The First One
The first watch I remember wearing was a Spiderman watch. It was huge by kid standards, bordering on Invicta size proportions. The front featured a giant Spiderman face that flipped up to reveal a basic digital display of the time only. No date, no chronograph, just the time. This watch was my heart and soul, so much so that it was prominently featured in my grade school photos. While this watch was most likely not my first watch, it is the one I remember most vividly.
If you fall into the “WIS” category of watch collecting, I guarantee you have most likely heard a few watch stories that involve a watch being an heirloom. Someone’s Dad or Grandfather gave them their first watch and that watch was most likely a pristine Rolex or Omega from their time in Vietnam or Germany. My father had fought in Vietnam, but never wore a watch. I never grew up staring at my Father’s wrist, waiting for the day when I could sneak into his bed side drawer to steal a few moments with his treasured timepiece.
My watch fascination is all my own, evidenced by my Mother’s recent line of questioning. “Why do you like watches so much?” “How many watches do you have?” However, my knowledge of watches plateaued very early on and did not progress further until I was in my late 20s. Quartz watches were always present on my wrist, with a brief foray into smartwatches. Under the impression that a sweeping seconds-hand was reserved specifically for Rolex, I had relegated myself to one tick per second. My ignorance would leave me on the outskirts of owning truly beautiful timepieces until dumb luck would change my fortunes.
Browsing Reddit can be its own black hole but reading some popular AskReddit threads led me to where I am today. Long story short, I was reading about how cheap fashion watches were a waste of money. “You should invest in a quality mechanical timepiece!” the poster was saying. “If you need help picking one out, come over to the watches subreddit.” Clicking over and looking at pictures of these beautiful watches that I was sure were out of my price range, I discovered one I thought wasn’t crazy. The Orient Sun & Moon blue dial. A blue faced watch with Roman numerals and a couple subdials, one of which was an AM/PM indicator. I fell in love! I went to the only way I knew to buy watches at the time, eBay. Someone was selling the exact watch for a decent price and clicked “Buy it Now.”
A few days later the watch arrived, as I tore open the box I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t running. Turning the watch over in my hand to see how to change the battery, I heard a faint rattling sound. Putting the watch up to my ear and giving it a few shakes to hear it more clearly, I heard some ticking. I looked at the watch face again and saw the watch had come alive. And the seconds-hand! It was smoothly sweeping around the dial! Yes, you heard it here first – I had no idea what an automatic watch was, how it worked or that something besides a Rolex could have a sweeping seconds-hand.
Tune in again soon as I continue my story.