Posts Tagged ‘vintage

18
Aug
13

One Guy Recommends: Nigel Cabourn


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I enjoy looking at old family photos. Both of my grandfathers, in their own ways, liked clothes. My father’s father can always be seen in a suit and tie. The suits were always perfectly cut (he had all of his suits made for him, although that was a lot more standard at that time), the ties perfectly tied, always with a dapper hat and clean shaven. My mother’s father was a military man; more casual but also effortlessly cool in his own way. Some of my favourite photos of him were taken during his tour in the Navy during World War 2. Smoking a cigarette in heavy dungarees, grinning at the camera on the deck of a minesweeper in the middle of the Atlantic.   One thing that immediately jumped out to me is the look and fit of the clothing – it appears heavy, well made…. almost indestructible.  In today’s Ikea and H&M society, our clothing tends to be disposable, temporary and forgettable.

58faa331_Nigel-Cabourn-Cameraman-Jacket-front

Apparently, I’m not the only one who looked at old photographs and had this thought – Nigel Cabourn, after being Paul Smith’s right-hand, decided that the world needed this type of clothing once again.  Sturdy, epically well-manufactured via classic methods and yet, at the same time, modern.  Inspiration has come primarily from vintage military uniforms and Cabourn’s passion for (and private collection of) vintage men’s clothing.  The fabric used are some of the best in the world – heavy tweeds, incredible jersey cottons from Germany, all of which feel hermetically sealed from another time.

Cabourn’s clothing looks and feels almost like it came out, perfectly preserved, from an archaeological dig of early 20th Century menswear. Stylistically, they resemble a cross between what Steve McQueen would’ve worn on the weekend and what a member of the royal family would wear for a casual walk around their palace in the Scottish highlands.  Best known for his coats, most notably the Cameraman and Airman, I’m even more partial to some of the shirts he makes.  From the heavy, “new old stock” buttons, the reinforced seams and luxurious fabric, it is apparent from even the shortest of glances the thought and attention to detail that goes into each Cabourn piece.  Pick up the sweater pictured below, feel its five pound weight and you’ll walk away a believer.

cabournsweater

In North America, it can be a slightly more difficult brand to find.  Barney’s often has items for sale in-store and on their website, and it’s worth searching locally for a stockist.  There are usually twenty Cabourn pieces on eBay at any given time.  The incredible quality definitely make them worth stalking on the ‘Bay.  Even at full price, these are the type of legacy items that can be passed down to future generations, as cliche as that is to say.  In the same way that my grandfather’s shoes and suits remain in excellent condition after 50 years, Cabourn pieces are built to a similar standard

If you’d like more information on the brand, or to see this season’s items, check out www.cabourn.com.  One important note: there is another line called “Cabourn Utility” that is available but isn’t made to nearly the same standard. I would steer clear and hold out for some “Authentic” Nigel Cabourn.

“They don’t make ’em like they used to” is an oft heard refrain due to the deteriorating quality and temporary nature of just about everything.  I hope Nigel Cabourn never gets the memo.

nigel-cabourn-springsummer-2010-collection-burma-00 cabourn2

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11
Aug
11

This Week’s Object of Lust: Breitling Top Time


My love of watches is apparent from even a cursory read of this blog.  I’m always looking to add to my roster of timepieces, especially where I feel I have a gap.  My current obession is a series of vintage watches from legendary Swiss watchmaker Breitling.  For me, the mid-to-late ’60’s examples from the relatively short-lived ‘Top Time’ line of watches check all my personal watch aesthetic boxes: simple and elegant dial design (unlike the majority of modern Breitlings, whose dials I often find too busy); chronograph registers (earlier Top Times sport two chronograph registers, while later watches have three); a modern size (the ‘Jumbo’ size checks in at 39mm, which stands up well to modern watches and is only a single milimetre smaller than a Rolex Submariner); and finally, price.  Many vintage Breitlings will set you back closer to $5,000 than $1,000.  The Top Time hasn’t quite garnered the same amount of attention as the Navitimer or Chronomat lines (likely because these lines continue to exist to this day, whereas the Top Time died an untimely death) and I’ve seen examples sell for anywhere between $500 and $3500.  The cheaper Top Times tend to have the ‘cushion’ style case (as pictured below, in middle), are older models (from the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, in the smaller 35mm size and made of stainless steel rather than white or yellow gold.  The most expensive typically hail from the ’70’s, such as those on the far left and far right below, often sporting three chronograph registers.

For me, a 39mm, two-register, mid-60’s model with a “panda” dial (black with white chronograph registers) exactly like the one pictured above, keeps me up at night (usually trolling the classifieds section of watch sites trying to find one).  With the wide variety of colours, case shapes, sizes and materials, the above may not be your first choice.  Which is ok, because  there’s something for everyone in the Top Time line (and in the vintage watch market in general).  Click on the pictures below to make them larger.

To me, this is what loving watches is all about: the thrill of the chase.  I’m sure other watch-loving readers can relate, and have their own “grail” watch in mind right now.  Most importantly, if anyone knows the whereabouts of a watch like the one pictured above, please send me an email at: oneguysstyle@gmail.com.  To sweeten the pot, if anyone can find such a watch (and I end up purchasing it), than I’ll hook you up with a $25 gift certificate to eBay, a Ralph Lauren Purple Label tie from my personal collection, and my eternal gratitude.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to add comments below, email me at oneguysstyle@gmail.com, or follow me on Twitter, @oneguysstyle.   For my earlier comprehensive post on watches, click here.   For my recent post about NATO watch straps, click here.




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