Seeing as summer has quietly come to an end, we decided to close it with a last minute salute to an unlikely American classic. The T-shirt, while not usually finding itself at the sartorial winners podium, has a fairly young history. We won’t concern ourselves with the uncertainties of said history, such as its first recorded use, an already greatly debated question. We will however concern ourselves with its emergence as an acceptable form of casual garb not limited to the barracks.
After it’s introduction in the Spanish-American war, the T-shirt found itself exclusively used as a form of underwear for soldiers. Through trickle down it became accepted in American society as a way to keep a gentleman from sweating through those old button downs and oxfords. It wasn’t until WWII, that American GI’s on the European war front, observed both civilians and European soldiers using the t-shirt as a form of casual wear.
Confirming the suspicions and many whispers regarding the illegitimacy of the Timex/JCREW Military watch, comes Hodinkee to confirm the claims. You are sure to see them virtually everywhere you go – a clean brush grade steel case with the Arabic numerals on a NATO nylon band. Not a bad look, a solid nod to function over aesthetic, and overall a clean sharp looking watch. However, it is the basis behind the aesthetic that has watch enthusiasts raising their brow.
While JCREW sets the watch in a WWII context by advertising its origins from that of a 1940s military watch produced by Timex, that reality is a little further from the truth. Or 40 years from the truth. It seems the watch was not inspired by any timepiece in existence at the time, but but by a design Timex pitched to the military in the 1980s, and was consequently never picked up. Still a functional and clever design, but nonetheless one carried out in nothing more than good ole’ American plastic – intended to be disposable. Surprisingly, its elusiveness has caused it to become a bit of a relic among watch collectors.