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.
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.
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.