img_5344From the movie-The Untouchables-1987…
Capone: A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.
Hoods: Team!
[Capone beats one of the men to death with a baseball bat]

I owned my first watch when I was a schoolboy back in the late 60s. It was an inexpensive wristwatch. It barely fit my thin wrist and hung loosely when I wore it. I remember it being a battery watch, but I do not remember anything else about it. Fast forward a decade or so and it is my high school graduation. My father gives me a really nice skeleton watch. One with glass and front and back so you can see the works from both sides. It still means the world to me. It has no intrinsic value other than the memories of my father.


And I still collect watches. My mentor was the great Mancil Page of Page-Parsons Jewelry. (No relation) A tall elegant man with piercing eyes and a keen intellect. He started me on Wyler watch. Im not really sure how it started, but here I am. I have close to 2 dozen pocket watches stored, most of them Wylers. None of them are worth very much on their own, but collectively? Who knows. In another few decades, when all the cool collectables are gone, they may be worth more. The watch at the top of this post is my only wristwatch. It, like most of the others, was built in the late 50s-early 60s. It has a classic look and still functions perfectly. Not a battery to be seen. In my current work I am based in Prudhoe Bay Alaska. We wear a lot of clothing there. And because of that I am not always able to get to my pants pocket or a vest, because of all the clothing. So a wristwatch is the easiest to reference.

We live in a digital world. I use computers at work and at home. My iPhone becomes more important to my work life and home life all the time. My wife’s car is a marvel of imbedded computers. The Computers are all around us. And yet I own a manual shift truck from the late 80s. And I choose to wear manual watches. I like the thought of manual. I enjoy the collecting of these things from another era. It feels right to me, these old things. Pulling a watch from my pocket to check the time instead of looking at my phone. Turning my wrist to look at a device built by hand. Still working well and looking good. And as I get older I am appreciating these things more and more. I am quite nostalgic and these things give me peace. A small connection to another time and place. An enthusiasm for a man getting older and looking back more often. An enthusiasm.


Wyler Watch

Sometimes technology is too much. I love this computer age and all my gadgets, but there are times when it seems to be in the way. I wear pocket watches usually to tell time. In my new job in Prudhoe Bay it is difficult to get to my pocket at times. So I purchased a wristwatch. I haven’t worn a wristwatch in over 35 years and it is taking me a little time to get used to it. My father bought me a pocket watch for my high school graduation. And I have purchased and saved numerous pocket watches over the years. Kind of a haphazard collection. 

Mancil Page was the owner of Page-Parsons Jewelry (no relation) and he started me on Wyler watches. Wyler started around the turn of the century, the one before this one, and lasted until the early 70s. The name was sold recently and they now make garish, expensive watches. But the Wylers of old were practical and simple and elegant. They don’t have an expensive brand and are not very pricey on eBay or through shops. Mancil collected them and kept me in the loop whenever he got a new one, and I returned the favor. And I now own a dozen or so pockets. The collection may never be worth anything as far as selling them, but I get a nice sense of satisfaction from them. A reminder of simpler times. It’s nice to have a watch in my pocket or on my wrist that does just one thing. And it looks good doing it! My new ( to me) watch was built in the early 1960s, like me. It is a very clean watch with very little scratching or fading. And it tells time accurately. 

I write this on my iPhone. A device that does many things very well. And it can be a watch in a sense also. But it will eventually be replaced with a newer shinier model. And no one will be using this iPhone model in 50 years. But my Wylers will still work. And that is a a small satisfaction that makes me smile.