PUBLISHED August 15th, 2013 02:38 am | UPDATED May 18th, 2020 04:44 pm
I remember when I was a child growing up in my grandparents’ house, always hearing my grandfather winding his Omega watch at dawn. It was always at the same time- 4.30am, and the sound of the winding became something of a necessity in my childhood routine. The mornings that I was not momentarily woken up by it, always led to a day that felt as though something had gone amiss- and in the case of not hearing that watch being wound, I guess something was amiss.
That simple routine of my grandfather’s did not make sense to me as a child, it was just something I thought he did naturally or even automatically and something I thought was a natural part of my own day. Only in my later years (in fact to be more precise it was only 3 years ago) it began to make sense why he did so.
Voltaire once wrote: “Work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice and need”. In hindsight I am convinced these words were my grandfather’s own modus operandi- unlikely as it may be that he actually read Voltaire. The watch was only a small part of his daily routine, there were other ‘components’ that served to complete his day as it was meant. Most of them I was not aware of by default of attending school. However the two most obvious to me were his watch and the attire that adorned the rest of his physical being- little wonder then at my obsession with menswear. The watch was nonetheless the central focus of his day- and mine. In the hope that he would be proud of my arrival at this juncture of realization, I have gleaned the following from a combination of experiences: the precious gift that is time, when invested and spent wisely, staves off Voltaire’s listed evils. Time invested wisely reflects self respect; time spent well ensures a man never regrets his past and time given to loved ones reveals his kindness and generosity.
Matching that of menswear, another very real obsession of mine has been, for the longest time, with timepieces, which all too often leads me to leer at Omegas I cannot afford…yet! There are other time pieces I find fascinating, I also know that there are other mechanically superior time pieces out there, but the Omega wound itself into my conscious, much like the winding did to my memory as a child.
A man’s choice of watch, like his choice of shoes, speaks volumes about his sense and sensibility. Of course this rule isn’t set in stone, nonetheless there is a lot to gauge from it. My own proclivities lie in the way of those that have a lissom construction, leather wrists and almost always a round face- a rounded square is about as angular as I get; so count me out of the Frank Mullers and Hublots…completely. I find an obvious and understated elegance in these simpler shapes whose designs usually hark back to 1950s Art Deco and 1960s modernism. It’s as though I imagine my grandfather approving my choice of watch as I scan through the options.
Price is strictly a personal issue that each man has to confer between himself and the depth if his pockets. Having said that though, common wisdom would dictate that the more expensive the watch the better made it is- broadly speaking. As someone whose real desired pieces are still that tad bit out of reach I tend to utilize my skill in retail treasure hunting, a skill endowed upon me by a mother whose idea of a fun weekend was to drive through the countryside of West Sussex in England looking through charity shops and ‘skips’ for discarded gems. I particularly enjoyed this activity as it meant I spent more time with her- she worked tirelessly from job to job, spending an average of 3 nights a week in her own bed. An added skill I acquired during our escapades was an understanding of how old furnishings could be articulated elegantly when you change their context- but that’s another story for another day.
I suppose the point I am really trying to drive is that smart and classy choices in timepieces are not and should not be dictated by price point. Many a time I have observed “cheap” objects being reappropriated with such success that the monetary value is entirely forgotten, but instead the style- the real key to good dressing and presentation- of that individual comes to the fore. And that, my dear sirs, I believe is the ultimate success in personal grooming and presentation: when people forget that you are wearing clothes, shoes or a watch and instead see all of it as a mere extension of your inner being. That there is success; personal success.
For vintage second hand pieces I recommend:
and for new watches:
Written by Style & the Dandy
“To be relentless is to become whole”