Connecting with my father’s love of watches and photography

My goal this year was not be passive and write new blog posts weekly.  I was doing well aligning to my goal tool, writing about know your value, leaning into discomfort, not forgetting to be decadent, why I named my blog decadent life, and so on.  And then March hit, and life as we know it changed.  It was hard to be decadent except in your living room and even though I purchased some decadent items, I would stare at it during my conference calls or after.  Decadence and social life took a huge downward turn.  Zoom and other forms of virtual meetings dominated.  But as much as I hated it, I thought a great summer was coming.  So ordered all types of summer items with really no great weekend or travel plans. I thought this too shall pass and July will be fun and happy. At times I thought I will never see any friends again because maybe it won’t be over in July after all.

Many claimed this was a great time to look inward and so on as you get curbside pickup and delivery.  Birthdays came and went and there was this hope, pushed out monthly, The last time I blogged was May 17 and it was about the 7 things I learned during this pandemic to stay sane titled, “Just Post,’ and I didn’t for almost 4 months..  I thought it would all wind down and by July my life would resume to normal.  But no…..the pandemic just goes on an on.

Full quarantine mode here….when I discovered that my Chanel nail polishes match exactly my Rolex GMT

In my blog in April, I blogged about why Watches and Cars matter during quarantine. I referenced how cars and watches are helping me through this horrid era of potentially damaging isolation.  And 4.5 months later, that is still the case. While it’s not the ‘only thing’ that keeps me going, it is a great outlet during these horrid times.  As the joke goes, if 2020 was directed by someone, it would be David Lynch.  Yes, we are living in the middle of a David Lynch movie. 

And here we are almost 4 months later and cars and watches are helping me get through these rough times.  I recently co-founded a local watch group which has been extremely satisfying and distracting from this pandemic. We have had multiple virtual meetings, and got to know each other and what watches we collect and are excited about. We even had some great guests from watch companies. Some of us even met unplanned at our local Rolex A.D. Another watch group, driving distance, also picked up and recently we had a socially distant masked event as well.  Adapting to pandemic life, but still living.  It was great to have an in person meeting and we had a lot of fun.

Why do cars and watches help?  In addition to what I wrote about in my recent blog on this subject, it is related to also having a shared experience of how these times impact us.  While we are all different and in different situations (some married, some single, some with kids, some without, some on their own, some not, some financially impacted by the pandemic, some not) we can commonly talk about our love of watches, how we got into it and so on.  We talk about watches we do own, do not own, would like to own and so on. Of course for in person meetings, we actually see the watches in person. And  the love of watches, the art, the engineering bring people together as a community.  Often the love of watches is associated with other similar interests, like cars.  And the whole activity is not about owning the most expensive watch or car but an appreciation for watches (or cars), what distinguishes different types of watches regardless of price. Some of my non watch friends, think of this hobby as a bunch of  snobs debating which Rolex is the best and a $10K watch is admission price to such a group. This is not the case.  People with all types of watches belong to these groups.  Each watch has a story and a certain vibe/feel for the owner.  It’s really not about the $s. There are people who buy a fine watch for status only, but those people are not in such watch groups. They are out buying the entry level Rolex so they can flash it around at work with the entry level BMW. This is not the group of people I am referring to. While I have known such people, they are quite boring and shallow. The true watch enthusiast/collector is not. 

Oris Big Crown Pointer Date – Second Quarantine / Covid Buddy – I do love red. Again, something you just have to see in person. While it looks great in photos, I had to see this in person once the total quarantine was lifted.

During the peak of quarantine, Zoom meetings were great as well.  When you are genuine watch person, you want to genuinely hear the story of someone’s collection, the when, the what and why.  In the newly founded watch group, I asked everyone what got them into watches, and so on.  One of the common themes was that we each had different connections with the watches we acquired over time.  There is a story and connection for each watch.  Actually the Zoom meetings were a good way to learn about the individuals.  It was easy for all members to listen to one person’s story.  I always enjoy listening to people’s stories and journeys and that was a positive outcome of these virtual meetings.  Sometimes this is harder to do at the larger watch meet ups.  Nevertheless, meeting someone in person, connecting with them in real life not just virtually and looking at their watches in person is something else. And no virtual meeting will replace that.  But early in the pandemic I learned a lot about the watch community through some live IG videos as well.   A positive spin on this whole quarantine may be the the Zoom meetings facilitated getting to know people’s stories better and people sort of start with an equal footing.  But then again, seeing a watch on IG and seeing the watch in person are quite different experiences much like seeing a person in a photo vs. seeing them in person.  As a person has a certain vibe/shine so the watch.  It now happened to me twice – two watches looked great in photos but it was once I saw them in person that the watch’s uniqueness stood out and thought “must have it” – the connection.

The golden hour, best for me and best for this watch

In addition to Zoom meetings or in person meetings, the community also keeps in touch on social media.  No, not by flaunting fake lives, but connecting on their common passion for horology.  We photograph our watches. Sometimes it’s a good wrist shot or sometimes the watch shown more as lifestyle item. For me these photos are taken by an iPhone and all unfiltered selfies.  Not the greatest photos, but I hope I am improving in featuring and angling the watch so that the true characteristic of the watch is featured. I found that the ‘golden hour’ is best for two of my watches and even the most flattering for human face.  My father, who was an outstanding photographer with a love for fine watches, always told me that sunset is the most flattering light to take portraits.  He even developed his own film.  I think my watch hobby connects me with him in many ways also that include the photography and the watches.  I have an old photo he took of the Rolex building many years ago, and I make a quick photo collage of my Rolex and that photo.  So yes, this watch activity connects me with him. 

More of the golden hour….just an iPhone selfie, no filters, but so nice for the watch

Some of the local jewelers are also great contributors by hosting local events for these groups formal or not.  I always look forward to dropping in at my local Rolex A.D. and checking out what is new.  One time even ran into another member of our watch club – a totally informal, impromptu get together.      

So what is next?  I know I cannot wait for this pandemic to be over.  Not only attend watch meet ups but even other out of town events.  But for now, this activity will keep me going through these absurd times in whatever capacity I can.  Whether it’s very small meetings, virtual meetings, or whatever forms. And of course we will continue to discuss our ‘covid watches’ that help us get through these times.

Clearly not my best photo, but a meaningful one. This is an example of how you just have to see the watch in person. This was the day I first saw this watch in person, pre pandemic, and it just so happened that my skirt matched the watch perfectly. At this point I was just trying it on. But like with anything beautiful or unique, the in person is always better than just the photo. The quarantine happened a month after this and this watch became my quarantine watch. Quarantine/Covid photo skills have improved even with the iPhone. Of course working remotely does help as well.

reunited with that watch two months later
That connection with my father again Re

Related Post: Watches and Cars and Why they Matter During Quarantine