Quartz watches are better than automatic watches.
Okay, there, I’ve said it and thrown down the gauntlet right at the start. No messing around with buildup and thesis and all that. You know where I stand right from the start. I’ll spend a bit to qualify, but let’s begin the discussion there.
Background: I received a wonderful watch from my wife for our anniversary. I was touched and amazed by the gift, but it was truly a step out in style. I had a been a true Timex cheapo or Pulsar railroad watch guy for years. Watches would last a few months or years, to then maybe disappear when one of the kids accidently flushed them down the toilet. No biggie, though my loss of my old rail road affectionately known as “glowie” has been haunting.
But all of these watches were quartz. They were $100 or less at the time. Inexpensive in the world of watches, but not cheap in the world where most people live. $100 is a $100 no matter who you are.
So quartz watches are far more inexpensive than automatic watches. And they are more accurate. This is fairly simple, as quartz watches run on a battery and have fairly straightforward mechanism that keeps them solid for years at a time depending on battery. So long as the battery is full or providing adequate charge, the operation of the crystal and electronics keeps a quartz watch on time very very wwell.
Automatic watches, by contrast, run off a spring. Some wind the spring by hand, by various other forces, but it is essentially charging a mechanical component as a mechanical battery and operating a timekeeping device off this stored energy. Even the most precise automatic watch will likely by 5-6 seconds off per day, or about a minute a week, give or take. The old movie trope of “synchronize your watches” became necessary to ensure that all those old automatic watches were on the same time as they had a tendency to slowly drop out of time.
Which is somewhat romantic. The notion of having a small spring on your wrist is neat. The sweeping second hand of an automatic watch is clearly beautiful. Let’s be honest, it’s gorgeous. It gives time the notion of a true sweep that slowly and magically moves forward in a continuous line. Watching “watch-porn” videos of expensive watches second hands sweeping gracefully around classic faces has it’s certain charm.
But it’s a lie.
There is no real sweep. It is, like the flickers of a movie screen, a succession of beats. A high-beat watch may have a spring pulse of several times (or several hundred times) per minute resulting in such small clicks and beats that the second hand appears to traveling smoothly. But in reality the second hand is fooling you because it really is just beating so fast with such small clicks that you can’t see it. Again, there are high speed videos where they slow down an expensive watches flowing seconds into videos that help to expose the actual course of beats to show you how clicky they really are at the end of the day.
Automatic watches are sexier. Or so the ads have us believe. Automatic watches are the Rolex and Omega and the stratospherically higher end of even more respected but lesser known brands, and they are generally precise and accurate to a few seconds each day. Trouble is that it is still a few seconds less than a quartz.
Many analog watches have small timers as well. On analog wheels. To try and pretend these are anything other than decorative is silly. They may look cool or let you time some eggs boiling, but the notion that your race car or scuba session is going to have anything to do with these tiny and hard to read timers is insane. There are very specific, and mostly computerized/quartz timers for that stuff.
So what gives? The romance of an automatic watch lies in the branding and beauty of the pieces. Nobody can deny the brand appeal of Rolex. Classy ads, classic products, very expensive. That’s the hallmark of a luxury brand. It’s why people shell out mega bucks for a Bently that really isn’t all that much better than a far cheaper car.
There is also the appeal of the mechanical inefficiency. To know that your body swings a weight and that weight tightens a spring that then tells time. This puts you in touch with the rotation of the planes and measures, you are almost a part of time. Wonderful.
But four grand wonderful? Ten grand wonderful? Uh, not that wonderful.
I’ll take a quartz any day of the week. I may someday try an auto, but until I have piles of cash lying around and nothing I’d rather spend it on, I’ll take a quartz. It’s more economical and more accurate. The only trouble is, there are few things as beautiful as a Rolex no-date updated for modern tastes. Uh oh, now I’ve fallen for all that marketing… ieeeeeee…
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It’s to the point where a nice new hat can really make your day. Yes, the super authentic is always nice, but sometimes just an unstructured style that is still fitted can feel super awesome. I’m telling you, I’m now on 2 and a half years on a 47 brand hat and it’s totally killer.
I admit a strange love affair with Rod Laver sneakers. I have had a pair of the white and green mesh classics around for years. For me personally they wax and wane alongside my low-top Chuck Taylor obsession. If I’m not jonesing for some Chucks, it’s because I’m content with some Lavers. Unlike most sneaker snobs, I like these generally inexpensive sneakers for things like mowing the lawn, playing at the park, and generally tearing it up.
