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Random Watches

Truth, beauty and quartz

A recent podcast (Scottish Watches, with Adam Craniotes) there was a nice side discussion of the nature of men’s watches. “Metal Barbie dolls,” to paraphrase, and it did inspire a thought or two.

This is the watch on my wrist now – Seiko SBGX117, a Grand Seiko quartz diver made between 2014 and 2017. 42mm, steel, titanium hands, thermocompensated quartz movement accurate to ten seconds per year. List price was about 4k USD new, I got it used in a trade for about about 2500.

Seiko SBGX117
Seiko SBGX117

If you’re curious, Ariel wrote a nice review here on ABtW.

I’ve also been enjoying this Scurfa recently too:

Scurfa Diver One DI-500

And of course my even-more-accurate 9F GMT:

Seiko SBGN001

For men in the western culture milieu, the only socially acceptable forms of jewelry are the watch and wedding band. There are few exceptions, of course; I’m speaking in generalities here for cishet.

And we’re not allowed to ever, ever call them ‘pretty.’ It has to be masculine, engineering-focused, etc. All gendered language. Yet all the while, we’re always looking for beauty, even if we call it proportion, ratio, finishing and craftwork.

We are, however, allowed to Seek Truth, and for that quartz is king. There’s a wonderful well of difficult problems, interesting physics and obsessive engineering required to make a really accurate timekeeper, and these Seiko 9F movements are among the finest ever made. For that matter, I have a lot of meetings these days, often over video with remote participants, so it is super useful to know the precise time.

9F movement, picture Seiko

So watches are how we thread the needle of societal expectations. We can enjoy manly bonding over our shiny jewelry while still performing masculinity. And hey, it really does come in handy to know what time it is with a watch that can get wet, handle rough treatment, lasts a decade or more and doesn’t require charging every day or two and setting every week.

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Politics Uncategorized

The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic

Another pertinent factor is envy, a basic human emotion that rising social inequality can only exacerbate. To put it in cruder terms: “The world sucks for me, so I am going to make it suck for you too. I have lost my job, my status as a white male, and may even lose my gun. So you, my smug, privileged friend, are going to lose your civil liberties, your faith in social progress, your endangered species, your affirmative action, your reproductive freedom, your international alliances, your ‘wonderful’ exchange student from Syria.”

A stellar and thought-provoking essay.

via The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic

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Politics Uncategorized

The Remaking of Class | The New Republicp

It suggests that there have always been many Americans for whom class is no mystery at all, but a very practical project of self-advancement and self-defense.

via The Remaking of Class | The New Republic

Well worth your time to read.