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That Guy

If you’re reading the Everest Journal, you probably have several watches. Maybe dozens. Or you aspire to. If that describes you, you probably have no idea who “That Guy” is.

Well, let me tell you. That Guy belongs to a different generation. In fact, my theory is he’s a dying breed. They’ve broken the mold since they made him.

Because That Guy is the guy who only owns one watch. One.good.watch. It’s not a status symbol. It’s not an accessory. It’s a tool he uses to know the time (and often, the day).

And usually, that watch is a Rolex. Often a GMT-Master.

I met a guy at a flea market a few years ago. I noticed him because he was wearing a Rolex GMT-Master. The Coke variety. I stopped him and asked him about it. He said he’d bought it in the early 1980s and he’d worn it everyday since. He was That Guy.

I met a British photographer at the Swatch Women’s Pro surf contest in San Clemente, CA (Lower Trestles, if you must know) last year. He was wearing a black Submariner. He had worn that watch every day for the past 22 years. He was the guest of Swatch, but he wasn’t about to leave his Rollie in the hotel safe. That's him, up at the top of the page. He was That Guy.

A friend of mine posted a photo on Instagram yesterday. It was an Explorer II, the watch I wrote about last week. Someone had traded the piece in at a local jewelers a few days ago. That Guy had worn it for about forty years and he simply wanted a new watch. He had no use for two watches.

Watch writer Jason Heaton is a friend and mentor of mine. The first time I met him for coffee, he told me of an experience he'd recently had. He’d been in the desert of New Mexico, covering Felix Baumgartner’s parachute jump from the edge of space. But the real story he got was that of another guy covering the jump, a National Geographic producer. Jason had spied the guy in the crowd, wearing a Pepsi GMT similar to the one he was wearing. He wrote about That Guy for Hodinkee.

My Uncle was almost That Guy. He only owned two watches in the second half of his 95 years, both Rolexes.

You don’t run into That Guy often. Like I said, he's a dying bread. But when you meet one, take note. Talk to him. Not just about his watch, but about his life. I guarantee he’ll have plenty to tell.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to become That Guy.

 

-Ed Estlow

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