For some, a watch is a practical essential. For others, it’s an accessory – the small details like whether it accurately tells the time can be comparatively unimportant. I’ve dabbled in both camps, so now I want to find the perfect hybrid of aesthetics and functionality. Here’s why..
When I was in the army, a watch was completely essential. I remember turning up to selection in Westbury with a pink Baby G on my wrist. I’d been forewarned that turning up sans timepiece was quite definitely Not Okay, and thanks to an obsession with pink throughout school, this was the best I could find at short notice. Day one, my Colour Sergeant delivered the command task instructions which I think were basically get from A to B with limited resources and under some hideous time constraint before the enemy caught you / alligators attacked / you failed. Next, he ordered us to “Show Watch” (note: in the Army everything is absolutely functional and even sentences get weirdly shortened. If you ever want to see anything you just put ‘show’ infront of the necessary item. Now I think about it, it’s really rather odd..).
When I left the Army to write for Marie Claire magazine, my watch took on an entirely different role. I no longer needed the ability to quickly sync my watch with my platoon to ensure precision of an operation, and rarely had any use for a stop watch function. I knew the time mainly based around reception calling up to announce the arrival of meetings or a car to the next event, and if ever I needed confirmation, my phone was always in my hand or next to me. Because social media. So I had a stream of watches that didn’t actually tell the time (more often that not they had no battery because they were a press sample) but looked damn pretty. More than a watch, these little (and large – let’s not forget the Boyfriend Watch trend of 2012) accessories were designed to morph seamlessly into a bangle or similar at a moment’s notice, and commitment to a sole watch just wasn’t necessary – I had a watch wardrobe.
Then I left Marie Claire to go freelance, and suddenly I was in control of my own time again. I had no intern, no receptionist, no boss keeping check on me. It was just me. So I decided to take the jump and find a watch that I could rely on every day. One that wasn’t garish, niche or huge enough to warrant only the occasional outing. One that actually (shock) told the time.
The conclusion I have come to is that less is more when it comes to watches. A gazillion dials and whirly bits is just distracting, and anything I need to charge more than once a week is quickly relegated to the pile of forgottens containing such fads as my home IPL machine and something that claimed to give me abs while I watched tv (note: it absolutely did not).
As for colour… Something simple and inoffensive seems to be the way forward. A bit of shiny metal hardware is always nice and elevates the watch to a more aspirational level, but for the main part, I like to stick to either monochrome or muted pastel colours. And generally analogue, if only to prove that I can tell the time..
Unless I’m working out, in which case everything changes. Hashtag fickle.
Here’s my current favourite brands
What’s your favourite?