I am not going to pretend I’m some kind of an expert on watches. I like watches. I enjoy wearing them. I enjoy reading about them, looking at photos, and even listening to podcasts about them. But I’m not even remotely an expert; I’m barely an aficionado. Last year was a good year for me financially. The last nice watch I purchased was back in 2007 or 2008. It was a Longines Hydroconquest automatic watch with a sapphire crystal, black face, and stainless steel bracelet. It’s been my workhorse for the last several years. I got married wearing it. I had it on when my daughter was born. I love it. But it was time for something new. Again, it was a good year by my standards, and I wanted to treat myself. I was not prepared to spend thousands of dollars on an Omega or even another Longines, and was curious about some of the new American micro-brands I’d seen reviewed online and in print. I was also going through some hometown withdrawal. I wanted to connect myself to New York in any way I could. I read about the brand Carpenter Watches on Gear Patrol. They had a watch called The Brooklyn Gent. I was intrigued.
Carpenter is a fairly young company. They released their first watch, The Brooklyn Field in 2015 online. The following year they opened a shop in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, followed by a shop in Chelsea two years later. In 2018 they released the Brooklyn Gent, and a year later I purchased mine. The Gent comes in eighteen different color and material combinations. Black or white face, gold or steel case, black leather, black leather embossed alligator, brown leather or alligator, or stainless steel bracelet. The movement is SWISS ETA 2824-2 25 JEWEL AUTOMATIC MOVEMENT. It has 38mm stainless steel case, a screw-down crown, and an acrylic crystal. I was particularly drawn to the version with the black face, stainless case, and brown leather strap. It’s a perfect combination of refined style and practicality, and complements my style of dress. It also reminds me of a particular IWC watch I saw recently, but at a fraction of the price.
I also love the open “window” on the underside of the watch which in addition to showing me the inner workings of the watch, also has my watch’s unique number 073/250. Watch #73 of 250 made. I enjoy that about it. The watch also came with a strap changing tool, and in a beautiful wooden box with a hand written note from the company’s founder thanking me for my purchase – a very nice touch.
I’m glad I made this purchase before the economy ground to a halt with the onslaught of COVID-19. I may not have done it otherwise. This watch is priced at $725. Their original design, The Brooklyn Field is priced at $595. Neither is cheap, but in the world of watches they are both priced very reasonably for the quality of the watch you are getting. Per Gear Patrol, “…Carpenter Watches provide a good example of small-brand watchmaking done right.” Personally, I like the fit, function, and style, and it makes me feel like I’m wearing a small piece of the borough I called home for 15 years on my wrist.
I love watches, and highly doubt this will be my last watch purchase. I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to purchase a Patek Philippe, but I would certainly love to acquire a classic gold tank watch, and perhaps pick up another Longines. But that’s all for another time.