Friday, December 14, 2018

Buying a Watch While Sober

Some things you regret. Like a tattoo of your favorite superhero, having never gotten the nerve to ask that cute Cindy out on a date in junior year, failing to stop at a stop sign monitored by a cop, or eating a mouthful of wasabi on a dare.

I want to add to this list of regrets a recent one of mine: Buying a watch online while sober.

The Patek Goldolo, a sober-bought watch.
I know, I know. Who does that? Only fools like me.

Here's how things are supposed to play out. Dinner's over. The kids are tucked in bed, smiles on their faces as they dream of kittens and summer vacation. The dog is somewhere chewing one of your sneakers. Your spouse is curled up on the sofa in front of the fireplace enjoying a book she heard about from a co-worker, and which will make her both wiser and happier.

You had a glass or two of wine with your tuna noodle casserole, and have parked your semi-inebriated butt on the chair in front of your computer. As you sip (you call it sipping) another glass of wine, you plow through the seemingly infinite watch listings on eBay. Omegas, Rolexes, Bulovas, IWCs, Hubots, Seikos, even Pateks float past you. You scan watch after watch, in search of a great deal posted by someone from afar who either desperately needs cash or doesn't know the value of the watch he's selling—or both. Forget Chrono 24 and WatchUSeek, where sellers know what they're doing. On eBay, if you're relentless enough, you'll snag a Breguet for $500. Or maybe just an Omega Seamaster for $100, but that's good enough, because it's a bargain.

Some kind of internal regulator governs the maximum I’ll spend on eBay, sight unseen. For me, it’s $1,000.

The hours pass: Flip through listings, drink wine. Flip through more listings, drink more wine. Sigh. Tonight's not going to be a night of luck. It’s almost 2 a.m., and maybe you should just buy what looks like a real Rolex Pepsi for $750...or maybe not. Well, there's always tomorrow night after leftover casserole. You can’t be successful every evening.

Finally, you succumb to intoxicated sleep and dream of how wonderful it would be to quit your  job and buy a watch shop.

About a week later a recycled Amazon box arrives with a watch inside. "Oh. I bought a watch on eBay while drunk,” you say to nobody but yourself. “But it was only $350, so that's not bad. It could have been a lot worse."

Indeed, it could have been worse. That's what happened to me, you see, when I bought a watch sober. I researched. I read. I went to boutiques, and tapped into the infinite wisdom of Authorized Dealers. I touched watches and their souls touched me. Like an Ouija board, I let the ephemeral guide me, tempered by questions I posted on forums and deep conversations with friends far more knowledgeable about watches than I. I was being smart. Smarter than smart. I was wise. I knew exactly what I was doing because alcohol had last touched my tongue ten hours ago.

Finally, I settled on a Patek Philippe 5124J, the Goldolo, with small seconds. It’s a rectangular beauty with sublime vintage vibes and hints of deco. Have you seen this watch? It goes with everything, from suits to t-shirts. It’s fits perfectly with the Mercedes convertible I don’t yet have. I’ll wear it to work and impress the pants off everyone when I raise my arm at meetings to ask a question.

The Patek lightened my wallet by $25,000.

Yeah, $25,000. That's what I get for researching, cogitating, and buying a watch while sober. This Patek was an expensively wish purchase. What was I thinking? (You can’t see me as I write this article, buty my face is buried in my open palms.) How am I going to explain that item on our credit card bill?

I'm going back to watch buying while drunk. It's a lot less expensive.

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