Exploring Vancouver with One Watch

Our resident one watch guy takes us through Vancouver

A dry and humid night; we awoke parched and bleary-eyed. We hauled our bags into the car and set off in the dark towards London Gatwick, around 30 miles south of Central London and approximately 150 miles from home. My Fiancee and I always find romanticism in driving through the night. Where possible, we build this into our trips for some added adventure; the long street lamps cast their spotlight across the tarmac, the wonder of driving beneath the stars. As with any long journey, the anticipation was high. What time will we arrive at the airport? Will the airplane arrive on time? Would the flight be busy?

Touching down at Vancouver International, we breathed a sigh of relief that all had gone to plan. We’ve had several trips postponed and canceled over the last 12 months, mainly due to Covid-19, but a safe landing in Canada meant our adventure could finally begin. Couldn’t it?


“I need to take a Covid test,” my Fiancee said, panicked. We weren’t alone in the elevator, and the presence of others made me stop in my tracks. “I’ve had an email; I need to take a test,” she reiterated. While not suffering any symptoms, we’d made a conscious effort over the weeks leading up to our trip to avoid busy spaces. The trip to Vancouver was a 30th birthday gift from my Fiancee, a trip we had spent weeks and months planning, discussing, and saving for. This was our first big trip together, and we were very excited about it.

We were due to be in Vancouver for six full days, with a flight home booked on the seventh day. For those unaware, self-isolation in Vancouver was mandatory for ten days. A positive test would have messed with our plans. I take that back. A positive test would have totally ruined our plans. So, our first adventure in Vancouver? Finding a pharmacy and getting tested.


It was a hot day of around 26 degrees Celsius (about 78 Fahrenheit), and we’d been in Vancouver for less than an hour. Pulling up some directions, we hurried to the nearest pharmacy on foot and joined the queue of frustrated travelers. After an anxious wait of at least 90 minutes, my Fiancée was finally able to get tested. However, the wait was not over, as we were told that the results could take up to 3 days to arrive. We thought we better make the most of the time that we knew we had.

That night, we chowed down on some delicious Japanese-style hotdogs courtesy of Japadog, an unassuming eatery not too far from our hotel that served fast but delicious food. We avoided discussing the day’s unfortunate events too much that night, but the angst of it all lingered like a heavy fog.


We went to bed that night, hoping that we’d get to explore all of the corners of Vancouver that we had planned. In the darkness, I was reassured by the steady blue glow of my Lorier Neptune.

After a long sleep, we awoke feeling more positive. “Let’s make the most of today,” we told each other. After filling our bags with picnic supplies, including rosemary bread, cured meat, and boiled eggs, we walked from our hotel on Robson Street to our first stop, Stanley Park.


Vancouver’s Stanley Park is around 1000 acres, the edges of which allow for beautiful walks along the city’s sea wall. After the previous day’s long flight – roughly 9 hours – we were thankful to be out in the city on a blue-skyed summer’s day. The walk was long and glorious, we were planning on cutting into the park and scrambling around the woodland within, but the sea-wall walk was just too beautiful to pass up. We began the loop at the southeast side of the park. Across Coal Harbour, Vancouver’s glassy skyscrapers cast reflections across the calm water. Completing the loop at English Bay, we refueled with some peanut butter Ritz crackers and took a short rest.
A few hours later, we received the long-awaited notification that the Covid test was negative. After a few high fives and sighs of relief, we spent the remainder of the day rambling around West End and slurping fantastic ramen at Marutama.

Given that you will be reading this on a watch blog, you might wonder, where is the watch content? I firmly believe that your watch should not get in the way of your day. One of the many reasons I love being a one-watch guy is that; my watch is my watch. It’s there every time I need it, always dutifully ticking. The crown operated smoothly on the plane when readjusting the time, and it ticked away reassuringly, quietly, and dependably, just as a great tool watch should do. That meant I had one less thing to worry about. When I travel, I take my whole collection and store it on my left wrist.

For this trip, I strapped my Lorier Neptune to my wrist using a Windup Watch Shop ADPT strap in navy blue. This is one of my absolute go-to straps – it’s tough, easy wearing, and matches the deep blue of the Neptune beautifully. It’s as though the strap was made for the watch.


