After the success of our Mother’s Day stories this past May, we figured it was time to let the dads of the HODINKEE community get their time in the sun, too. We reached out to readers, writers, and enthusiasts far and wide to hear how fatherhood and watches intersect in their daily lives. Read on for some lovely little stories – and add yours in the comments below and we might feature it later this week.
Christopher Perry, Twinsburg, Ohio
One positive of the Pandemic is that we were fortunate to spend more time with our children than ever before. We know each other better now. One thing they’ve taken notice of is my watch collection. They like to tap the Mickey Mouse on my Apple Watch and click the light on my Casio G-Shock. But for several reasons, my go-to piece for dad-duty is the Rolex Datejust (116233). It was handed down to me by my late uncle and Godfather, a man I love and respect. And, if I’m being honest, a man I wish I knew better. The watch, when I received it, was equipped with a two-tone jubilee bracelet. And while endlessly gorgeous, it just wasn’t my style, as I didn’t feel comfortable wearing something so flashy on a daily basis. So, I swapped the bracelet for a leather band from another piece in my collection. Since then, I’ve worn it daily while working from home and hanging with my kids.
Through the pandemic, the Rolex has been a daily reminder to live the life that I want to live. A life that my children can be proud of. A life like my uncle lived. Finally, to my pops: Happy Father’s Day.
Kwame Molden, Charlotte, North Carolina
In 2019, I was awaiting the birth of my youngest daughter and wrestling with ideas on how to take my emerging watch company, SPGBK Watches, to the “next level.” Our growth was steady but the indirect pressure of having another child gave me that “now or never” drive to scale. While riding the light rail into uptown Charlotte, I revisited a thought I had years ago about releasing a collection of watches that were so colorful and impactful that it would almost be the feature of your outfit (like a brand-new pair of cool shoes).
The thought of my youngest daughter’s birth triggered me to move forward and led to the launch of our now-infamous “Pine Forest” watch that is completely neon green with our SPGBK logo(s). This watch helped catapult our company to where it is today, and was released the same week as my daughter’s birth. The Pine Forest will always hold a special place in my heart because of what it represents: my passion to succeed for my daughters.
Benjamin Grünwald, Vienna, Austria
My 18-month-old daughter has already picked up on my passion for watches. She sometimes insists that I tie a NATO strap around her wrist, which makes her light up with the prettiest smile! Young parents need sports watches, preferably dive watches. They are robust and resistant to… liquids. Dive bezels also help to time naps and bottle intervals, which is critical in the first six months. They have been called the invaluable tool for the involved parent.
Daniel J. Curtin, Jr., Austin, Texas
I said I’d buy it after law school, but didn’t. Then, when I turned 40, I didn’t. Then, after my family changed forever, I did. My daughter was five and her mom and I had recently split. An odd occasion to mark, but that’s when I got my Submariner.
It’s been a near-constant companion in my fatherhood. I used it to teach my daughter how to tell time, for timing mac and cheese, checking if it’s time for bed, or if we’re late for school, time to head to mom’s, to head out the door for an adventure. Daily tasks and special treats, measured with mostly this one watch.
I’ve been lucky enough to get a few other watches since. But my Submariner, “you know, the one with the crown on it,” as my daughter says, this is my being-dad watch.
Davey Aujero, Brooklyn, New York
In the 3 years that I’ve owned my white-dial Rolex OP 39 I’ve seen a lot of things and done plenty of living life. My wife and I got this watch when we were newly-married, a month after I started working at HODINKEE. Not only did the ceremony go down just a few blocks from the HODINKEE office, but she was also 3 months pregnant with our second daughter. I got the wife, the kid, the new job, and the Rolex all in one year – the quadruple bundle package.
Most people measure life by major milestones or significant trips they’ve taken. Prior to 2020, I was on a streak of traveling non-stop for a good 15 years or so – never on the beaten path or a steady place to call home. Only after going through the year that we all just went through have I learned to get my dopamine hits from the charming simplicity of a routine – like adoring how the three hands faultlessly pass on this watch, or delighting at seeing my daughters grow everyday. I’ve seen their legs outgrow their beds and heard random sounds become words, which then became sassy sentences. Significant milestones happen daily now, and are a lot less complicated. I’ve got the right watch with me for it all.
