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Gifts special: Watches

The meaning of wristwatches

By Michael Bywater   December 2011

Hublot and Blancpain, Audemars Piguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai: names that men murmur lovingly in their sleep.

Many men yearn for a beautiful watch, and covertly check each other’s wrists. A murmured “Nice watch” is the equivalent of a dog’s bottom-sniff, a sign of the desire to be friends. To admire a man’s watch is to admire his essence, not because it tells a story to others, but to the wearer himself.

I, for example, wear an old steel IWC Mk XII pilot watch. But I wear it not to pretend to you that I’m a pilot, but as shorthand…

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