Monday, May 12, 2008

Who Knows Where the Timepieces Go?

The top drawer of my bureau, that's where. Right now there are 10 watches in that drawer and only one of them works. If stopped watches are right twice a day, then 18 times a day that drawer is a spot-on timekeeper. The one watch that works, my ostentatiously unfashionable Citizen dress watch, is never right, but just accurate enough to set my $30 Timex by. That's the one I actually wear.

In that drawer I have an $1,100 Tag Heuer (known as the cheapo starter Tag), a 10th anniversary gift from my wife. By our 20th anniversary its chic link band had fallen to pieces twice and no amount of wire could hold it together. The bands cost almost as much the Bush tax rebate to replace, so fuck Switzerland and its yuppie watches.

I also have my college graduation Bulova Accutron that fell off my bureau and stopped before I had even checked out of the dorm; five old Citizens and Casios; my father's old watch embossed with a Brown University insignia never saluted by moving hands; and my grandfather's gold pocket watch, as deceased as my beloved Papa. The pocket watch comes in handy for 19th-century theme parties, but why can't I throw the other watches away?

More to the point, why can't anyone make a watch that can at least make a good run against time? That $30 Timex, which I bought 15 years ago while my Tag Heuer was back home in the Alps having its first band replaced, is the only thing that's still ticking. It takes a licking, like the ad says, and it even lights up in the dark with the press of a button, but I'm getting sick of it.

My wife will tell you I'm fixated on watches, even though I only need to know the time to the nearest month. I just kind of like them as steel bling to accentuate my finely carved hand, not as status symbols like those hedge fund managers who wear their earnings statements on their wrists, or those computer geeks with their atomic watches that tell time in every zone in the galaxy.

So it's a Timex, man, and this is reverse snobbery, the best and cheapest kind of snobbery. If I had a Rolex, I'd keep it in my top drawer. And it probably wouldn't work.

Yeah, that's a Speidel watchband. The Velcro one itched.