That was unexpected. My 2021 watch purchase (and my everyday beater watch) is my Vaer field watch. I really love this little watch even though it has had some random time splits over the years.

At the time I bought this watch with two straps. A black rubber strap and a metal strap. Until this week I had never swapped the straps out because I didn’t have the $10 toolkit (sounds insane just writing that down).

With that omission sorted, what I’ve found is that actually I’m not a huge fan of metal straps. Keeps pinching the hairs on my arm. It’s much heavier than the rubber straps, and as my arm contracts and expands throughout the day, it also feels less comfortable.

The issue is that leather straps are water sensitive (and I really have no time for mothering a watch). This means that any future watches will have to get onto a rubber strap. No need for those metal straps I’ve had my eye on for the 2023 purchase.

The ADPT Series 1 is a really well executed, colourful addition to the field-watch-inspired-style on the market.

I typically don’t swoon over luxury watches but OMG does this TUDOR Ranger watch tick all my sensory boxes. From the dark green dial to that pop of red on the tip of the second hand.

Mondaine Helvetica GMT

Turns out I like creating my own yearly traditions. Every year, for the last 6, I have changed the colours of my site (this is the first year that the design was also changed, more on that in a future post).

Every year, for the last 3 years I buy a new watch. These are not crazy priced watches, by any stretch of the imagination, but modestly priced watches with a function . The collection grows steadily and I get to spend a good amount of time enjoying what I purchased.

For a great part of the year I was sure my yearly purchase was going to be a red dialed Orient Kamasu. Then I was convinced that it was going to be a blue faced automatic watch of some description. I was seesawing between a Christopher Ward Sealander and a Seiko Baby Alpinist. Honestly I can think of any number of others things I can spend $1000 on - maybe in the far and distant future.

Alas, like last year (when I opted for a Vaer Field watch), I went for a brand I was aware of but the cost and function won me over. In this case a Mondaine Helvetica GMT. Moving to Canada means that my parents are in a completely different timezone. Sometimes I do the mental arithmetic needed, sometimes I pull out my phone and check out World Clock (one of my favourite apps that has an excellent use case of haptic feedback). I wasn’t looking for a GMT, but when I saw it, I thought this might actually come in a little handy, glance down, what time is it in Europe/Middle East? Got it.

I’d never seen this particular model before - although I do not pay a great deal of attention to what Mondaine have been up to. Obviously I loved the Erik Spiekermann designed watch faces but this one hit all the right notes for me, except of course it’s not an automatic. I think this is another functional watch for me to enjoy.

Its not every day that two of my favourite interests are combined, watches and coffee. This Brew Watches Metric Retro has so many awesome details (beyond the coffee bean logo on the dial and case back). Only bad thing is the fact you can’t buy one right now.

Purchases for 2021

I don’t typically do this, but I thought it would be useful to consider the major items I bought this year. Since moving to Denmark I am increasingly more aware of the purchases we make, because frankly they are limited compared to our materialistic lifestyle in Dubai.

Røde microphone

This was the first piece of electronics I bought this year. Excellent build quality. Great size. I never used it beyond a couple of test files. This isn’t to say that I won’t, just that I didn’t incorporate this into my life in 2022. In 2022 I would like to release a single episode at least once a month.

Vaer Watch

While not electronics, this was the first major purchase of the year. I have decided that I want to generally pace my watch buying to a single timepiece a year. This is a marathon not a sprint. The intention is to slowly build up my collection with purpose. While this watch does not have the heritage of many other watch brands, what I liked about it is that it fit into my yearly sub-theme, which is trying to get sensible defaults in place.

AOC screen

For the start of the pandemic I was using my little laptop screen as my primary device. There was a beauty to basically closing my laptop screen at the end of the week, leaving my desk clean for anything I wanted to do. When it became clear that we are in this for a while longer, I bought myself the largest screen that I thought would be compatible in our tiny little apartment. Its a 4K job. While nowhere near the density of my iPad Pro, it offers a huge step forward from everything work provides, while also setting me up nicely for one of my primarily purchases for next year.

