I Wonder ...

By Time Flies
Copyright, 1997, 1998, 2000 G. J. Buhyoff



  • Why people are so concerned about the decrease in use of tritium enhanced phosphors, as if it cheapens the watch? What is so special about a radioactive substance that when used in the phosphor has a tendency to turn the phosphor off-color in just a few years?

  • Why some think a classic watch needs to be from a high-end marque? The Volkswagen Beetle is a classic.

  • Why some people purchase watches from gray market sources and then complain that the serial number is ground off or that service is difficult through authorized channels?

  • Why some people search the world for a great deal, end up getting a watch that has been sitting for long periods without running (e.g. old stock that has not moved and been dumped to a reseller) and then blame the manufacturer for problems in timing or movement failure? Or, worse, they complain that they need to have the watch serviced?

  • Why I always think that I can find a less expensive new watch, and never am able to find one, that will fulfill my expectations for fit, finish and design.

  • Why can't you see the differences in fit and finish between low, mid-range and high-end watches until you have owned a number of representatives in all those categories? Are the differences that subtle or are we not able to "see" before we spend some time learning about those differences through experience or ownership?

  • Why are many lower priced designer name watches so ugly? Why do they use all of those flowing, curvaceous, convoluted design elements in their construction?

  • Why have I never been satisfied with any watch for which I expressed even some minor question or misgiving about before I bought it? If something bugs you about a watch before you buy it, those things will bother you even more after you own it.

  • Why, in the long run, have I ended up repurchasing the same model that I previously sold or gave away? Did I forget something I liked about those watches before getting rid of them?

  • Why do people ask others about what watch design is more appealing? Why ask others? You're the one who will pay for it and wear it. Who cares about what others think?

  • Why will I have my eye on a watch for up to two years trying to convince myself it is not a valid want? Why then when I finally buy it, I pay a higher price due to manufacturer's price inceases. Why did I not get it earlier?

  • Why do I end up getting rid of watches that were purchased suddenly on whim or quick interest in some cute feature without a thought-incubation process?

  • Why is that watch brands get to be hot on Time Zone and then fade? Do we get bored? Or are we getting smarter?

  • Why do I find that the only dial/case patina I treasure is the discoloration/scars that were incurred as the result of my wearing the watch since it was new but not those that might be on a pre-owned watch?

  • Why can't I ever seem to bring myself to buy a vintage watch with a refinished dial?

  • Why do I feel uncomfortable wearing a vintage watch for which I know nothing of its ownership history? Silly, maybe, but true.

  • Why have I purchased only one watch that was a "radical" contemporary new design that I loved and I continue to feel that way. (the many others that I purchased of this type ended up being temporary residents on my wrist).

  • Why I could care less about watch timing as long as I am within a consistent 10 to 12 seconds per day, despite being a fairly compulsive person about "exactness"?

  • Why do I love acrylic crystals and the fine little scratches that they develop over time and have no desire to buff them out lest I ruin the patina? Why do I take pride in those scratches and think it adds to the aesthetics of the watch? Yet, why do I despise scratches in mineral crystals? And, why do I wish that sapphire crystals would "age" somehow?

  • Why do I dislike listening to high beat movements and derive more pleasure from listening to the slower beat movements?

  • Why is it that almost every time I try a dial color other than white or black, I will rarely wear the watch once I have it, even though I absolutely loved the color in the showroom?

  • Why does Rolex inspire so much vitriolic response from owners of that brand while the same magnitude of response is not stimulated in owners of so many other brands that are criticized to an even greater degree? (This one I find really fascinating).

  • Why do I like watches with large crowns - the bigger the better?

  • Why do I dislike (despise) cluttered dials? But, why have I had a long love affair with Breitling Cosmonaute -- the epitomy of clutter?

  • Why do day of the week apertures exist on watches that are not "complication" watches since they only clutter the dial and in effect say, "boy, am I unaware"? How many times do you really need to know it is Tuesday or whatever day of the week without consulting a calendar?

  • Why do I buy a certain brand of watch, dislike it and sell it, and then almost immediately try another model of the same brand which is not very different than the one I disliked? I also wonder why I am that stupid?

  • Why do I absolutely love extremely well executed quartz movement watches despite having a long love affair with mechanical timepieces.

  • Why do I like a seconds sub-dial only in the six o'clock position and prefer date windows at the four o'clock dial position?

  • Why do I like cloth and nylon straps rather than fine leather, and why do I put those cheap straps on some of the finest timepieces I've owned?

  • Why will a manufacturer put an exhibition back on an unfinished or poorly finished movement? That movement needs all the protection it can get and the exhibition back adds another seal that can be compromised.

  • Why can't I find more watch offerings that are hand-wound with no date aperture that do not require me to get a second mortgage?

  • Why is that some high-end manufacturers will put a very finely made movement without extra shock protection devices in a watch that is designed to be a utility/sport piece despite the fact that many of these finer movements are easily knocked "out of whack". (I have had a number of these and learned the hard way) A corollary: Why don't manufacturers spend more time on developing further shock protection schemes?

  • Why do I find a new contemporary watch that has a case diameter of 35mm or less way too small, but a vintage watch of the same size to be perfectly sized for my wrist?

  • Why is that when you remove the bracelet from Rolex sport models, you are so unimpressed by the case finish (or, should I say lack thereof) which is hidden by the end-pieces?

