Reader Submitted Story – The Importance of Bringing a Reliable Watch to the Desert

July 31st, 2014 | 1 Comment

It’s summer time and many of you are probably headed to or still planning your annual camping trip with family and friends. And while we know that you’ve already read our “What to Wear and How to Wear It” for camping, here’s a fresh anecdote sent to us from a reader. It reinforces both the importance of bringing a trusty watch, and to always check that your rented equipment is in working condition…

So I was getting packed for my summer camping trip and aside from my tent, clothes, cooler and pair of crocs (kidding), I needed to settle on which wristwatch to bring along. You can’t be into watches without being comfortable with having a horrible, awful watch tan. So I opted for my Orient Flight, which had been getting a lot of wrist time. This was chosen over my Mako because honestly the lume is so much more impressive. The brushed case was also fantastic at concealing any and all scratches it had accumulated which was a plus because I didn’t know what I was going to get into on my trip. The screwed down crown and 100m water resistance was really all I needed in case there was an impromptu canyon dive. I mounted my watch to a random rubber strap I had lying around and was good to go.

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Camping and being in the Antelope Canyon area was seriously an amazing experience. Not only was the blazing 115 degree (F) heat surprisingly bearable, but there were a ton of things to do. You really forget that you’re in the desert—well, maybe only a little bit. After a tour of the famous canyons, my group and I decided to kayak on Lake Powell. The water was warm and blue and was sandwiched between the famous red canyons that sprawl across northwestern Arizona and into Utah. To think that many of these formations were carved, and are still being carved by wind and water over hundreds of years is simply amazing. Just sitting on the water as the tugboat created waves carefully moved me along was one of the most cathartic experiences I’d ever had to date. With me at the front of the double kayak and girlfriend in tow, we just sat there and paddled casually as our group of avid kayakers and campers drifted apart yet together through this picturesque part of the Colorado River.

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Well, that was until the capsizing started happening. It happened over and over and over. Many of our friends started asking amongst themselves, “Man, have these two ever kayaked before?” (yes, duh). Everything went over into the water, including our shoes and backpack that was in a wet bag. To me it wasn’t a big deal— no one was hurt and our phones and belongings were in a backpack that was nestled safely in a waterproof sack. My Flight watch was resilient as well. Had it not been its first time being fully submersed in water, I wouldn’t have been as happy or surprised. It wasn’t until we stopped by a little beach that we discovered that the kayak had a hole in its stern and we had been taking in water ever since we left the docks. Ten minutes went by as we tipped it over and watched as nearly 50 gallons of water spewed out as quickly as it had come in. After that, it was literally a race to get back to land. We informed management about the faulty boat— they apologized— and we were on our way. Unfortunately, the wet bag wasn’t sealed properly, and both of our phones got soaked beyond the point that a simple plunge in a bag of rice would fix. I have to admit that the loss didn’t hit me until I realized how daunting the 10 hour drive home would be.

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Now I’m not sure if it’s a guy thing or if it happens when you realize that you’ve lost your most important piece of equipment while being 600 miles from home, but I started to bond with my watch. Yes, it only tells the date and time, but the feeling of having something that I could control gave me piece of mind. This was a time in which I finally understood what it meant for a watch to have a lot of inherent, sentimental value. This may seem a bit dramatized for the uninitiated, but you’ll know the feeling when it happens. And though this luckily happened at the tail end of my trip, we still had a day left in this burnt red of a desert.

Yes, not having a phone left me feeling a bit empty—as it would for most people in this day in age— but that void was oddly filled by what was on my wrist. And instead of stopping to take photos of everything, I was really able to enjoy myself. I could get photos from other people, after all. Having just my watch at that point was enough because more than anything, I knew I could rely on it. Here’s a really simple, gritty review: the Flight is extremely well built. The case is very solid and the screwed down crown eliminates the one vulnerability that is most likely exploited on any watch. In a nutshell, it’s a lot of watch for not a lot of money. The confidence and security maintained from having this tiny mechanism on my wrist helped me ride out the end of this truly amazing trip. No electronics? no problem.

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The drive home was fine with our little caravan of misfits. And although I sadly had to downgrade to my old back up phone (first world problems), I do have a watch that I know will tick and tock through thick and thin. Since then, this watch has been with me everywhere, from being wound by my furious typing at work, to telling me how much time is left on the movie I was dragged into seeing, to hiking through Los Angeles’ “natural” wilderness. It’s now my daily wearer, my beater, and a watch I know I’ll never ever let go of.

Editor’s note: The images of the Colorado River and Antelope Canyons had to be obtained online (via Morguefile), because the reader’s phone could not be revived!

  1. 1 Comment | Tell us what you think!

  2. By James Ding on Oct 11, 2014

    I had the exact watch as a birthday gift from my wife. Never knew the watch can be so durable and handles harsh environment. Anyway, this story makes me felt proud owning it.

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