My $201k watch collection.
I “finally” retired my Tudor Black Bay after just 3 short years. It had been used as intended- a tool watch worn in Mexico, Mali, Somalia, and Afghanistan. It was on my wrist for some significant life events, like my daughter being born, surviving a hostile corporate takeover, and shutting down bases in Afghanistan. I jokingly call it my $200k watch because it was gifted to me by someone who cost me about that much in bad business dealings. For a long time, I wore it to remind me of the knife I still felt in my back from that relationship. When I finally “retired it,” I merely relegated it to stateside duty.
Now that I had a kiddo, I wanted to be able to pass it on to her at some point. I had worn that watch through enough life events and deployments that it had earned the right. I love that Tudor for a number of reasons- but mostly its utility. It was reliable as a hammer despite wearing it breaching, surfing overhead waves, and bouncing around for countless miles in a Land Cruiser, smacking against my Geissele rifle strapped to the door with bungee cords.
When it came time to replace it, I obsessed for hours. Do I get another Tudor? No. I already have one. Is it time for a real Rolex? No, I don’t feel like I’ve made it quite that far yet, and it’s too pretentious. What about a throwback to the legendary advisors of Vietnam- a Raider Rolex?
Not many people know that MACV-SOG was issued Seiko field watches. Knowing this and knowing the legendary tool watch status of the Seiko, I started researching models.
The Seiko MAS 62 remakes had just come out and caught my eye. At a thousand bucks, the watch didn’t break the bank. It could be worn with a suit and was tough enough (allegedly) to wear on combat operations. I went with the SPB147- which comes with a resin band. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a fan of wearing a NATO strap and resin bands break, but I was in luck- Seiko made a stainless band for the same watch in a different colorway. When I bought the watch, I also ordered the band.
Before I could get the stainless bracelet on, I was already wearing the watch at a two-week designated marksman course- a solid test for the watch out of the gate. Long days and lots of rounds were shot, and I kept note of how far out of time it got daily. You’re supposed to take a watch off to sleep, but that’s a luxury I’ve never had in my professions. Either living in places, I would need to be ready to go quickly from sleeping to fighting or just traveling and not wanting to forget my watch on a hotel nightstand.
After wearing it on one last “deployment” before hanging up that life, I decided the Seiko is a long-term tool watch I’ve worn most of the last two years. It’s a little scratched and banged up, but it’s got history with me and a story to tell.