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Gonville Bromhead

The wristwatch as a male fantasy object.

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Most of us, me included ,lead rather dull prosaic lives. It seems to me that watches provide a degree of escapism. ‘Escapism’ in a strictly Walter Mitty-type way that is. They suggest that there is still hope that we are good for something. That we might still be needed for that important mission which involves something slightly more than picking up two pints of milk at the corner shop. Although we might have long ago abandoned the notion (if reluctantly) that we might be picked for our national team at sport, there is always the off-chance of adventures to come. Adventures, be they at the ocean depths, at the top of a mountain, in space, or at a bar in Casablanca drinking a Dry Martini in a tailored Dinner Jacket. That’s the ticket. It could just still be around the next corner. You just don’t know.

 

Looking at your wrist every now and then at a shiny new toy can help convince you that this might be so. It could just be your turn next. Timing is everything.

 

 

(1). The ‘James Bond’ watch.

 

Not long ago I was in a pub and the subject of James Bond came up. The barmaid just dismissed the whole genre with a flick of her cloth: “Oh, just a male fantasy. Can’t be doing with that m’self.” I was quite shocked. I mean, that was my youth she was talking about. Hell, never mind youth, that was a bit of me now too!

 

Look at it like this.

 

James Bond is handsome. In fact, if you turn the light off on a dark night, close your eyes and put yourself under the sheets, I could almost pass myself off as 007. Well, as long as I don’t say anything or appear in the same jurisdiction that is.

 

Women love him. Well, what can I say?

 

He goes to exotic places.

 

He has no children, mortgage, wife or in-laws to worry about. Of course, he almost did, but on On Her Majesty’s Secret Serviceshe (Tracy). was bumped off on the way to the honeymoon. Just think what fun and games and Christmas and Easter jollities he missed out on with this aristocratic/shady mafia in-laws? Lucky…..

 

Oh and no parental responsibilities. 

 

No, “Dad, when are we getting there yet?” from the back of the car. “Dad, I need the toilet. Now” No nativity plays, no music lessons, no parents evenings, no university open days. None of this stuff. Indeed, as I type this the cry has gone up from downstairs “Urrrgh, Dad, the dog’s just been sick on the carpet again. Could you come down and clear it up.” James Bond had Moneypenny to do this sort of thing.

 

Wife, children etc are great (of course) but then, so is escapism.

Oh yes, and the gadgets, including cars. What hetrosexual male is not (at heart) a ‘gadget junkey?’ Indeed, what is a watch if not a gadget?

 

The other thing is: James Bond and what he does are important.He helps save the world etc. “Dear, which one of these shade of mauve suits me best do you think. For this dress I mean?” ‘Uhm, the first one.” This is the third dress shop that we have now been in. The answer “I don’t give a ****, just pick one and let’s go. I have the credit card in my hand now!!” simply will not go down well. What makes it worse is that this is the same woman who does not trust you (probably rightly) to pick out a tie for yourself. 

 

“Look love: Blue trousers….blue tie. What’s the problem??”

“Different shadesof blue dear. They are on different parts of the aqua axis.”

 

So why on earth should she value your opinion when it comes to picking a dress, soft furnishings etc etc. Well, of course, she doesn’t. You just have to suffer the process.

 

This never EVER happens to jimbo. He is involved in things that shape the world.

 

So do I want to be ‘James Bond for a Day.’ Damned right I do!! A ‘male fantasy’, well yes, but why not. If having the Rolex or Omega that a fictional character never actually worn brings me a taste of that – pathetic though it might be – then why the hell not. I am such a gift to marketing departments in this respect.

 

As long as part of us laughs at ourselves for being quite so silly and self-indulgent, it is OK.

 

 

(2). Depth rating.

 

Am I ever going to go down 1000, 500, 300, 100 metres? No, not if I have anything to do with it. In fact my only chance of reaching these depths would be if I upset the local mafia boss and found myself cast off the bridge with a concrete block tied to my ankles. One feels that then, knowing the time, would not be my first priority.

