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Photo by Joe Chase

Have I ever mentioned my weakness for nice wrist watches? Today I confess,  it’s true. My name is Greg and I’m a watch addict. Not as bad as some I know but, honestly, it has more to do with disposable income.

But, the time has come for a new watch. Never mind I already have two watches, a Swiss Army field watch and a stainless steel Tissot chronograph  …but that’s not the issue. I needed a new watch.

Who needs a watch these days you may ask. We have clocks on every device in our lives. Hard to believe but I know people who DON’T WEAR a watch!  For me, in today’s digital world, there is be something comforting in a precision mechanical device that will give you time with a simple glance at your wrist. Not quite a Time Lord
but….

 It’s hard to explain, it’s a “guy-thing” I think, but best explained by the documentary film, Time Machines, by British film maker, James Wills. It’s functional jewellery, a piece of art and precision design but it’s also personal  statement.  

So what goes into making the decision which watch  ….and you can never have just one.

I’ve owned a number of watches since my childhood. Mostly cheap ones,  but a couple of “grown up”  time pieces  over the years. The first was a classic 1970’s era Seiko divers watch. Lasted 15 years before being pronounced unrepairable. Mostly due to ignorance and neglect on my part. The other was an Omega I bought in Florida. Reward after a long hard assignment. That relationship was short lived as it later got destroyed in an accident during a photo shoot on an drill rig.

This new watch would be my daily working watch. As a professional photographer working in harsh environments, remote locations and in heavy industrial sites it would have to stand up heat, cold, water, humidity and the occasional hard knock. It would also get worn mountain biking, sailing and at the beach on those rare days off.  No fashion watches need apply.

I also use the chronograph, rotating bezel and tachymetre functions on my watches on photo shoots and while travelling where coordination and timing
can be, at times, critical. Yes, all those dials and scales on a watch do something useful.

If this wasn’t enough to juggle against the budget one other item came into the decision that had not before and narrowed down the selection significantly; the strap.

I regularly work on offshore oil rigs, supply ships, construction sites, oil refineries and in under ground mines.  More and more safety protocols are now requiring
that people wearing watches must have non-conductive and soft straps of some type. A “soft” strap will break away more safely if your arm gets caught and
there is no chance of conducting current around electrical equipment.

I love retro watch styles so I first looked at leather straps but realized that leather will quickly deteriorate when constantly exposed to the elements. Swiss Army makes some beautiful retro styled watches with leather straps but it became obvious that it was back to the rubber straps of the divers watches for me.

Again I looked at the Swiss Army models but for one reason  or another I didn’t find what that perfect fit.

Another Omega was under consideration when I then found myself at the Tag Heuer display case …and I was smitten. 

Clean design, not ostentatious, tough, comfortable to wear and  with all the working features I wanted.

 Again, I had to move past all the steel bracelet models to find a rubber strap on a Formula 1 Professional. it was a “single post” watch with a bezel and no chrono functions. Beside it was a gorgeous chrono with a high visibility orange face but had a steel strap so I had to take a pass. That was until I was told that I could get a rubber strap from TAG Heuer for this model. 

That sealed the deal. I said, I do.

If your guilty pleasure is great watches be sure to check out Nathan Barnes’  watch blog at
Diamond Design.