Why You Shouldn’t Get Your Better Half Interested In Watches
“What, another watch?” she almost screamed in disbelief no sooner than I had opened the front door to our little love nest.
Rewind to last week. I had been looking for a Roger Smith Series 1 for some time now, and Jones, my watch dealer, happened to finally locate one for me.
I thought that I had played it pretty safe: I had it delivered to my work address and I didn’t use the home computer to go to the FedEx website every 15 minutes to scout where over the Atlantic Ocean my parcel was (well, I did sneak into the bathroom a few times each hour to check it on my iPhone with the excuse of digestive issues caused by too much spicy Thai food).
So I really don’t know how she could have noticed.
“This is not another watch, my little sugar pie, I just had the strap changed,” I answered in my most innocent voice.
The latter was true: I had had the strap changed from black to brown, so I wasn’t really lying, was I?
“You didn’t have a Roger Smith Series 1 in your collection before,” she replied.
I knew there and then that I was doomed.
You see, dear readers, I was like you, trying to share my passion with my better half, explaining the intricacies of a mechanical timepiece, the painstaking work of hand polishing an interior angle, or the utility of having a world time watch (featuring names of cities I have never even heard of). I’d also thought that I had done a good job of convincing her that the funds set aside for our trip to the Seychelles was better spent invested in a watch.
Little by little she started getting interested, we visited manufactures together, walked hand in hand into watch shops admiring the same timepieces and giggling over the marketing spiel from the sales associates.
We chose straps together, and I even let her wear some of my vintage watches.
We were happy. I loved watches, she loved me, and I could see teary-eyed admiration when she looked at me while I spoke with pompous knowledge about the difference between a chronometer and a chronograph.
Oh happy times . . .
Our relationship went downhill from there.
At first I didn’t see the signs. Buying her a pair of Jimmy Choos after each watch purchase was not quenching her thirst; she was selfishly looking more and more at ladies’ watches instead of concentrating on my desires.
On a side note, dear watch brands, you should stop thinking that half of humanity is composed only of Hello Kitty fans. No, you don’t need to put pink dials, mother-of-pearl, flowers, diamonds the size of sand (but adding the price of the Koh-i-Noor to the watch), and a whole bunch of kitsch into a quartz-powered timepiece to appeal to women.
But enough free counseling to watch brands and back to the martyr I was preparing to be.
With hindsight it was so obvious, how could I have been so blind?
The fact that she liked joining me at the SIHH and Baselworld, the gentle way she wound her Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, the appreciation of skeletonized watches, and the cute way she used to call a minute repeater a “time repeater” made me regard her more like a proud father. But she wanted more . . . always more.
Even her tiny wrists were no longer an obstacle in desiring an A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater.
I had created a monster . . . she was now a WIS (Watch Idiot Savant).
So, gentlemen, if I can give you a word of advice, don’t make the same mistake I did. Keep your better half as far away from watches as possible.
Don’t play “let’s guess which watch they’re wearing” when watching a movie.
Let her continue laughing with her friends over what a nerd you are.
Let her continue thinking that collecting watches is about as sexy as collecting empty cereal boxes.
Let her wonder about your mental health when you take photos of your watch under a microscope and then send them to all your friends.
Let her shake her head in disbelief when you tell her the exact geography of the Vallée de Joux and Le Locle, even though you have no idea what the name of the street around the corner is.
And let her scratch her head when you write the Roman numeral for four as IIII instead of IV.
On the fatal night of the Roger Smith Series 1’s arrival, while we were cuddled on the sofa sipping a Gevrey Chambertin and nibbling on the most amazing Parmigiano-Reggiano while listening to Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival des Animaux, my loved one put her head on my shoulder, held my hand with her left hand (to which my Series 1 was now strapped) and said, “Isn’t the Van Cleef & Arpels Le Pont des Amoureux the most delicate watch?”
I got up, went to the bathroom, and silently wept. Then I took a deep breath and had a large single-malt whisky before sitting down to send an e-mail canceling my order of the Greubel Forsey Double Balancier that I had been hunting for the past nine months.