It’s time for another installment of Fratello EDC, the series in which we share our editorial team’s everyday carry items. This time, Fratello editor Ben shares his minimalist approach to his daily routine, but also the things he brings on the go for testing new watches.

Welcome to the random assortment of items in my pockets. It feels like a public strip search by revealing the personal bits ‘n’ bobs I carry around. Like many of the team members, I don’t subscribe to the Instagram style of everyday carry. I’m referring to the posts showcasing a handful of knives, torches, and, invariably, a handgun for a shopping trip. For one thing, you cannot buy a handgun legally in the UK without some crazy exemption. And carrying one around would be immediately alarming to passers-by rather than entirely expected as it is in the States. Even having a knife is frowned upon in London. While a small penknife is fine, any large knife with a locking blade is considered an offensive weapon. Therefore, my pockets focus on getting the commute done with some light entertainment on the way.

Ben everyday carry

Mein handy — Samsung Galaxy S21

I seemingly go against the grain of my Fratello teammates, who primarily use tech with fruit logos. While I use an iPad Pro, my phone is a Samsung Galaxy S21. The phone is a couple of years old but still goes strong without a glitch. Android is more customizable, and I can tailor it to all-day usage. But I don’t follow each generation of smartphones with too much interest. And I feel the adverts put too much emphasis on the camera’s capability with the lenses getting uglier and too pronounced. I’d rather that smartphone manufacturers improve audio quality in calls with more intelligent speakers that focus the sound to the ear instead of broadcasting to the world around you. My work phone is still an iPhone, but I stick to the fundamental applications.

My personal computer

I also use a non-descript DELL laptop that does the trick. However, for any complex computer work, I have a self-built PC in which I routinely swap components to upgrade or replace faulty parts. Since 2011, I had one PC case until the motherboard finally gave out in 2020. In those nine years, the advancement of component technology and miniaturization offered me a chance for a tighter, form-fitting PC with computing power far better than my previous PC’s limitations. I can see this occurring in another ten years as I reach the limit of the current core components. But for now, it’s doing the job admirably. I also find a big monitor (or two) is better for editing photos and simultaneously working on multiple programs.

My car and camera

Of course, I carry various essentials, including house keys, a wallet, and a car fob. These are necessary items for safely leaving the house and starting the car. My car is a new Ford Mustang Mach-E, an electric crossover with 580 Newton-meters of torque — more than the V8-powered Mach 1 coupe variant. The all-wheel drive launches off the line, but I drive it smoothly to save the battery. My dream car is still a vintage Shelby Mustang, but the way things are going, it’ll more likely end up as a museum piece.

I use the trusty and compact Fujifilm X-T4 with F1.4/35mm prime lens for camera work. Recently, I had a long-term loan of a Leica Q2 with a fixed lens, which is about the best everyday camera you could want. Sadly, the cost prohibits me from taking the plunge into Leica, but it’s definitely on my radar for the future. I use a Lowepro camera bag and Peak Design strap to keep the X-T4 secure.

Ben everyday carry

My wallet and cardholder

My relationship with wallets has changed dramatically over the years. I went from bulky Velcro wallets with coin compartments to slimmer leather wallets and then to even thinner card-and-note holders. The shift to contactless payment seemingly happened overnight. It’s now the cashier ringing up the till for contactless payment, and I have to say, “Is cash OK?” Sometimes they look at you and sigh as they have to cancel and ring it up again for cash as they assumed a contactless card was the preferred choice. As a result, I typically only bring a lightweight cardholder with a license, a current account card, and a few notes to get around town. I have the Pickett × Fears cardholder in Bristol Blue leather that I picked up at the 1,000-days-since-relaunch celebration at the Pickett Burlington Gardens store in London.

Ben everyday carry

My earphones

Noise-canceling headphones are a godsend for morning commutes and air travel. But I find over-ear ones a little overbearing and not very stylish. I’ve been using in-ear noise-canceling earphones for the last few years, and I now swear by them. I went for the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 headphones that the third generation has just replaced. But I’m happy with mine, especially with the all-day comfort.

Watch-review tools and a childhood memento

When reviewing watches, I use a few tools at home to get the right fit to study the watch. But when I’m spending a few days traveling for an event, I have a smaller kit. The kit includes a travel-size JPM spring-bar/pin-removal tool. It helps that this tool can stow the sharp ends of the fork and pin so as not to damage itself and other items in the bag. I also use Mitutoyo calipers to check the watches’ dimensions if brands don’t provide the information or round up reliably. Using the Nikon 10× loupe is a quick and straightforward method to check the finishing of the dials and movements and judge better than the human eye. Last is a business card holder from Wingback, a London-based leather maker, for my Fratello contact info.

Ben everyday carry

I suppose I need to mention the watch, but this changes every day. For the most part, I opt for an all-steel piece in London. This preference discounts my titanium, plastic, and bronze collection, but those are good fun on the weekend. I am using the Omega Seamaster 300 as the prop for this photo, mainly because it goes along with the trading card in the image. The trading card came in a 2002 magazine series 007 Spy Files. The series was a promotional subscription in the run-up to Pierce Brosnan’s last outing, Die Another Day (2002). As a teen, the magazine was everything, and I looked forward to getting a new pack of trading cards in each issue. All the magazines and collectibles are gone, but for whatever reason, as a young adult, I held on to the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M card from Goldeneye (1995).

Ben everyday carry

Closing comment

That’s my current selection of everyday necessities and luxuries. But when it comes to a nature walk to decompress, just taking a mechanical wristwatch makes the most enjoyable adventure.