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October 17th, 2021
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Or, my capitulation to materialism. Here I betray my shallow nature that I deviously hide behind endless political commentary. Fair reader, you may now ratchet down your opinion of the author accordingly.

Here we ask the perennial question: If you could have just one of each item for everyday use, and you could never change it, what would it be?


The Watch: Breitling Montbrillant QP $48,250

You might have suspected me to go for the $76,800 Patek 3970E, but I think that Breitling's work on the QP (1995 model is pictured) is exceptional. Many people complain that Breitlings are just ETA movements in a flashy case, but this is missing the point. The complex design of the QP chronograph is exquisite, and it is mechanically unparalleled with automatic movement that enables the watch to run for over 100 years with no adjustment to the day, date, week, month, season, year, or moon phase. This means it self-adjusts for leap years as well as months with 28, 30, and 31 days. This amazing feat is accomplished with over 500 parts packed into a 41.50mm case, which includes a circular slide ruler on the bezel for aeronautical calculations.

The Car: 1998 Porsche 993 Carrera 4S $80,000

Let me be clear: water-cooled Porsches are for suckers. There is nothing in the world that compares to driving an air-cooled 911 with an open exhaust and no pesky turbos to get in the way. You can disagree, but it merely betrays the sad fact that you just don't get it. And even the most hopeless neo-Porsche-phile cannot deny that this flared beast doesn't resemble a soap bar with wheels like the current 911 impostor. The 1998 C4S, the last year of the authentic 911, embodies the spirit of German engineering at its best--take a really bad idea (a rear-engine car) and somehow turn it into the ultimate production sports car in the world. And that's exactly what the 993 Carrera is, even today. A perfect daily driver with room for four! Okay, room for two and some groceries. I'll take one with the areo package, complete with the obligatory whale tail spoiler.

The Shoes: Alden of New England $300-600/pair

Some people love Italian shoes, so perhaps you could say that I am clouded by by a love of all things domestic. You would be wrong, but that is besides the point: just about any shoe from Alden of New England is well worth the money. One of the only companies that continues to make shoes by hand in the US (in Middleborough, MA) Alden offers among the highest quality leather shoe in the world. Fully stitched soles and excellent construction are hallmarks of this brand. They are comfortable, durable, and can easily be worn to formal events or just kicking around the house. These shoes, if properly cared for, will last for many, many years. And if you wear them out or damage them, you can send them back to Alden to be restored with all original materials.

The Chair: Herman Miller Aeron $800

The Aeron by Herman Miller is the best office chair, period. Anyone who spends more than a few hours working while sitting should spring for this crucial addition to any home or office. You can customize it to fit your body like a glove, and it keeps you relaxed and cool. Seriously, if you are like me, you (sadly) spend more time in your office chair than you do in your car or even your bed. Stop eating out for a month and buy this chair.

The Camera: Leica M6 TTL $1995

The last of the great all-mechanical cameras, the Leica M6 represents the pinnacle of function over form, famous for its incredible optics and reliable operation. I am always tempted by the rapid advance of digital cameras (like the awesome Canon EOS-1D) but your model will be obsolete 15 minutes after you buy it (just like that link). the Leica, however, doesn't need 300-page manuals, FireWire, or gentle handling--only old-school skill. Look carefully and you'll see many professional photographers with this timeless camera.

The Lip Balm: Burt's Beeswax $2.50

Lip Balm? Is he serious? Oh yes, I am. There is nothing like handy chapstick, and this stuff is the greatest. Created by the super-cool Burt's Bees company, It's made from real beeswax and has that tingling sensation that feels good on lips even when they're not chapped. If you always have it with you, you'll never be without!

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