 

The deepest I have ever been in water is probably about 3 metres. That does nicely for me.

 

Not that I am dismissing depth rating. It means you can leave your watch on and not have to take it off on holiday. You can wear it in the bath or the shower. No, this is a good feature. It also suggests that if the watch can take the pressure of 300 metres etc, then it must be a tough, well-engineered piece of kit. Nothing wrong with that.

 

In short, yes, male fantasy but, it is also linked with practical sound sense in normal life.

 

 

 

(3). The race for precision: The chronograph.

 

After the ‘date’ feature on a watch, the two other ‘aps’ for watches are the chronograph, and the dual time.

 

How many times do you use it? No, honestly. To boil an egg? Fine. Personally I find a bezel of the watch is accurate enough.

 

I remember the first time I saw a chronograph. I was about eight and a neighbour of ours in the cul-de-sac where I lived (near Cowbridge) showed me his watch. It was like being shown a computer for the first time. It was wonderful and it was a chronograph. Why did he have one and need one? Simple,: He was a coach for the local professional Rugby Union team. Fair one.

 

Yet, except for a few rare instances, are we not just kidding ourselves that we need that much precision? Indeed, if on the off-chance you did, surely you would get one of those nasty quartz stopwatches that you can put around your neck and look like a PE/Geography teacher of old. You will also need an old track suit to pull this off properly.

 

Perhaps I am being unfair. Sometimes (rarely) precision in important.

 

A perfect example of this need for precision was given by our cousins in Space on Apollo 13 and their desire get the exact trajectory before they could fire the lunar module descent engine. To get this right they had to get precisely the right time (otherwise they are doomed to die a horrible death in outer space).

 

Yes, but there is a much better example of when such precision is important.

 

Naturally the best example of this need for precision is given by a Welshman in Buenos Aires in 1978. Interestingly, like James Lovell eight years earlier, our hero was also wearing a Speedmaster Moon Watch. Run tellycine: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRe1D_md1SI

 

Poor Clive never got anything like a Snoopy award for this one (sadly).

 

Thing is, although I’m not doing much next week, I suspect that it is quite unlikely that I will be either involved in a luna orbit drama or be waiting for a corner kick in a time, long ago, when referees wore nice watches.

 

(4). ‘Where in the world am ?” Dual Time.

 

The third watch ‘app.’ Useful for giving the impression and you do not spend all your life sitting on a sofa watching daytime television in Dagenham. But are you only fooling yourself?

 

Essential for pilots and for those who also travel a lot and are even worse at maths than I am. Possibly an ‘app’ too far to convince yourself that might one day be an airline pilot or Richard Branson on a occasion when he might be fleeing from Interpol (well, you never know!)

 

(5). The diving bezel.

 

Now don’t be silly. I use mine all the time. Not for diving you understand but just for measuring general intervals of time. I also use it to remind myself of what time I should be doing something. A great bit of kit and I would not now have a wristwatch without one.

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

I am naturally interested in your opinions on the above points ladies and gentlemen.

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Very funny post. Having just bought a Luminox Recon that can help you calculate your walking speed if you should ever become stuck in the jungle or whatnot, I can identify with your symptoms.

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1 hour ago, BondandBigM said:

Living the Life

:biggrin:

pyhB7Z.jpg

I gave up being a sensible adult years ago. Never looked back. 

:laugh: :laugh:

 

Err, what's a sensible adult? 2018-01-14_10-54-34.jpg.94b0a3f21e3111321f450d50c05465da.jpg

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G.B., so true. But that sigline (it’s meant to be just a line or two, hence “sigline” or “signature line”) is out of control. Thank goodness there’s a single user “hide sigline” option on this forum. :yes:  

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Quit a bit changed since this was made,

1917-Ford-Model-T.jpg

but I can still buy a new one of these which hasn't. much.

