In watchmaking, we do judge the book by it’s cover. Yes, the aesthetic is vital but that only completes one half of the picture. Collectors and aficionados alike, we are obsessed with the micro-engineered movements, when it comes to watches. The beveled edges, the perlage, finished bridges, components with black polishing and blued screws, we love taking macro-shots and view the movement to a microscopic detail. Such are the joys of the ‘haute horlogerie’ experience. In retrospect, we ourselves are a progeny of our patriarch’s smallest cell. We for one, cannot find a more befitting gift, that stems from our passion, to honour our dads with this Father’s Day, than a watch.
Not that we doubt your intentions in giving him the best, but there are a few practical facts one needs to consider. In my case, my father is 75 years old. The gentleman sure is enjoying his years in retirement. But over the years, his eyesight has not been as sharp as it used to be. Hence, I always would want to base my choice on a watch for him, which has a clear and legible dial.
After all, what good is a watch if you can’t read the time? Sizeable hands make a difference, easing the readability. Leaf, dauphine (sword-shaped), alpha, due to their shape, are much more prominent than baton shaped hands. Why would one want to strain themselves to figure out what time it is? Roman or Arabic numerals, whether applied or printed, can bring about a better perspective in reading the time, though not essential. While choosing a watch with complications, just make sure that the dial is uncluttered. To give a reference point. We love perpetual calendars, and I would want him to have one too. Often the sub-dials bearing the information of the date, day, month, and leap-years, are too minute and often a struggle to read for an elderly gentleman. Unless your father carries a monocle, I know mine does not. There are smarter options. Just like the H. Moser & Cie. perpetual calendar. Big-date, clear and clear dial, small hand to keep track of months, with the leap-year indicator on the back. If I was to choose a perpetual calendar for my old man, I would choose the Moser over the coveted Patek Philippe’s perpetuals, which while comparing the dial’s legibility, are quite cluttered.
Another practical point one needs to consider, while keeping mechanical watches in mind, is making a choice between a hand-wound and a self-wound (automatic) movement. Considering an automatic movement, one needs to maintain an active lifestyle. It takes an average of 7-8 hours of active hand movement, to bring an automatic movement to full power-reserve. Personally, I would hate for someone to point out that the watch stops, mid-day, due to me being inactive. Just because I must sport a watch, doesn’t mean I need to forcibly strut around. Try explaining the same to your dad. I’m sure mine would curate a bouquet of words to my face, if I tried to tell him, politely, that he was a couch potato. But there is a way to work around it. The “Boomer” generation is quite welcome to the idea of winding their watches, after all; that’s what they grew up with. A manual, hand-winding watch would be an apt fit. But just in case you really like something that only offers you an automatic option, one can always wind-up the watch manually, to build up the power-reserve.
I’ve always felt there’s no better gift, than the one which is personalised. There are quite a few brands that do cater to requests but the one that really excites me, is what one can do with the iconic Reverso. One face shows the time, and as you gently swivel this rectangular case over, the back of the case can offer many possibilities. You can choose to have his initials engraved, or a ‘coat of arms’. If your pockets are deep, one can even get a miniature painting done on the back. I know I would love to have something like that.
So while you decide on how you would like to make it special for your dads, no matter what you choose for him, he knows that his “boy/girl” always makes the right choice.