tricky times…

My simple yet reliable TIMEX Perpetual conked some time back.
Age and relentless abuse in a harsh work environment took its toll.
I decided to buy a new one.

Then the troubles started.
First stop – swanky up-market watch shop.
3 guys in sober suits, me in my dirty jean and unkempt hair.
They size me quickly asking me

Err.. what kind of industry do you work in?
Oil (hand in my business card)
Uh, we have a range of watches to suit you Monsieur Edwin
Can I see them?
Sure Monsieur Edwin, and do you have any specific hobbies that you would like your watch to complement?

I get worried now.
I do gulp copious volumes of beer and watch tv, don’t know how a watch can help with…

Well, we have one with a chronograph and an altimeter as well as a thermometer. These
are quite favored by our younger and sport loving customers, we have a lot of repeat orders

I can imagine guys falling of cliffs, guys having their rear end chewed off by a shark, whatever …. A broken watch and a repeat order here is justified indeed…

This one with the chronograph can measure pulse as well.

(These chronographs are funny things. Just imagine, you pay a fortune for a watch with plenty of buttons.
Now these buttons ain’t as gullible and simple as they look, press one, the second hand stops.
Press another, the minute hand rolls back.
Guys, give me a break, few of decades back, when watches stopped, you just took them to the neighborhood HMT dealer and told him ‘it does not work’.
You never told him ‘it has changed to a chronograph’. Did you?)

And the aura these guys in suits build – amazing! You wonder every nook and cranny of those Swiss Alps are filled with men in white coats in small cottages secretly plotting what the next generation of watches should have – nuclear warheads? Google Latitude? Stabilizers for your water scooter? A cocktail shaker?
Takes the fun and romance out of one’s holiday in Alps doesn’t it? Not to forget the edel weiss…

The thick set guy in the suit is now donning a glove.
In hushed tones he draws a redwood tray with pearl white satin trimming and inlay. Cocooned in the satin in sheer luxury, an array of watches in a mind boggling range and equally mind-boggling range of tongue twisting names – Breitling, Ulysse Nardin, Fredrique Constant…. Ok, I am not swearing in French. They are Swiss family names, families who holed up in the hillside for generations… yes, but who knows?

Err, excuse me, but….. these are for people swinging golf clubs and riding horses and leaning over a yacht about to topple over in a Volvo ocean race or whatever. Do you have watches for ordinary people that just tell the time?

Would you care to see our Movado or Patek Phillipe range Monsieur?

Then it strikes me.
The Patek sales pitch – You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation’.

I leave the shop without a second glance.

And aaah, yes, I’ll leave that for the next generation.
I’ll settle for a robust TIMEX or a TITAN for my generation Monsieur.
That can tell me the time.