Living in the Moment with Tense Watches

This post is in partnership with Tense Watches. #mypresenttense

Matt and I have been married for approximately 299 days, 7,176 hours and 430,560 minutes. In October, we’ll celebrate our first wedding anniversary. (Remind me to finish my thank you notes, guys.)

And over the course of those days, hours and minutes, we have spent a lot of time looking back on our relationship and wedding. The things that have been great – laughing together, traveling to so many amazing cities, that feeling when we did our “first look.” And you know, we’ve also spent some time looking back on the things that have been not-so-great. Wedding stress, the financial tension of buying our first home, my health struggles.

We also spend a lot of time looking ahead – what we want to achieve in our careers, talking about where we see ourselves living down the line and what we see our life and family looking like five, ten, fifteen years from now.

But what we don’t spend a lot of time doing is paying attention to the present moment, focusing on gratitude and just being together. It feels like we are moving so quickly through our days and weeks right now. I’m in Belgium, then I’m in Spain, then Matt’s in Egypt, then I’m blogging or freelancing, then he’s playing in one of his sports leagues and before we know it it’s been a few weeks and we’ve hardly spent any meaningful time together.

So when Tense Watches reached out to collaborate on a post featuring their Hampton leather watches for men and women, it seemed like a great opportunity to highlight their beautiful, sustainable timepieces and use my blogging as a means to spend some time with Matt – as opposed to being locked in my office while he is upstairs on his own computer. It’s rare that a blog post enables us to work together – in fact, that has never happened before – so it has been a fun opportunity that we’re both so excited about.

After thinking a lot about how I wanted to share the Tense brand story with all of you, I decided it would be kind of fun for Matt and I to give our impressions on each of these watches (yep – he was excited to “guest post” a bit for you guys!) and for us to open up a bit here about what we are both grateful for right now, in the present moment.

But before we get into that…here’s a little introduction to Tense, if you aren’t already familiar with them.

Tense Watches are made from recycled or reclaimed wood and powered by Japanese Miyota Watch Movements. They are made by hand in the brand’s Vancouver workshop.

In 1957, Ken P. Lau started his profession as a clock designer, pioneering experimentation with natural components such as wood and stone. In 1968, Ken moved his focus to wristwatches, and in 1971 Tense Wooden Watches was founded. Today, Ken brings his almost 50 years of experience to the workshop everyday, crafting absolutely stunning watches like these.

Kellie’s Pick

Small Leather Hampton in Black Oak and Olive

Why I Picked It: I wasn’t sure about the strap color on this – shocking right? If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a weird relationship with olive green…that sort-of-a-color, sort-of-a-neutral that I can’t ever decide if I love or not. But I adored the mother-of-pearl face with rose gold accents on this watch, and the strap can be swapped out if I ever change my mind. So, I took a risk and continued on my wardrobe adventures with olive green!

My Initial Impression: When I opened the box, I was struck by how delicate the face of this watch is. I’m so used to wearing larger timepieces, so this felt tiny to me. But when I put it on my wrist, I realized this is a really practical and flattering sized watch for my generally petite frame. I can wear other jewelry without it looking like sparkle overload, and the gorgeous face gives just the right amount of subtle shine.

With Some Wear: I’ve received a lot of compliments on this watch every day that I’ve worn it so far, and it is really comfortable to wear at work. I usually end up taking off watches or bracelets so I can type more easily, but the size of this watch and the lightweight wooden case makes it perfect for all-day wear.

The Details: The more I wear this, the more I notice the beautiful attention to detail, from the Tense logo on the crown of the watch to the quality of the engraving.

Any Negatives?: The only thing I would change is that I wish the buckle on the strap was also rose gold – but I understand why it isn’t, since they’re interchangeable.

The Verdict: In my opinion, the Small Leather Hampton is the perfect everyday watch – lightweight, stylish and, most importantly, sustainable.

Matt’s Pick

Leather Hampton in Walnut and Grey

Why I Picked It: All of my watches I own are darker or black, and I liked the lighter variation of this one.

My Initial Impression: When I opened the box, I thought this watch was simple and clean. I also really like the weight of it, it’s so light. And it was cool that Tense engraved the backs for us with our wedding date.

With Some Wear: I got a couple of compliments at work on this. I don’t usually wear watches to work because the ones I have are fancier, but this fits in well with my style and I can wear it everyday.

The Details: I like the engraving and how lightweight this is. I also like the lighter wood color. Overall, the design isn’t flashy but it’s still really nice and noticeable. I also like that it’s made in Canada!

Any Negatives?: Nothing that I can think of.

The Verdict: I’d definitely recommend this watch if you’re looking for something great for everyday.

To photograph these watches out in the wild, we decided to go to the marina near our house. We took a walk and it was the perfect opportunity to have some fun with my new camera and spend some time together.

Grateful for: sunsets, our new home, Tense watches for inviting me to write this post for them, cats, Matt, and everyone who reads here. 

(I asked Matt if he wanted to look happier in the photos but he said this is “modeling.” He makes me laugh.)

Grateful for: chocolate chip cookies (hell yeah!), our house, all of our friends, my job, my family and just the way things are.

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What helps you live in the present tense?




  1. Gorgeous watches, Kellie! And I love how you and Matt made a date out of doing something you love- writing and creating. Living in the present is SO hard. We schedule time to be together sans devices every week.

  2. I love this post! We can get so caught up in looking to our future, that sometimes we forget to live in the present moment with the people around us we love most. Also, those watches are gorgeous!

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