The first watch I can remember ever getting was a Swatch Watch. Maybe I just liked it for it’s rhyming name, but back in the 80’s, well before the word “totally” became “totes,” I totally like adored the funky Swatch Watches, with their crazy, colorful designs. I couldn’t wear my Swatch Watch without a plastic protector, as I was constantly scratching its plastic face.

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Throughout college I wore my Swatch Watches. At one point in time I believe I had nearly ten designs, all of which I would coordinate with whatever clothes I was wearing at the time.

Once I graduated from college, I believe my first “real” watch was a metal banded Timex. as I my watches were always taking a beating and they never kept on ticking. That was of course until I bought a Timex.

I next gravitated to a Movado Sport watch. The Movado watch was prefect for me because I could wear this both for work as well as I could wear this for playing sports, hence the name. This is a great watch, but unfortunately I haven’t worn it in about ten years.

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Then in late 2003, after receiving a nice bonus from my banking-related job, I ventured into the world of Rolex. I was walking around New York City feeling pretty good and confident about the economy. I thought to myself that I deserved a fine watch. No, I deserved a timepiece.

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Even saying the word timepiece today still makes me scratch my head. Isn’t it just a watch? However, when I walked into Tourneau, I was introduced to the world of timepieces, which is a fancy way of saying “expensive watch.” But to really understand what makes a timepiece, once really has to understand more about the history and craftsmanship of a classic timepiece. Sure, I knew of the Rolex name, but didn’t really understood the deep, rich history that was involved with making these fine timepieces.

In 2007, a close friend then introduced me to Officine Panerai, which is an Italian watch company that was born in Florence, Italy in 1860. They have a rich Italian history which was heavily involved in making instrumentation for the Italian Navy, which is reflective in many of their timepieces being deeply rooted to the sea.

However, it wasn’t until 1993 that Panerai released a very limited collection of timepieces to the public. I found this fact incredibly astounding. As I further delved into the Panerai story, I quickly fell in love with their timepieces and I bought my first Panerai in 2008. Oddly enough, the company I worked for had recently shuttered my office during the economic meltdown and I was in-between jobs.

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Even though at the time I was unemployed, I rewarded myself for my years of hard work with a Panerai timepiece. Looking back, I think this was a bit silly, but then in 2011, I bought my second Panerai. I’ve tried to buy a third, but have yet to do so.

I can honestly say, I’m not sure if I will ever buy another watch again, unless it is perhaps the Apple iWatch, but I still have a difficult time calling my Panerai a timepiece. In fact, I am sometimes embarrassed when I wear my watch, simply because I know how much it cost, yet each time I look at my watch I smile. My watches remind me of the difficult times in life and how I have rebounded over the years, despite economic downturns or my own maladies.

I hope one day to pass down my watches to my boys, but before I do I will certainly give them a great history lesson. Not the history lesson of the watch manufacturer, but my history lesson of what I had to overcome in order to purchase these watches. Then before I hand over the watches to my boys, I will look at the watch face, smile and say farewell to my friends.