In Watch of the Week, we invite HODINKEE staffers and friends to explain why they love a certain watch. This week’s columnist is Zachary Story. Story works as director of marketing at Core Club – a private club in New York – for over a year now, and holds the establishment close to his heart as it was a special place for his late father. Today, he’s written a story about a Rolex Submariner that honors his dad.
This is my father’s watch. He got it in 2010. I believe it’s a 2008 version of a Rolex Submariner. It was given to him by a very close friend, a watch dealer in Milan. The aftermarket black coating is the same color that’s used on the Italian military’s Beretta rifles. I’m a novice watch collector; I own a Tudor Black Bay, a Cartier Santos, and a TAG Heuer Formula One. But to me, this watch is particularly special. It really tells a story about the relationship my father and I had. He died last year from a heart attack.
To say that I admired him would be a massive understatement. He was my father, he was my brother, and he was my friend. He just meant the world to me. I could tell him anything. He was the editor-in-chief of Departures for 17 years. He grew up in Oklahoma City, and worked his ass off to get out of Oklahoma.
His upbringing was something out of a Mark Twain novel, growing up in OKC in the ’50s and ’60s. And even though I grew up in New York, I wanted to experience that myself – so I went to school in Oklahoma at OU.
I now work at the Core Club, where I started shortly after my father passed away. This place was very important to him. He began consulting for the brand in 2007, back when he weighed 230 pounds. The CEO and founder, Jennie Enterprise, introduced him to a trainer who she said would transform his life. My father lost 50 pounds and was a new man. This institution changed who he was as a person in such a profound way.
I have many memories of my dad and his Submariner. I remember this watch on his wrist when we were traveling. He traveled a lot given what he did for a living – editing a travel and lifestyle magazine. My memories are from the road and I got to accompany him to places like Milan or somewhere as exotic as South Africa or Tanzania. When we traveled for whatever reason, the watch really stuck with me more. He would always wear it.
And he wore it into the ground, despite only having it for 10 years. He also had a Chanel J12 but really, it was this one – this was his primary timepiece that he really wore, that he appreciated, and that he loved. I remember always tapping him on the shoulder and saying “For the love of God, do not lose this watch because I would love to wear it myself one day.” He was the king of losing things – very forgetful. His passing happened way sooner than I anticipated. And when it did, my mother wasn’t particularly interested in the watch.
I started wearing it immediately. It’s kind of surreal because the watch was such a staple of his day-to-day. To then be wearing it myself was like a passing of the torch. Now I’m the one wearing it each day.
Accepting his heirloom felt like the dawning of a new chapter in my life, knowing that I am now out here in the world by myself. I don’t have him to lean on for advice anymore. This is daunting. I now have to be more independent and more self-reliant. When I look at this watch, I remember him but it’s also a reminder of the independent man that I’ve become.
This watch is never something I will ever consider trading in or selling. The funny thing is, if I saw it next to a GMT and a few other Submariners, I would pick this exact one 10 times out of 10. It’s so unique, it’s so different. It’s not something you see every day and – like my father – it was something that was kind of out of the box, out of the ordinary. I find that the typical Submariner is rather ubiquitous in watch culture now. This black one is unique.
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