Article By: Logan Hannen

“Earning” a watch is not winning an eBay auction or lucking out in a raffle of some kind. No, the kind of “earning” I’m referring to is a bit more personal, a bit more introspective than that. It’s that sense of deserving a specific watch. Feeling like you’ve put in all of the hard work, all of the energy you’ve got in you, and accomplished an achievement in school, work, or in your personal life. It’s when you’re comfortable rewarding yourself with something nice (in our example, a timepiece, though I think this could apply to anything from an expensive pair of shoes to a new car just as easily).

My personal Sistem51
Source: My mediocre camera skills

This reward doesn’t necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg. Last October I rewarded myself with a Swatch Sistem51. It’s obviously not a luxury watch, but it was one I’d been pining after for a while and I finally had some extra cash to spare, so I decided to go for it. I could have very easily gone for something more, but “more” wasn’t what I felt like I’d earned. I wear the crap out of the thing, as you can see below, and as such, I am reminded of my hard work every time I look at my wrist. I think, on a number of levels, that’s the kind of thing Rolly talked about on LIQUOR RUN when he unboxed his first Panerai.

Rolly’s Panerai PAM 380
Source: Anna Griffin

Contrast that with my now-former Steinhart GMT (mine was the Pepsi). We’ll spare ourselves the homage debate, because that watch was still my first Swiss automatic, my first watch on a non-crappy bracelet, and the first watch I ever picked up and went “Y’know, that feels like $500 worth of watch.” It was a major purchase for me…only I didn’t buy it. It was gifted to me. I had a specific budget to work with and got to pick a watch. The watch was the result of a lucky lottery ticket, and that’s about it. I didn’t work hard and save for months for it. I didn’t lust, day after day, in the hopes that I’d have my crap together and be able to pick one up. Opportunity just fell into my lap and, about 3 weeks later, it got dropped off by a really grouchy DHL driver. Maybe that last bit should have been a sign.

My (former) Steinhart Ocean GMT Pepsi
Source: My even MORE mediocre camera skills from a year ago

It’s still a fantastic piece, as long as the design doesn’t bug you at all. Still, it lacked the sense of connection that I feel someone should have with a watch, regardless of how he or she acquires it. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe you get just as much enjoyment out of something you’ve picked up after hitting the lottery as you do your very first automatic watch. If so, that’s awesome. If not, then it sounds like you’re with me, and at least we can all agree that we’ve got to wear what speaks to us. Otherwise, how will we ever remember to keep it classy?