The first time I wrote about a watch was in 2017 when I was gifted an apple watch and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Four years later, I barely recognise my 2017 self. I became serious about watches around a year or so later. I can’t say how or why but all of the sudden I realised that they were a fascinating feat of engineering. You might even conclude that having the miniature mobile phone strapped to my wrist was what made the mechanical watches even more fascinating. I am no longer impressed by how small apple can make a mobile phone. Or how big they can make the screen.
However, a wristwatch, especially a mechanical one, is an incredibly impressive feat. To create something that keeps time using nothing but a manual wind or the movement off your own steam to keep it ticking, and in such a compact package, now that is something.
The beginning of my amateur collection was the Seiko 5 SNK607. It’s a beautiful automatic watch on a bracelet with a clear caseback which I ordered from Walmart in the US for $79. I bought this watch somewhat as a test. I knew that I enjoyed reading about watches and learning about them, but could I stand to strap one on the wrist every morning? Would it weigh heavily on the arm? Would it jangle and get caught on things? Can I train myself to stop reaching for the phone to tell the time? Is it really “me”?
It passed the test with flying colours. Since then, I have pretty much worn a watch on my wrist every day. The Seiko 5 served me well and still does. As Jack Forster of Hodinkee writes, it costs $79 but wears like a million bucks.
After this great success, I got the taste for it and I had to continue the trial. So I proceeded to purchase a Seiko Diver SKX013. Smaller sibling to the popular SKX007, a favourite in the watch community, it seemed a perfect sporty evolution to my “collection”. Another great automatic watch, with 200M water resistance, well-proportioned and attractive. Being in the UK, I had to pay a bit of a premium for it at £379, but it’s well in the affordable luxury range and punches above its weight in my opinion. Especially when I pulled it off its rubber strap and threw it on a NATO. Several people commented on it and assumed I paid at least £1000 for it.
This was just the beginning. In comparison to the watch world at large, it’s child’s play. Not to belittle the watches at all. They are superb timepieces and I still wear them regularly in my rotation. But I had seen the tip of the iceberg and I could not wait to explore more.