Money is, and will most likely always continue to be, a sensitive topic. And so when expensive timepieces I often hear the same responses a la “So do you keep it in the safe all the time? I would be too scared I’ll break it.” It at this point that the beater watch enters the stage.
In our modern society, it seems increasingly absurd for high-end watches to label themselves as tools. This change in status, however, has lead to an interesting development in the industry. As the industry’s landscape has changed, so have tool watches, into what they are called nowadays, the ‘beater’ watch. These are pieces tough instruments we not only wear but which become a part of us: every scratch bearing a memory carefully engraved for eternity.
Whilst writing this post, I started asking myself what a ‘beater’ watch actually is? On the one end of the spectrum, I think of my dad’s Casio Wave Ceptor. He handed down to me in my teens, a piece which had already borne the story of his adventures, with some blank pages for me to add my own. Despite it probably being the least horologically interesting piece in my collection, the attachment I feel to it is one of the strongest. To this date, I recall using cut off pieces from a paperclip to replace the pins I lost from the bracelet or using a glue stick to stick the bezel back on (unsurprisingly I lost the bezel later on a diving trip. Pro tip: Do not use a glue stick to repair watches).
On the other end, men like John Mayer ‘‘clean up dog poop wearing a Patek’’, a watch most people would be scared to even touch. It turns out that a ‘beater’ watch inevitably becomes the watch we wear most frequently by the nature of the risks of daily exposure.
What becomes ones ‘beater’ watch is a variable, and we ourselves are the variable. Any watch can be turned into a beater, the wisdom of which is another story. We tend to forget that many watches of inferior durability have taken a worse beating than what most of us desk jockeys could deliver to our loved companions. We shouldn’t adapt our lives around the watch we wear, but let the watch live with us, side by side, even if it sometimes means wrecking your Rolex in a bike crash.