Wait, what!? Well, let me back up. I was having a texting conversation with an associate earlier today, talking about why I love watches, and I realized it all over again. I’m a geek.
I hope you’ll indulge your editor here and give me a listen. If you do, maybe you’ll see a little of yourself in these words.
See, the whole reason I love watches – specifically, mechanical watches – is I’m a geek. To be precise, I’m an aerospace engineer. Well… a recovering one. I haven’t actually engineered anything in a couple of decades. Moved up the corporate ladder into management, then other stuff happened, and, well, you know…
But watches! I love the little machines. Maybe a couple of hundred parts all working in harmony, governed by the laws of Newtonian Mechanics, to do a job that was once essential to the survival of the guy using it. Maybe the survival of a few dozen, or hundred, of the men and women in his charge.
Whether said guy was the navigator on a ship, an aircraft, or maybe even a freight train conductor, an accurate clock or watch was essential to calculating longitude (or not crashing head-on into an oncoming train), and thus, getting to his destination alive and in one piece.
How cool is that!?
Now, if you follow Everest Journal, you might know I was in the Bahamas a week and a half ago. It was a fun time, but I have a couple of regrets. One was not taking a five hour speedboat ride down through the Exumas to see the swimming pigs. I mean, there are swimming pigs in the Bahamas! Who knew!? They have their own website, and you can see them from space, for crying out loud! Check Big Major Cay on Google Earth if you don’t believe me.
Ok. Enough of that. The other regret? Not buying the Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch in one of the watch boutiques in downtown Nassau. The Hour Angle is a watch made for a watch geek if there ever was one. I mean, I love my Speedmaster and my Submariner no-date, but the Hour Angle was designed by Charles Lindbergh himself. Yes, the very dude who was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean back in 1927.
To explain why Mr. Lindbergh felt it necessary to design the watch upon his return from France would take more space – and knowledge – than I currently possess, so I’ll let Jack Forster of Hodinkee explain it here.
Suffice it to say, however, that the Hour Angle watch is a matchless tool for navigation. Obsolete now in this day and age of satellites and GPS systems. But a fine tool nonetheless. And to a geek like me, it’s a reminder of the critical nature of the usage of time measurement in the pursuit of the unknown.
I’m still plotting what I can sell off in order to buy the piece.