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Lessons learned from breaking a Rolex


I remember the moment I broke my Rolex quite vividly. While I have no great memory of my bicycle crash other than how fast it all went, the moment I saw my 18th birthday gift in two pieces on the floor in front of me, it felt like a thousand thoughts fought for freedom in my head.

I remember feeling an overwhelming guilt. How could I have been so reckless as to wear something so valuable on a race bike, especially considering my often rather speedy cycle style? So naturally, the follow-up question to that is, where can I even wear a Rolex?

At dinner events? Was that to be the fate of my watch? The product of a brand boasting its reliability and sturdiness to become cuddled down to a dress watch. A watch Heinrich Messner took climbing on some of the most challenging mountains to become hidden behind shirts and cufflinks?

I recently had a talk with Jordan and he showed me a Paul Newman Daytona in an absolutely unbelievable condition. It was so perfect that I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it never had the pleasure of gracing a wrist, and had likely spent its’ days safely secured ensuring it would retain its’ value.

While I was in awe of the impeccable condition of the piece, I couldn’t help but feel quite sad at the same time. This watches’ sole purpose is to remain untouched, in order to achieve a high value so it can then be sold on to someone who would lock it up again.

I’m not saying that I wouldn’t take extra concern if I would own such a remarkable piece, and would probably even put it in a safe myself. Of course, you always have to keep the physical limits of each individual piece in mind. In other words, don’t take a Calatrava for a swim.

However, I can’t help but feel that these watches which are traded like commodities and shifted like stocks, fail to be what horology is about: the love for watches. And you can’t put a price on love.

While I am inevitably attracted to these types of watches, I realise that this is not my game to play, which is a game of economics more than anything else.

More importantly, I have concluded that I will wear my watch again for cycling. While a dose of caution will never hurt anyone, we shouldn’t let the fear of negative potentialities drive us. We should start seeing the beauty in the scratched up pieces because those are the ones which are truly unique.

I learned how I like my watches best: on the wrist.