To Wear or Not to Wear - That is the Question

To Wear or Not to Wear - That is the Question

Aside from being a Friday wrist shot, this picture at the book store this week has a back-story I’d like to share.

A few weeks ago, while at the same store, I approached the cashier with the usual bundle of watch magazines. The young lady quickly asked, “Do you collect watches? I’ve always wondered what a good watch looks like…are you wearing one?” Oh great...I was sporting my rubber Timex. After confirming my collector’s status, I had to promise to show her a real watch next time.

Jump forward a week and change locations to our home. Tonight’s fare on the classic movie channel was a 1947 film starring Ronald Coleman as The Late Mr. Apley. It was a tremendously fun spoof about an old-school Bostonian pillar of society as he struggled to maintain the family’s dignity with his newly-adult children circa 1912. His daughter was studying the works of Mr. Freud and began dating a Yale man of all horrors, while his son took up with a “foreign” girl from the next county.

While Coleman tried his best to steering his daughter towards a Harvard man, she insisted that her love for the other was more important. Coleman launched into a lecture that “love” was inconvenient for dynastic planning and she should substitute collecting something. Why, his sister had the best collection of moustache cups in these parts and he himself had probably the finest collection of Chinese figures in the country.

While I hastily dismissed any Freudian link between watch collecting and the sublimation of other desires, the incident at the book store resurfaced in my thoughts. So, if I collect to enjoy the objects themselves, why the heck don’t I wear them more?
A few days ago I was back at the watch store, this time wearing a “real” watch. Too bad the same cashier wasn’t working. Regardless, it felt good to take my treasure out for some fresh air. I think I’ll resolve to do it more often during 2009.