As confessed foodies, we dedicated the next day primarily to Granville Island, home to a fantastic food market. From towers of fresh fruit to sweet salmon jerky to counters laden with olives and cheese and meat, this place had everything, and we could have quickly dedicated every meal of our trip to the market. Our first stop was Lee’s Donuts; pillowy and warm, we scoffed them while sitting gleefully on a bench in the warm morning sun. Not long after, we munched on fresh bagels from Siegel’s and sat on the steps beside the harbor. At this spot later in the week, I also had a very cool watch spotting moment; a Baltic Aquascaphe dual-crown on a gentleman’s wrist sat just ahead of us. We bumped into each other again later that day and shared a few brief words about our independent-brand watches.

We spent that night sipping easy, drinking beer from Granville Island Brewery, and gazing out at the deep blue water.

The following day, we set off early and headed west out of the city towards Pacific Spirit Regional Park. We’d walked almost 60,000 steps over the previous two days and fancied a simple hike away from the crowds. Taking heed of the coyote warnings, with our backpacks stuffed with salami, we took a slow hike around the park. The breaking of beautiful yellow light marked mornings in British Columbia, the warm rays piercing the trees and stretching out like a long yawn across the path ahead of us. We ambled aimlessly through the dense park, enjoying the laid-back hike. The Neptune always feels right at home out in nature, and the longer I own the watch, the more I see the military aesthetics that inspired its design, making it work in any and every environment. The white lume on the dial and hands burst under the yellow sun, and the polished (albeit very scratched polish on mine) chamfers glint and shine. Enough to add interest, but without being a distraction or reflecting light too harshly.


When we initially planned our trip to Vancouver, I intended to visit the city’s most renowned watch shop – Roldorf. It was heartbreaking to learn just a few months prior of the fire that damaged Jason Gallop’s Roldorf. While I’ve only ever communicated with the guys at Roldorf through a few emails, they have always come across as community-minded and thoughtful. Months before the fire, I’d exchanged several emails with one of the watchmakers at Roldorf about the possibility of engraving the caseback of my Neptune. Kino, the watchmaker in question, was kind enough to send me some of his ideas (including an incredible skyline of Vancouver) and share in my enthusiasm. As I write this, it seems that Roldorf is soon to reopen in a different location in Vancouver, which is terrific news for the whole community.


I still wanted to visit at least one excellent watch spot while in the Canadian city, so one afternoon, we trekked to Otter Friedl, located in the basement of the gorgeous Fairmont Hotel. The store in question was mostly reserved for repairs; however, it did have some interesting offerings, including a very cool Tudor Snowflake Sub and a neat selection of vintage Rolex. The vintage collection gazed up at me from under the glass counter. Behind the counter, I could see the shelves tightly packed with vintage bracelets wrapped snuggly in plastic. I’m sure these old watches had interesting stories to tell, and they will find wrists upon which to live out the next few hundred years, steadily ticking onward.

The Neptune stood up to the test that night, like any real tool watch should, timing our pizza order. And what great pizza it was, courtesy of Nightingales. The crust was thin yet crunchy, and the courgette and mint topping, along with the Margherita, was sublime. Simple ingredients are done well—kind of like the Lorier.


We spent the final two days gazing at elaborate jellyfish at the Aquarium as they billowed in their tv-like tanks before exploring Kitsilano’s beaches on our last day in the city. Kitsilano feels like an extraordinary corner of the North West, buzzing and brimming with eclectic stores; hilly streets lined with tall trees; and beautiful views of the city across the water. Being an island, Britain is full of seaside towns; however, these can often be accompanied by rugged coastal landscapes, cold, grey waters, and moody vistas; images I pour over; windy and wild. Kitsilano felt like the polar opposite of that. Glowing, radiant, and modern, a beautiful place – but not a place where I think I would belong. Maybe there’s a metaphor somewhere for my Neptune, certainly not new, undoubtedly a little rough around the edges, but I find ‘belonging’ in it.


The longer I wear the Neptune, the more I realize that watches are companions, through the good, the bad, and the just okay. Not every day will be coffee at Kitsilano beach and Taco’s in Yaletown, but for those days where you could do with a vacation, having something on your wrist that accompanied you through those memorable moments is a reminder of adventures up ahead.

Check out more of Andreas’ One Watch exploits here

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