Friday, October 21, 2016

Channeling my inner George Jetson

People who write about watches can often be identified by what tribe they belong to.  But those tribes are not always so understandable and knowable at first blush.

Robert- Jan Broer who is responsible for the wonderful Fratello Watches site is known far and wide (and rightly so) for his knowledge, and more importantly his passion, for the Omega Speedmaster.

Tim Jackson is half of the dynamic duo behind Passion Fine Jewelry (Jana Jackson being the other half).  Passion is perhaps the most important retailer of independent watch makers in North America, if not the world.  But with his blog, Independent in Time, Tim carries the torch for those rare souls out there still doing it on their own - the independent watch makers.

Jack Forster may not have founded Hodinkee, but for many of us he made it SOOOOO much better. Moving from more than merely a promotional vehicle for both the brands and the site, Jack is one of those rare people that can (and does) actually take the time to dig a little deeper into a topic and actually find those esoteric little tidbits that make his articles far more than just posts about watches.

Courtesy of Bell & Ross

And if I belong to a tribe, it is perhaps the tribe of "Visceral Appreciation".  What I am drawn to, 9 times out of 10, has precious little to do with price point (low or high), complication (let's face it, I don't enjoy even the most basic aspects of home maintenance, how in God's name am I going to navigate a grand complication?), brand name (okay, I will say that Vacheron pretty much turns my crank no matter what, don't know why, but they do), or what everyone else says I should like (sorry Mr. Biver, not buying what you're selling but feel free to send more cheese).  Clearly I am a focus group of 1.

So getting back to that "visceral memory" thing.  This is the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 AEROGT.  It is one of those watches that, for whatever reason, jumped out at me.  It took me back to that time of wonder, where as a young boy I thought about a world much bigger and interesting than the small town of Oberlin where I grew up (population around 3,000, if memory serves).  When I was 10 years old, my grandfather had the wonderfully misguided idea that I should be given one of the very first LED watches that Texas Instruments made.  So for those of you wondering just how f'ing old I am, that was around 1978.  

I loved that watch!  I made sure that EVERYONE in my class saw it and went to great lengths to share not only how unique it was, but how special I must be because I had it ; )  

I hit the display button with the same intensity that a job seeker hits the refresh button on their email to see if they got the position they interviewed for the week before.  Needless to say, I don't think the watch was "ready for prime time" or for "Henki-Time" for that matter as after a few days it pooped out and was returned to Texas Instruments for service.  Within a week a BRAND NEW watch arrived from Texas Instruments!  And the repaired watch showed up a few days later!  Talk about customer service!!!  Unfortunately, while the after sales service was great, the actual quality of the watch was not.  Within a few days, both the new watch and the one that was repaired had both crapped out.  And my classmates made sure to share with me their "compassion" with that type of empathy that ten year olds are famous for ; )   

Needless to say, a lesson in humility was probably needed.  But that George Jetson / Buck Rogers / Captain Kirk inspired watch haunts me nearly forty years later.  And although they are COMPLETELY different things, I find myself drawn to the BR 03-92 AEROGT for those same, visceral feelings.  It is not rational, it is not based on research or analytics.  I simply like it.

Here are the pertinents -

Limited Edition of 500 pieces.

Movement: calibre BR-CAL.318. Skeleton automatic mechanical. 

Functions: hours, minutes and seconds.

Case: 42 mm in diameter. Satin-polished steel.

Sapphire case-back with anti-reflective coating.

Dial: skeleton. Metal appliqué indices. Metal skeleton Superluminova-filled hour and minute hands.

Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating. 

Water resistance: 100 metres.

Straps: black calfskin stitched with red piping and ultra-resistant black synthetic fabric.

Buckle: pin. Satin-polished steel.

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