Friday, March 13, 2015

Daydreaming About Extremely Expensive Watches

Lately I've been looking at pictures of expensive mechanical (that is: wind-up, no battery) watches and daydreaming about being rich enough to afford one. Just today I was looking at some of these pictures, looking at the ways some of these watches have of showing the time in more than 1 time zone at once. Looking at these pictures on my laptop.

And it occurred to me that a mechanical, no-electricity computer wouldn't be able to do very much. At all. Certainly wouldn't be able to show me pictures of watches costing more than I've ever made in a year. Gross. And my laptop, about as simple as new ones come, can show me the time in all time zones, and that's just a teeny-tiny part of a small fraction of what it can do. And then it occurred to me: the most advanced current mechanical computers: that's more or less what extremely-expensive watches are. Plus a lot of gold or platinum in many cases.

As regular readers of this blog know: I'm a pocket watch enthusiast. Not particularly interested in putting a watch on my wrist. I have an automatic (self-winding, no battery) Timex that I bought at a yard sale for 2 bucks, and I've occasionally worn that on my wrist, but never for as long as a day all day long. It's just uncomfortable to me. I don't know whether this is a neurological issue related to my autism. I also don't wear rings.

Not very long ago, all the extra features which often come with expensive watches, like multiple dials and stopwatches and whatnot, didn't interest me much. I just wanted big Arabic numerals, 12 of them on one dial and no Roman numerals or dashes or dots referring to numbers, and of course I wanted extremely accurate and precise and durable and rugged timekeeping. Basically, I wanted a Hamilton 992B,

but as far as I know, no 992B's have been made in the past 45 years. I started researching expensive new pocket watches, and I haven't been able to find many new high-end ones. Patek Philippe offers a couple of gold pocket watches in the $30,000 - $40,000 price range, and Bell & Ross

makes a few that sell for around $2000-$4000, and other than that, I don't know of any really good new pocket watches. The selection of good new ones, as far as I know, isn't vast. There is a vast selection of other new pocket watches, and in the case of some of those I'm not at all sure how well they're made, and in the cases of many others, I'm quite sure that they're cheap crap. It seems that there is this thing called steampunk, whose adherents often carry hideous-looking cheap wind-up watches which are meant to evoke the Victorian ("steam-powered") era. They don't evoke it for me. Generally speaking, watches which were actually made in the Victorian era look much better to me, and a lot of them are still running and keep better time than a lot of this new stuff. Anyway, because of steampunk and maybe because of other factors too, suddenly there are many new wind-up pocket watches for sale, some in the grotesque steampunk style and some which much more closely resemble regular watches. Some have a few superficial resemblances in appearance to things like the 992B, but they gain or lose more than 30 seconds a day. (That's not good. Less than 30 seconds every 6 months, when we spring forward or fall back, would be more like it.)

I must underscore that I'm not really well-informed about all of the new inexpensive ($10 to $500 dollars or so, that's not a typo, it's 10 with 1 zero) watches. I don't know whether there is inexpensive quality stuff somewhere in there amongst the dreck. One can only hope. [PS, 2017: Among other quality low-priced watches, there is the Seiko 5, widely regarded as the most watch per dollar or Euro that a person can get these days.]

Back to me daydreaming about being rich and able to afford a top-notch new gold or platinum watch.

Since there are so few high-end new pocket watches, I've been looking at high-end wristwatches. And I've actually begun to grow intrigued by all the fancy stuff which didn't appeal to me not long ago. Fancy stuff referred to as "complications" by the makers of extremely-expensive watches. Lately, to my own surprise, the complications and offbeat designs have begun to intrigue me. Accuracy, precision and reliability continue to be what I want most, but I'm changing to an attitude where I might actually like some complications too.

And more recently than that it occurred to me that just because a big heavy gold or platinum wristwatch has a band, it doesn't mean that I would have to wear it on my wrist instead of carrying it in my pocket. Of course I could carry a big heavy hunk of precious metal and precision horology in my pocket if I felt like it, even if it came with a big glorious heavy precious-metal band usually used to wear it on one's wrist.

If I could afford such a thing, that is. So let's keep talking me up for that Nobel Prize, everyone, shall we? Thank you! You know, once I'm a Nobel Prize winner, and able to actually buy a gold Omega watch (or platinum? Does Omega make platinum watches? I'm having trouble finding them if they do), I might not have to buy one. Because of the Tom Petty Ab.So.Lute.Ly Backwards Law of Microeconomics, winning a Nobel Prize might actually make me rich and famous enough that Omega would give me a new gold or platinum watch.

And wouldn't that be cool beans with awesome sauce.

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