Wednesday, January 01, 2020

101 Things #42 - Watch This Space

We all love brands, don't we? Even my good friend, the Editor, swears by his trusty Merridew and Withers Gentleman's Quill Pen. [Very funny: Ed]. No, but seriously folks, an article of clothing with a designer label, a car bearing the badge of a respected marque, laptops identified by the outline of a fruit - brands are important and we aspire to identify with them, to be perceived as more distinguished human beings through a recognised possession.

I have used the inclusive "we" so far but now I must assert and support my own brand, the utterly non-aspirational anti-bucket-list that is 101 Things I Refuse To Do Before I Die. I don't object to brands but I don't worship them either. The notion that one should seek to own something just because it is branded, rather than because it is worth having for its own sake, is one I find repellent. Let us explore this a little further as I pick one of the most popular brands for bucket-lists and explain why I will not

Buy a Rolex.


Pic: It's one of mine, obviously.


Here are the watches I own. On the left my day-to-day trusted companion, the Casio digital. It tells me the time (note, I mean actually tells me the time, as opposed to letting me guess about positions of big hands and little hands). It has an alarm. It has a backlight. It has a stopwatch. It knows what day and what month it is, so it never needs resetting on the first of the month (leap years excepted). It cost me less than £30 and I have had it many years.

On the right is my Sekonda. It is just a plain analogue watch with no fancy features. I like the look of the face and that deep blue background. I wear it when dressing up, because I find it smarter than the Casio. Oh, and it cost less than £30.

I am aware that one can pay much more for a watch. Hundreds, thousands of pounds even. Since the functionality is identical to those I already own, and many of the additional features (such as waterproof to 50 fathoms or a glass face hard enough to park a tank on without either of them cracking, etc) are irrelevant, why on earth would I want one? Of course, at these prices, one is buying an item of jewellery or an investment (or both).

My Sekonda is all the jewellery I desire and if anything should happen to it (I'm fairly sure it would not be working after a tank drove over it) then I would buy something similar - no, let me clarify, I would buy the same model again - it took me long enough to find something I really liked and I don't want to go through that endless looking in jewellers' windows again.

How about as an investment? I think one of the other fancy brands like Patek Phillipe used to advertise that you didn't own one, you merely looked after that for the next generation. [Yes, they did: Ed]. It's a clever marketing line. I don't know if such watches perform better than, say, a broad-based equities fund or rare stamps, but, if you can convince enough punters to take a chance, then they may well do so. Of course this implies that there is a next generation waiting with their grasping little hands out, cold eyes scanning the latest auction sales, totting up the value of the antique china in your old cabinet and wondering whether to sell or melt down your platinum cuff-links. Be proud - you want them to value it, don't you?

The Ramblings household does not have this problem. I intend to leave my watches for the reduction of the National Debt ("Thank you, thank you", says a moist-eyed Chancellor) and the rest will be monetary so that my heirs can do as they choose and not be shackled with the thought that they in turn are supposed to guard a timepiece for their own descendants.

I chose Rolex as the most recognised brand in watches [Is it? Researcher to my office, please: Ed] and see no reason to acquire one. Having had a look at a few online, I have even less reason to stick one on my wrist.


Rolex Submariner: Pic- Watchmaster.com

I don't think they look particularly attractive with the chunky, pointless bezels engraved with numbers even though they also have digit markers on the watch face. And if I was to sport one, every arm movement must be restrained to prevent scratches, every dark alley avoided to evade muggers and God knows what it would do to my household insurance policy. The item pictured above, for example, will set you back a nice little £5,900.

So I shall not be bothering.With my phone almost as convenient a way of ascertaining the time, and a much more sophisticated alarm app than my Casio can match, maybe even that venerable watch will not be replaced when its quartz crystal drops into a well earned sleep.

Important note:
I have categorically stated that I will not buy a Rolex. This does not in any way rule out my acceptance of, shall we say, a commemorative award involving an expensive and exclusive timepiece presented by an admiring and grateful public. Should you wish to donate to this presentation then the lines are now open and the Editor is waiting to take your calls. [Huh? Ed]. Absolutely no terms or conditions apply. The Submariner is a perfectly acceptable gift for this purpose but plenty of other models are available as I suspect my days of diving deep under the polar ice in the old hunter-killer may be numbered.

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