The right preparation, the right gear to be prepared, safe…and law abiding is something deeply ingrained for me. I spent over a decade in scouting as a kid, and it certainly drilled “Be Prepared” deep into my brain. Couple that with a Dad adamant in encouraging me to “do it well, do it once” and it’s unsurprising that preparedness has carried over as a foundational part of my mindset. I’m the guy with a bin in the trunk of each of my vehicles with gear for emergencies ranging from being stuck in a snowbank in February to stranded in 90 degree heat and in need of koozie. The right tools make anything better. That’s probably why I’m drawn intrinsically to tool watches, I appreciate the function-first perspective. It helps me do things better. I quite frankly have little need or patience for gear that needs attention in excess of the functionality it brings to the table.
All that said, it’s why something like Tool/Kit is such a natural fit in my eyes. Finding the right combination of EDC (Everyday Carry to those who have remained blissfully unaware) that not only works together, but fits a purpose. Everyday Carry is different for everyone and often strongly informed (or should be) by the situation one finds themselves in. What you might carry to your siblings nuptials probably diverging quite a bit from a 3 day traverse hike. For Toolkit we’ll be examining different combinations of EDC that fit together both functionally and aesthetically. Because if you’ve got function covered, you might as well look good doing it too.
For this our first Tool/Kit, we started where I always do, the watch. In this case, the Lorier Neptune Series III, Lorier’s “quintessential dive watch”. The Neptune is a sleek and minimalist take on a vintage influenced diver watch. Clocking in at 39mm case width and with a domed Hesalite Crystal (aka acrylic) it evokes the early days of sport diving and the watches needed by those aquatic pioneers. With water resistance to 200m means it’s more than sufficient for any time in the water for all but the most extreme divers even today. The version we have sports the gilt dial and hand set, something only beginning to reemerge on dive watches in the last decade or so. It catches the light beautifully and brings a further refinement to the Neptune. Personally I wouldn’t think twice wearing it in a black tie situation.
That more refined presentation of the gilt Neptune informed the other selections for this Tool/Kit. Items that could match the functional chops of a 200m dive watch, but look correct in a nice leather bedside valet.
Pioneer Carry’s Molecule Cardholder felt the appropriate way to carry the needed credit cards and cash. The three pocket card case is constructed from a sleek yet incredibly strong 10XD nylon fabric that merges the performance of technical fabrics with the wear in and forming normally seen in leather.
Writing is something far more enjoyable with a good pen than with any garden variety ball point. It’s just better, and going back once you’ve started writing with one feels terrible. I cued off of the gilt dial and hands of the Neptune and went with Tactile Turn’s Side Click Pen in Bronze. It aligns color wise and also carries the heft of a different era. The turning on the pen gives not only aesthetic texture, but positive grip in the hand. I found it also doubles quite nicely as a fidget widget with its entrancing click.
A pocket knife is endlessly handy, and frankly my pockets feel empty without one. They can often either feel robust yet on the tacticool side of things though, or more lifestyle friendly, but lacking in quality. The James Brand has done a great job in filling this void in the market in recent years with well designed knives that are also built to be used hard. Their Ellis in Primer grey was the perfect edged pairing to the Neptune. The polished blade and locking liner with the flat grey G10 scales reflect the combination of brush and polished surfaces of the dive watch. A screwdriver and scraper on the Ellis only makes it more handy when cutting isn’t the only need.
Lastly, was a James Brand Melville to carry my keys. Clearly taking influence from carabiners as key chains, the Melville slims it down to the necessities and adds in a bottle opener. The black aluminum version with white branding felt very much aligned with the black aluminum bezel insert on the 120 click uni-directional bezel of the Neptune.
No gear is fully vetted until it’s been put to use though and with a dive watch water pursuits are the only way to go. The days are getting pretty short here in Northern New England with the sun setting close to 4PM, so a sunset paddleboard session is reserved only for weekends. Temperatures below freezing in the air and sub-50 degrees in the water meant that I’d need to be wearing fairly thick neoprene to be both comfortable and safe. A 4/3 wetsuit adds 3mm in all directions to one’s wrist so I always opt for a NATO strap in that instance. I can crank it down and also know that should a springbar fail, that the pass through strap will keep the watch from being lost forever. Having had a couple spring bars let go on me over the years I’m definitely strongly in the camp that a passthrough is worth it. The Neptune I was testing came with a beautifully woven olive and navy strap that brought out the gilt of the vintage inspired dial and hands and looked nice with the bronze Tactile Turn pen.
There are three rivers that run through my town. The history around them is palpable as you paddle the water. With the sun dipping low, I used the elapsed time bezel to keep track of my turnaround time to be back before dark. The water catches the remaining rays of the day, and on a calm day mirrors it back like a rorschach. Time on the water in any season is time well spent, but in the cold months it comes with a special privilege as most stay away, put off by the cold. Yet again, the right tools make the job that much easier, or not brutally cold. As the sun drops below the tall pines the experience feels serene, even a bit decadent. It’s time to head home.
Tool/Kit is Worn & Wound’s column dedicated to pairing everyday carry items with distinctive watches and adventurous activities.