Please share your stories of chance encounters with other watch enthusiasts out in the "real" world!  
BTW, thanks for all the advice on a choice of strap for the 4178; it now sports a nice chestnut alligator band To Wear or Not to Wear - That is the Question.
to wear definately: I also notce that
01/09/2009 - 18:28
you read QP, fantastic watch magazine if there is one. I have one excellent chance encounter story: Back in 2000 I walked in a watch store looking for a VC Mercator, the store manager showed it to me and we started talking, I was astounded by his knowledge and passion for watches. It was something so rare having someone working in a watch shop actually loving what he sold!  We then got talking about Frank Muller because I was interested in one of his watches and he talked me out of it (a salesperson who refuses to sell a watch is even rarer!!)  Anyway to make a long story short I used to drop in his shop on Saturdays just to talk and handle watches and in time he became one of my best friends and is now the godfather of one of my sons!
To wear...
01/09/2009 - 18:41
I agree, Alex I wear all my watches, rotating them daily. I know many people buy them and never take them out of their wrapping, or put them in a safe and visit them once a year. All my watches get wrist time, some more than others. I believe its a reflection of oneself, to a degree rather than a status symbol...but that's an entirely different topic. Your story is great BTW. I wish I had one like it. But maybe its the circles I travel in (medical), but no one has ever approached me knowledgeably about a watch I was wearing except once. I was taking the elevator to my office and someone noticed my watch. He thought it was the most beautiful watch he had seen, but didn't really know much about watches. Well at least it was a compliment. I was wearing my lange RG Datograph with the silver dial. But I find even at dinners, restaurants and meeting no one ever notices even if its a tourbillon. Oh well...
They ain't no good if you don't wear 'em!
01/09/2009 - 19:09
When I thought I really made "it" I took my wife to a little Patek AD in Canton, Ohio They just received Pateks' latest and greatest, a Nautilus. I paid cash for the pair. We both wore them as our everday beaters. My dress-up day watch was an 18kt. VC Being a very busy restaurant proprietor I damanged mine on a regular basis. So much so that I became a "regular" at the Henri Stern Watch Agency New York. This poor scan is my last memory as I had finally "shocked" the movement. "Those were the days my friend, I thought they would never end." They did! Luca
My simple philosophy regarding watch collecting is...
01/10/2009 - 01:44
that watches were made to be worn and it is a waste and a shame to keep them locked away.  One of the most fundamental criteria that I have when considering an acquisition is "will I wear it?"  Admittedly, my collection has gotten a little out of hand but all of my watches have gotten wrist time. As for a story, I can share this one.  I was flying to Shanghai from Singapore on my favorite airline, Singapore Airlines.  During the flight, I had caught up on my reading of some watch magazines.  As anyone, who has flown SIA knows, the cabin crew is very attentive and service oriented.  Anyway, after we landed and were waiting for the doors to open, the In-Flight Supervisor glanced at my watch and asked "is that a Cvstos?".  I replied "no, it's another brand.  It's a Riichard Mille."  The man then said "I am very sorry, I did not realize that it was the 'real thing'.  You don't see them very often.  It is quite nice.  May I take a closer look?" While I was a little amused that my watch had been mistaken for something else, I was also impressed that this gentleman was familiar with both brands and their relative positions in the industry.  A good reminder that Singapore is truly a paradise for watch collectors and that the knowledge of horology has penetrated deeply into the community. Cheers, Duncan
As rare as a hen's tooth.
01/10/2009 - 16:37
Thanks for the beautiful picture of your baby! I am a strong advocate to wear watches and not to store them in safes. I guess it does depend upon one’s own fortitude and comfort level with exposing their "investment" to the rigors of daily wear and tear. Obviously all watches are not appropriate for all events. As far as a watch story goes I have one that I think you will enjoy. About eight years ago I was at my wife's cousins Bat Mitzvah in wonderful Edmonton, Alberta. I had forgotten a tie and while the kids were getting their heads soaked in the water park at THE mall I visited the local Harry Rosen store (for those unfamiliar, this is a men’s clothing store chain in Canada). While I was being shown all sorts of wonderful Canali pants and shirts the sales person exclaimed " Oh my God, is that a Patek Philippe? I have never seen a Patek Philippe in person." I toke the 3800/1a off my wrist and handed it to him. At first he was uncomfortable but after a while he seemed more relaxed. He showed me his vintage Omega on his wrist which he had inherited from his father. We had a grand time. He did indicate that Edmonton was a grave yard for watch knowledge at this time. Even though he worked in a high-end clothing store he had never been able to find anyone who was willing to talk about watches. We talked watches and clothes and I ended up buying a good wardrobe. I guess in retrospect he used his watch knowledge to good effect. It was very much a positive experience in my book. When I came back to pick up my clothes I brought my only other watch I owned, a WG Langematic with date. With its display back it ended up making the rounds of the staff at the store. I actually like when my watches are handled by other people. I think it is the best way for some of the watch magic to rub off on other people and spread the cheer. Having lived in Ottawa and Winnipeg and visiting many other cities in the great white north I am led to believe that watches in Canada are like religion, they are best kept private and not discussed with others. Now that I live in the USA, there is much more discussion about religion (not always a good thing) and a little more about watches, but at least I can find SOMEONE who is interested in watches. Recent on-line acquaintances are dispelling my initial premise about watch enthusiasts in Canada but I still get the impression they are as rare as hen's teeth. All the best. Michael Segal
Local Watch Club Surfaces...
01/10/2009 - 20:31
Funny how things happen.  I was recently pm'd on another watch forum by someone from my own town who hosts a monthly watch collectors meeting.  So I'll be going to the next event! Great story about THE MALL...world's largest eyesore but a universe unto itself (West Edmonton Mall still claims to be the largest "fully enclosed" shopping mall).  They have one high-end watch/jewellery store that features JLC.  I visited once and after entering the secure showroom was tailed by a staffer that proceeded to extoll the world supremacy of "Yagalacout" while failing to recognize the VC on my wrist
Re: Local Watch Club Surfaces...
01/11/2009 - 00:47
Hi Dean and Michael, There's also a local watch group in the Toronto area, run by Joel Tadeo, co-moderator of the GP forum on Time Zone. We recently had a dinner get-together at a local restaurant. Lots of knowledgeable people and a lot of watches. Regards, Joseph
Re: To Wear or Not to Wear - That is the Question
01/11/2009 - 17:20
Hi Dean, First of all, thanks for sharing that interesting episode.  BTW, the watch is looking very good with the chestnut strap. I have to agree with everyone and say that watches are indeed made for wearing.  In fact, I tend to wear my watches too daringly (foolishly is the adjective my wife would use), like when I wore my PP 5146 to Costco (and got a scratch to prove it). Anyway, one short episode that comes to mind happened on a visit to Vegas.  It was late 2005 and my wife and I were visiting Vegas and L.A.  I had slipped into one of the smaller watch stores inside The Forum Shops at Ceasars (if I remember right), which I noticed carried AP's among others (no VC though).   A young salesman (whom I found out was still new at the store) approached me and, trying to get a better look at my watch, said "Is that a Girard Perregaux (if I remember right)?"  I told him that it was actually a VC and that it was a 250th anniversary model (I had on my RG Jubilee 1755).  Looking more closely at the details (guilloche dial, anniversary case design, etc.), he said "Wow, that is some watch!".  You could see that he really liked what he saw. We exchanged a few more words regarding my VC, at which point I said, "Uhhmm...I see you carry AP...Actually, I would like to see the new (at the time) RO 15300 with the new in-house calibre and see-through caseback".  Normally, you would expect the guy to shift to "salesman-mode" and try and make a sale but instead, the young man just looked at me and said.."With a watch like that, what for?!"... To date, I think it still one of the most flattering, and probably most sincere comments my Jubilee has ever gotten. Cheers! Kazumi
Right On!
01/11/2009 - 20:10
Those Audemars guys know their place .   I was in the same shop once but couldn't get any attention from the staff because a group of VERY LARGE professional athletes (football or basketball?) were flashing their cash.  It was entertaining enough just to lean back and listen while these fellows horsed around and swore in a manner that would normally have the police called, but instead had the display cases opened wide.