Wednesday, August 18, 2010

INTEL: Military Surplus

With the exception of the classic pea coat, military inspired trends ebb and flow. Fatigue and field jackets are super hot at the moment, flight jackets were hot a few years ago, cargo pants seem to come in and go out every few years, and berets will hopefully remain too fancy for civilians for the balance of my lifetime.

With fall around the corner, you'll be seeing a lot of this stuff. But here's a recession-friendly tip - before you buy that GI sweater, take a second and check out a military surplus store online.

For example, J.Crew is selling their Timex Vintage Military Watch for $150. It looks like this -

I love this watch. But I think $150 is a lot of money for a simple Timex field watch with a quartz movement. So, I Googled "military surplus watch" and started clicking. I found these at a surplus store out of Edwards, Illinois called IMS-PLUS.

(NOTE - I've neither purchased nor seen any of these first hand. I have, however, seen J.Crew's Timex and it's a quality piece. I'm offering the following merely as an inexpensive way to get the look.)

The Benrus WWII Watch, $139.95 - Still a little steep, but it has a mechanical movement. Plus, it's authentic - Benrus really did make watches for WWII GIs.

General Purpose Watch, $39.95 - This is the most inexpensive watch with a mechanical movement I've ever seen. (A mechanical movement, as opposed to a quartz movement, means that it has no battery. Mechanical movements are mechanized - springs, gears, stuff like that. You wind it up like grandpa used to do.)

Squad Leader Watch, $19.95 - This thing looks almost exactly like the J.Crew version, though I can't imagine it's as durable or well made. Still, it's a cheap way to get the look, and at $20 you could by them two at a time. Word to the wise - I'd keep it away from water.

Now, of course, to really nail the look you'll need that cool J.Crew band with the metal D-rings. It's called a NATO watchband. Again, Google it and you might find a better deal.

Good hunting.

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