I can still remember the first watch I had as a kid. It was a Star Wars watch by Texas Instruments. You had to press a button to see the time, which was displayed via red LEDs. I remember it being super cool to do in the dark. I do not remember exactly how old I was. The watches were released in 1977, so I would have been five at that time, but I may have got mine a year or so after. I’m not exactly sure if this is the model I got, but YouTuber My Cool Nostalgia posted a brief video on one that seems about right. It definitely had Darth Vader on it.
Why does receiving my first watch stick out in my memory? Who knows. This was years before my family’s first computer, which we purchased in the early 80s (the amazing Commodore 64), so maybe the sheer novelty of an LED readout on my wrist wedged itself firmly into my child-brain. I loved it, though certainly, I’m sure, did not take good care of it. There is no recollection of what eventually happened to that old watch. I was a pretty destructive child that enjoyed taking things apart to see what, almost literally, made them tick.
Now, we live in a time where a watch on my wrist may have far more power than that old Commodore 64. Smartwatches are a thing, though I am not really into them. Instead of digital displays I am far more drawn to a nice analog dial. I do not want, or need, my watch to digitally link to my phone. But this means, when wearing a nice watch, be it mechanical or quartz, instead of being asked for the time, you may just be asked why you wear it.
The seemingly obvious answer – to tell the time – may no longer be the true answer. People have always appreciated timepieces for their craftsmanship, materials, and artistry. Pursuing these things can lead to some exceptionally beautiful (and crazy expensive) watches. I tend to land more on the “to tell time” end of this spectrum. Pulling my iPhone out of my pocket every time I want to know the time can get annoying. A quick glance at the wrist is much more efficient. I am kind of utilitarian in that regard.
Not that I do not appreciate the craftsmanship of a good watch. I do. I just tend not to be able to afford those luxuries. I’ll drool over a gorgeous watch, then go buy a $10 Casio that lasts years. I’m pretty sure the most expensive watch I have ever purchased still came in under $100. I have enjoyed each of them, even if they will not ever show up on a “best of” list.
So why the blog? Well, first of all, this is definitely going to be about more things than watches. Between Sarah and I, we have an absolute ton of interests. It is just that RIGHT NOW I am on a watch kick. I want to learn to repair watches. I want to learn more about their history, the brands that brought us to where we are now. I want to learn the materials used and why. I want to learn all about the mechanics of mechanical watches and what makes a quartz watch tick.
Why? Why not.