Anyone who is remotely into watches has a “daily driver.” This is the watch you reach for every-damn-day. It’s a Tuesday… grab my go-to off the nightstand. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing today… I’ll take the daily, please.
My daily driver is a Hamilton Khaki King 2. It has a super classic style harkening back to World War 2 military watches, but this one is dressed up just enough to toe that ever important line of over-the-top vs. not-enough.
Like just about every item I’ve ever purchased, I researched and agonized over the decision for far too long.
This would be my first Swiss-made watch and I made it into a really big deal in my head – hence the agonizing.
Do I get a leather strap or metal link? Light or dark face? Do I like the day-date function or do I prefer a simpler aesthetic?
After finally sorting through these questions (and many others), I settled on this Hamilton piece.
It had a metal bracelet and a dark face –
Each of these characteristics would make the watch easier to dress up or down, which is always a worthwhile question to resolve when finding your daily driver. It needs to work with most of what you wear and most of what you do on a daily basis.
It had a Swiss automatic movement –
I really wanted an automatic movement. No batteries, just a bunch of gears and a spring working together to rotate a hand around a dial at a constant rate. I don’t really have an engineering mind, so the idea that someone had created such an intricate and useful tool in such a small package was mind-blowing and inspiring to me. This movement in particular wasn’t absolutely spectacular, but when a country has as long of a history manufacturing something as Switzerland does with watches, even the basic models are impressive. For any long-term purchase, the materials and workmanship matter. Just like cheap clothes look good in the store and slowly deteriorate into garbage, a cheap watch will look shiny on the outside, but the insides will not make the trip.
It was the right price-point –
This might be the most important factor when making your daily driver purchase. I didn’t have the money to justify purchasing a Rolex as my go-to watch, and even if I could have afforded one at all, I would have been wary
of using it every day. It would have been far enough out of my price point that it would
be a special occasion watch. I would treat
it more like an investment, than a tool. But a daily driver, by definition, should be a tool. It’s the thing you use to tell time and to give your daily style a bump. That’s not too much to ask of a watch, but you have to be comfortable enough with it to let it do its thing. This means wearing it. Use it regularly. You will only be able to do this when you are okay if you twist it, pull it, scratch it, bop it from time to time.
Is this watch perfect? Nope. It’ll stop every now and then without reason, causing me to pull out my phone and re-set it based on a digital clock (a pet peeve of mine).
It has loads of scratches and scrapes from any number of knocks it has taken over the last few years. It doesn’t have a pedigree that will impress anyone that recognizes what it is.
But it is my daily driver and I have worn it just about every day since I bought it. It feels at home on my wrist and I feel like something is out of place when I forget it on my nightstand. If I saved it for special occasions and really tried hard to keep it in pristine condition, I wouldn’t have the same feelings about it.
It is just a watch, a tool, a thing. Despite marketer’s best efforts, it is not imbued with any special meaning right out of the box. The only meaning housed in this timepiece is that which it derives from my lived experience with it.
I hope to expand my watch collection in time, but I have a hunch that my favorite watch will always be the one that I wear as my daily driver.