The following is not autobiographical. Well, maybe here and there. I wasn't thinking of anyone else either...
1. I keep coming back to look at it, so it must be special. The date has been adjusted since I looked at it yesterday. It's nearer the back of the display. Someone else has looked at my watch. It could be gone tomorrow. I'll have it.
2. It's 1am. I was about to go to bed and now I've found this. One in stock. One in the world by the look of it. I could lay awake thinking about it. Or I could go to bed smiling. Now or never. I have mail. I have mail again. Bedtime.
3. I've been good. No new watch for three months. I'm saving up for a 'big one'. I could buy a strap. Straps don't count. I could buy a strap for the 'big one'. Now then, let's look at all the straps in the world.
4. It has a compass. Somebody once asked me 'Which way is North?'. I could have told them. I'll have it.
5. Somebody like me should have a watch like this. Exactly this watch. I could sell some. I'd never sell this. Just imagine looking down at your wrist and seeing this. Out of my league really. But just look at it. Thank you, I'll take it. Look at the box! Hope my card doesn't get rejected.
6. I got it as a beater. Not that I beat, or fully understand the nature of beating.
7. I had never thought of buying one, but they were so cheap I bought two.
8. So I asked my wife how many pairs of shoes she had. Five, apparently.
9. It's not as though I spend a lot of money on cars, hi-fi, cameras, or remote-controlled helicopters. Oh... I do, actually.
10. I have a limit of eighteen watches, and a strict 'one in, one out' policy. This one doesn't count though, it's just a work watch. And the five in the drawer don't count either. And the G-Shocks are just for when I'm felling trees or drilling for oil. But apart from that I have a limit of eighteen. Strictly one in, one out. Apart from the Jaeger LeCoultre, a gift from my uncle, which I wear to receptions at the embassy. And there's a Hamilton in case I get mugged when travelling in Central America or Europe. Apart from that, if a $10,000 watch is coming in, a $1,000 watch has to go.
11. Of course it's worth paying more for a decorated movement. You can see it when you're not wearing it.
12. A good, representative collection should have one of each type, and I haven't got a purple one.
13. It's a restoration project. I don't like it enough to buy a good one, but I'll be bringing it back to life. I'm not sure if you can still get the parts.
14. They only made 200, so I won't be wearing it. The standard model looks the same, so I might get one of those for wearing.
15. It's Russian. It might not work for more than a week but it's got a tank on it. Fantastic value.
16. It's a Seiko. Everybody should have one Seiko. I've got 348.
17. I needed a diver. My other watches are only rated to 50m. I go swimming in the sea, and the sea is deeper than that.
18. It has historical value. Six were issued to Algerian troops in 1959. As a watch it's worthless, but you hardly ever see them. I couldn't believe my luck when I snapped it up for the cost of a long weekend in Venice for two.
19. Two hundred pounds might sound like a lot for a plastic watch, but most of these were thrown away, and there's an eBay seller who can provide new movements, bezels and straps.
20. It's an absolute classic, and cracking value. For almost the price of the watch, you can send it off to a man in America who'll make it look completely different.
21. It costs a lot of money because it's Swiss. If it was made anywhere else it would cost less. But it wouldn't be Swiss. You see?
22. It could tell a story. Mostly about being in an old biscuit tin for thirty years, until it was rescued by someone who appreciates broken things.
23. A real fictional character wore one of these. Non-fictional characters wore them too, but not in the same authentic way.
24. It's not expensive when you consider the centuries of tradition and craftsmanship that were abandoned in favour of more efficient methods of production.
25. I have to buy lots of watches so I can work out which one I would have if I could only have one.
26. Yes, but it went to the moon. And it came back. And it worked. Which makes it ideal for going down the pub.
27. Cheap watches are a false economy. A £20 watch might only last two years, so over the course of a lifetime you might be spending £600 on watches. Whereas my Rolex...
28. But my watch can be passed on to future generations, who given most people's inclinations, are unlikely to want an old-fashioned watch that doesn't work anymore...
29. But my descendants might pass it on to someone who appreciates fine, durable craftsmanship. So your £600 is wasted, whereas my £3,000 might just provide some future enthusiast for old broken things with a hopeless restoration project.
30. Of course accuracy matters. Not even twenty seconds a year is good enough. Take the watch you got for Christmas. A year from now, do you want to start singing Auld Lang Syne twenty seconds early? You'd look a fool. Five seconds, and you might get away with it. And what about timing your re-entry to Earth after a voyage to far-flung galaxies? You should think about these things...
