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May 12, 2015
May 12, 2015
For Shinola’s latest release, we tapped the critical eye of early brand adopter and watch enthusiast, Peter von Panda, for his take on our new Rambler GMT watch.
It was the summer of 1984, and my family was going to trust our newly acquired, wood paneled Dodge Caravan with the longest road trip of our life. We hit the empty highway long before dawn to beat the Detroit rush hour traffic. Our destination was practically every national park along the way to California. Our social network was limited to the people in the car. Our entertainment was the frequent argument or “I Spy” contest. Back then, there was something honest and enlightening about family trips. Airplanes and iPads may make travel less stressful, but as far as those trips that evoke nostalgia, my mind races right back to 1984.
When I heard Shinola was resurrecting a long-forgotten name like “The Rambler,” I immediately envisioned Leave It To Beaver families piling into their economy cars and hitting the open road with smiling faces. That’s a lot of nostalgia that Shinola has conjured up. But, can The Rambler deliver?
Cars give people freedom. The Nash Rambler gave people that freedom in an attractive package and at an affordable price. The essence of which is clearly captured by Shinola in the 44mm Rambler GMT. Let’s start with the GMT designation (which is clearly printed on the dial above the 6 o’clock position). The Rambler tells you the time in two different time zones made possible by their new Argonite 515.24H quartz movement. The main hands can be set to your own time zone, and the distinct third hand tracks a second zone. The GMT hand is colored to match the dial, so it cleverly blends away into the background. It’s tipped with a large, Shinola-orange triangle that almost appears to float because of the hidden arm. Thus, there’s no risk of being confused about the time with a quick glance. Even at night, it’s easy to read. There’s Super-LumiNova on all of the hour markers as well as the pip on the bi-directional bezel.
For me, GMT watches are a favorite. There’s just something cool and impressive about having two watches in one. Everyone can enjoy their beauty and some can appreciate their complexity. Of course, others actually have the need for this feature. If you’re going to head off to exotic locales, family trips, or just to visit friends, The Rambler is the perfect watch to keep you grounded. Maybe your job requires you to have frequent meetings with people in other places of the world; this watch will help you prevent calling an important client at an awkward time. It’s kind of like having nitrous installed on your Mustang. You may not use it every day, but it’s awesome to know that it’s there.
They’ve created five variations to launch, mine is blue. A rich navy blue covers the bezel and dial in a typical divers watch style. This is perfect if your trip involves a beach and some snorkeling (as it advertises water resistance to 100 meters). The thick sapphire crystal extends out from the dial further attesting to the rugged nature of The Rambler. A small magnifier hovers about the date window on top of the crystal. The case is stainless steel and mine has a brushed finish which I absolutely love. It gives the watch a slightly more industrial feel but is also quite practical as it tends to hide wear that polished steel can’t. The case is broad, similar to The Brakeman, however The Rambler has a unique inside cut to the lugs, creating the perception that they are clamping in on the Hadley-Roma leather watch band. For me, I see a mountain climber’s carabineer in this lug design, which further implies adventurer intentions.
Lastly, let me talk about the case size, at 44mm, its substantial. If you favor big watches, you’ll love that the lug design makes the Rambler look and feel larger. If you like smaller watches, you’ll find that the bulk is at the top and bottom so you still get the benefits of a narrow watch. If you’ve worn Shinola watches before, I don’t have to tell you that they all feel weighty and substantial. The Rambler GMT is no exception.
The reality is that I don’t travel by family caravan anymore. My downtime is filled with podcasts rather than scenery watching, and I couldn’t tell you of a place where you can’t get a cell phone signal. But when I strap on my Shinola Rambler, it’s suddenly 1984 again, and I’m heading off on a great adventure.