EP39 – #Wristalk – Kenneth Kidwell (@kidwizzle)

Yo watchfam! I am very very happy to announce the relaunch of our #wristalk series! We have been taking some time off to tweak and improve this segment and I am glad to say that everything has been sorted out as of now, and so I guess its time for us to indulge in another exciting episode! 

But first, let’s get the¬†introductions out of the way, our guest for today’s wristalk is Kenneth Kidwell, as many of you might have known him as @kidwizzle on Instagram. Kenneth is from a town in Northern Kentucky called Florence (about 15 minutes south of the city of Cincinnati). He spent a few years living in Louisville, Kentucky but have since moved back to Northern Kentucky, near¬†his¬†family.¬†For me, I remembered I first came across¬†his feed when he won that badass-looking Seiko from the @seikowatchusa Instagram competition… ANYWAY …¬†

Like many (or maybe just some) of us, Kenneth’s approach to watch-collecting began with fashion watches, which mainly focuses on aesthetics more than what really matters to us as watch lovers (you already know).¬†Obviously, there is no shame in that because all of us had to start from somewhere. And like many of us, his love for watches eventually intensified as he gets more and more¬†exposed to online resources¬†like Hodinkee, Worn & Wound. So¬†without further ado, let’s all just sit back, relax, have a beer and enjoy this week’s episode.¬†

Ladies, gents and watchfam, this is EP39 of #wristalk. Cheers!



Having a mechanical watch on your wrist, whether automatic or hand wound is having a connection to that watch. Your movements give the watch a heartbeat.

Kenneth Kidwell (@kidwizzle)

How it all started? 

I’ve passively worn watches on and off since I was a kid, but as far as my current fascination with mechanical watches, that began about 4 years ago. I was casually strolling through my local Macy’s and began browsing the watches. While scanning the display cases I saw a mechanical Kenneth Cole watch with a skeleton face and mesmerized, asked to see it. It was nothing special, just a two tone steel and copper watch with a Chinese movement, but it was the first time I’d really seen a mechanical movement. Looking intently at the display back and watching the escapement beat back and forth, I was hooked. I bought it right then and there and took it home. I was so intrigued by the mechanical aspect of it, and the idea that it was powered by my own kinetic energy, that I began looking online for more mechanical watches.

During that search I stumbled upon Worn & Wound and Hodinkee and thus began a daily ritual of reading about all aspects of mechanical watches and browsing the vast market of these interesting little machines. That ritual hasn’t stopped since.

A mix bag of watches, but dominantly Seiko.

What was your first watch?

My first watch was an Easter gift from my mother when I was 10 years old. She had bought a digital watch where the entire face was a black display, and the two digit seconds counted away on the dial. I loved how large the displayed seconds loomed and I asked her to wear it all the time. Shortly after on Easter I had the same watch waiting for me in my basket. I wore that watch constantly for a long time. I wish I knew what happened to it, but it’s since been lost in the annals of time.

What do watches mean to you?

Initially, as I think most of us experience, watches were a fashion statement. I bought whatever quartz fashion watch “looked the coolest” to me. After my introduction to mechanical watches, it became so much more.
Watches to me are fascinating because they are essentially tiny Rube Goldberg machines, you know those elaborate contraptions where a marble rolls through a hundred different obstacles to accomplish a very menial task like lighting a match or flipping a switch. I appreciate that the art of creating mechanical watches contrasts to the technological developments in horology. Sure, looking at your mobile phone is generally now the quickest and most accurate way to find the most accurate time, but there’s nothing romantic about it. Having a mechanical watch on your wrist, whether automatic or hand wound is having a connection to that watch. Your movements give the watch a heartbeat.
A mechanical watch isn’t perfect. It isn’t the best tool for the job of keeping time. They’re less accurate than quartz, they’re higher maintenance, and they’re more delicate. But choosing the less efficient of the two, to me, is a statement that not everything is about results, it’s about how you get there. As in life, the journey is sometimes more important than the destination.
Gorgeous macro of Kenneth’s FC.

What is the focus of your collection?

