My Morning Routine

Stephen Pulvirent
of Hodinkee

Stephen Pulvirent got into the world of watches almost by accident. As a young writer freelancing for Businessweek, he was covering a historic Sotheby's watch auction when he caught the bug. Like many men, when he gets into something, he really likes diving into the gritty details, and timepieces naturally provide an endless stream of opportunities to learn. He soon crossed paths with Hodinkee's founder, Ben Clymer and became the company's first hire in the summer of 2012. Since then, he's risen to become Hodinkee's managing editor and director of operations.

A respected source in the horological world, Pulvirent recently co-authored an updated version of The Watch: Thoroughly Revised. When he's not jetting to Switzerland or reviewing the latest lust-worthy watch, he embraces his love of architecture, vintage cars and menswear. Of course, it's not all high-minded aesthetic pursuits. During hockey season, Pulvirent says you'll likely find him glued to the TV. Venture into his early hours, consider slowing down with a cup of matcha and try out his tactic for getting into a good headspace before work.

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Stephen Pulvirent of Hodinkee

My Routine

Most days I'm up sometime between 6 and 7 am.

Even on the weekends, I'm usually up by 7:30. I've always been a night owl, but a year or two ago I found the joy of waking up early. Something about being awake before the rest of the city is very restorative.

I need at least six hours of sleep.

I aim to get around seven. Honestly, eight feels like a total luxury at this point, but less than six and I definitely start to feel it by lunch time.

The last few months I've been running for the first hour of my day.

But if I'm not running, I usually have a slow start with a long shower, catching up on Instagram, and enjoying a cup of tea. I can't really eat when I first wake up, so breakfast comes later.

If don't go for my run first thing, there's about a 95% chance I won't go at all.

So I roll out of bed these days and go for a run through Central Park (or whatever city I'm visiting, if I'm out of town). It's the one time of day I'm 100% not on my phone and can just focus on myself. It's like sweaty meditation for me.

I quit drinking coffee about four years ago because of migraines.

And a pleasant side effect is that I've gotten really into Japanese green teas. I always start the day with a matcha or sencha—depending on how much of a jumpstart I need. The ritual of quietly whisking up a matcha at home on the weekend is really calming for me.

My breakfast situation is a total wildcard.

It can be anything from a bodega breakfast sandwich to some hardboiled eggs and fruit, to a protein bar crushed on my walk to the subway. One of my favorite indulgences when I'm traveling, though, is room service breakfast. As far as I'm concerned, there's really nothing more luxurious.

I like listening to podcasts and audio books as I get ready and during my commute.

I find that it helps my brain get warmed up and engaged. I can't go from 0-60 in an instant, and listening to an interesting conversation gets me in a good headspace before I start work.

Todoist and Google Calendar are how I live my entire life.

I even put things like dinner with my wife on my calendar and calling my mom on my to-do list. If it's not in one of those two places, it doesn't happen. It's as simple as that.

I've always traveled a ton and it's only getting more frequent these days.

After years of basically having zero routine or rules on the road, I've spent the last year or so trying to keep my rituals no matter where I am. I travel with a lot of tea, a few protein bars and running gear so I don't devolve into a mess in other time zones.

I've had some pretty complex grooming regimens over the years, but these days it's about keeping it simple.

I use Molton Brown's Black Pepper body wash in the shower and like a simple aluminum-free deodorant. I swear by Malin & Goetz's moisturizer with SPF and pomade for my hair. When the weather's cold, you'll find me slathering on Aesop Reverence hand lotion and that minty Burt's Bees lip balm too. My big indulgence is Frédérique Malle's cologne—getting a healthy whiff of that in the morning makes me feel put together.

Stephen Pulvirent' favorite morning grooming products

Clockwise, from top left

SPF 30 face moisturizer,
$40 by Malin & Goetz

Reverence hand lotion,
$27 by Aesop

$24 by Malin & Goetz

Cross knurl safety razor,
$65 by The Art of Shaving

Black Pepper body wash,
$32 by Molton Brown

Natural Essentials deodorant,
$2.29 by Arm & Hammer

Vetiver Extraodinaire cologne,
$225 by Frédéric Malle

Original Achilles nubuck sneakers,
$430 by Common Projects

Beeswax lip balm,
$4.49 by Burt's Bees

I don't want my facial hair looking too scruffy.

I have an electric trimmer and a safety razor to keep my beard looking clean. I trim and edge things every three or four days to keep things in check.

Most days I try to dress in an understated, casual way that still looks put together.

Mostly neutral colors, soft fabrics and clean silhouettes. That can be a sport coat and flannels or chinos and a sweater. My favorite brands are Stòffa, Drake's, Ring Jacket and then Uniqlo and other brands in that vein. And unless there's a compelling reason for me to wear something else, you'll almost always find Common Projects on my feet.

I'm not one of those watch guys who dresses for my timepiece.

I only own relatively simple watches that go with anything, so it's usually the last thing I put on. My vintage Rolex Explorer gets the majority of the wrist time, but my NOMOS Tangente, Universal Genève Polerouter, and even a simple little Swatch Skin all get regular rotation too.