The following is my response to Ariel Adams’ poignant and moving article for Father’s Day on aBlogtoWatch.com. I originally left it as a comment to his article, but I thought I’d share it here too. Watches seem an apropriate topic on Father’s Day.
In my father’s things I found several cheap broken watches I had mostly never seen before. They were literally in pieces – I don’t know how he managed that or why he had held onto them. The memories of the silver digital Casio on a stretchy silver band on his dark, hairy, and powerful wrist, while driving with the windows open, say, are just a part of a memory that is so rich and palpable that I could, and probably will, analyze it for the rest of my life. The watch itself is not the focal point of the memory for me, but it is a detail that the memory can revolve around momentarily, bringing it to greater life. In fact, I can’t think of a special meaning of his watch except that it was part of him.
I was barely aware of watches as a child though. When I was 21, I didn’t wear a watch at all, and my girlfriend at the time let me pick out a $100 watch as a birthday present (this was luxury to me). So after shopping with her and looking closely at watches for the first time, I never stopped noticing them. But it is my stepfather who is to thank for the level of passion I have for watches today. I got into them as an adult after my stepfather bought me a TAG Heuer Carrera GMT watch when I finished graduate school – to this day, the most expensive thing I’ve ever owned. I actually wore it for years and beat it up pretty good before I even began to understand it. My stepfather wears a Rolex Deepsea most days and is totally an afficionado, with refined tastes in every part of his life that I continue to admire and learn from. He has been one of the only people I know that I can actually talk to about watches.
I think many people, like me, are into watches because they can be little windows onto other things, an angle we happen choose to understand the world more deeply. We can view history and art through them, something as abstract as manhood, or even the life of one’s own father. Arguably, it doesn’t even have to be watches, but we watch-lovers no doubt have lot’s of good reasons why it is. Let’s face it, a watch is just an object that we fill with our own meanings.
In the picture above, my stepdad shows me a Sinn 656s with tegmented steel he had recently gotten.
Happy Father’s Day!