Our poor wrists bear the literal weight of our horological obsessions, and yet we never hear from them. It’s time to let our wrists speak!
The incessant pulse of Allen’s mechanical watch movements is the rhythm by which I live my life, and during 2020 that rhythm felt like a slow, somber dirge. Allen would probably complicate my suffering with some phenomenological theory about how time can move fast or slow because of subjectivity and so on, but sometimes his theorizing makes time drag even worse. Anyways, I’m glad he bought a couple Quartz Cartier Tanks this year, because they’re festive and – best of all – silent in their timekeeping.
One of the things that this wrist has learned along the ride with Greg is when to double-down. 2020 felt like racing on a razor’s-edge at an uncertain pace. During the dire straits of a global pandemic, this wrist was unexpectedly clad in a vintage Rolex Datejust, and it was a “Buckley dial” at that! What was Greg doing? He’s broke his own watch buying rules. The sensation was odd. This was a new place, far from the usual modern tool watches. On top of that, Greg kept this purchase on the down-low for a long time. I could feel the guilt of indulging in luxury was weighing heavily on the mind as the world unraveled around Greg. Who buys a Rolex during a crisis? Crazy like a fox.
Things kind of made sense until 2020. I mean, sure, he bought and flipped a few watches, but it seemed to be a slow process of figuring out what worked for him and what didn’t. And then, all of a sudden, in the spring of this year, he went nuts. Watches were coming and going so quickly I barely had time to acclimate. Divers, chronos, fliegers, vintage Seikos. And there were some beauties in there, watches I had grown to love, along with some weird, huge things that looked great but didn’t feel right. A couple of months ago, things started to settle down. He had fewer, and they were smaller, more elegant. I thought we were done. Then, all hell breaks loose. He gets rid of more than half of his watches, including one he said he’d never sell, for this thing he’s calling a “grail.” Whatever he has to tell himself, I guess. Yeah, it’s gorgeous and elegant and the highest quality thing he’s ever put on me, but I hope the madness stops. I hope next year makes more sense. Let 2021 be the year of no more watch purchases!
First he buys me the greatest watch I’ve ever seen for his birthday. Then he sells it and promises me another great watch. Before I know what is happening I am bare for the entire spring and being washed and covered in hand sanitizer like crazy. As summer comes around he starts putting on a Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer on a beads of rice bracelet that he washes in the sink every day after work. It’s a reissue of a wartime watch which feels appropriate because the hospital has looked like a battlefield for months.
Over the summer things calm down and once in a while, I get to try on a few of my old friends the vintage watches but never for long as they go into the box for 72 hours after each wear. The Explorer I makes an appearance or two over the weekends and I wore it proudly in line for 3 hours while we waited to vote early on October 24th. As the weather got cold he got a quartz Boldr Field Medic II on a Barton rubber strap that he scrubs in the sink a couple of times a day. Now it’s winter and the soap and hand sanitizer are back. Can it be as bad as before? Haven’t people learned anything from the spring?
This has been a confusing year. In the beginning, time was flying by; almost blurred. A reflection of the world around us and the fast-paced life that we had all been living. And then, like a collapsing star, that massive rush and chaos disappeared for a brief time, only to give way to something more ominous: a global pandemic, followed by isolation and skyrocketing social and political tension – our metaphorical black hole. And it has been dark.
Strapping a dateless tool onto me with nothing to signify the advance of each day of 2020 was an interesting choice, a clever way to acknowledge that each day is the same and to make the best of our time. Slowing down has had its benefits indeed.
However, the time has still been passing. As we close in on the end of this calendar year, I look forward to the forthcoming time ahead, with a new and improved outlook on what it holds.