A few weeks ago, I wrote about my A.L.I.C.E Pack - a vintage 1969 military issue rucksack that, since its retirement from my childhood "Army" games, has been repurposed into an excellent camera bag, and an even better travel companion. It's one of those possessions that sits comfortably in the "longer-you-have-it-the-better-it-gets" category. Beyond my A.L.I.C.E. Pack, though, I've actually accumulated a pretty extensive collection of clothing, accessories and other personal items that fit this bill.
Ripped Levis, worn-out shirts, battered shoes... the list goes on. Take the ISAIA Shirt you see me wearing below, as an example. The cuffs might be worn through, but I've earned those tears... It will be quite a while before I part with them. The same goes for my BARBANERA Gatsby lace-ups (also pictured below): they are beaten, broken and scuffed. As Sergio Guardì (one of the creators of the brand) described, they have "soul." For me, that makes them the best pair of shoes I've ever owned...
You see, I'm of the conviction that every product, beyond it's own DNA, is like a blank canvas. A true masterpiece emerges when you stop treating it with white gloves and fearlessly break it in over time, until you can wear it with ease and comfort... and not the other way around.
This is especially true of my watch. It's an OMEGA Speedmaster and was the most expensive thing I'd ever bought for myself at the time - a signpost on my path to adulthood. When shopping around, I wanted a watch with heritage - something that would accompany me on my adventures to the Moon and back (figuratively speaking, of course). This historic chronograph, which Buzz Aldrin took to the Moon (literally) seemed to be an appropriate choice.
There was one problem, though. I had a hard time making it my own. After two years of wearing it almost every day, and being able to account for nearly every scratch around its bezel, the watch still felt more like it was Omega's than it was my own. The issue came down to the bracelet. It felt bulky, and the polished links made it look more like jewelry than the tool that I wanted my watch to be.
A few weeks ago, I decided to take action and try a nylon NATO strap on for size (I ordered it from HODINKEE). In no time, the watch finally joined ranks with my A.L.I.C.E. pack, my favorite ISAIA shirt and my Barbanera's. It now looks like the watch that I always wanted, and not like the watch OMEGA told me I should have.
I'm actually thinking about riding this wave further and commissioning a custom watch strap from THIS AWESOME LEATHERSMITH that I met in Rome... You can be sure that I'll keep you informed of further developments.