I’m John Biggs and this is WristWatchReview.com, a new site for lovers of mechanical, and, to some extent, digital, wristwatches of all kinds. Our goal is two-fold: to create open a forum of discussion about what Willaim Gibson calls “the very finest fossils of the pre-digital age” and to bring our own experiences and intellect to bear on what, thus far, has been a closed cabal of high-end wristwatch manufacturers ($21,000 bling-bling anyone?) and, to some extent, high-end watch consumers who value flash over elegence and ultility.
Why do I love wristwatches and where did my particular, and very recent, obsession begin to surface? Mechanical watches were the high tech of their age. The sheer complexity of involved in creating a small, perfectly functioning timepiece in a case the size of a few quarters stacked is amazing on many levels. To engineer, and eventually collect, a fine timepiece or even one that wouldn’t normally be considered a “quality” piece requires precision, intelligence, and a flair for the somewhat quixotic. Again, to quote Gibson’s excellent essay, My Obsession, “They’re pointless in a peculiarly needful way; they’re comforting precisely because they require tending.”
We will not have a sales board: there are other sites, including Ebay, that perform that function with more efficiency than we could ever hope to achieve. We will simply talk about new and old watches from a 21st century point of view, appreciating the value of a good sweep second movement or a particularly ingenious new smart watch.
Watches are one of the few things we have in common with the generations that came before us. Since the 16th century, men and women around the world have carried watches. Now, as cell phones, PDAs, computers, and media players weigh us down and trudge through an information society, many of the things we carry would be considered witchcraft during the time of Abraham-Louis Perrelet, who invented the of the perpetual self-winding watch in 1770. But our watches, small, self-contained, and perfect, would be instantly recognizable. The world has changed, but seconds still fold into minutes and these fold into hours.