Saturday, November 7, 2020

Fathers and Sons - Why Waldan Matters

Being the only son can be challenging, I speak from some personal experience.  It can be made even more so when your father cut a fairly sharp figure.  Oscar Waldan in many ways typified the American Dream - the chance to create your own future in a new, young country. And that was certainly the case with Oscar Waldan, and his brand, Waldan International.

When we think of places where watch makers learn their craft, we think of Lititz Watch Technicum,
The Finnish School of Watchmaking, Ecole
Technique de la VallĂ©e de Joux. Nice brightly lit work spaces, clean white jackets, the latest equipment, lunch breaks in the school canteen. You will note that there were no such institutions in the concentration camps during the Second World War.  Remarkably enough, that is exactly where Mr. Waldan learned watch making - in Buchenwald during the Second World War.  And that is a pretty amazing thing in and of itself, but Mr. Waldan then came to the US, set-up shop and without the benefit of deep-pocketed benefactors that some other eponymous brands enjoy, Oscar Waldan made it happen on his own.

Enter the son 
In reading Andrew Waldan's "coming up" story, it made me smile and think back on my own. While my friends were off having fun, I was sweating it out in my father's kitchens, lugging golf clubs and tidying putting greens on the golf course and shining (sometimes pretty smelly) shoes in the locker room of the Elyria Country Club. Unlike Andrew, having spent many of my formative summers laboring so that others could play, I declined the opportunities afforded me by a few well-known schools of hotel management to continue in my father's footsteps,  slung my hook and headed west.  Andrew Waldan, on the other hand, did far more than just pick up and continue what his father started. He took something special, and made it available to an even greater number of people. And that took vision.
Courtesy of Waldan
Waldan has released two collections that are, admittedly, different from what Waldan previously offered. And pals and gals, that is a great thing! 
The watch you see pictured above is from the Heritage collection.  It measures 40 mm in diameter and is warranted to be water resistant to 50 meters (5 ATM).  Another interesting twist of the tale is the choice of the AMERIQUARTZ caliber 70200 quartz movement from FTS.
Courtesy of Waldan
Now it would be easy to cry foul, that Waldan was (and should remain) mechanical only. And I'm sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on that idea. It is shortsighted and (sorry) dimwitted. Quartz might be seemingly less sexy, but let's consider - it is more accurate, easier to maintain and makes watches much, much more accessible (with the exception, perhaps, of the ones offered by Patek Philippe). Let's also consider that when quartz technology debuted, it was CRAZY expensive! It was the cutting edge. And I will go back to one important point - It F'ing Works, and works well.

My favorite of this collection is the green dialed version -
Courtesy of Waldan
And as the owner of a few mechanical watches, I can absolutely assure you that it is expensive, and frustrating getting a mechanical watch serviced.  That's not a dig at watchmakers - they charge a fair price for the work that they do. But more and more I find myself wearing two of my favorite quartz watches (the Gavox Aurora, and the Hager U2 Dragon Lady). So this new collection definitely has caught my eye.

In addition to the Professional collection, there is also the Sport series available with a black dial, and my personal favorite, a white dial version -
Courtesy of Waldan
Both of these new collections are assembled in the US.  And these new Waldan collections make owning a nice watch a much more attainable goal, with a sticker price of $299.99

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