Photograph: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte
Being a watch writer can sometimes feel like being a private eye: poring over grainy images from deep corners of the internet, examining reference material with a magnifying glass, standing in the shadows for a surreptitious glance at someone’s wrist during a red carpet ceremony. Which is why Will Ferrell is such a blessing. The comedy icon does watch geeks everywhere a service by exposing his wrist during every photo op. This week at the Critics Choice Awards, Ferrell dutifully lifted the cuff of his velvet tuxedo to display…a special-edition Timex Camper.
Cool! While everyone else was flaunting their Omegas, Cartiers, IWCs, and Roger Dubois, our favorite Stepbrother sprung for a field watch on a fabric strap. The particular model in question, a Japan-only collaboration between Timex and Abu Garcia, a Swedish-founded fishing supply company, is housed in a bead-blasted 36mm stainless steel case with a black dial, lumed Arabic indices, and a red baton handset. Powered by a quartz movement and paired to a black fabric strap, its caseback features the Swedish Royal Warrant crest.
The collaboration’s backstory actually goes deeper: Abu Garcia was founded as a watch company, Halda, which produced pocket watches from the late 19th century through the early 21st. Following the decrease in demand for pocket watches during and after the First World War, Halda began producing typewriters as well as taxi meters, which were used in London cabs. (Hemingway seems to have used a Halda later in his career.) This parent company split into several distinct companies after 1918, of which the modern Abu Garcia—the fishing equipment company—is one. (“Aktiebolaget Urfabriken” became “ABU”—“Urfabriken” being something akin to “watch manufacturer.”)
Abu Garcia Collaboration 36mm Original Camper Watch
Timex, of course, makes gobs and gobs of inexpensive Camper field watches, many of which can be found at clothiers and retailers such as J.Crew and Eastern Mountain Sports. (In fact, it could be argued that the J.Crew-Timex connection is partially responsible for renewing interest in wristwatches amongst a certain subset of city-dwelling millennials, but that’s a subject for another piece.)
How did a relatively obscure one end up on the wrist of one of the world’s most successful comedians? One good guess: Ferrell’s wife is Swedish, and his family spends plenty of time in Abu Garcia’s home base, so it tracks that he would’ve come across one of these at some point. Plus, the idea of a man who owns a Zenith El Primero, an Oris ProPilot X 400, and plenty of Rolexes strapping on a ~$100 quartz field watch made for fishing aficionados feels…well, perfect. One could easily imagine it keeping dutiful time while he’s being crushed by John C. Reily in “so many activities.”
Originally Appeared on GQ