The answer to this question is fluid. I’ve bounced around from vintage watches with unique patina, to robust tool watches, to iconic/historically significant watches. I’m still in the process of finding a niche, but getting to experience many different kinds of watches has been a focus in and of itself. Recently, I’ve been focusing on the more historically significant pieces.

Like everyone else, I’m a huge fan of the Omega Speedmaster, particularly because of it’s immense historical significance of being “The First Watch Worn On The Moon”. Also I’ve been buying vintage Seiko 6138 chronographs, as they were some of the first automatic chronographs ever made. The history associated with specific watches is something I greatly appreciate.

Such a sweet looking caseback – never gets old.

What was the last watch you bought?

Let’s see…. the last watch I bought was an Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five. I bought this a few months ago from a personal friend and fellow Red Bar Cincy member. As soon as I saw this watch I was obsessed with its aesthetics. It’s just a damn good-looking watch. I really appreciated the fact that it was such a true reissue of a vintage piece.

Oris really did a great job keeping the new watch as close to the old model as they could, down to the vintage styled hour markers with a faux-patina hue. Traditionally I’ve steered clear of faux-patina as I find it kind of phony, but being that it was an homage to a vintage watch they produced (and how well they executed the color and application) I was happy to make an exception. It’s also the last watch I sold. I still really dig the watch but you don’t have to own a watch forever (or at all actually) to appreciate it.

Surely a solid + affordable addition – IMO a real value prop.

Which is your favorite watch in your collection?

This is easily the toughest question of the lot. I definitely wear my vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional more than any other watch, but if I had to defend why a specific watch I own was my favorite, I’d go with my Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase.
This watch was the first watch I really coveted after seeing and reading about it online. I’d say it’s my favorite because it was my first truly in-house watch and because it features my favorite complication, the moonphase.
In the discussion of what the most practical watch complication is, moonphase is almost certainly at the bottom of that list. I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would NEED to know what the current moonphase was in a moments notice, but that fact is half the reason I love it. It’s absolutely unnecessary and completely frivolous. The other half is the immense contrast in scale that a moonphase complication covers. There’s just something about the fact that all those tiny components inside the watch are working together on such a small scale to display an Earth sized shadow that was 93,000,000 miles in the making.
We can totally see why its his favourite. Yep. A really photogenic watch.
Could you tell us the most interesting piece you ever own or found?  
The most interesting piece I’ve owned, I actually still own, a vintage Vantage chronograph with a tropical dial. The watch was one of my first forays into the vintage market, and I found it at Theo&Harris just as he started up his shop (I think it was order #7). To be honest, I really had no idea what I was buying, I had just found out about “tropical dials” and surmised I had to own one.
Upon receiving the watch, I was hooked on it. It’s nothing exceedingly rare, just a 1970’s chronograph with a Valjoux 7733 movement, but that dial… Depending on the light hitting the face, it can look very chocolate colored, or almost rust colored. Placing it under a loupe reveals all kinds of intriguing textures and hues that have developed over the last 40+ years. Whatever forces of nature combined to turn that dial to the wonderfully patina’d tropical dial it is today, I thank.
How can you resist the charm of a beautifully aged tropical dial? Delicious chocolate-y goodness.

What is the dream watch? 

Easy. The first perpetual calendar chronograph (with a moonphase) A Patek Phillipe 1518 in steel. It hits all the markers. Historically significant? Check. Favorite complication? Check. Stunningly gorgeous and impossibly rare? Check. But seeing that there were only 4 produced and would cost well over a million dollars, I can say with reasonable certainty that I’ll never own one.
So to answer that question with an actually attainable grail, The IWC Portuguese Chronograph Reference 3714. Why? Because it’s perfect. Perfect in the watch world is obviously an abstract concept, but to me at least, it’s just the best looking watch out there today. It’s classy enough for a suit and sporty enough for jeans. It’s perfectly sized, very legible, and did I mention it’s just absolutely drop-dead gorgeous? There’s a big part of me that weighs how much more watch I could get for the money in the vintage market, but I don’t care. I want it, and that’s that.
Well well, a respectable choice Mr. Kidwell.

by Marshall,



One thought on “EP39 – #Wristalk – Kenneth Kidwell (@kidwizzle)

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