41uzgse-BnL.jpg

Buy a basic mechanical manual wind watch and you can escape from the nonsense of unnecessary modern technology. (If only) :laughing2dw:

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7 hours ago, Gonville Bromhead said:

Most of us, me included ,lead rather dull prosaic lives. It seems to me that watches provide a degree of escapism. ‘Escapism’ in a strictly Walter Mitty-type way that is. They suggest that there is still hope that we are good for something. That we might still be needed for that important mission which involves something slightly more than picking up two pints of milk at the corner shop. Although we might have long ago abandoned the notion (if reluctantly) that we might be picked for our national team at sport, there is always the off-chance of adventures to come. Adventures, be they at the ocean depths, at the top of a mountain, in space, or at a bar in Casablanca drinking a Dry Martini in a tailored Dinner Jacket. That’s the ticket. It could just still be around the next corner. You just don’t know.

 

Looking at your wrist every now and then at a shiny new toy can help convince you that this might be so. It could just be your turn next. Timing is everything.

 

 

(1). The ‘James Bond’ watch.

 

Not long ago I was in a pub and the subject of James Bond came up. The barmaid just dismissed the whole genre with a flick of her cloth: “Oh, just a male fantasy. Can’t be doing with that m’self.” I was quite shocked. I mean, that was my youth she was talking about. Hell, never mind youth, that was a bit of me now too!

 

Look at it like this.

 

James Bond is handsome. In fact, if you turn the light off on a dark night, close your eyes and put yourself under the sheets, I could almost pass myself off as 007. Well, as long as I don’t say anything or appear in the same jurisdiction that is.

 

Women love him. Well, what can I say?

 

He goes to exotic places.

 

He has no children, mortgage, wife or in-laws to worry about. Of course, he almost did, but on On Her Majesty’s Secret Serviceshe (Tracy). was bumped off on the way to the honeymoon. Just think what fun and games and Christmas and Easter jollities he missed out on with this aristocratic/shady mafia in-laws? Lucky…..

 

Oh and no parental responsibilities. 

 

No, “Dad, when are we getting there yet?” from the back of the car. “Dad, I need the toilet. Now” No nativity plays, no music lessons, no parents evenings, no university open days. None of this stuff. Indeed, as I type this the cry has gone up from downstairs “Urrrgh, Dad, the dog’s just been sick on the carpet again. Could you come down and clear it up.” James Bond had Moneypenny to do this sort of thing.

 

Wife, children etc are great (of course) but then, so is escapism.

Oh yes, and the gadgets, including cars. What hetrosexual male is not (at heart) a ‘gadget junkey?’ Indeed, what is a watch if not a gadget?

 

The other thing is: James Bond and what he does are important.He helps save the world etc. “Dear, which one of these shade of mauve suits me best do you think. For this dress I mean?” ‘Uhm, the first one.” This is the third dress shop that we have now been in. The answer “I don’t give a ****, just pick one and let’s go. I have the credit card in my hand now!!” simply will not go down well. What makes it worse is that this is the same woman who does not trust you (probably rightly) to pick out a tie for yourself. 

 

“Look love: Blue trousers….blue tie. What’s the problem??”

“Different shadesof blue dear. They are on different parts of the aqua axis.”

 

So why on earth should she value your opinion when it comes to picking a dress, soft furnishings etc etc. Well, of course, she doesn’t. You just have to suffer the process.

 

This never EVER happens to jimbo. He is involved in things that shape the world.

 

So do I want to be ‘James Bond for a Day.’ Damned right I do!! A ‘male fantasy’, well yes, but why not. If having the Rolex or Omega that a fictional character never actually worn brings me a taste of that – pathetic though it might be – then why the hell not. I am such a gift to marketing departments in this respect.

 

As long as part of us laughs at ourselves for being quite so silly and self-indulgent, it is OK.

 

 

(2). Depth rating.

 

Am I ever going to go down 1000, 500, 300, 100 metres? No, not if I have anything to do with it. In fact my only chance of reaching these depths would be if I upset the local mafia boss and found myself cast off the bridge with a concrete block tied to my ankles. One feels that then, knowing the time, would not be my first priority.

