has always been my color.
“Plus, the watch became more meaningful and impactful because two days after I got it, someone I deeply love and care about put a big dent in the clasp. So, I cherish every scratch as a memory.”
Perri Dash: “My game-changer was a Kenneth Cole Tank watch. It was on a bracelet, had a date window at 6 o’clock, and, come to think of it, it kind of resembled a Tank Must on a bracelet. The watch belonged to my father, and I admired the look and enjoyed that my dad wore it a little loose, more like a piece of jewelry than a watch. Then, while I was in high school, anytime I had plans to go out with friends, I would ask to borrow the watch. Soon, I stopped asking and just threw it on the wrist. It was something that we shared.
“Today, looking back on it, that may be what I appreciate about it most. I didn’t know much about watches then, but the memories remind me of how much I’ve always been drawn to them and who may be responsible for this obsession after all these years.”
“Mine was a 1970s mechanical Cartier Tank Louis ultra-thin with a Piguet movement inside. Unfortunately, I no longer have it, but I really loved it!
“The other was my first Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5065a. I ended up selling it in a deal for something I thought I really wanted, but I ended up selling quickly. In fact, I just recently bought back a 5065a that reminded me how much I loved that watch. I guess I’ve come full circle.”
“That’s a tough question because I feel like I have multiple watches that represent very different things for me. The first watch I ever bought myself was a 1970s Glycine Compressor that I purchased off WatchUSeek a few months after I started my first internship at a watch magazine.
“I also have a Darkbrew HP1 Automatic from New York’s Brew Watch Co. that was given to me by someone very special and still hold very close to my heart.
“Another watch with a lot of personal meaning, and the one I wear the most these days, is an early 2000s Blancpain Leman 2100 in steel. It’s the watch that best represents my journey in this crazy world so far. It is also the one that most closely aligns with my personal interest in watchmaking.”