  • Why is that Rolex case finish is very good but not superb?

  • Why are the ends of Rolex case lugs so sharp that they can serve as steak knives? Is this a hidden survival tool?

  • Why is it that so soon after purchasing a watch, you think you found a mechanism defect (and start sweating) when winding or setting a function since you managed to pull the stem into a "neutral" position.

  • Why is it that when you adjust a bracelet by removing and adding links, that a difference of one link is either too loose or too tight, and there is no perfect solution? Do we all fall outside two standard deviations of average wrist sizes? Why don't manufacturers come up with better sizing schemes for bracelets?

  • Why is that when a watch is brand new, you always seems to put a good ding in it almost immediately, but the next substantial scar occurs only years later?

  • Why am I bothered by shiny, new looking watches that are more than a year old? And, why do I love my watches when they show use, wear and experiences through scratches and dings? This applies to even my finest watches.

  • Why are only about one in five watch purchases "keepers"? Do we make that many bad decisions?

  • Why does it take only about a month for the your enthusiasm for most of your new watch purchases to wear off?

  • Why is there is a perceptual effect whereby a second hand seems to temporarily stop when you glance to see if it is moving?

  • Why do they put the silly word "Khaki" on the dial of that Hamilton watch series?

  • Why do they put little, embarrassing logos like airplanes, turtles, or silly monikers on watch dials?

  • Why do so many people want "aviation or pilot" watches but there are so few pilots?

  • Why is Japanese casework so distinguishable?

  • Why does Breitling put an engraved temperature conversion scale on the BACK of Navitimers and Cosmonautes since a pilot sure would not remove his/her watch for making density altitude and other computations, especially in flight?

  • Why is it that when you first start collecting it seems the vast majority of your watches seem to all look alike, but as you progress, your tastes change and diversify?

  • Why is that BIG watches are "in" when not that long ago the average case size was around 34mm?

  • Why are Rolex bracelets (excepting the Sea Dweller Oyster) so flimsy?

  • Why do you have so many watches that beg the question of "why did I buy that?"

  • Why is the term "wrist instrument" being so commonly used by mid-level manufacturers to increase market share? Why do they think we want instruments? And, how many people have jobs or avocations that require wrist instruments.

  • Why are Re-editions hot (are they running out of new ideas)? And, why are re-editions priced higher than other comparable watches in the manufacturer's line?

  • Why is that care cannot be taken at the factory in installing the hands so that the second and minute hand will line up properly with the minute/second chapter markers (especially true of quartz watches)?

  • Why is that care cannot be taken at the factory so that when bezel inserts are put in place on rotating bezels that the index marker (e.g., little triangle or whatever) lines up dead center at 12 o'clock?

  • Why so people worry about a mechanical watch that is consistently 7 to 10 seconds fast per day? Do they not understand the concept of precision versus accuracy?

  • Why do Rolex watches seem to endure abuse that defeats the integrity of most other watches?

  • Why is it that upon VERY close inspection all watches have, at least, one minor, little, teeny, cosmetic defect, no matter how much you paid for it? Think yours does not? Look very, very closely. It's there.

  • Why does Omega engrave "First Watch on the Moon" on the Speedmaster Pro instead of "Replica of the first watch on the Moon"?



Now for a change of pace, I wonder:

  • When the urge to wear watches that are size of a Big Mac will wane?

  • When manufacturers will use "stock" straps that are sized for the average wrist?

  • When manufacturers will reveal the detailed facts about the movements in their watches?

  • When manufacturers will not even consider using a mineral crystal?

  • When manufacturers will stop selling watches in an overpriced box or silly container?

  • When manufacturers will design a bug-free bracelet clasp that has real longevity?

  • When the prices of gold watches will not triple the list price of their stainless counterparts?

  • When we will stop having the urge to purchase another watch immediately after having just purchased one?

  • When people will finally realize that a "space" watch does not need to manually wound?

  • When people will stop paying a premium for "limited editions" of several thousand pieces?

  • When people will realize that they will never be totally happy with a "sort-of is like", "looks like" or "design knock-off"?

  • When people will realize they don't listen to the atomic clock, but to a radio or telephonic tone that is synchronized to the time scale generated by a device which uses atomic half-life as a method of time measurement?

  • When Breitling is going to run out of dial styles and names for watches that contain the ubiquitous Valjoux 7750 (Breitling caliber 13)?

  • When Breitling will introduce the J3 Cub or Cessna 150 watch?

  • When Rolex will actually introduce some new styles?

  • When Rolex will not raise its prices without giving the consumer a hint about advancements in their product?

  • When we will ever really be clear about the variations, obfuscation and vagaries of "Swiss Made"?

  • When manufacturers will give up the idea of the scratch-prone anti-reflective coatings on the outside face of crystals?

  • When Breitling will stop using those aggravating rider tabs on their bezels, since they do nothing except catch on sweaters and serve as the repositories for collections of fine human arm hairs?

  • When manufacturers will just stop with the design of nice, clean case design and stop adding ugly bezels which add little, but clutter?

  • When manufactures will stop cluttering dials with volumes of text such as "Officially certified chronographic chronometer, water resistant to 1000 atmospheres, NASA/NATO/NOSUCH approved ….

Darn, I just wonder……




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