January 10, 2023
For decades, I didn’t wear a watch.
Then around 2013, smartwatches started coming out. Since I was in mobile tech at the time, I bought a bunch of the more popular ones to experiment with.
When the Apple Watch launched about a year later, there was a lot of breathless talk about how it honored the “horological tradition,” and I found myself getting interested in the old-school mechanical watches that supposedly inspired its design.
At that point, a “watch guy” friend of mine turned me onto a bunch of online resources devoted to the discussion, the study, and, if we’re being honest, the fetishization of horology.
I went down the rabbit hole pretty hard, and almost overnight, I started distinguishing between bands and bracelets. I got fascinated with the mechanics behind “complications.” I learned how to pronounce Jaeger-LeCoultre so I wouldn’t embarrass myself in conversation.
It was all fun and games until I found myself on the Rolex.com “configurator” night after night, designing my ideal watch and thinking insane stuff like:
- “I can’t buy the entry-level Rolex for $6,500 because everyone will think I’m a poser!”
- “The $10,700 Oystersteel GMT might be a good choice, but should I go with the ‘Batman’ bezel or the ‘Pepsi’ bezel?”
- “They say that in-person the white gold is much nicer than the Oystersteel, but is it REALLY worth the extra $32K? Hm...”
🚨🚨🚨 WTF?! 🚨🚨🚨
How did I go from not wearing a watch at all to even considering spending more on one than most people would on a car?
It started to feel like I was developing what could easily become a very VERY expensive addiction, so I consciously decided to quit watches cold turkey.
I stopped going to watch websites.
I unsubscribed from all my watch mailing lists.
I deleted my used watch auction alerts.
I donated all my watch coffee table books.
And guess what?
The temptation to drop five figures on a piece of jewelry started to fade.
But not completely.
The problem is I can’t unsee the difference between a nice watch and a crap watch.
In fact, I went on Rolex.com while I was writing this, and I was sorely tempted to buy the “cheap” $6,500 Rolex.
Thankfully, I couldn’t because you can’t actually buy anything on their website.
Here’s the thing...
I’ve got nothing against watch enthusiasts who spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on their collections.
But that’s not me.
I want a Rolex really bad for all the WRONG reasons.
Actually, it’s a little more nuanced than that...
My lizard brain craves a Rolex.
My rational brain hates the idea.
Regrettably, one’s rational brain only has so much control over one’s lizard brain.
So, the moral of the story is this:
Be careful when you’re tempted to become an aficionado on something because it will almost surely lead to a significant and permanent increase in desire.
And what you desire controls you.