But now, there are a proliferation of styles the thumbnails above only hint at. Search Adidas for more and you’ll find no fewer than 16 varieties. They used to offer the Laver style only in the old green/white, then added blue/white. Now it appears as if the hipster/collector demand has unleashed the designers crazy on this old style. I don’t know if I could mow the lawn in tweed Lavers, or have the gumption to rock a work suit wearing them either. Maybe in the drive in but that’s about it.
The Rod Laver entry at wikipedia doesn’t offer much by way of history of the shoes, but will school you on what an interesting career Mr. Laver had in the tennis world. Needless to say, the shoes have a nice long lace, a cool mesh upper (in the traditional style), and a hint of suede in an otherwise rubber and nylon shoe. This helps make them fairly indestructible, but also machine washable (I remove the liners). This helps you wear them hard but still keep them relatively white and sharp looking most of the time. Snappy!
When the pressures of the world get to you, some quality time with your computer may be in order to let you drift off and clear your mind. Yes, you could go with the latest angry birds, warcraft, or other gay-ming option. But that would be it bit blase, now wouldn’t it?
Why not get lost in the world of super-uber-cool product blogs? Try out some of my favorites, like gearpatrol, cool material, cool hunting, werd, bless this stuff, well, this gets kind of endless and out of control.
Now being a blogger, and having been so since back in the day, I know a bit about how these things work. Many of these sites are trying to rush to you a gadget link or product review before the other, so there is often overlap in the products you’ll see. Being blogs and link sites, they want to try and capture your attention and eyeballs on a regular basis. That’s what they want.
But for you to maximize your downtime escapism surfing ability, you need to find one of these sites that you’ve never visited before and devour it whole. Most of these sites have been around for a few years (maybe even back into the aughty aughts!) you can view upwards of a hundred or two hundred pages of crazy super hip gadget wisdom. Much like looking at old fashion magazines, you can start at the back and come forward, or move backward in time, all the while seeing that the absolute bleeding edge gadget and tech trend from just three years ago now seems so hopelessly outdated.
Some of these sites have more art or culture bent, some are purely on gadgets or products. But the level of balance between hand produced and ultra expensive stuff combined with the silly and profane is fun. I tend to find a site, scroll through opening things that look neato mosquito in a new tab, and then wandering around my tabs when I get ten or twenty open at once. It’s power surfing, completely engaging, and daydreams of absurdly expensive items and news that you never would see otherwise.
Or you could read your NYTimes and listen to your NPR and keep up on current events and get very depressed with all your “real” knowledge. Or just drift away in a calgon bath of warm internet-y gooey goodness. Enjoy!
This is totally impractical. I am a large man. I have a wife and 2 not-small boys. This tiny old tin BMW cooker is not the family car. It’s not a totally midlife crisis porsche either, but there you go. It’s for sale amazingly. At the end of the day I’d probably get tired of driving this, and it’s likely a mess in the snow. But the pic had me smiling, maybe you too.
This is one of the most beautiful guitars I’ve ever seen. It has the maple neck with no skunk stripe that I now think is essential. It doesn’t have the toploading bridge, but it looks awesome. Man, I’m drooling over this one.
Olympic white hard tail stratocaster. I would like this with a custom two piece next which doesn’t have the skunk stripe down the back. This would be an all white dream. Maybe put a charlie christian pickup in the middle position, a soapbar in the next, and then change the dials to have three volume and one tone knob with no pickup selector (totally custom pan in and volume control).
Sound like a good use of the guitar daydream? I thought so.
Of course, when your team wins the world series you have to blog it. And try and do something special. But it’s hard to buy plastic stadium cups on ebay (my preferred souvineer) so I had to look for something else. I got a great t-shirt that I sometimes can’t find anymore too. Man that’s a great shirt, wherever it it! So when I went to go put the logo on my page, I couldn’t find one that really fit. The old school “Humm Baby” Giants looked too goofy for me, but the new overstyled and quasi-retro ones didn’t work either.
Having my computer up, I made this and a few logos. Well there you go.
And while I was at it, I made one for the Niners:
and this one for the Cougs:
A guy has to have all of his teams covered, even if it is using the free College font and an old photoshop knockoff program.