Running... Again?

  If you know me you know there was a time about 10 years ago or so where I was running. A lot. At least 5 days a week and at least 5 miles a run. I wasn’t training, I wasn’t preparing for a race or a marathon. I just found myself enjoying the time spent running. I wasn’t obsessed with numbers, but I kept track of them all and liked seeing improvements in time and distances. It was good physical health and mental health. Then I tweaked my knee. Not bad enough that I couldn’t walk on it, just a tweak that told me I needed to back off of running for a little bit. So I decided on 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks I aborted a run very early as the pain was still there. 2 weeks became 3, became a month, became 5 years. 

SOTC Mid-2020

The Collection

It's July 2020 and I thought I'd do a little update on what the watch collection is now, and what the plans are for the rest of the year. I've pretty quiet with watches for 2020 just picking up straps until last week when I pulled the trigger on my mini grail the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date, better known as the Cooper model since it's work by Cooper in the movie Interstellar. So we'll start from bottom left of the above photo.

The SNK805 by Seiko. This was my first automatic and third watch. When I got it I think I pretty much wore it straight for a year. I loved the little thing and enjoyed flipping it over to look at it's display caseback. This is the perfect first automatic watch, and will educate you on where you want to go next. Things I learned from this watch: I don't like movements I can't hack (stop the seconds hand when setting the time) or wind with the crown. Because of those shortcomings I find I rarely wear it these days and will probably the first to go. Though this watch will depart the collection sometime this year, I liked a lot of elements of it (field type watch with a B-type flieger dial) that it took 2 watches to replace it.

 The Orient Mako II. The quintessential entry diver model. Watch number 5. This is the second automatic watch of the collection. Having learned from the SNK805 what I didn't like, and feeling I should have a dive watch in the collection (I'm not a huge dive watch fan) I went looking for something cheap and has hacking and hand winding. I picked this up and have had an up and down relationship with it. I quickly found something else I would want for all future purchases: solid end links (the piece of the bracelet and comes up against the case) for two reasons. First, a hollow end link rattles. It's not terribly annoying, but just enough. And second on this model the spring bars (the mechanisms that attach the bracelet to the case) bend and eventually fail resulting in a watch falling. I have spent too much time (and money) looking for the answer for a better strap and finally ended up on an inexpensive third party bracelet, a mesh bracelet, and a blue silicon strap. I've not decided if it will stay in the collection for much longer, but I'm leaning towards keeping it for the color it provides the collection.

The Citizen Flieger, and probably my biggest mistake. Model number NJ0100-89E this is the seventh watch to make it into the collection. This watch purchase was made around the time Hamilton released this beauty of a watch. I felt Hamilton was asking far too much money for that watch so I picked up this one, which broke just about every rule I had learned up to this point. It didn't hack (but it hand wound). It had a hollow end link (but it has a tube to reinforce the spring bar). It has a mineral glass crystal. And it was bigger. When I first got it I really enjoyed it, but now at this point I'm realizing I should have just gotten the Hamilton. It's not a bad watch, and there are few dials I own that are more legible, but when you get something to substitute for something you really want you quickly just notice the shortcomings. 

The titanium Citizen. I think it has a name like the Chandler or something weird. Citizen does weird naming things with their watches, but I just call it "the titanium Citizen" as it's the only watch in the collection that is titanium. Which is also why this watch became number 6 in the collection. This watch was picked up as a spur of the moment decision a couple years ago to see what having a titanium watch would be like. I knew it would be lighter, but even as I picked it up I was surprised by how light it really was. It has Citizen's Eco-Drive movement, which is a cool solar powered quartz movement never needing a battery. So though this doesn't get a whole lot of wrist time these days I know I can pick it up and it'll be ready to go. I had initially thought this would be short lived addition, but it's grown on me and will probably survive into version 2.0 of the collection because it's a great watch to have when not really caring about if it gets beat up or not.

The first watch. The OG. A Wenger "Swiss Army" watch. Though pictured on a canvas strap above, it actually came on a very rattly very janky folded metal and hollow end link two tone bracelet. It nipped hairs, and always made noise when it moved. My parents bought this for me decades ago and it stays in the collection because of that and gets worn every so often.

Going up from the last watch we have the watches that will for sure make up version 2.0 of the collection, starting with the original Citizen. This was watch number two of the collection and a favorite of mine. Purchased with no information about it from some daily deal watch website over 10 years ago the BL-9000-59F was purchased under the completely wrong assumption that it was a chronograph. Back then I just figured if it had a crown and two (or more pushers) it must be a chronograph. It is not a chronograph, but it was one of the most impressive watches on a features level I own. It can tell the time in two time zones, has a perpetual calendar that knows leap years, has a cool pointer date hand (the orange one), is an Eco-Drive model, and has one of the nicest dials, and most comfortable bracelets I've ever worn. Oh, and it can chime the time. I've worn this A LOT over the years and it still gets decent wrist time. This is probably a forever keeper.

Few watches capture my attention (and my wallet) as quickly as this Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph. What I knew about the watch before I bought it: It looked great! Then, only after having placed the order, I found out that it's a watch based on an unreleased model that Bulova made to try to become the watch that NASA would use for their space missions. It didn't succeed in that, but it did make it to the moon after as a backup watch that saw duty because the primary watch broke. So it's often referred to as "the other Moon Watch". Oh, and this watch is BIG. At 45mm across and 52mm long it's easily the largest watch I have, and if I'm being honest probably too big for my wrist, but I love it and it's comfortable. It has a high frequency quartz movement which gives the seconds hand an almost sweeping motion like that of an automatic, and the chronograph hand looks to sweep just like an automatic. A definite keeper no matter the size. This was watch number four.

Stepping it up with the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic. Late in 2019 I had the opportunity to pick watch number 8 up used off a watch forum. This was to be the watch that takes the collection to the next level in terms of craftsmanship and quality. Well when I got it I wasn't that impressed. At first. But then I began wearing it more often and I could see why. It's all the little things. The watch keeps impeccable time for an automatic, the simple dial is perfectly executed, and the red tipped seconds hand is a fun touch. The bracelet is probably a little more comfortable wear than the already excellent bracelet from my earlier Citizen, and it has the magic words "Swiss Made" at the bottom. It quickly won me over and made making the last watch in the collection an easier thing to do. This would be half of the duo of watches that would end up taking the place of my beloved Seiko SNK805.

The current crown jewel of the collection, the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date automatic. This watch caught my eye (and my heart) over 4 years ago. Based on a B-Type flieger dial design (minutes accentuated over hours) it adds a really nicely executed day and date function at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock areas of the dial respectively. For me, a watch needs to have at least the date on it to be considered for daily wear. My watches need to be functional on top of aesthetics. But the thing that really drew me into this watch are the minute indices. They're metallic and grooved in such a way that they really play with the light; either coming off as illuminated and brighter than anything else on the watch or a flat look to them. I find myself playing with light angles often with this watch. Oh, and it was featured in the movie Interstellar (along with another Hamilton watch) and worn by Cooper, Matthew McConaughey's character. This has rarely left the wrist in the week I've had it so far and I don't see it going anywhere anytime.

So, what does 2020 have left for me and watch collecting? I have two watches I hope to pick up over the course of the rest of this year. One will be the Hamilton watch that I picked up the Citizen Flieger for, though I think that will be a Christmas purchase. The other watch, which I'm tentatively planning for an end of summer pick up is a titanium dive watch, to be revealed once it's picked up. 


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