Time. I need more time.
Time. I need more time.
GIRLFRIEND? you? YOU? girlfriend?
It’s even Facebook official.
Who /is/ Lucie?
A gorgeous girl. The most gorgeous of all. She has compassion and kindness in droves — empathy and a sensitivity to the pain of others’, especially mine, and she’s incredible in the way she sparks up any room, every place she goes. Warmth upon warmth, light upon light. I know her from her skin freckled with a thousand troubles, but that makes me love her more and more every day. Her tears taste salt like everybody else, but I’ve never been happier than when I get to kiss them as they streak down.
Long story short, she’s my girlfriend (!!) and the girl I want to be with.
Just realized today’s Thanksgiving in the you-ess-ay. I’m thankful for a million things. A great job; the girl in bed next to me, who has me hold her tight until she falls asleep; the good health to do whatever I wish; happiness; life itself.
Lucie’s mother wrote a bizarre yet sweet email to me, I have no idea how to respond.
To think that there are people who go through their days without someone to run a bath for, or fry an egg for, or tell a story to. To think that there are some without a hand to hold or hips to press against or lips to kiss, is just tragic, and I want you to know that I am grateful, so fucking grateful for every exasperating, intoxicating, impossible moment I spend with you, as elusive as they are essential, to who I am and who I want to be, both with you and without you, for you and for myself.
this speaks to me.
Your body is a temple:
a mosque where you sing to all from every one of your minarets
a church where parking is hard to find on Sundays
a shrine with rose water doused over the offerings
a fire altar where I burn for you.
Wrote a masturbatory post about watches and I only lost one follower. Score!
Hello there. I’m the author Paul Hellion, of this very same blog of sex and wistfulness. You may know me from a million different possible things. Perhaps it was a Tumblr reblog. Perhaps we met each other in high school. (That’s highly unlikely; I went to a high school with a population of 60.)
Although I am primarily an author — and a news journalist, and a radio presenter, and a print designer, and a clothes maker, and a minor scholar on freedom of expression and the state of emerging politics in the context of Islamic modernism, democracy and Southeast Asia — I am also a man who enjoys matching his clothes.
That’s right! I am frequently known to wear belts of the same color as my shoes.
And, on the topic of matching clothes: why, I have a very special passion for watches — which I will now add, as an interrupting preface that is neither pre nor face — that I find frequently makes my conversational partners roll their eyes in annoyance. I am very, very sorry about that. This obnoxious passion and my inability to stay silent about it is entirely my fault, but I really must sit you down with a lecture about mechanical dress watches.
When I was a younger man I never used to wear watches. I was seven when my father (an avid watch man who, having lots of money and little to no taste, bought gaudy Rolexes and Tag Heuers — a discussion for a later time) gifted me a Casio G-Shock.
I hated it, frankly. It was an ugly lump of grey plastic that somewhat reminded me of a slab of molten brick, but with buttons on the side that allow you to set an alarm and/or light the screen up with a pale veneer of blue. I never wore a watch again.
Somehow or another, fast forward some sixteen years later to September 2013, I found myself looking at watches on Amazon and eBay, and six rather hasty orders later, I can consider myself a little bit of a collector. I own watches for nearly every occasion: an Invicta 8928OB on a “James Bond” NATO strap resembling the Rolex Submariner worn by Sean Connery in Dr No that I wear on a daily basis, a Soviet-era Vostok Amfibia once owned by a naval officer who probably died for me to be able to wear it on a gorgeous original Vostok brown leather strap, a 1960s HMT Military watch that winds and still outperforms many brand new watches, a couple of Casios in both digital and analogue, and a black PVD coated no-logo watch that is exactly like my Invicta 8908OB except it’s in black.
But you know what I don’t have? A decent dress watch.
Shit, I used to wear watches with steel bracelets with dress shirts and suits. What a goddamn abomination. I’ve become cultured now! You don’t wear thick pieces (and steel makes everything thick) with long sleeves, silly! You don’t wear them with canvas NATOs either — Jesus, you barbarian, wear your canvas straps with a sporty watch and your sleeves rolled up. These dress watches are meant to look good on leather.
Now, if you’re a multimillionaire, there’s nothing stopping you from buying this Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moonphase. Hell, if I were a multimillionaire I’d buy eight of those, one for every day of the week and one to keep framed up in my yacht recreation room. But truly today is the day I am going to be at my most honest and revealing with you: I am not a multimillionaire, and face it, neither are you.
Hence we must narrow our look to more, ahem, wallet-friendly timepieces.
I’m going to let photos speak their thousands of words now.
1) The Hamilton Intra-Matic
Hamilton may now be owned by the all-consuming conglomerate called the Swatch Group, but it strives hard to prove its All American style. Harking back to the 1950s with a piece you would swear is a vintage watch in absolutely pristine condition is the Hamilton Intra-Matic.
Oh boy, look at you. You’re even available in gold! Although, take it from me: the Hamilton Intra-Matic is not a watch you want to buy in gold. You want that silver dial to be complemented by a silver case, especially when the bezel’s that thin and sleek. It looks like a Hamilton timepiece right from the 1950s when it was living the American dream, fighting off Geneva’s pretensions of world domination in the post-World War II watch economy. This is about as American as a watch could get, right down to the model name. (The predecessor to the Intra-Matic was the Hamilton Thin-O-Matic, an Americanism so strong it might as well have been named the Hamilton FREEDOM.)
If you are ever elected to Congress on a platform of looking good, match that lapel pin on your suit with a Hamilton Intra-Matic. Allow Republican billionaires with Patek Philippes on their wrists to nod approvingly while they hire consultants on your behalf, scheduling fundraiser gala nights for you. This baby will set you back a mere $800 or so, a real deal given the fine Swiss-made ETA2892-2 movement inside frequently found powering much pricier watches than this. Amazon has the Intra-Matic on offer at $608 right now. You have no idea how much I’m biting my lip right now.