31. It's an investment. I got a 20% discount, so I've already made a little bit of money. When it's out of production the value will rise. You can't make money on popular watches because they will always be plentiful. So I make sure I buy unpopular watches. This watch isn't very popular, which is why I got a discount. So I've got it covered from every angle - low purchase price, limited future availability - and all because nobody wants them. Canny, eh?
32. I bought it because it looks like something else.
33. I bought it because it was in a film. It was an action film, and the passage of time was important to the plot. The main characters needed to know the time, so they had watches. In one scene you can see this watch. The character was just an ordinary person so he wore an ordinary watch. Exactly like this one.
34. I bought it because it was too big for me. It's so heavy that sometimes it slips right round. No, of course I wouldn't do the same with hats.
35. Everything is black. Except the hands, the hands are light-black. Nothing to reveal my position to a sniper. If necessary, I could be flown straight from the golf-course to covert operations behind enemy lines without having to change my watch. You have to be ready.
36. I didn't have a good camera until I joined a watch forum. Now I have a camera with an IQ of 150, a tripod and a light tent. Sometimes I take photographs of packaging. Sometimes, instead of looking at my watches, I look at photos of my watches.
37. When I had one watch, I didn't have to think about watches. Now I have lots of watches, I have to think about them all the time. Is there a watch I should buy? Is there a watch I should sell? Which one should I wear today? Which one is 'the one'? Which ones are 'the others'? People with one watch have a watch. People with lots of watches don't have one.
38. When I go away for more than a week I take two watches. The second watch is to stop me running into a watch shop after wearing the first one for a week.
39. I can recognise the shape of a watch parcel in a postman's hand through the frosted glass of my front door.
40. I bought it because it was perfect. I wore it because it was great. I kept it because it was good. I sold it because I bought one that was perfect.
41. It's not my kind of watch, but I have an interview coming up. If successful, I will wear a watch I don't really like for eight hours a day. Impressions count, and I want to look like someone who has delusions of grandeur.
42. The sales assistant is wearing white gloves. The junior sales assistant made me a cup of tea. I put on my best watch to come in here. I've gone past the point of no return, but I think I'll drag it out for a bit longer...
43. The senior sales assistant (gloves) passes it to the junior sales assistant (no gloves) and vanishes. The junior sales assistant passes it to a previously unnoticed twelve-year-old (no forehead) who takes it out the back for re-sizing. Oh bloody hell. Hammering.
44. It's a keeper. I'll also keep the little carrier-bag with thick cord handles, the swing-tag, the sticky bit of plastic, the square of thin foam and the mysterious little piece of yellow paper with the letter 'N' on it. You never know.
45. I don't know where my watch was made. I thought it was made in Switzerland, but now I'm not so sure. Some of it was made in Switzerland, but maybe not all of it. Or maybe it was all made in Switzerland, but put together somewhere else. It's a fabulous watch in every way, but I won't know if it's a great watch until I know where it was made.
46. I bought a vintage watch from a reputable specialist. He said it was one of the finest original examples he had seen. 'Scrimshaw', on the internet, said the dial had been repainted. 'Grudge' said the dial was fine, but the hands were wrong. 'Speckled Hen' said the dial and hands were fine, and he'd told 'Grudge' about the hands before. The crown was definitely wrong though. I went back to the dealer who just pointed to some old catalogues, auction records, scholarly articles and museum pictures. I'm thinking of suing him.
47. I bought a watch from a High Street jewellers. I just saw it in the window and liked it. It didn't cost very much, but it's great. I've never seen it mentioned on a watch forum. I'm not sure if I should have bought it.
48. I used to have expensive watches. I bought one or two a year, and they gave me a lot of pleasure. Then it dawned on me that I was crazy to have spent £50,000 on watches. I sold them. Now I buy a G-Shock every week, and all that madness is behind me.
49. For twenty years they have come and gone. I've had some ridiculous watches, but now everything is OK. I have a few that I don't wear very often, but I wouldn't want to be without them. I've finally come to the point where my watch collection makes sense. One more and I'm done.
50. I was on holiday. No internet. My wife isn't particularly interested in talking about watches. I wrote down fifty things about watches.
God bless you all, watch lunatics everywhere. I don't know where I'd be without you...