From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey
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    Member WrnrG's Avatar
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    From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    I just wanted to share with all my fellow WUS members how exactly I got started in this hobby and maybe we can share and compare our different journeys. Like many of you here, I gained my first love for watches from my dad. He's never worn anything fancy and all his watches have been nondescript, but he never leaves the house without a watch on his wrist. I remember having digital watches as a kid, but I couldn't tell what brand they were (most likely Casio) or what happened to them. I probably ended up just losing them, which is probably why my dad stop giving me watches to wear.


    About 10 years ago, while I was attending community college, I had a subsription to Playboy Magazine and in one of those issues was an ad for sunglasses from Alterna Eyewear. I was having a hell of a time trying to find a part-time job that would work around my class schedule, so I was always broke. I made some change working odd warehouse jobs for very few hours and small pay checks. My dad's birthday was coming up and I needed to get him something. The ad in the magazine offered your choice of four of 12 pairs of the introductory line of "premium" sunglasses that would retail for hundreds of dollars and you could have them for only the shipping cost of each pair; $15 a pair. I didn't know any better and my dad always wore sunglasses when he drove, so I thought this would be a perfect gift. I mean, what a deal! Part of the throw-in for the sunglasses was your choice of one of four watches.


    Only one of those watches actually appealed to me, so the choice was easy. I filled out the order form, went to the nearest Moneygram and got a money order for $60 dollars and put those two things in the mail. A little less than a month later I received the four pairs of sunglasses and the watch. My dad loved the sunglasses, so it was a job well done. It doesn't take a lot to impress the old man, he grew up dirt poor, so he tends to appreciate the little things.


    The watch came attached by twist ties to a piece of cardboard and sealed in a plastic pouch. I had no clue how watches were supposed to be delivered or what a good quality watch looked and felt like, all I knew was that it looked damn nice to me. The watch is a Terramax Renegade by Sonic. You've never heard of it? You don't know about the great horological tradition of the Sonic watch company? Don't feel so bad, no one does.


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    I recently scoured the Internet trying to find anything on the watch, at the very least a photo of what it looked like new so I could show you that it at least looked somewhat nice. Obviously it is an ani-digi quartz and the luminous dots work pretty well. It has an alarm, stop watch, day, date and the missing botton in the photos controlled the light for the digital part. The gray bezel used to be black. About a year into owning the watch I hit it against something and found out the black bezel was actually just paint, so I scratched the rest off to give it a uniform look. The bracelet is made up of folded over links and I adjusted it myself.


    Despite being such a poor quality watch, it go me a lot of compliments, more so than any of my other more legit watches have ever gotten me. Women and men alike made it a point to point out to me how nice my watch was. I wore the watch everyday for about seven years and as you can tell, it is beat to hell. Turns out that the case is actually brass or copper, it was only plated by steel. The analog part of the watch died 4 years into me wearing it, but the digital part has never stopped working, so I kept wearing it. I recently replaced the battery to the analog part of the watch and now they are both running in sync.


    I've since graduated to Seiko, Orient, Citizen, Tissot and my prized watch, my Hamilton.


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    I no longer wear the Sonic, but I doubt I'll ever throw it away or completely destroy it because it is the watch that got me into the habit of wearing one daily and of sitting there and just admiring the beauty of that piece of metal on my wrist.


    The "company" that makes the watch doesn't even exist and neither does the company that makes those sunglasses I gave my dad; it was all a scam. Out of that scam came my intial start into the world of watches. From humble and dubious beginnings I am slowly making my journey to becoming a WIS.


    So what got you started? If you can, let's share some pictures.
    anicca, You, kayjf and 6 others like this.
    Damn it! Am I late again!?

  2. #2
    Member kayjf's Avatar
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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Love that Hamilton and your story.

    I became interested in mechanical watches a few years ago, but it was nothing serious. I figured once I got an automatic watch with a display back I'd have scratched that itch and I could move on to other things. The scratch came from an Invicta 9937 OB (below on a NATO). I was more interested in looking at something cool than anything else.

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    Having worn my Invicta on a bracelet for a few years I noticed someone wearing one on a 'stripey watch strap' (I actually typed that into google). Once I figured out what NATOs were I knew I'd like to have one for my Invicta. This was about March/April last year. I couldn't get one of the spring bars out so I took it to one of those in-the-middle-of-the-mall booths that do 'watch repairs' to get it sorted. The girl pulled out a small hammer and had at it. She got it off but in the process jostled the 11 hour marker free. She said she'd take 5 minutes to get it sorted if I'd like to walk around for a bit. I came back and she had somehow managed to break something in the movement. It was sent off for repair and I had a few weeks with no watch. Keep in mind I'd worn the thing daily for a few years so I didn't like having a naked wrist. Cue eBay window shopping for another watch to 'tide me over' 'till I got mine back form repair.

