Buy: BEAMS on pre-order
Editor’s Notes: I’ll admit, I don’t really know the first thing when it comes to watches. I like reading what passionate collectors have to say about them, though, because there’s I find something inherently appealing about learning from experts, even when it comes to subjects I don’t personally engage with. Japanese watch fanatics are on a different level, of course, and maintain a fascination with affordable watches that’s distinct from the usual Western collector discourse, at least that I’ve been privy to.
Though there are plenty of Rolex aficionados in Japan (not to speak of the fans of Hublot, Omega, Patek Philippe…), there are a vast number of vintage watch collectors throughout the country. This backward-looking ethos boosts the popularity of old-school timepieces, like Timex‘s Camper series.
Readily available at mass-market stores like Urban Research and BEAMS, the Timex Camper is a military watch that’s been reissued plenty of times since gained domestic cult status; although it isn’t the only throwback model that’s in-demand these days, it did inspire a new BEAMS exclusive.
BEAMS frequently requests exclusive timepieces from the likes of Timex, G-SHOCK which it offers alongside vintage models and more advanced Hamiltons and Seikos. BEAMS’ special Camper is of that ethos but utilizes this collaborative opportunity to take the design a step further.
Originally a low-key steel case attached to a cloth strap, the Camper is now a purely stainless steel affair. Retaining the usual 12- and 24-hour dial, the bespoke timepiece features subtle details like a mineral glass crystal, glow-in-the-dark index and hands for heightened visibility, and even an easy-off case that allows the wearer to swap straps without tools. Co-branded embossed on the rear seals the deal.