2) The Orient Bambino (2012)
Reader, meet the Orient Bambino. Orient Bambino, Reader.
I will start my little promo for the Bambino with one very easy-to-digest sentence here: this is the greatest fucking bargain known to man, buy it now before I buy out all the stock left in the world.
Respected Japanese watchmaker Orient occasionally gets sneered at by snobs for its cheap fare, with prices that compete against the pricier Casios or the lower-end Seikos. Yet, at the same time, Orient builds true greats: the Orient Mako, for example, is a diver’s watch that stands up there with the best. The Orient Bambino, though, is in a whole class of its own.
Clearly inspired by vintage dress watches, especially mid-1960s Omega Seamasters, the Orient Bambino is such a victory of aesthetics and practicality that should be incorporated into PowerPoint presentations throughout the world about function-design unity. In fact, I’m surprised you’re actually still reading this rather than reaching for your wallet, your car keys, and a Google Maps link to your closest Orient authorized dealer.
The varieties available to the Bambino (white dial with stainless steel case, white dial with gold case, white dial with rose gold case; black dial with stainless steel case, black dial with rose gold case; all models match dial markers with cases) leave me unable which one I want the most. The most beautiful one, to me, is the black dial on rose gold case — but the best one for regular use is probably the white dial on gold.
Now, a few paragraphs above I said this was the greatest eff-word bargain known to man, and you’re probably pulling your hair out in frustration wondering: why? Okay. Ready? It’s because the Orient Bambino costs $180. Less than two hundred goddamn dollars.
Sixty years from now the Bambino will be as ubiquitous at vintage markets as dressy Omega Seamaster pieces from the 1950s are today, and if you don’t buy one now you’ll wish you had, while geriatric Paul Hellion hacks a laugh or two in your direction, a gleaming new old stock Orient Bambino (black, stainless steel) on his left wrist.
3) The Orient Bambino (2013)
What was that? I just spent more words on the Bambino than I normally do describing joyous sexual intercourse, and now there’s more? Yes, there is! It’s because Orient has noticed that I still haven’t bought a Bambino yet and decided to refresh the whole line with two new models. Just because they’re jerks. Beautiful jerks.
Despite the Bambino being a perfectly timeless (ahem) design that could well be sold by the warehouse for the next few decades, Orient wants everybody to know that it is not the sort of company that rests on its lapels. It’s a company that means business. Gorgeous, gorgeous business.
The new (!) Orient Bambino just launched a few weeks back with a striking new design emphasized by its busier Roman dial markers. It’s a magnificent watch. Gold hands with raised gold markers dance over a backdrop of second and subsecond markers that look more at home in a National Geographic map of the world circa 1949 than on a man’s wrist. It’s beautiful.
The price is still that low, low sub-$200 price point with some dealers dropping it as low as $170 sans shipping. Please, if you are going to buy a new Orient Bambino, remember to leave one for me.
Oh, and here’s a look at the 2012 and the 2013 models side by side:
I can’t look away.
4) The Seiko “Dry” Cocktail Time
If you know anything about watches, you’ll know that Seiko is probably the single best watch company in the world today. Whether or not it’s the greatest or the most beautiful or the most prestigious is a debate not meant for this paragraph. Whether it’s the best or not isn’t even a debate: that’s a fact. Indisputable.
The Seiko “Dry” Cocktail Time is pretty much the first watch I’ve looked at that made me want to start selling off surplus goods (books, furniture, stationary) and essential items (food, clothes, kidneys) just so I could afford it.
Oh my god, that sunburst dial.
With the Japanese company’s Grand Seiko line it has a truly majestic premium line made by master watchmakers with an attention to detail that often overwhelms the master craftsmen that work for the likes of A. Lange & Sohne or Richard Mille. With its sportier Seiko 5s, it has a wealth of divers and field watches, as well as casual wear pieces.
With the “Dry” Cocktail Time, or the SARB065, Seiko has me seduced. That sunburst dial, the way light bounces off it! The domed crystal! That hint of color! It’s a JDM, or Japan Domestic Model, meaning officially it’s not available for markets outside Japan.
I can really say no more other than I hope you will be understanding when I start a collection plate and go from blog to blog around February when it’s my birthday, hoping to raise the $550 or so it costs to buy one of these.
5) The Tissot Visodate
For those who worship at the Swiss altar, Tissot is a brand known not so much its luxury status but rather for its reliability and solid, respectable appearance.
The Tissot Visodate is, like the Orient Bambino and the Hamilton Intra-Matic, a callback to ancient days when men were men who wore watches with gears and pivots in them. In those hallowed days, nobody wore any goddamn Pebbles. And a smartwatch was just a watch that could tell you what the day and date was without needing to manually adjust it more than twice a year.
I love how conservative it looks. The case shape is traditional yet has its own flair: I think it’s down to the way it plays with its own height, succeeding at capturing what is essentially a look perfected over the last five decades of watchmaking. The modern day Visodate looks just like the Tissot Seastars of the past. Old Seastars still fetch a pretty penny at auctions, as do this Tissot Visodate: at $450ish it’s affordable yet certainly premium.
Unlike the other pieces promoted here, you’ll notice an additional flourish of the Visodate’s that none of the dress watches I blogged about have: a day-date complication, as opposed to merely a date. I love day-dates, and the Tissot Visodate speaks volumes in presenting a simple but eloquent design that recalls older Tissots without being entirely derivative.
Conclusion: Buy me them all, please.