If you had to distill the design ethos of Adsum into a single emotion, it would be something like “simply the best”. The Brands based in Brooklyn excels at making menswear items easy to wear that gets rid of extraneous details, focusing instead on fit and fabric. Its compositions lean outward but away from the overly scorpion aesthetic—shorts can handle a grueling walk as easily as a Sunday morning coffee, say, or a fun raincoat that doesn’t scream “last chance at REI”. Over the years, the brand’s existence has expanded to include almost every wardrobe piece, although it has never ventured into the watch market. But with the help of horology experts at TimexThe first Adsum watch is officially here — and true to the brand’s guiding principles, this watch is of low importance as a watch to be expected.
Working with legendary American horologists for the first time, Adsum reached out to MK1. Originally produced for the United States Marine Corps in the 80s, this model was discontinued after only a few months because of a rear that made repair nearly impossible. Suffice it to say, it quickly gained a following among watch enthusiasts whose prize was scarcity above all else. Timex finally introduced an updated version of the MK1 in 2016 (this time with enhanced repairability and more durable construction), and in the time since it has been repeated by brands like YMC, Goodhood and Todd Snyder.
Adsum’s version features a quartz movement encased in a 36mm stainless steel case with nifty glow-in-the-dark hands and water resistance to 30 meters, but otherwise it’s unremarkable. It’s completely free of the complications and dazzling dials that make watch enthusiasts foam at the edges, and it’s a far cry from the wrist-sized supercomputers you can use to monitor your health. or text a friend. (It also swaps out the watch’s regular typeface for Adsum’s fancy Helvetica font, a nod to the brand’s hometown base of New York.) Save for a small logo at the bottom of the face, you may not know it is the result of a partnership at all.
That kind of point. With so many triggers constantly vying for your attention, it’s always fun to look down at your wrist and see a watch reveling in its simplicity. Like Dieter Rahms’ work at Braun or, ironically, any Apple product, Adsum’s MK1 is simple and straightforward in the best sense. It’s not a sneaky block of aluminum you pull out of your pocket with a groan, or a mechanical wonder more intricately furnished than you’ll ever need. Mostly, it tells the time and reminds you to be present, whether you’re exploring the outdoors or merely imagining you’re there while you finally emptied your inbox. Existing happiness — or, at least, a glimpse of it — is rarely this cheap.