My latest fascination

I’ve never been particularly a jewelry or fashion guy. I’ve worn a watch inconsistently over the years, usually a cheap digital for running. My wife has made her best attempts a couple times during our 20-some-year relationship to give me nicer watches, and while I did indeed like them, they never really took. Enough dead watch batteries later I finally just gave up and they got relegated to a box in the closet.

A few years ago I got an Apple watch, and then a couple years later an upgraded Apple watch, and while I really liked it for most of what it did, I couldn’t help feeling from time to time that the last thing I really needed was an electronic device literally strapped to me.

Sometime this past winter I started reading about mechanical watches. Which led to me putting one on a gift wish list. Which led to my dear and patient wife buying me this for Valentine’s Day.

This is what the watch community calls an “entry level” watch. A Seiko 5 Sport, it’s fully mechanical – gears, not an electronic quartz-driven mechanism, and automatic, meaning you don’t wind it and it has no battery – it stores kinetic energy from moving around while you wear it.

I’ve worn it most every day for the past six weeks and I’m really enjoying it. I can’t entirely define why, but there’s something inherently enjoyable about having this finely-crafted mechanical device ticking away in the way that timepieces have done for hundreds of years. Now sure, it won’t buzz when I get a text message (though my wrist still feels phantom buzzing from time to time…) or alert me when the Cubs win a baseball game. But it seems like an appropriate level of value vs. distraction; that is to say, it looks good, keeps good time, and otherwise stays out of the way. And while it cost more than a cheap Timex digital, it was still a lot cheaper than the Apple Watch!

I’ve done just enough online reading about mechanical watches to understand that they call this one “entry level” for a reason. I can’t quite envision buying one that looks a lot the same yet costs the same as a decent used car… but at this entry level it doesn’t feel yet like a too dangerous habit.

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