Travel photographer Mendy Waits has made a name for herself discovering and showcasing small towns and hole-in-the-wall shops around the world. She has a keen eye and an undeniable way of framing these finds in a manner that makes you say out loud: “I want to go to there.”
We had the chance to spend a day in the life of this perceptive photographer and her husband, Cal, as they explored a small cross-section of the Hudson Valley in Upstate NY. They did so in their typical fashion, on their military-inspired motorcycle. But this time, they also had some military-inspired timepieces by IWC along for the ride.
We first met them at their home overlooking the Hudson River. The motorcycle was polished and tuned up for the day’s jam packed itinerary. We had three spots to visit. Mendy made it abundantly clear that when investigating new towns, it’s mandatory to have a timed-out schedule that also leaves room for spontaneous exploration. Keeping us on time today were two of IWC’s latest releases: their bright white IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” for her and their IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Ceratanium® in all-black for him.
It was immediately evident upon seeing these watches with this motorcycle together for the first time, that they were a match made in mil-spec heaven. The Waits’ ride is outfitted with a sidecar. This becomes an ideal platform for Mendy’s brand of travel photography. Since she’s neither boxed in a car, nor hanging from the back of a bike, she’s free to capture images on the go. This panoramic approach to exploration makes travel time just as productive as the time at each destination.
Our initial stop on the itinerary was Morningbird in Kinderhook, NY for Sunday brunch, plus some quick snaps. Mendy is the first to tell you that the key to inspiring would-be travelers is through their taste buds. While Cal is the first to tell you that a willing partner/chauffeur/model is key to success in this particular field.
This pair of IWCs could not have been a better fit for this couple. The white, ceramic-encased Lake Tahoe is bold, confident, and fearless—Mendy is equally as passionate and assertive. While the Ceratanium® is stealthy and subdued. It flies under the radar, much like Cal and his easy-going energy. Once we polished off both pastries and pics, we checked the time and were off to the next destination, Frederic Church’s home, Olana.
Frederic Church was an American painter and the central figure in the Hudson River School of landscape painters, best known for painting large landscapes depicting mountains, waterfalls, and sunsets. Even some lifelong Hudson Valley residents don’t realize you can visit his epic estate. It overlooks the river with stunning views in all directions.
As we snapped a series of landscape and wrist shots, visitors to the site began crowding around to admire both the motorcycle and the pilot’s watches. The vintage military vibes emanating from these objects had an undeniable allure. Some onlookers inquired, while others simply smiled.
After getting schooled by the inspiration of Olana, we were off to the next spot, with some time to spare. Mendy fired off multiple shots from her sidecar perch, while Cal took the road less traveled. Dusty, gravel trails are where this particular motorcycle shines. It’s actually two-wheel drive as a rear differential sends power to both the bike’s rear wheel and the sidecar’s as well.
On the way to our final destination, we saw Mendy glance at the Lake Tahoe’s high-contrast dial. She signaled to us to pull off ahead. This stop wasn’t on the schedule. We rolled into an old industrial factory near the train station on the outskirts of downtown Hudson. It’d been converted into a venue for rock bands and wedding receptions, but today it was the perfect backdrop for some impromptu fashion photography.
Despite the fascinating backdrop, both IWCs were able to command attention. They stood out from across the way and stole the spotlight in the photos. Though designed for maximum legibility in a cockpit, their size and bold layout also give them a tremendous presence in any setting. You can’t help but look at them and clearly see the time.
Onto the final stop. We rolled into downtown Hudson just in time to hit up one of Mendy and Cal’s favorite haunts: Wm. Farmer and Sons Boarding & Barroom. A narrow strip of alleyway tables flanked by ivy on one side provided the perfect amounts of both shade and indirect sun to cool down and capture these watches in the ideal light.
Whether it was the stark white ceramic or the matte black Ceratanium®, each of these watches soaked in the different environments from throughout the day and reflected back their own distinctive personalities. No matter the moment: on the bike, at the bakery, or clutching a camera, this pair of IWC Pilots slipped seamlessly into every setting.