I’ve Worn the Same Watch For, Like, Eight Years

My Old WatchIs that odd? It’s a totally unobtrusive Pulsar that Julie gave me years ago. I’ve probably changed the black leather strap on it at least five times, and the battery at least twice. The face is a bit dinged up, I guess, but it works perfectly.

All it does is tell time. It has no fancy digital functions (which have, not surprisingly, fallen out of fashion), nor is it good to 200 feet underwater. It has none of the silver and gold bulkiness that I frequently see in men’s magazines on the wrists of brooding male models and an even broodier Clive Owen. I cannot wind it by shaking my wrist.

I have friends who have lots of watches. Travis has, as last count, well, I’m not really sure, but I think it was north of 40. He’s a collector, though, so that seems like a different league altogether.

I have no urge to buy another watch until this one breaks. Is that a common or unusual perspective? How often do you buy watches? How do you decide that it’s time for a new one?


  1. I haven’t worn a watch in over 30 years. I use my computer at work, my cell phone while out, and the VCR or microwave at home.

  2. I think Randi’s situation is more and more common, but I’m with you, Darren. I wear a Kenneth Cole watch my wife and kids bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago, but before that I’d worn the same Eddie Bauer one I bought myself back in 1995 to commemorate a new job (which turned out to be awful, and I quit the job 8 months later but kept wearing the watch).

    I seem to average 8 or 10 years for a watch — basically as long as it will run before breaking or wearing badly enough to be replaced. And while I’m fond of finger rings, I’ve never treated watches as jewelry, and don’t ever see myself buying a $2000 Swiss timepiece that doesn’t tell time any better than a nice-looking $100 quartz one.

    Somehow, even though I know my cell phone and computer are more accurate because they adjust themselves, the time on my wristwatch is always the “real” time, and I don’t quite believe other clocks until I check it.

  3. Okay, so I do the same thing you do…I have the same (cheap) digital watch made by Timex. I’ve replaced the (loop & hook- think velcro) band like four times. The main reason I have this one (and have replaced it, when destroyed by age) is that it has three separate alarms – which I set frequently. I have to say, I can do without it, but one of the alarms is set to five minutes before I’d like to leave for work in the morning…Not because I’ll forget to leave on time, but because I’m likely to forget where I put my watch when got home the day before…Hmmm… Lots to think about, there…

  4. For years I had an old timex sports watch & a dress watch (given to me by my father). After my father passed away the dress watch was kept for special occasions, and as my job changed the Timex migrated to my purse-strap (and I was like Randi). Then I became a first aid attendant and obliged to carry a watch – so I kept my eyes open for something a little less chunky than the Timex. Last November while travelling in the states I fell in love with a Skagen watch (Danish-made it is clean, low profile, basic, and dresses up easily), that I now practically sleep in. Unfortunately it has no second hand (making it useless for first aid), so my trusty timex has migrated again, to my keyring next to the first-aid key. The Skagen has no alarm, so I still travel with the timex (my ear is tuned to its alarm), but unless I am doing something sporty the Timex stays tucked away. Coincidentally I also have one of the Timex alarms set for a few minutes before I need to leave home.

  5. I’m the same as Randi. I just use my cell phone or whatever computer I’m closest to. This is mostly because I have a habit of losing a watch whenever I take it off. Sometime I think watch gnomes are following me, waiting for me to buy a watch so they can steal it again. Luckily, they haven’t noticed that my cell phone also functions as a watch, otherwise I’d be hooped.

  6. I’m with Randi – haven’t warn a watch in over 10 years. I have a cell phone, and I sit at a computer most of the day.

  7. My mom found a Rolex (a 1963 Canadian Dress Explorer) in a pawn shop in Fort St. John for $60 about 20 years ago. she gave it to me and I’ve worn it ever since. Unfortunately, over the years it has required a bit of expensive Swiss-Watch service, but I love it. Doesn’t keep perfect time at all – it loses about a minute every couple of days. In fact I use the time on the Blackberry to set it.

