Issues of horological existentialism...
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  1. #1
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    Issues of horological existentialism...

    I've had vague thoughts of starting a thread like this for a while. I think what prompted me to finally do it was the fact that I just bit the bullet and ordered a BB41 (mentioned in an another thread).

    I guess I'm just sort of curious about what watches mean to you all. Or-maybe-how you choose a watch. In the beginning, I found myself selecting watches based on one or another characteristic-it was almost an intellectual exercise. For example, I really thought tough military watches were cool, so I have had a couple Marathons. At one point, I got sick of automatics and battery changes and wanted what I thought might be one of the watches that would last the longest with the least intervention, so I ended up with a solar Citizen. I had my super ultra tough phase, so ended up with a king g-shock. I eventually wanted a watch that was the perfect long-term every day wear, so I chose a Damasko DA37. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. I'm laughing a little as I write this because my selection is so varied and schizophrenic.

    In my most recent search, I put a lot of time and reflection in. I realized that a lot of my prior searching had centered around optimization of a certain characteristic. Again-it had been kind of intellectual. And, while I wore each of those watches for a while, I ended up not wearing them long-term. I initially thought the answer to this was to simply pick whatever watch I found most aesthetically pleasing. But, as time went by, my thinking evolved past that point. In the end, I decided what was most likely to lead to the one watch I could be satisfied with was based on this sense of...finding one I wanted to marry. Okay, admittedly that sounds incredibly cheesy. However, it really did remind me of the process of looking for a wife. On the one hand, you want something that you find beautiful, something that's comfortable to be with, something that uses a movement you believe in and will stand the test of time, something that has good genes, etc. I'm sure plenty of jokes can be made here since I mentioned finding a wife : ). Anyhow-it really turned into a search for something that I felt satisfied me in many different ways and that I felt I could commit to.

    Part of my assumption was that I was trying to find the one watch that I could live with for good (which is what led me to the BB41). I'm totally aware that many will find that silly and unnecessary. I can definitely respect the idea that this is a hobby and most people here are hobbying their way through lots of different watches. Still, though, it's kind of my hope that I can find a watch to marry and stay with. That has a lot of philosophical charm for me.

    I'm curious how other people select watches. What do watches mean to you, and why do you buy what you buy? Do you buy lots or are you searching for the one?

  2. #2
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    To extend your analogy, I think the issue here might be that ‘marriage’ is simply not for you...like it’s not for most of us.

    The distinction from your analogy is that wives rightfully expect monogamy...and it’s much easier to find a deep connection with a human being than a piece of metal.

    Watches won’t judge you for experimenting...so play the field until you find 2, 3 or 4 life partners.
    jmorski likes this.

  3. #3
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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    I can relate to your watch hobby evolution. When I first got into mechanical watches, I didn't have high aspirations...I just wanted a mechanical watch to marvel at. After I got one, then I wanted a different style. Then I wanted a different brand. Then I wanted a dress watch. Then I wanted a watch with tritium. Then I wanted....well you get the idea.

    About a year and a half ago I bought the first watch that I felt was truely significant...my Omega Speedmaster Pro. I researched it to death, fawned over it, and was completely overtaken by it's romantic and storied history being a space buff. I wore that watch a lot, and I noticed I started feeling different about it, and different about the other watches in my collection. I saw it as a watch I enjoyed wearing over and over, getting more familiar and "comfortable" with. It started feeling like a part of me, rather than a piece of wrist candy. I wore my other watches less. The only thing that kept me from wearing it every day, was the fact that I had other watches and it seemed like I should wear them too since I bought them.

    About 6 months ago, I decided that I was done dating watches. I wanted to settle down with a small concentrated group. My 40th birthday is this year, and I decided that a Submariner would make a heck of a pairing with my Speedy. Both iconic, both historically significant, both classic looking, both good quality, and both that will still be cool in 40 years. When I considered this, I decided that I'd purge most of the rest of my collection and start wearing just a few prized pieces on longer rotations. I've been doing so for a month or so, and I have to say, I think it really is for me. The longer I wear one watch, the more a part of me it feels, and the less it feels like a fashion accessory. It goes everywhere with me, and looks and feels so familiar. I can read it in a fraction of a second and know exactly how to quickly adjust it.

