I have had a life-long love affair with watches. Ever since I was a kid, I was infatuated with them. In fact, I still have several of my old Pulsar, Casio and other random digital and Quartz models from the late 70's/early 80's. I'm not really sure why I had such an interest in watches, but I'm glad I did. I recall my mother telling her friends she was concerned I'd become one of those street vendors that wore a watch lined trench coat calling out "Hey buddy, need a watch!" However, I purchased most of them myself so it taught me valuable lessons of hard work, goal setting, saving, and how to take care of things. My first "nice" watch was a Seiko Kinetic with Lumibrite dial. Man I loved that piece! Unfortunately, an ex-girlfriend is still wearing it, assumedly (another valuable lesson learned there). At the time though, $125 for a watch was a huge investment for me, but it was so worth it.
It was this watch that really started me down the path of respecting mechanical movements. Of course the Seiko Kinetic is not a mechanical watch, but it did have rotor that charged the battery for the quartz movement. This fascinating spinning disc was enough to pique my interest and my mechanical investigation began. I was already a gear head thanks to my dad who was the predecessor of McGiver. He could (and still can) fix anything. He was always taking apart and miraculously repairing anything that didn't work, regardless if he previously knew anything about said washing machine, well pump, transmission, microwave, fallen telecommunications satellite...
Growing up in this environment fostered my desire to want to know the how and why and what came before my quartz watches. What I learned had me hooked! I developed so much respect for the ingenuity behind making a mechanical movement, as well as all the other components. I was shocked to learn the great history of the American watch industry and its sad demise. What I didn't realize though, is that I subconsciously tied myself to this industry for the rest of my life. Everyone has a passion, mine found me.
Since then, my taste in watches may have changed, but my respect and admiration hasn't. The proliferation of microbrands over the last several years is simply amazing. All of the interesting designs, craftsmanship, and value has created a niche market that didn't exist 10 years ago. However, I am an equal opportunist and my personal collection spans from Omega, Rolex, Hamilton, Oris, Fortis all the way to vintage Universal Genève (probably my favorite brand, aside from DuFrane of course!), Wyler and even a Bradley Mickey mouse piece. Why not? Some things never change, and my collection continues to grow.