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Stan’s Stuff

Thinking about Watches

My young Asian friend’s family are clearly very well off. He has a brother, but he fears he will never measure up to his brother’s financial success.
 |  The Informer  | 

I asked what was his brother’s work. He said he thought he traded in secondhand watches. I was incredulous.

“How could anyone make a living from trading in old watches?” I asked. My young friend didn’t know.

“Maybe I’m mistaken,” he said. The subject was dropped.

My interest in watches was again stirred by hearing that apprehended criminals and drug barons often had, ‘luxury watches’ in their treasure chests. Why on earth would these gangsters and drug dealers want watches – not just one, but several of them? Didn’t they know that their phones would always tell them the time?

That started me wondering, “What is a luxury watch?”

It didn’t take long to find out. Through internet searches, I entered the rarefied realm of ‘luxury watches’. Here’s what my first search revealed. A second hand Rolex Perpetual with a leather strap (like new the advertisement stated) – $39,000. And there’s many more in this price range and above.

Get this! Some of these stellar priced ($40,000 and above) second-hand watches must be manually wound.  These watches are literally worth more than their weight in gold. Some of them are worth more after they are purchased, than their purchase price.

As much as my friend had trouble believing it, his brother could make a living in trading in second-hand watches.

My Dad worked on the Melbourne wharves. When he retired, he was presented with a gold watch. Being the youngest in the family, it is now in my possession. The round, rather plump watch has no makers name on the face and needs to be wound every ten hours.

However, the case is gold and he wore it with pride whenever he put on a suit. It still goes and I wear it occasionally on significant occasions.

I wanted to give my son a watch but to my surprise he told me he didn’t want one. He didn’t like the idea of wearing a watch.

His time-piece was a ‘Blackberry’ smart phone. That was his watch and many things more. Blackberry phones went out of business. These days he has an Apple iPhone but he doesn’t love it as he did his Blackberry. And, he’ll never wear a watch.

When we visited Switzerland it made sense to buy a special watch. From the multitude of watches on display I chose one of the lowest priced – around $350USD by memory. The watch was battery driven. To my annoyance the batteries are quite expensive – especially when the retailers insisted on selling you two at a time. One morning last year I found to my dismay that both hands had fallen off my Swiss watch. They were laying at the bottom of the face. The watch had a brand that no one had heard of and we have mislaid the paperwork so we did nothing. Eventually, I bought a cheaper replacement.

For several years my friend Dennis tracked rock stars across the United States. Wearing latest bling was part of their public persona.

In 1972 Dennis told me about a new type of watch they were flashing. This was a ‘Hamilton’ digital watch. These gold watches had a blank, black screen. To see the time, you pushed a button, and the time would flash in red. The first of these watches cost $2,200USD however, the technology developed with the speed of light and two years later digital watches in plastic surrounds could be purchased for $10USD.

A friend who has had a most successful career in business always wears an old watch. I know he can afford to buy a modern, flashy watch but it won’t happen. He told me his dad gave the watch to him when he turned 21 and he has worn it ever since -55 years I guess. It’s a self-winding, Buren watch, a make I have not heard of. Now it’s part of him. He tells me he enjoys taking about it and playing with it with his grandchildren. Obviously, for my friend this watch is more than a time-piece.

Now some watches are computers. You can send and receive messages through them. You can watch TV on them. Your watch can send your vital signs to your health professional. Your watch encapsulates your life. Wait a minute that can’t be right!

Thinking about watches has made me think of how quickly time passes. An old music hall song I often like to sing to myself comes to mind.

Enjoy yourself its later than you think

Enjoy yourself when your still in the pink

The years go by as quickly as a wink

Enjoy yourself, Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.