    In my search I found this place, which I initially found kind of hard to navigate. Think little fish big pond. So I lurked for a while and picked up a heap of information and decided that all of those 'cool Invictas' in my eBay watch list weren't the best things my money could buy.

    Finally joined in July of last year and within 6 months I had bought a number of great affordables that are well respected around these parts. I slowed down after I bought my Glycine early this year, but have recently bought an Aevig Huldra and I've got an Obris Morgan Pradata on its way as we speak. I'm not going to post a pic of every one of my watches so here's one of the Aevig Huldra.

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    It's a slippery slope, but I'm glad I slid down it. I owe it all to hammer girl.
    WrnrG, marlowe55, Orsoni and 1 others like this.

  3. #3
    Member WrnrG's Avatar
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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by kayjf View Post
    Love that Hamilton and your story.

    I became interested in mechanical watches a few years ago, but it was nothing serious. I figured once I got an automatic watch with a display back I'd have scratched that itch and I could move on to other things. The scratch came from an Invicta 9937 OB (below on a NATO). I was more interested in looking at something cool than anything else.

    Name:  Invicta.JPG
Views: 326
Size:  171.5 KB

    Having worn my Invicta on a bracelet for a few years I noticed someone wearing one on a 'stripey watch strap' (I actually typed that into google). Once I figured out what NATOs were I knew I'd like to have one for my Invicta. This was about March/April last year. I couldn't get one of the spring bars out so I took it to one of those in-the-middle-of-the-mall booths that do 'watch repairs' to get it sorted. The girl pulled out a small hammer and had at it. She got it off but in the process jostled the 11 hour marker free. She said she'd take 5 minutes to get it sorted if I'd like to walk around for a bit. I came back and she had somehow managed to break something in the movement. It was sent off for repair and I had a few weeks with no watch. Keep in mind I'd worn the thing daily for a few years so I didn't like having a naked wrist. Cue eBay window shopping for another watch to 'tide me over' 'till I got mine back form repair.

    In my search I found this place, which I initially found kind of hard to navigate. Think little fish big pond. So I lurked for a while and picked up a heap of information and decided that all of those 'cool Invictas' in my eBay watch list weren't the best things my money could buy.

    Finally joined in July of last year and within 6 months I had bought a number of great affordables that are well respected around these parts. I slowed down after I bought my Glycine early this year, but have recently bought an Aevig Huldra and I've got an Obris Morgan Pradata on its way as we speak. I'm not going to post a pic of every one of my watches so here's one of the Aevig Huldra.

    Name:  Huldra.JPG
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Size:  220.4 KB

    It's a slippery slope, but I'm glad I slid down it. I owe it all to hammer girl.
    Thanks for sharing. I went to one of those kiosks one time and decided to buy my own tools rather than have them charge me 10 bucks to remove four links. Plus, I love tinkering with things, so this was a good excuse for that.

    That initial watch wearing down is what pushed me to start lurking on WUS and looking for something else to wear. My wallet may not agree, but it was a great turn of events.

    The dial on that Aevig is gorgeous in that light.
    Damn it! Am I late again!?

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  5. #4
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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    I wish I had a better story. I barely remember an age when I didn't own a watch and by tween years I wore one daily. I was always a WIS-in training, with the odd decent watch here and there. I was in a car accident last year and was separated from the car (I had the 'pleasure' of needing to go to the ER for minor injuries). I had a Wenger Commando XL stashed in the vehicle, and it was stolen, almost certainly by the tow truck operator or someone in his company.

    I never did get it back, but that just made me mad and kicked me into high-gear, WIS-wise.

    6 watch purchases later...
    Choose a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life because that field isn't hiring.

  6. #5
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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by WrnrG View Post
    Thanks for sharing. I went to one of those kiosks one time and decided to buy my own tools rather than have them charge me 10 bucks to remove four links. Plus, I love tinkering with things, so this was a good excuse for that.

    That initial watch wearing down is what pushed me to start lurking on WUS and looking for something else to wear. My wallet may not agree, but it was a great turn of events.

    The dial on that Aevig is gorgeous in that light.

    I've got a box of watch related tools now. It's funny to think that a little over a year ago I had absolutely no idea how to size a bracelet, and now I'm taking apart cheap movements for fun (note: I'm not doing too well at the whole reassembly thing...). I'd like to one day enroll in an online watchmaking course so I can eventually refurbish older movements. You know the eBay lots where it's 6 of the same movement? I'd hopefully get 1 goer out of the lot, and have it working well. That's a long way off though... got to graduate first.

    This is a great thread and I hope it takes off. It's interesting knowing that we've all come from somewhere different, but one or two basic things have all lead us here. You've got Playboy and your dad to thank!