Kindle Paperwhite

This was a replacement after 8 years with the previous model. A real upgrade. Glad that I waited as long as I did for this upgrade. At this rate I will get the next one at the end of 2029.

Soundcore Q30 earphones

This is a downgrade from my Sony WX1000, except they are not really. They function excellently, they just don’t feel premium, because they are not. I bought these because I also got the next item as a replacement. These lasted me a hair under 4 years. The issue was a bit of plastic. Tried to fix it but alas it had to be replaced. At 1/3 the price of the WX1000s, my thinking is that as long as these current ones last over 1.5 years then I am winning.

Jabra Elite 75T

Last year I lost one earbud. After many months of looking at the alternative, I decide to bite the bullet and re-order these. What I realised is that the case is super important. The overall design and how this thing fits into your ear is super important. The noise cancelling is super important. Jabra hits all of these at a reasonable price (when compared to the alternatives).

Ikea Modular Couch

We tried to keep using the makeshift Ikea day bed we brought with us from Dubai. It lasted a little under 2 years. It has been a wonderful addition to our living space and adding the lounge section was essential.

Babboe Cargo Curve

We went native with this one and got ourselves a cargo bike. When in Denmark and all that. This is probably Ryan’s favourite thing in the world. He loves vehicles and I can’t wait to use it in the spring and summer to take them all over the city.

Looking at the coming year, the three items I am looking at buying is a Mac Mini, the next watch (looking closely at the Seiko SPB157) and possibly an ivory Pro Gear. Of course I imagine there will be some unscheduled items I will be forced to replace…

2 Micro Brand Watch Releases

As I dip my toes into the world of watches, I have decided to play around in the micro brand side of things and slowly move into more expensive options as I build my collection. There are two brands that seemingly have cornered this market as far as I’m concerned with their offerings are Vaer and Sternglas. What’s great about both is that they are not targeting the same styles, however they are approaching things in a very similar manner. One is based in the U.S and the other in Germany and both released a watch this week.

The interesting things relating to watch materials and colours are happening in the micro brand space. These new manufacturers do not have heritage to rely upon and so they have to provide a compelling reason to buy them over more established brands (that are likely to be here, 10, 20 years from now). These two brands don’t skimp on the specifications and have stayed true to their chosen design aesthetic.


Sternglas has just released the Modesto, a very enticing watch with the option of a very simple black or white dial design. This naturally appeals to me on several levels, however if I think their very first idea, the Naos a better distillation of what they are good at.


I am definitely not on the market for another Vaer watch (considering I just got one a month ago), but this is a real beauty. The D4 is their entry model dive watch. What I love about these dive watches is how the naming directly relates to their faces. I would have loved a Tropic version of the D4, however if I was to go for one of these D4s it would be the Atlantic version.

So finally got an upgrade to my Swatch. While I do love that little thing, this watch from Vaer encapsulates what I have been looking for in an everyday watch. Have a longer thing to write (or maybe even talk about) soon. The tldr: its an excellent upgrade to a Timex Expedition.

First scratch on the swatch. Totally forgot that this was a thing for watch wearers. Quick search online reveals that Polywatch might be the perfect solution for this type of thing. Imagine I will be using the hell out of this thing.

It took me weeks. It got to the point that Yasmine was sick and tired of me looking at watch websites. Endlessly navigating between different styles, then checking them out on YouTube in the hope that I would be convinced. It didn’t all finally fall into place until this morning. A watch I may have looked at before in passing.

For weeks now I have been trending towards the Certina DS-8, a more beautiful and understated timepiece you probably are unlikely to find. My problem with it wasn’t the price, it was the very fact of its appeal. It was steel (and there had heft) it was large enough to make it presence felt. I went for utility instead.

The Swatch Skinera offers me the function over form that I was desperately seeking.

⌚ The latest iteration of Mondaine’s smart watch concept is a solid design iteration on the previous model (the dial at the bottom always looked cramped). Definitely goes onto the same wantlist as the Erik Spiekermann editions I have coveted for a while.