Friday, December 28, 2018

The Flawed Vintage Watch


I learned a new word in Japanese while looking at a 1970's blue dial, King Seiko Vanac Special.

A King Seiko Vanac. It's difficult to tell if a watch crystal
is scratched from a photograph. If a scratched crystal
is oshii for you, always look at the watch in person.
The King Seiko Vanac sports a multi-faceted crystal; it's like a slice of a gigantic diamond. The crystal is the star of the watch's show, and it's the crystal that led to my learning a new word in Japanese, おしい, oshii. The watch I saw had a single, eye-catching scratch on one of the facets toward the lower left. Because the Vanac is all about the glass, this scratch, which might otherwise be okay for another vintage watch, made the King Seiko Vanac Special undesirable. The Vanac crystal is impossible to replace.

I should add, undesirable to me, because one person's oshii is another person's "that's fine."

The watch I looked at is similar to this one, but with a deeper blue dial and jewel-like indices. A true beauty, except, except...sigh.

Oshii in Japanese means one flaw which renders an otherwise fine object undesirable, or which ruins it. Oshii is a word that looms large in world of vintage watches. "If it wasn't for the non-original crown, I'd get that watch," or "That small watermark on the dial kills this watch for me," are thoughts we've had on many a watch hunt. Oshii is similar in meaning to the expression, "Close, but no cigar."

It's better to be alerted to a watch's flaw before you buy the it, better to let おしい rule you, than to buy a watch, flaw included -- and from that moment on all you see is that problem. It's better to take a pass than to let that flaw grow larger in your mind, transforming a small scratch into a scar of deep regret.

Some scratches can be erased, returning your
watch to a time before it was injured.

おしい。Oshii. Now I know another word for that disappointing sensation all watch collectors feel because we didn't bring a loupe.

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