Monday, May 5, 2014

Wrist Watches

A nod of thanks to Remus over at the Woodpile Report.

Remus once again dares stand on that windswept rock, alone, steely eyed, and peddle unsupported opinion on matters of tertiary importance that, um, beset us on our way to generational oblivion.
Men are allowed three pieces of jewelry for everyday wear: their rings, pen and watch. Rings pretty much select themselves—wedding, civic organization, school and the like. Zero rings is an acceptable alternative. Discussion closed.
The goal is the "retro gentleman's look", meaning it would be at home with the rest of the stuff in your Grandad's estate.
Watches need a definition. A watch is what you consult for the time when your phone is misplaced and your tevee is off. There was an era when a watch was a miniature clock kept in a subpocket, blue jeans still feature them, or more elegantly, in a vest pocket with the retaining chain peeking out to signal its wearer was a responsible adult, or at least a solvent one. Movements had their own hierarchy of sizes and grades: standard grade, railroad grade, chronometer grade, observatory grade and the like, the number of jewels climbing ever and more needlessly higher. "Jewels" are the industry's over-grand term for synthetic corundum bearings, 17 being "fully jeweled" for a time-only mechanical watch. 
If you'll recall the rationale for men's jewelry, that it relies absolutely but lightly on its putative utility, the engine of a man's watch is of no consequence. Unless you're a citizen scientist there's rarely any real need to know the time with the precision any modern watch offers, and not often a need to have it with you at all.
So, what to wear. ... Again, relying on principle, your watch should express a retro gentleman's look without slipping into ersatz elegance, much less suggesting its wearer fantasizes himself a jet pilot or a Navy SEAL with a pressing need for multiple subdials. These things are, frankly, slightly goofy, like using deep-sea tackle at the ol' fishin' hole. You don't want to know the people it would impress.
A three-hand watch suffices... To name a couple of brands, Seiko offers mechanical watches for entrenched enthusiasts, the well-regarded Seiko 5, a self-winder starting in the $60 range, and in their sports series at $140 or so, in addition to a wide selection of quartz models. Timex offers quartz analog watches with good presence and excellent movements in about the same range, $50 to $125. The purpose of better grade quartz movements isn't so much accuracy as improved battery life, incidentally.
Remus's report is most timely.  My birthday is within the next month and Mrs ERJ struggles to find appropriate gifts.  I was thrilled to learn that there are high quality, self winding (i.e., no batteries) watches still on the market.  For those who were not born this time of year....there is always Father's day.

It is a pretty good bet I will be getting something like this for my birthday.  Plain.  Simple.  Unobtrusive.  Easy to read. Does not run on batteries.

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