Thursday, November 02, 2006


I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's possible to be supremely elegant with minimal expenditures.

In our previous installment, I railed against wristwatches equivalent in size to a doorknob and scrofulous with precious stones. I also suggested a few options for those who want to array the manly wrist in an impeccable manner without doing violence to the manly wallet. Before I expend on this theme, I wish to caution you against the "reverse psychology" approach so prevalent in those who, like Don Quixote, have read too many books (in our example by Paul Fussell) and have gone slightly off-plumb. The rule is simple: if the price of something is immediately apparent (either too high or too low) then it's simply NQOKD, end of discussion.

To show you're so above it all that you wear an old Bulova with a mismatched Speidel Twist-O-Flex band is indicating, in pellucidly clear terms, that you're emulating the archetypes in Fussell's books assiduously. Such affectations, frankly, are unmanly and inelegant. The elegant man wears what he likes and doesn't give a damn who else likes it...not that he likes it because others may sneer at it. That's just as toadying as wearing something because others may fawn at it. The idea is to take the "others" out of the decisionmaking equation.

The best all around choice, in my considered opinion, is the Gruen Curvex. On eBay they can be found (in the plated/quartz variants) for well under $100 and often less. A spare black leather band and you're good to go from tennis shirts and chino shorts to bespoke suit. It's also ridiculously comfortable to wear and, if you feel exceedingly Trad, you may even pair it up with grosgrain ribbon watchbands from Brooks Bros.

If you feel somewhat more flush you may get the solid rose gold antique variants and still enjoy the frisson of elegant anonymity. You needn't fret (unless of course, you want to and your bank account can withstand it) about the jewels and the movements and serial numbers. It stands to reason that eBay is the place to go if you're patient, diligent and are free from an ideé fixeé about what you'd like. That is to say if you're open to, f'rinstance, a tonneau shape instead of only a may be able to scoop up a steal.

My only additional suggestions are to:

1- Look for lesser-known high-end brands (many people have NO IDEA what a Blancpain is, for example) because you just might get lucky.
2- Avoid steel-and-gold watches. This is even worse than a solid gold Tony Soprano special.
3- If you simply must have arabic numerals, try for them to be discreet and not too "foofy."
4- Learn the technical names of the various shapes and features you prefer.

Now, go wait for some charming lass to ask you for the correct time.



Blogger julia said...

I looooooove that watch. I love the rectangular shape, I love the font for the numbers, I love the aged look of the face, I even love the whatever-endangered-species-that-is band.

I can't wear watches, sadly. They drive me mad. But I do love to look at them. If I did wear watches, though, I'd wear one like that.

Now, would you please email me? I have an important cooking query and I can't find your email address in your profile. book _ ish at yahoo dot com. Tengubeddymudge.

How did I miss that you had this blog?

12:34 PM  
Blogger S said...

I have 4 of these watches (modern remakes, not the originals)...The Gruen models do not seem to last very long, but they are not expensive ( I think they started at $30 for the first and were at $50 last I bought) But they are very besutiful watch...If you are in funds the Hamilton model is very fine...

3:30 PM  
Blogger M2 said...


8:39 PM  
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