I hadn't realized until recently that I've passed the 1000 post mark; it came as a surprise because I don't post that frequently, although apparently what I have posted has added up over the course of the three years since I joined.
Anyway, some thoughts:
I am grateful to this forum for enabling me to learn a great deal about watches. That said, I'm almost embarrassed by that knowledge and by my interest in watches, which has all but grown. My wife thinks it's crazy, and I can't really offer a counter-argument. I love watches. It's completely irrational. The forum has also reinforced my habit of checking out who's wearing what around me, and approving/disapproving of what I saw. I really wish I didn't pay any attention to what was on others' wrists, just as often I wish that I didn't give a damn about what was on mine. But it's too late. I care. A lot.
Relatedly, much of the logic one finds on this forum for why a certain watch is better than another is, to my lights, little more than an effort to justify an irrational passion. I mean, we can argue all we want about why this brand is better than that, or why it makes sense to spend $$$ on a watch, when at the end of the day, the real reason why we like a certain watch is because, well, we like it. Of course, I have some of my prejudices and preferences.
I joined initially to learn about my inherited Omega Constellation, which is the reason for my user name. But then I kept reading and learning, and developing favorites and desires. I've spent far more time than I care to admit imagining that I would buy if I had the money. Because I don't have much money that I'm willing to spend on watches, I'm grateful for the respect for cheaper watches one finds here. I think it is the mark of a true WIS to be able to respect the virtues of watches at any price. A true WIS, I believe, will note appreciatively that someone has a Seiko 5, even if that WIS's own collection is full of JLCs, etc. I think that what matters is that one's choice of a watch bespeaks some thought and taste rather than be a matter of happenstance. The choice of a Seiko 5 can reflect discernment. So can a Citizen eco-drive, or a Timex. The choice of a luxury watch can be just the opposite. Thus, I'm proud that the three watches I've bought since joining WUS are all careful choices: a Stowa Antea and two Seikos, a SARB035 and a SKX013. I've become a big Seiko fan because Seiko's kind to people on budgets, but there are countless Swiss and German watches that positively make me salivate. I tend to avoid looking at some threads because I feel they do me little good. I don't want to know about ALS watches, for example, for the same reason why I think it's unhealthy for a married guy to look at photos of movie stars or adult movies. The comparison with between watch pics and p0rn has some substance to it.
If there's anything I don't like here, it is an unpleasant tendency among some to show off. Perhaps for that reason the posts I dislike the most on this forum are the watch and car pictures that enable one to show off one's watch AND expensive car at the same time. You all know what I'm talking about. I would urge people to think twice about that. It diminishes the watch hobby by reinforcing the idea that it's the price of the watch that appeals rather than whatever mechanical virtues we attribute to the watch. Ask yourself, would you do that if this weren't an anonymous forum?
What I like most is the willingness of those who really know a great deal to patiently answer noob questions and share their expertise. Two I'd like to single out for praise are Stuffler and CitizenM, from whom I've learned a great deal. I try to pay them and others forward by being helpful when I can with my significantly more limited knowledge.
I thought I would amend this for the record by laying out some of my favorites, most of which were watches I had never heard of before joining. These are basically the watches I've stopped and really drooled over or thought that they were particularly remarkable. Mind you, my tastes reflect my small wrist size (6.5"), which puts a lot of dive watches and chronos off limits. 42mm really is the limit for me.
In no particular order:
1. My top choice for the "if I could only have one watch for all purposes" category is the Omega AT. I get the argument for the Rolex Sub, which is a fantastic watch, but a) the ubiquity turns me off; b) I don't like the baggage that comes with Rolex, and c) I don't really think any dive watch is formal enough for suits. The AT is. Now, maybe a Rolex explorer or a small, SS datejust...no, they just don't appeal to me as much as the AT. A question of taste. One strong alternative is a Grand Seiko, like the base SBGR051. One day I hope to be tortured by ordeal of having to chose between an AT or a GS. Two other dark horses are the Nomos with strong WR, the Club and the Ahoi. Snazzy. I'd need to see these in the flesh. By the way, I don't like any Rolex that are not small and stainless steel. Gold's ok if your an old rich man. Two tone is never ok.
2. Omega 3570.50. My love for those are irrational, esp. since I'm a big fan of autos and date complications. But the Speedy's a remarkable example of mid-20th century modernism, and I am way into Apollo and everything it represents. I was a child in the early 70s and my father covered Apollo for Reuters; I was surrounded by Apollo memorabilia and worshiped (still) Apollo astronauts as heros. Superman never meant much to me. Buzz, on the other hand...
3. Stowa Marine Original. Roman. Just perfect. There are nicer Marine watches out there for a whole lot more money, but why go there when Stowa gets it just right.
4. Stowa Fliegers. Again, I don't see the point in spending more for, say, an IWC. But they're cool. Great design. I don't quite see the place for it in my life, but I like it anyway.
5. Seiko Cocktail Time. Gorgeous, and unique.
6. GO, just about anything, but I'd pass out if someone gave me a lunar panomatic. Amazing.
7. JLC MUT. One of the most beautiful watches on the market.
8. Grand Seiko: I love the newer retro models, the more sober the better. Like this, one, which is about as perfect as it comes. From a purely aesthetic point of view, this IS IT: