A Watch for the Urban Man
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Again this holiday season, the Urban Man is asking his loved ones to buy him a watch. But not just any watch. This year, I need some bucking up against crises at home and abroad. So I need at least three extra dials of indecipherable complexity. Two bezels of unreadable detail. And of course, micro-gas illumination.
I only can't decide if I want "Fighter Pilot" or "Navy Seal."
If you look around, in the mags and up the boulevards, you will find that 90% of watch ads are for men. A woman's watch attempts mere jewelry, but a man's watch attempts to express his inner scuba diver, rock climber, or financial titan.
Apparently, we need our metaphors reinforced in a way that a woman does not.
Okay, I could just carry around a still of Daniel Craig from a recent Bond movie to remind myself of my true calling. But even in L.A., that might excite comment. Better to carry a Tag Heuer. I know that like this watch, the Urban Man is complex yet dependable, self-winding, and at some deep level, Swiss. I too have indecipherable complexity. Outside, I'm sure I too am scratch resistant and waterproof to 300 meters.
Mirrors always lie, but a good watch always tells the truth. At any time I will be able to glance at my wrist and see myself clearly.
This year's watch obsession began just last week, as I was driving north up Sepulveda toward Pico in the rain. I swear, I was trying to keep my mind on dropping home values and devastated stocks. I was dutifully mulling the fates of O.J. Simpson and Bernie Madoff.
But suddenly, I was confronted with two enormous billboards.
To the east, rising above the unhappy clutter of a mini-mall, soaring above a Supercuts and a Beds, etc., there arose an incredibly expensive Audemars Piguet. It represented a tiny world of elegance, a miniature palace of tuxedos and trust funds no more than an inch and a quarter wide — though of course, expanded for extravagant inspiration on the billboard, just as if I were examining it up close.
Okay, this watch looked a little metro-sexual for troubled times, but I thought, "You know what, glancing at that financial powerhouse every hour would help create a Wall Street recovery."
Meanwhile, to the west, set against a troubled sky of roiled clouds, I spied the ad for a huge and luminous Mont Blanc in the flat stainless style of an altimeter from a 1945 bomber. It had those three tiny and apparently meaningless subdials – who knows? Seconds toward countdown? Hours of fuel? The word "Automatic" was inscribed on its face in bold letters, and I thought, "what a lovely word, ‘automatic.' How appropriate to my courage."
If I wore either of these watches, I thought, I would be bolder every day. And more: Either would doubtless provide a metaphor marking the triumph of civilization over the otherwise barbaric wasteland of time. But ultimately, I thought, even in days like these, military matters must take precedence — and that's why I'm definitely setting my sights on the fighter pilot…or perhaps Navy Seal, image.
And surely, my loved ones: Now that our civilization is again threatened by recession and fanatics, every urban man needs a nice new watch.
We will use them to stimulate the economy. And after the holidays we will strap on our fine piece of complicated horlogerie: Rolex or Longines, Breguet or Chopard, and we will gain heart. We will know when to show up for our destinies. We will get back to work to help make the payments.
Copyright (c) 2008 Marc Porter Zasada. All rights reserved.
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