    I've had a lot of various hobbies over the years, and I inevitably get super passionate about the minutiae. Whether it's firearms, cameras, cars, computers, telescopes, or watches, what I find is that after some period of totally geeking out on them, my interests sort of drift away to other things. I end up settling on something solid and versatile and let the rest go. About 3 years ago I sold a few thousand dollars worth of SLR camera gear and switched to a superzoom. It's not the best at any one thing, but it does everything, and I can take it anywhere. I know exactly how it works, and it doesn't require much fuss or bother to use.

    I am starting to feel the same about my watches. I'm looking forward to wearing my Speedy, my Sub, and my Stowa Marine (which has become my "dress" watch) for years to come. I might buy another nice piece a few years down the line, but I'm honestly relieved and enjoying the relaxation from "the hunt".
    steadyrock and jmorski like this.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    Quote Originally Posted by lewdog View Post
    I guess I'm just sort of curious about what watches mean to you all. Or-maybe-how you choose a watch.
    "The watch chooses the wearer, Mr. Potter. It's not always clear why." - Mr. Ollivander

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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    I have no idea man. I'm currently in a state of horological existentialism. That's why I'm here and trying to figure it out. I've never worn watches, but decided after I graduated from school that it's time to be an adult. I shopped a quick minute on Amazon and the Citizen got good reviews. It's solar powered! Then I wanted something a little more dressy (time to actually do research). I poked around /r/watches on reddit and saw the beautiful Bulova. Now I'm falling quickly down the rabbit hole. I thought buying a $1,000 (MSRP) watch would be the end, but it's not even close. I took years to make the jump to $1,000. A few months later and I'm looking at $10,000 (MSRP). This jump is insane! Past me would never think like this!

    I'm definitely doing a ton of research and really giving myself time to sleep on it. My taste is drastically changing everyday. I feel like I'm in a constant state of doubt. I was dead set on speedy pro, but that pristine image was quickly shattered after trying it on at an AD. I just didn't like it that much. I think it's a beauty, but it wasn't calling out to me. I'm a firm believer that the watch does choose you. I know that sounds silly. I thought it was silly too until it happened to me. I initially thought the JLC MUT Moon was okay and didn't take it seriously, but it was love at first sight when I tried it on. The initial infatuation hasn't died off. I'm going to wait a few more weeks to see how I feel before pulling the trigger (trying to stick to your analogy). I hope to find the one, but I'll probably end up with 3-4.
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    JLC MUT Moon 1368420
    Garmin Fenix 5s Sapphire

  7. #6
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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    I trey to enjoy the hobby and my watches.
    Step 1 is not over thinking every little thing.
    So far I haven't needed a Step 2, but it's only been 45 years or so. Never say never.
    timefleas likes this.

  8. #7
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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    About 15 years ago I wrote an "essay" on another forum titled "Harley, Watches and Soul". It drew a bit of attention for the time.

    I will distill all of this down to something simple. Sit by yourself, preferably in a dim lit room, in silence, wind up your mechanical watch, close your eyes and put the watch to your ear. Listen for at least a minute or two.

    If you have an automatic and a manual wind, listen to them separately. Really listen.
    You're either qualified or not qualified

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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    Started with a Casio. Then got hypnotized by an automatic sweeping seconds hand. Worried by paranoid thoughts of accuracy, reliability, and robustness, went back to solar quartz. Moved back to automatics. I like a watch because is a tool I use to measure my (and everyone's) most precious asset: time. The inaccuracy of automatics reminds me that life itself is uncertain, and to not take it too seriously.
    KittyhawkMaddie and GregoryD like this.

  10. #9
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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    I suggest you get a pre-nup with your next watch purchase.
    "Time isn't the main thing. It is the only thing!" - Miles Davis

    I have found that some people just like to hear themselves typing.

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    You think I'm condescending...?? Do you even know what that means... ??


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    Re: Issues of horological existentialism...

    When I started - I bought watches with my eyes and wallet - based on look and the price (cheap).

    When I learned a bit more - I bought with my brain and my wallet - movement specs, tech complexity, etc, plus a "good value"

    Now that I've matured in the hobby - I buy with my heart and my brain and my eyes and my wrist - need to absolutely love it on emotional level, need it to look great, be comfortable, and have good specs.
    hector67 likes this.
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