Horology: A Timely Fascination
"I dig into new hobbies with more vigor than a mad Dachshund chasing a stinky weasel. " - Me
Do you remember those bought-for-a-song quartz Mickey Mouse wristwatches? You know, the one with Mickey on the dial pointing in uncomfortable and awkward directions? Well, believe it or not, I credit that ridiculous thing with sparking an interest. Most of my peers were either too cool to wear a watch or couldn't be bothered to know what time it was. Me? I was a horology-sporting badass.
Over the years, I've owned a plethora of wristwatches (mostly cheap ones). In a world where everything incessantly beeps, tings, and boops, it's refreshing to carry around a tiny mechanical soul. It beats the hell out of schlepping a sun dial!
Insert nostalgic comment about life before smartphones.
Say 'No' To Batteries
It's generally healthy to unplug from the world on occasion. We spend much of our free time planted in a chair with our phones in our faces. Hell, I'm guilty of it.
When you discover the world of analog (automatic/mechanical/kinetic) watches, everything changes.
"What do you mean it doesn't need a battery?"
"Where does the USB plug go?"
"Those are the smallest f$%&@ screws I've ever seen! I mean, sh!t!"
Forget those battery-powered quartz movements for a while, and let's talk analog...get a little deeper.
Becoming A Precisionist
What is it about these elegant objects? It's a tiny mechanical universe of precision. A little heartbeat that lives on your wrist -- just doing its thing until you need it. Even though the dial is attractive, it's what's on the inside that matters. Sound familiar?
Precision is the only way these little mechanical creatures function properly. For example, a basic Rolex contains upwards of one hundred and twenty individual parts in the movement alone, not including the dial. All those parts are precision-engineered and installed by precisionist watchmakers. Do you sometimes feel like you're juggling one hundred and twenty little stresses of daily life? You lie in bed at night wondering how all this crap can fit together and keep you ticking along.
You're the precision engineer of your own life.
We all like to think that we keep those dials looking pretty and those one hundred and twenty parts perfectly oiled and tightened, but sometimes we have to take things apart and get in there to find out what's really going on. We need to test the tolerances. Sometimes we need help. That's always okay. I've talked about it before.
The cathartic "tick, tick, tick" of a watch taps into our own internal "tick, tick, tick". As humans, we've become uncomfortably aware of the limited time we have.
The Cost Of Tools
Ah, the Swiss. Our mountaintop-yodeling friends in northern Europe. That pesky 8% Value Added Tax (VAT) on all Swiss exports makes watch repair expensive here in the good old USA, specifically Bergeon branded tools. It's taken me a year and a half to acquire many of the tools needed to do basic servicing on watches. It's an ongoing process!
We don't always enter this world perfectly equipped to deal with things. The tools we need in our own lives cost something. They can cost our time, energy, attention, and even our relationships. Tools can help you build callouses on your hands. Tools can harden your resolve. They can make you spew expletives and throw things against the wall. Sometimes we need to ask for help from friends, family, and professionals when our tools don't work. Some of those one hundred and twenty stresses (and parts) require specific tools and skill sets. Surround yourself with people who can help you. Cuss a little. Also, I'd be glad to lend you some tools, and an ear if you need to talk about it!
Take The Time
You can feel the waves coming on
(It's time to take the time)
Let them destroy you or carry
(It's time to take the time)
You're fighting the weight of
But no one can save you this
Close your eyes
You can find all you need in
(Dream Theater - "Take The Time")
When you wear an automatic timepiece, every physical motion charges the little heart on your wrist. That oscillating weight spins around and charges the mainspring. You being alive keeps your watch alive. How cool is that? An important symbiotic relationship indeed.
In essence, keep moving. Just keep going. Know what time it is; be where you're supposed to be. Take the time.
If you'd like to nerd out with me, check out these watch related resources:
...and as usual, thanks for reading.