 

The deepest I have ever been in water is probably about 3 metres. That does nicely for me.

 

Not that I am dismissing depth rating. It means you can leave your watch on and not have to take it off on holiday. You can wear it in the bath or the shower. No, this is a good feature. It also suggests that if the watch can take the pressure of 300 metres etc, then it must be a tough, well-engineered piece of kit. Nothing wrong with that.

 

In short, yes, male fantasy but, it is also linked with practical sound sense in normal life.

 

 

 

(3). The race for precision: The chronograph.

 

After the ‘date’ feature on a watch, the two other ‘aps’ for watches are the chronograph, and the dual time.

 

How many times do you use it? No, honestly. To boil an egg? Fine. Personally I find a bezel of the watch is accurate enough.

 

I remember the first time I saw a chronograph. I was about eight and a neighbour of ours in the cul-de-sac where I lived (near Cowbridge) showed me his watch. It was like being shown a computer for the first time. It was wonderful and it was a chronograph. Why did he have one and need one? Simple,: He was a coach for the local professional Rugby Union team. Fair one.

 

Yet, except for a few rare instances, are we not just kidding ourselves that we need that much precision? Indeed, if on the off-chance you did, surely you would get one of those nasty quartz stopwatches that you can put around your neck and look like a PE/Geography teacher of old. You will also need an old track suit to pull this off properly.

 

Perhaps I am being unfair. Sometimes (rarely) precision in important.

 

A perfect example of this need for precision was given by our cousins in Space on Apollo 13 and their desire get the exact trajectory before they could fire the lunar module descent engine. To get this right they had to get precisely the right time (otherwise they are doomed to die a horrible death in outer space).

 

Yes, but there is a much better example of when such precision is important.

 

Naturally the best example of this need for precision is given by a Welshman in Buenos Aires in 1978. Interestingly, like James Lovell eight years earlier, our hero was also wearing a Speedmaster Moon Watch. Run tellycine: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRe1D_md1SI

 

Poor Clive never got anything like a Snoopy award for this one (sadly).

 

Thing is, although I’m not doing much next week, I suspect that it is quite unlikely that I will be either involved in a luna orbit drama or be waiting for a corner kick in a time, long ago, when referees wore nice watches.

 

(4). ‘Where in the world am ?” Dual Time.

 

The third watch ‘app.’ Useful for giving the impression and you do not spend all your life sitting on a sofa watching daytime television in Dagenham. But are you only fooling yourself?

 

Essential for pilots and for those who also travel a lot and are even worse at maths than I am. Possibly an ‘app’ too far to convince yourself that might one day be an airline pilot or Richard Branson on a occasion when he might be fleeing from Interpol (well, you never know!)

 

(5). The diving bezel.

 

Now don’t be silly. I use mine all the time. Not for diving you understand but just for measuring general intervals of time. I also use it to remind myself of what time I should be doing something. A great bit of kit and I would not now have a wristwatch without one.

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

I am naturally interested in your opinions on the above points ladies and gentlemen.

  I am sure Bond would  have preferred an Omega.  "sound sense"   not on the menu today.  vin

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I get the general drift, but the only few times in my life I actually felt like James Bond was because I had a particular woman on my arm, rather than a particular watch.

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29 minutes ago, richy176 said:

@WRENCH In this weather we could revert to sun dials :biggrin::biggrin:

And you can still buy a new one. See what I mean ? :yes:

Can't even buy a new motorcycle to use on the road with a carburettor anymore, but you can buy a hand crank wristwatch.

846-02797201en_Masterfile.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Chromejob said:

Being a sensible adult is overrated. Insensible adults have much more fun. 

Irresponsible is better a better word.:laughing2dw:

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Any man who goes to a black tie function and doesn't pretend to pull a Walther PPK from it's holster in front of the mirror should not be trusted.

 

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All fair points... I will through in the musings of Adam Smith though who said the following. 

