Friday, June 8, 2018

This is Not About Watches

Today was, well, kind of a fucked-up day.  While I truly do try to keep this blog about watches, passion and maybe some ancillary things like pens, clothes and other shiny things that give us all pleasure, tonight I am going to get a wee bit personal.  The week took a pretty nasty turn on Tuesday when news first bubbled, then flat out erupted that designer and fashion darling Kate Spade had taken her own life.  And just when most of us were coming to terms with it, getting the news that Anthony Bourdain decided to leave the party felt like a sucker punch, a cheap shot thrown by a bully that was only thinking of getting a quick laugh from the other louts when they give the school's wimpy kid a wedgie.  It just felt defeating.  I felt helpless.

I realize that this blog is, at times, a repository for schadenfreude.  And in fairness, the reality of the watch industry is that it is populated by a lot of bullet-proof, teflon-coated individuals.  If I am very honest, it is an industry filled with people that can take catastrophic falls and bounce back the next BaselWorld reborn in a new guise with a new product, new brand, a new life.  And again, if I am honest, it was something that used to annoy me.  

Courtesy of Skeletor is Love
And now, in looking at it, that annoyance seems pretty petty.  In fairness?  These are people who despite getting the shit kicked out of them keep coming back.  And isn't that what makes a great story, the come back?  So maybe there is something to be said for the watch executive who comes back to life.

And since you have been patient and read through this, it seems only fair to give some watch stuff.

Back when I was flying the PR flag for a certain watch brand famous for orange dialed watches, I was desperate to get Mario Batali as a brand ambassador, and I spoke with his PR person who let me know that (literally) the very next day, it would be announced that Mr. Batali had signed an agreement with a different watch brand.  And my mind immediately turned to Anthony Bourdain.  I thought that maybe, just maybe, we could get him to wear a black dial version of our watch.  Maybe this could be our new ambassador.  Long story short, I reached out to his assistant, no final connection ever made.  

Ultimately, as it turned out, Mr. Bourdain was a Tag Heuer man.  He even once gave an off-the-cuff pitch to Tag Heuer on one of his programs to please consider him as a potential brand ambassador.  That's moxy!  And he flew the Tag Heuer flag constantly on his programs with a Tag Heuer Link, a Monaco, and I suppose a few others that were not remarked upon.

I think if I can close with anything it would be this - 
Kate Spade and Tony Bourdain were important for A LOT OF REASONS.  But for me personally, it was the way they made us feel about ourselves.  The way that they transformed us, the way that they made us aspire to more, and to be more.  And having said that, there are so many people around us every day who do the same thing.  Granted, they don't have the same PR people ; )
So please, take a look around, and give everyone a hug.   And pay attention to the signals that they might be sending you.

I cannot claim to know or understand what people go through, particularly those in great pain.  And as a Northern Youth growing up, I often couldn't see or understand what was happening in my own family, one that was impacted by suicide and mental health issues.  

But this is what I can do.  I will ask anyone reading this to please do this as well -

Look, listen and be prepared to help.  Even if that help is just someone to talk to.

Life is a true gift, even if we don't always feel that it is.

If you or anyone close to you is in need, here is a number to call in the US:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255
Help is available, please reach out.

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