It rolled over me, a Satori in a little downtown restaurant, sitting at a long granite counter, emailing, checking the market, waiting for one of the great sandwiches ever invented—but that is another tale to tell.
Why watches? Was it the first gold plated Bulova that was presented to me for a birthday in grade school with the “expandable” band, or the Mickey Mouse watch I gave to a little friend to help him through a tough time, watching the fascination on his face as Mickey’s hands with the white gloves pointed to the time? Did it have something to do with the neighbor’s clock from the black forest in Germany and the little pinecones dangling from the birdhouse where the colorful coco bird came out twice an hour to sing its little song?
Seeing the face of this clock in the design of a German watch in a famous Geneva museum years later, hearing the coco call again.
Was it the man on the subway in Tokyo that cautiously came up and remarked,
“Is that the new MeisterSinger chronograph?
The watch with just one hand to tell the time?
Unless you run the chronograph of course, but you have to be careful how you set it, or you could miss the train.
We don’t have that watch available in Japan, yet.”
Starting a conversation that took us all the way to Narita, parting with business cards that lead to emails that sealed an honored “watch buddy” friendship.
Did the French pilot on a flight to Hawaii, noticing the little round faced boy who was fascinated by his black faced watch, stop as a good will gesture or out of kindness to demonstrate the functions of his Breguet chronograph? Did the pilot know that he would be responsible for many years of fascination with chronographs, Breguet watches and a sublime reunion of the little boy (now a round faced man) and the same model of Breguet in a watch shop in Paris? A great watch shop that was recommended by another watch collector, moderator and friend, now connected back to the pilot, long retired and folded into watch history—spiced with the airs of Paris!
Is it the absolute adoration of Europe, Switzerland and European design that keeps the flow of watches always a feast to my eye, turning my thoughts to plucking one of the most beautiful, complicated, fascinating mechanical marvels for my private use and collection? When art and craft and intricate design all come together in a powerful little package of precious metal and perfectly fitting leather, why does my poor old heart speed up and tax itself to keep up with the bliss running through my brain, lighting up places that were just dark recesses, sparking thoughts and ideas that needed to be shared? What is this magic, this obsession?
Why are two watches more interesting than one? What makes the 10th watch take me back to the 5th watch to see something that never really made sense until that 10th watch arrived?
Why is selling a watch to another collector a family event, like selling a thoroughbred to a stable you have checked out and know will care for the horse, keeping the horse if the stable is not suitable—after all, this is a watch!?
What makes dinner with other watch collectors a great evening, one you never forget and if you are fortune enough to attend some of these great dinners, enough to count on all your fingers and toes, (sometimes hard to do after a really great, long, watch collector dinner) then you may be done, satisfied and fulfilled.
Why does Vacheron&Constantin occupy such a large piece of my collector’s brain, what is it that they do so “right” as Jeff pointed out in January to all the dinner companions that were listening? What makes a (Patrimony) chronograph with a time tested movement, finished with the highest level of watch making and cased in WG perfection, drive me to distraction, make me wonder how it will look on my grand child’s wrist upon graduation and at that moment who they will share the glories of a manual wind movement, perpetuating the fascination and glory that we all love so much?
Why watches? There are so many more questions, some answers and mysteries that lead me to the only answer.
So, the best to all who care,
feel the need, the tug and the itch to perpetuate this fine obsession of ours.