Pedro Vidal, Brooklyn, New York
This past Thursday, June 10th, my wife woke me up by yelling from the bathroom that her water had broken at 4:30 AM.
At 5:00 AM we were ready to go to the hospital, arriving by 5:30 AM. We were in the room by 6:00, and at 10:40 AM, our son Nicolas was born into this world.
The afternoon on his birth date, one of the nurses came into the room and asked me if I had a watch on in order to time our son’s heartbeat and breathing. At this point, my adrenaline had been rushing and I was quite alert, but the nurse’s question actually caught me off guard. “A watch? Oh yeah, I have a watch on!”
In the midst of rushing from our home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to the hospital on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I somehow remembered to choose a watch to wear to the hospital. Earlier in my wife’s pregnancy, I thought it was time to purchase some classic, cool, grey New Balance 990s, the perfect dad sneaker. With that purchase, I also decided that I needed an equally cool grey watch to wear when out and about with my new little buddy. And thus, I purchased none other than the CasiOak in grey, the G-SHOCK GA2110ET-8A. Not only did it match my dad sneakers, it also had a certain “AP Royal Oak OffShore” air to it. It was rugged and perfect for any task thrown my way, now or in the future – especially this one, since I was worried about the machines in the hospital giving off too strong of a magnetic field for my more delicate, mechanical watches.
A perfect day it was, and the Casio G-Shock was the right tool to guide me through all of the newborn hospital tests, and all the way home to time our new son’s feeding schedule.
Nicholas Federowicz, Arlington Heights, Illinois
Having kids is an adventure – a messy one! My watches are in the trenches with me – playing, wrangling, cleaning, doing just about everything. My Explorer II and I have a bond that can never be broken, because we’ve been through a lot together – and have the scratches to prove it!
When I look at my Explorer II at the end of a long day of parenting life and see kid fingerprints on the crystal, food smeared on the bracelet, and an inevitable new scratch, my love for it grows stronger. It’s kinda like the more I do this parenting thing with my wife, the more I love her!
I do feel a sense of pride showing off the battle scars on my Explorer II. But that doesn’t compare to how proud I feel being a dad to our son and daughter. 🙂
Jack Forster, New York, New York
My oldest son is turning 25 this week (time, apparently, passes). He was born at about the same time that I got my first good Swiss wristwatch, which was a used Omega Speedmaster. I wore that watch almost every day for the next five years. I dropped out of professional life, became a stay-at-home parent, learned classical Greek with a tutor, and started my own translation of The Odyssey (which I will never finish, because who am I, Richmond freaking Lattimore?). In its singleness of purpose, and connection to life and death in manned spaceflight, I have never met its like, and never will again. They say in dreams begin responsibilities – the Speedmaster was a dream fulfilled, and a companion in responsibilities I never could have imagined. And yes, I used it to time how long it takes to change a nappy.
Chris Allen, Atlanta, Georgia
Coming onto my second father’s day, it’s fun reflecting how much watches have meant to me as I’ve transitioned into my life as a father. The first watch is a Seiko A159, one of the earlier electric watches. As a child, I can remember my dad fidgeting with it often, showing my sisters and I how it worked, and treating it like delicate china; I was fascinated by the magic numbers and functions on the watch, and was constantly reminded how expensive it was, in case I broke it. Electric watches were pricier than mechanical watches in those days.
The second watch has a story of great generosity; it is a PAM 111 from my father-in-law. He worked and saved his whole life without purchasing much outside of necessity. When he retired, he bought this watch. When he found out that I had scored a job with HODINKEE, he did not hesitate and immediately decided to gift it to me. It also happens to be that Panerai was my favorite brand, even before this gift! This is far and away the most generous gift that I have ever received.
Happy Fathers Day! I hope I can impart my love of gadgets and hopefully, some generosity, to my children.