    It’s a great conversation piece, it isn’t the slightest bit flashy (no diamond studded bracelets, unfortunately) and I really look forward to one day having a grandson I can give it to. I can’t bring myself to pay $4000 for a watch, which would buy you the cheapest Rolex, but I understand why people do it.

  8. finger slipped… I haven’t worn a watch for years, preferring the freedom of a bare wrist. I’ve come to rely on my phone as a clock, which has always felt less than ideal. I’ve had concepts in my mind for a modern pocketwatch of some kind.

  9. If you don’t want to replace your watch (and why should you if you’re happy with it), there are various plastic polishers that you can get that should help clean up the scuff and scratches on the face of your watch. That said, they will come back with use but for awhile you can have the illusion that your watch is new(ish).

  10. I haven’t worn a watch in years as I don’t like the feeling of it, but the Watchismo blog makes me wonder if I should reconsider quite often (http://www.watchismo.com/). For practical timekeeping, my cellphone has been my watch since I started carrying one.

    As for yours, I’d say as long as it’s telling time reliably and feeling right, keep going with it. It’s nice to have a daily accessory with some history to it in a world of disposable gadgetry and planned obsolescence.

  11. To be honest, wearing a watch is a tremendously unexamined act for me. It’s just something I’ve always done, so it seems odd to be outside without one. I have in the recent past taken to using it for a bit of walk-for-30-seconds, run-for-a-minute training, which would be awkward with my iPhone. In any case, I think I’ll just keep on keeping on.

  12. I recounted — I have 31 currently, and I know there’s been at least 10 that have come into my life and gone again.

    I think that a nice watch can be many things: a tool; entertainment or conversational device; sentimental reminder of a person, place, or event; and it can also be a way of expressing your personal style.

    The right watch can express something interesting or unexpected about yourself in a quiet way, or it can reinforce someone’s opinion at a subconscious level.

    A watch is one of the few things a guy can wear for show, or to fit in.

    And, it tells time WITHOUT you having to drag around a pocket calculator / cell phone / etc.

    All this to say, Darren, that your longevity with that watch doesn’t surprise me — after all, you’ve been blogging here for many years longer than most people go, too.

  13. @Travis Indeed. Though, I’m no clothes horse, but I think I buy clothes a little more often than the average man. One would think that watches would fall into that category as well.

    Now that I think about it, it’s clearly a clothing/accessories division. I tend to wear out one pair of Fluevogs before buying another, and the same goes for belts. So I guess watches work the same way.

  14. I fell in love with a beautiful watch in the department store when I was 14. One day it was gone from the display case and I was so very sad. Until it showed up under the Christmas tree! My parents didn’t have much money at the time. It was a real gift. Then, four weeks later, while doing pushups in gym class, I’d taken it off because I couldn’t bend my wrist right, and I forgot it in the gym. I went back 5 minutes after class had ended and it was gone. Stolen. I haven’t owned a real watch since. I’m still heartbroken.

  15. I wear a watch every day and, as with you Darren, it’s pretty much an unexamined act. I’ve worn a watch as far back as I can remember and on the rare occasion I don’t have one on, I find myself looking to my wrist a few times an hour. I only have one watch – a sports watch – which is good for running, but (and I’ve only just recently clued into this), looks quite out of place when I’m dressed up!

  16. My current watch was given to me by my fiance (now husband) about 8 years ago. He wanted to buy me a present and I suggested a watch.

    We got “his and her’ watches, so they match and both of us have worn them ever since. I’m a little sad because he used a pocket watch until then. I used to have a big clunky Timex Indiglo, which I LOVED, but looked terrible in photographs. Since we were getting married in a few months, I wanted something more ladylike for the photos.

    I really use my watch all the time. I teach English privately and I switch off my cell phone during classes. I take swift and secretive looks at my watch to check how much time is left and decide how to pace the lesson. I do have a clock that I use when the lesson is over so that my students know when to leave. But, if I look at it too much, my students think I want them out right away!

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