How I got interested:
It started in Geneva. I moved there in 1996 for graduate school. Watches were everywhere but somehow they didn't penetrate my vision. My father had given me his 1976 Rolex Oysterdate around 1992 and I didn't give watches any further thought until about 2003.
I was completing my doctorate. My family wanted to buy me a gift. They suggested a laptop. That lacked romance and permanence, and it had no symbolic power either. It was generous, to be sure, but it fell flat. In 3-5 years this thing would be gone, which made it a tool. Or worse, a sort of appliance.
So what might last? That's when watches appeared. I can see how some men might love a pen. This would also have been a perfect gift, but just not for me. I'd lose it. I wouldn't use it enough. I'd be afraid it would leak (I'm sure this isn't true when you spend $1000 on a pen, but still).
If I were someone else, then a knife, a gun, an antique, a piece of jewelry. I make no claim to one of these being the right gift. But I say they all are better than a laptop …
So, what kind of watches exist for $2500 (the price of a Macbook, all decked out at the time)? I hadn't a clue. I started looking around and starting falling in love.
This is what I started to understand: A time piece is an affirmative and creative act of engineering and beauty in response to a pitiless structure of functionality and form. A watch, after all, must tell time (at least). It can only be a limited size, weight, and composition. That structure creates parameters for the designers that challenge creativity — both aesthetic and mechanical.
I came to really appreciate that the act of designing a watch was truly something worth attending to.
I fell in love. I had my eye on a Tudor, but my father talked me into a used Rolex for (at the time), only $500 more. And so I ended up with a Rolex GMT Master II with red and black.
I chose the Rolex because my father always liked them; because I find the design of those sport models (the GMT, the Explorer, the Sub, etc.) to be beyond mere fashion. I chose the GMT because I am American and earned a doctorate in international relations from Switzerland, and so a Swiss watch with one hand pointed back to Boston seemed like a perfect solution.
I don't want to call it a philosophy, and I hope the thread (should this become a thread — or even a conversation!) does not devolve into a "debate." This is meant to be a chance to learn what is behind the activities of so many of us floating around here.
My approach is to buy a watch (almost always used, due to budget and preferences conspiring that way) when something truly memorable happens in my life as a way to celebrate it. This started, of course, with the GMT for the Ph.D. Then my wedding (a 1956 Longines). Then the birth of my son (a Bedat & Co. No 8, ref 888). Then my daughter (Baume Mercier Capeland Chrono, the one with the lovely numbers, not the indexes).
I just signed my first novel. It is a literary suspense featuring a watch repairman who takes a journey up river, and also back "down" one through time. I got an Anonimo Millemetri to celebrate it.
(more on this here if anyone's interested: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Derek...08649745863906)
I have no idea when I'll get another. But for now I'm a very happy man!
Very interested to know what other people do. The folks with only one. Those with hundreds. Those with only inexpensive watches, old ones, rare ones, or sentimental ones.