What I like: fine watches, fine shoes and fine bonsai. Quasi-legal note: I do not own most of the photos I post. I hope you can forgive me.
#menswear is dead. Long live #menswear.
If you’re reading this you’ve likely seen, or at least heard about, Tumblr’s 2013 list of #menswear’s greatest hits. If you haven’t, you are a better person than me and likely are living a more-fulfilled life. Tumblr’s 2013 #menswear year-in-review is comprised of pictures featuring the “#menswear tag” that received the most notes.
In typing that description I’m not sure where the expectation lies. However, as someone who has had his fair share of items allowed behind the velvet rope that is the #menswear tag, I can only be so critical. After all, regardless of how inspiring, tasteful or unique my images seem to me, they are, at the end of the day, associated with a tag found on pictures of the Eldridge knot (Did I misspell that? Fuck you.) The real-life equivalent of this is being the most interesting guy to spend six days a week in Starbucks. Some people may recognize you on their morning coffee run, and some people may have interacted with you, but, at the end of the day, you’re mentioned in the same breath as those fledgling failures spending their golden years of self-hate in Starbucks.
It’s not all gloom-and-doom, though. While most of the editorials you’ll read about the #menswear year-in-review will be negative, I welcome it with open arms. I do so because 2013’s top #menswear posts on Tumblr tell me, “It can’t get any worse.” Now, don’t confuse this with “It can only get better.” That would be Ludacris (there’s one for the #menswear crowd). When I say, “It can’t get any worse” I mean it in the way that people talk about a drug addict who’s been booted from rehab for his third time. I say, “It can’t get any worse” because the only natural eventuality from here is death.
In case you hadn’t noticed, #menswear has a tumor the size of a melon growing in its brain. It’s become erratic; a shell of its former self. It used to be fun to take shots, but once you see how sick it has become, your snark is immediately replaced by sadness. “I should have visited more;” “I should have been nicer.” Too late. #menswear is terminal.
In these times of sadness, however, there is renewed hope. The best characteristic of something that ends (whether it is a life, a trend, a relationship, etc.) is that we’ll only remember it fondly. Years from now we’ll be sitting around a fire in the den and an awkward hush will befall the crowd. Someone, in an attempt to stir the group, will tell a funny story about #menswear. “Do you remember the time #menswear thought leather jogging pants were stylish? Man, what a klutz!” People will laugh knowingly with fond, if not somewhat absurd, memories filling their mind.
What they won’t remember, God willing, is what was posted in this year’s roundup. This will likely all be forgotten, like the rough patches in an old fling: When you think of your ex the only things you seem to conjure are your cute inside jokes or those moments of mind-blowing sex. You don’t often remember the time they blacked out and told your friends you write a blog about men’s clothes. Or the constant fights you had over how they weren’t “preppy” enough to date someone of your online fame.
And this will be the fate of #menswear: Remembered fondly not for what it was, but what we thought it could be. While many of us may have teased and snickered at #menswear’s expense, it’s oftentimes harder to lose a foe than a friend; especially when foe is really more of a nemesis. Rest in peace, #menswear. Rather than remembering your taste, we will instead memorialize you by learning from your lack of taste.
This Sunday’s vintage brand is Wittnauer guys.
You can think about the company as the mirror reflection of IWC, where this time a Swiss immigrant sets up a brand and builds it over the years in the USA. The solid point about the brand is their collaboration with explorers (government and private) which later expanded also to the Navy. So there came a point where the brand was automatically associated with aviation, science and exploration , leading to more testing and development collaboration with scientists, aviators and navy.
There was a time the company was also produciing special aviation instruments for the planes. The brand’s “AllProof” model was used by Jimmie Mattern during his attempt to fly around the world and Neil Armstrong on the Gemini 8 mission. Mark this: It was one of the last three contenders to make it to the moon, alongside Rolex Daytona and Omega Speedmaster.
The brand followed a similar curved that we saw many of the now defunct companies as the first generation started to pull out of business. In 1950 it was acquired by Longines and there was a period Longines and Wittnauer supplied the market with models that are quite similar. in 1995 the brand was sold to Bulova.
The bottom line of the story is, Wittnauer is a company with proven track record, solid manufacturing and quality. Their vintage pieces are available on the market for lesser than its peers, which should convince you to have a second glance, next time you see them.
And my personal Wittnauer favorite: the Professional Chronograph. A simple chronograph with a killer big second hand and awesome red bezel: