Welcome to TheWristorian
Watch enthusiast. Amateur sleuth. Freelance writer. Aspiring champion of the overlooked and underrepresented.
So here it is; the obligatory first post of my first attempt at publishing a website. However daunting it may feel to move forward with any venture, this will (at a minimum) provide me an outlet to share what I find captivating in the world of watches. The goal of TheWristorian, and my hope, is that others find joy in the esoteric and obscure. The sheer number of watch manufacturers and models that have come and gone is mind-boggling, and new discoveries are out there waiting to be found by each of us.
Through this project I hope to highlight some of the more intriguing examples that I have come across, and when the opportunity presents, I will do a deep dive into the history of individual pieces. While some vintage watches are just plain charismatic; others are time capsules from a point or event in the past that warrant substantial investigation. Obtaining the history on the latter requires serious fact-finding and scrutiny, but that is paramount to ensuring that the true provenance is uncovered rather than manufactured. Fortunately for me, I enjoy the methodical process and the results gained through methodical research.
This is the part of the inaugural post where I feel compelled to provide you with an origin story. In this age of superhero overload, my genesis is bound to be underwhelming. For that reason I intend to keep it (relatively) brief. I suppose on some level I have always had been interested in watches, although I did not consistently wear them growing up. I remember saving up “proof of purchase” tabs from Froot Loops boxes as a child of the nineties in order to get a green Toucan Sam themed wristwatch, with my mom’s guidance. From there it was Fossil watches in junior high and trying to get my dad to let me borrow his Citizen after high school. He had bought it from a duty-free shop in St. Maarten on a family trip, and this is probably the first time that I recall associating sentimentality with a wristwatch.
For about 10 years after graduating high school in 2006, I was totally oblivious to watches. I recall my brother purchasing a Yobokies-modified Seiko 5 just prior to a family trip to Alaska in 2015, and this is part of what re-sparked my interest.
Around the same time, I was nearing the completion of my undergraduate degree and was looking for a watch, which my parents were generously gifting me to mark the accomplishment. Having virtually no concept of what I was doing, but being entirely sold on the elaborate history of the Rolex Explorer 1016, I ended up with a Zeno Explorer. I realize now that homage watches are highly polarizing in the community, but I was blown away by it and wore it faithfully every day.
In 2017, my grandfather was ill with terminal cancer. It was a tough time for my family and I, but I listened intently to many of his stories, as he was always willing to share. We discussed his time serving in Vietnam and he told me of the watch he wore while overseas. When he was drafted , he wore a Bulova, which he related promptly flooded in the
rain-laden jungles of Vietnam. Shortly after this total failure, he was able to pick up a gold Seiko with day/date function at the PX. It served him admirably throughout his time with the 101st Airborne division, and long after. He said he wanted me to have the watch before his passing. Unfortunately, I was never able to locate it, but feel immeasurably fortunate to have had the time to speak with him. Lesson learned; if a Seiko was rugged enough for my Green Beret grandfather, it could absolutely handle anything my life had to throw at me.
Fast forward a couple years and I have bought and sold many watches. I have spent countless hours on auction sites and forums learning and cataloging information. I have driven my wife crazy with constant talk and speculation about a world she has zero interest in. In order to spare my wife (and countless others), I pivoted and began writing as both a creative outlet and a way to "talk" about watches without driving folks crazy.
Since then I have had the honor of writing a couple editorial pieces for Gear Patrol. I had the privilege of working with the superstars of horological journalism over at Hodinkee when they wrote an article about my Seiko 6306. That article even led me to draft a piece for The Antarctican Society’s quarterly journal. They said that this was the first time, since the formation of the society in 1960, that a watch was featured in their newsletter. Through the research of these watches I have corresponded with aquanauts, submariners, Antarctic explorers, scientists and everything in-between.
How is that for an origin story? No gamma radiation or radioactive spider bites involved. This does, however, bring us back to modern day. I now have a somewhat stable collection of watches, a better understanding of what I like to look for in a piece, and a desire to continue to unearth the stories behind some of the more enigmatic pieces that I come across. I am looking forward to sharing my first piece with you in the near future. Keep an eye on the site or on instagram @thewristorian for sneak peeks and new article announcements.