Do you need to "watch" your time better? How about I sell you a new watch?

Time is what we all need to watch, at least according to the special advertising supplement that was in the USA edition of the Times on October 23, 2011. The title of this supplement was “Watch Your Time” and it was full of exotic and extraordinarily expensive wrist watches. At a time when many people have lost their jobs and homes, it seems unbelievable that anyone could advertise 68 pages of watches that are worth more than many houses. Breguet, Longines, Audemar Piguet, Gucci, Dior, Piaget, Harry Winston, Bulgari and Chopard are just a few of the luxury watches that were advertised. My favorite was a Van Cleef & Arpels called “Landscape with Elephant.” It had a white gold case, elephant set with diamonds and a mother of pearl sculpted background with more diamonds and enamel depicting a jungle setting. Unlike my Casio, it did not have a stop watch, countdown timer, backlight, alarm or running mode. The price was listed at 77,900 Euros which I guess is about $106, 358 US dollars. I tried finding it on EBay or Craigslist but did not have much luck. I don’t think Karen would have liked it anyway as she is not a big watch fan. (The median price for a home in Arizona City was $109, 542 dollars in 2009. My guess is it’s about $20,000 less today or closer to $89, 000 dollars)

Now if you are expecting me to decry the rampant excesses of capitalism or the greedy pride of bankers and Wall Street tycoons that sport such paraphernalia, you had better turn to another blog. A friend of mine once reminded me to be grateful to the people that can afford such “wretched excesses” since they keep the economy going. Do you remember when shortly after 9/11, President Bush exhorted the American public to get out there and spend since it was good for the country? I wonder if the WSO should not simply be exhorting the 1% percent to spend more. Perhaps that is the real solution to the economic problems that we are now facing. The rich simply are not spending enough of their hard earned cash. As proof, I noticed that the Van Cleef & Arpels watch I wanted to buy was only offered in a limited edition of 22 units. I think if the rich were buying more, they could make more of these watches and sell more.

The real issue I have with the notion of exotic luxury time pieces is that they are so passé. In the first place, they are not as accurate as cellphones and they are usually clumsy to put on and take off. I already mentioned their limited functionality (at least compared to my Casio, which is also shock resistant, I should add). It makes me wonder why anyone buys a watch simply to look at or to hope others look at. I have always chosen function over form. I am less concerned with what something looks like and more with what it will do. Of course, I am reminded by Karen that watches are a fashion item now and not just for telling time. Still if I had a watch like the Van Cleef, I would have to wear a t-shirt that read: “Please look at my extraordinarily expensive watch, that I spend an entire year working to own.” The heck with being humble! I guess that is what really separates the rich from the nouveau riche. Unless you have had 3 or more generations of being rich, you would want the world to notice your Guccis, Ferraris and Rolexes, at least I would. Perhaps most of you would be more subtle. I presume some of you might skip the watch and pay off your mortgage or student loan. Just remember, paying bills is not good for the economy.

Do you value form or function? Do you wear a watch? What does the style of a watch tell you about anyone? Does having money and stuff make us better people? If I gave you a $100,000 dollar watch for a gift, what would you do with it?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 11:27:44

    I generally value function over form. I don't wear a watch because I can almost always get the time from the computer in front of me, or my car's clock, or th TV cable box. Plus I have a pretty good internal clock and can usually guess what time it is fairly accurately.

    I find expensive or showy watches ostentatious, but also feel that if that's how you want to spend your money, that's your business.

    I don't think having stuff makes us better people, but that lack of stuff combined with a hunger for stuff often makes us worse people.

    If you gave me an expensive watch, I would sell it and invest the proceeds (after setting aside money for taxes).



  2. John Persico
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 14:11:58

    I think we would probably do the same thing with the watch. Thanks for posting Bruce. We still have to connect on Skype. Perhaps this weekend we can chat. I am going to a conference on Fri and Sat and to the Dia De Los Muertos festival in Tucson on Sunday but I will be home nights. My skype name is johnpersico. Thanks for all you comments.



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