    A small tilt of the wrist and the Huldra transforms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OvrSteer View Post
    I wish I had a better story. I barely remember an age when I didn't own a watch and by tween years I wore one daily. I was always a WIS-in training, with the odd decent watch here and there. I was in a car accident last year and was separated from the car (I had the 'pleasure' of needing to go to the ER for minor injuries). I had a Wenger Commando XL stashed in the vehicle, and it was stolen, almost certainly by the tow truck operator or someone in his company.

    I never did get it back, but that just made me mad and kicked me into high-gear, WIS-wise.

    6 watch purchases later...
    Abhorrent behavior on the thief's part. My cousin had a similar experience, although it was his satnav and phone taken from the wreck. At least you're okay and you didn't bump the WIS out of yourself!
    Last edited by kayjf; August 4th, 2014 at 18:21.

  7. #6
    Member WrnrG's Avatar
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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by OvrSteer View Post
    I wish I had a better story. I barely remember an age when I didn't own a watch and by tween years I wore one daily. I was always a WIS-in training, with the odd decent watch here and there. I was in a car accident last year and was separated from the car (I had the 'pleasure' of needing to go to the ER for minor injuries). I had a Wenger Commando XL stashed in the vehicle, and it was stolen, almost certainly by the tow truck operator or someone in his company.

    I never did get it back, but that just made me mad and kicked me into high-gear, WIS-wise.

    6 watch purchases later...
    Sorry to hear about that, hopefully there were no permanent injuries. Were you a one watch guy before the accident? Or was the accident the catalyst to you building a watch collection?

    Quote Originally Posted by kayjf View Post
    I've got a box of watch related tools now. It's funny to think that a little over a year ago I had absolutely no idea how to size a bracelet, and now I'm taking apart cheap movements for fun (note: I'm not doing too well at the whole reassembly thing...). I'd like to one day enroll in an online watchmaking course so I can eventually refurbish older movements. You know the eBay lots where it's 6 of the same movement? I'd hopefully get 1 goer out of the lot, and have it working well. That's a long way off though... got to graduate first.

    This is a great thread and I hope it takes off. It's interesting knowing that we've all come from somewhere different, but one or two basic things have all lead us here. You've got Playboy and your dad to thank!


    A small tilt of the wrist and the Huldra transforms.

    Name:  Huldra1.JPG
Views: 254
Size:  263.0 KB



    Abhorrent behavior on the thief's part. My cousin had a similar experience, although it was his satnav and phone taken from the wreck. At least you're okay and you didn't bump the WIS out of yourself!
    Haha, yes, Hugh Hefner has influenced me in more ways than I know I have to thank my dad for me getting a subscription to Playboy also; at an even younger age I found his old stash. Most people don't believe me, but I actually do read the articles and enjoy them (It's probably time to get another subscription).

    Seems like something forced us into looking for new watches and that brought us all here.
    Damn it! Am I late again!?

  8. #7
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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Good story, how was it a scam if you received the goods? Were they saying the sunglasses were more branded than they actually were?
    W.A.S. Watch Acquisition Syndrome Patient.

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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Crunchy View Post
    Good story, how was it a scam if you received the goods? Were they saying the sunglasses were more branded than they actually were?
    In a sense it wasn't a scam because they did provide you with the sunglasses that were promised, but they were suggesting that the glasses were on par with Ray Ban or something of the like; claiming their actual retail price is close to $300, which quality wise they definitely weren't.

    The scam part came in with those that ordered with a credit card. They would sign you up for monthly sunglasses at the "retail" price, mail them to you and automatically charge you for them. They also had a no returns and no refund policy and when people called to complain and cancel they tended not to cooperate. If you Google Alterna Eyewear you'll find only consumer complaint reports online. Granted these are old (2005-2009), but it seems like the company doesn't exist anymore, bad business practice perhaps?

    Because I was broke at the time, I had no bank account or credit card, I made all my catalog and mail-order purchases with with money orders, so they weren't able to hook me the same way and I avoided those sneaky charges.

    It may not be a full-on scam, but it's kind of scammy.

    And the Sonic brand name for watches is impossible to find also; extremely scarce information.
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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by WrnrG View Post
    Sorry to hear about that, hopefully there were no permanent injuries. Were you a one watch guy before the accident? Or was the accident the catalyst to you building a watch collection?
    Well thankfully (?) it was my dominant wrist that was broken in two places, not my watch arm!

    I had a few pieces prior -- some decent quality, some fashion-- but nothing resembling a 'collection'.
    Choose a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life because that field isn't hiring.

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    Re: From a Dubious and Humble Beginning: A WIS's Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by OvrSteer View Post
    Well thankfully (?) it was my dominant wrist that was broken in two places, not my watch arm!

    I had a few pieces prior -- some decent quality, some fashion-- but nothing resembling a 'collection'.
    Man, that is harsh, no lingering effects hopefully. Beside the pain and rehab, learning to do things with your off hand would be a pain in the ass.
    Damn it! Am I late again!?

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