Welcome to Always On Time, where we’re always there when you call, with the most interesting new watches in the world.
The watch: Marathon Watch Company X J.Crew Pilot’s Navigator Date
The single best thing about this watch: it’s a military-grade watch…available at your local mall.
The backstory: Marathon’s Pilot Navigator Date watch was born to solve a problem. In 1986, the troops at Kelly Air Force Base needed a watch that could be used by pilots and parachuters. In turn, Marathon delivered a watch that was easy to read, immune to fluctuating temperatures, and able to function at extreme altitudes. The watch is now being sent on another rescue mission: Marathon is partnering with the folks at J.Crew for a more office-friendly version of their Pilot’s Navigator Date. J.Crew filed for bankruptcy in 2020 early during the pandemic and its comeback effort is aimed at elevating the style at the mall brand. That started with bringing in a more daring designer, in Noah’s Brendon Babenzien, to lead that charge. While the Babenzien era hasn’t officially started at J.Crew yet, think of this watch as a nice start to this new chapter.
The J.Crew version of the watch prioritizes handsomeness as much as utility. While the traditional version features easy-to-read numerals (and the corresponding hour in military time) on the dial, J.Crew traded those out for diver-style dots and batons. That choice goes a long way toward matching modern preferences, even if it makes it harder to tell the time while parachuting. Otherwise, the watch still maintains many of its hard-wearing qualities. The case is made of lightweight fibershell, and is designed to be resistant to both sweat and shocks. And we can’t forget that handsome fabric strap in matching blue tones—it would look great with a suit. Maybe from J.Crew?
The J.Crew touch: Once upon a time, everything J.Crew touched seemed to turn into menswear gold, starting with its signature Ludlow suit. Around the Ludlow orbited the items J.Crew carefully selected to fill out your wardrobe: the jackets it made with Barbour, or the shoes from New Balance and Nike you needed to fully morph into Boardroom to Bar Man. The new watch with Marathon attempts to recapture some of that magic by taking an extreme military timepiece, chilling it out, and remaking it in the brand’s style. As far as wardrobe building blocks go, you could do worse than this sub-$500 timepiece.
Where and when to buy it: The Marathon Watch Company X J.Crew Pilot’s Navigator Date is available at J.Crew’s website now.