 

A watch, in the same manner, that falls behind above two minutes in a day, is despised by one curious in watches. He sells it perhaps for a couple of guineas, and purchases another at fifty, which will not lose above a minute in a fortnight. The sole use of watches however, is to tell us what o’clock it is, and to hinder us from breaking any engagement, or suffering any other inconvenience by our ignorance in that particular point. But the person so nice with regard to this machine, will not always be found either more scrupulously punctual than other men, or more anxiously concerned upon any other account, to know precisely what time of day it is. What interests him is not so much the attainment of this piece of knowledge, as the perfection of the machine which serves to attain it.

 

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On 04/08/2018 at 10:24, scottswatches said:

Any man who goes to a black tie function and doesn't pretend to pull a Walther PPK from it's holster in front of the mirror should not be trusted.

 

Whilst reluctantly strapping on an entirely appropriate dress watch despite the nagging feeling a Sub/Seamaster would look cooler! Too true.

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On 04/08/2018 at 10:24, scottswatches said:

a man who goes to a black tie function and pretends to pull a Walther PPK from it's holster in front of a mirror should be taken away to a secure place with soft walls.

 

Fixed that. :thumbsup:

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As a newcomer to the forum and a woman (but don't tell anyone) this is really interesting! Both in understanding why being into watches is a mostly male thing and asking why on earth I'm here when I should be into shoes and handbags (meh). I get the escapism completely - after a tough day there's nothing more I like than to browse the pages of ebay for something vintage or now browse the forum of course!

For me, it's particularly about the vintage - I'm also a classic car fan and own a couple (another very male hobby). Things that were properly made by craftspeople, things that were made to last rather than to dispose of, things of quality, are all part of that escapism too (you could of course count things made today in the same way) because we are surrounded by so much that isn't.

You could also say that watches are a form of self-expression - I am developing the unfortunate habit of checking out what watch someone is wearing, though of course I would never judge anyone on that basis...

Or perhaps it's just something I overheard whilst attending a classic car show from a couple of young lads nearby: 'I like looking at classic cars but I don't see the point of owning one. I thinks that's for people when they get older.' Ouch...

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11 hours ago, spanner74 said:

For me, it's particularly about the vintage - I'm also a classic watch  fan and own a couple.... Things that were properly made by craftspeople, things that were made to last rather than to dispose of, things of quality, are all part of that escapism too (you could of course count things made today in the same way) because we are surrounded by so much that isn't.

 

There, I fixed that for you ^ :yes: because it's roughly the same. 

11 hours ago, spanner74 said:

Or perhaps it's just something I overheard whilst attending a classic car show from a couple of young lads nearby: 'I like looking at classic cars but I don't see the point of owning one. I thinks that's for people when they get older.' Ouch...

Obviously haven't enjoyed the purr of a really elegant, well-tuned and capable car (before someone thought I'd say something else) ... before even taking it on a really nice curvy road with no one about. I was spoiled early, my first was an MGB. A real lemon, took thou$ands to keep her running, but every car I get into is still compared to the look, feel, performance, and joy that car encompassed. 

Great watches are like that, too. Just looking at them brings pleasure. Wearing them, even more. Using them throughout the day/evening, more still. 

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@Chromejob Yes you've nailed it - that feeling when you drive/wear something beautifully made can't help but make you smile. One of life's great pleasures. I love MGBs - on my wish list - I completely recognise the sheer joy of being behind the wheel of a classic and the joy they bring to others as you drive by! There is indeed a similar pleasure wearing a beautiful watch with a little bit of history behind it.

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8 minutes ago, spanner74 said:

I love MGBs - on my wish list - I completely recognise the sheer joy of being behind the wheel of a classic

Hmm. I don't recall the pleasure of constantly have to weld my rustbucket to keep it on the road, the leaking hood, and the opaque rear window which always seemed to crack in the winter. :(

preview500.jpg

but then it was the 70's.:laughing2dw:

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@WRENCH Haha! It's all part of the charm. I have to confess I bought an MX5 rather than a classic convertible precisely for this reason and bought the sensible morris minor saloons over the hankered over convertible version. They do still leak a bit mind you. 

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