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My first watch, the Swatch Irony Diaphane Gyrotempus


Back in 2001 when I was a computer consultant fixing Y2K bugs in Poland I had a layover in Zurich. I wandered through the airport marveling at all the things I could buy. Chocolates. Leather goods. Watches. Having recently graduated college I wondered what kind of people shopped at those places. Then I realized that I was working a good job and had some money.

I wanted to get something for myself. I rolled back through the duty free, intent on finding something. I found the Swatch booth.

I didn’t really wear a watch – it made not sense because I carried a Nokia cellphone shaped like a brick. But Swatch was a Swiss brand and I was in Switzerland so I perused the selection.

Among the candy-coated timepieces in the Swatch boutique I found the Irony Diaphane. It was a precursor to the metal Irony line with a bonded case made of plastic and aluminum. The ETA movement ticked away behind a little balance wheel window and the clear casebook let me see everything that was going on inside. It was perfect but I didn’t know why.

I did know that I didn’t like quartz. After high school my parents bought me a Seiko auto quartz but, recalling my Dad’s 1970s-era mechanical Seikos, it seemed too new, too inelegant. I loved the idea of a mechanical even though I didn’t understand the mechanics behind them and their long history. The Irony unlocked all of that.

I bought it. It was my first real watch purchased with my own money. It was like meeting an old friend after a long absence.

The Gyrotempus couldn’t have cost more than $100 and I wore it for years, setting and resetting it as I flew around Europe and the US. When I settled into journalism in about 2002 I started exploring new watches and it was quickly relegated to the watch box. But I just pulled it out today to look at it and aside from some junk in the crevices it still looks just fine. It’s the perfect first watch – plastic and metal and a great movement work in nearly flawless concert. It’s cheap, sure, and the design is a little dated but for a newly-minted world traveler it was just the thing.

We remember firsts because they are momentous or mundane. We joke that our first kiss was an accidental peck in the school yard or crow that our first beer led to an epic party. But our first watch is uniformly special, uniformly fascinating. Watches are living things that live alongside us and, when we feel nostalgic, can spring back to life with a flick of the wrist. It’s respect for that kind of magic, that kind of power, that defines what it means to be a watch lover.

The WWR 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

1024x1024 christmas ipad wallpaper 026Earlier this year I was attending an alumni event and the conversation subject matter turned to watches (how I turned it there I don’t recall).  One of the group asked what I would recommend for her to get her boyfriend as a gift.  My first question was how much money she wanted to spend.  When she said roughly $1,000, I immediately recommended a Weiss.  This question got me thinking about how I could organize the 2015 holiday gift guide.  So for this iteration, I will recommend my favorite watch (or watch related gift) in each of several price ranges.  Chances are, if I like it, especially if it under about $1,500, we have covered it in the past, since that is the kind of people we are; but there may be watches here (especially at the higher end) that have not graced our pages.

Swatch Touch Zero One, Set – Spike

Swatch Touch Zero One 06When the biggest name in the watch industry decides to get into the smart watch/fitness tracker business, you expect a watch that is made for the masses.  What you don’t expect is a watch made for a niche sport; but then again, Swatch does not do things in the normal way.  The Swatch Touch Zero One is, as the name implies, the first watch in a planned ecosystem of fitness watches tied to the sports that Swatch supports.

Watching the Web for August 15, 2015

webThanks for popping in to the weekly feature we call, Watching the Web.  For those of who may be new to it, we have scoured the internet and found only the most interesting watch related news and posts available (OK, most interesting to me), and point you toward them.  We also get a chance to crow about the most popular posts on our own site as well.  This week, I found a good review of the Omega Seamaster Bullhead Rio 2016; a beautiful travel watch, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Unique Travel Time; and a decade of watchmaking with Italian designer Giuliano Mazzuoli.  From our pages, there was the Swatch Sistem 51 Update review, a look at the Wingman Watches on Kickstarter, and the moVas Bronze Officer Watch.

Watching the Web For August 1, 2015

Morning Dew On A Web Desktop BackgroundAre we officially in the dog days of summer with the start of August?  Where did the summer go?  Regardless, we are at a weekend, and that means we have our Saturday post, Watching the Web, where we look in on watch related posts on other sites, and take a look back at our own most popular recent posts.  This week, Slate (a news site) ran an article on the surprising watch it thinks will revolutionize the Swiss Watch Industry, Worn & Wound’s looked at the Seiko X Nano Universe collection, and ABTW’s featured a write up of the Rpaige Crash of 29.  From our own pages, the Orient Mako, Redux & Co Courg, and the Æther Watch Co. AE01 were all top reads.

A Giveaway For A Designer Swatch


We just caught word of this, so thought we’d share it out for a quick entry for you to grab. 

Fathers Day Gift Guide 2015, for Dads and Grads

Mom has had her day, and my birthday has come and gone, but it is not too early to start thinking about gifts for dads, and since it is late spring, gifts for grads as well.  In this Fathers Day gift guide, I am going to point out some of my favorite watches and accessories that have crossed our (real or virtual) desks over the last few months, organized by price.

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Watching the Web for April 25, 2015

Morning Dew On A Web Desktop BackgroundWelcome back (or just welcome if this is your first time here) to our weekly installment, Watching the Web, where we point out  interesting watches and articles that have popped up over the last week (or so), and we take a second look at our more popular posts over the same span. Today, I am going to highlight the Urwerk UR-105 TA from A Blog to Watch, Hodinkee’s look at the NOMOS Lambda, and a Kickstarter campaign for hand made watch boxes.  From our site, we have an exclusive review of the Filson Journeyman GMT, a look at the Swatch Sistem 51 update, and for the 3rd week in a row, the Ventus Caspian on Kickstarter.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is coming up, and as a service to those gift challenged male readers out there, I though I would highlight a few watches that you may want to get for the woman (or women) in your lives.  I am mainly going to focus on watches that we have reviewed relatively recently, though there are a few extras tossed in here.  So without further ado, here is our Mother’s Day Gift Guide.

Swatch Sistem51 Update, Something for Everyone

Swatch Sistem 51 005When Swatch debuted the Sistem51 automatic, I was excited about the prospect of a very affordable Swiss made automatic, but I was not all that excited by the design choices.  The original four designs definitely showed the Swatch DNA, but they were not designs I would wear, other than as a novelty.  With the Swatch Sistem51 update released earlier this year, there are 5 new watches in the family, really expanding the appeal.