Which Watch for Rehab?


In case you’re wondering why TTAW went dark for a month or so, now you know. Your humble horologist was in rehab. No, not for watch addiction. Although, sure, my horological obsession is a manifestation of a defective mindset. Anyway, as I packed my bag for a four-week treatment program, I faced a dilemma: which watch for rehab?

Let’s face it: addicts are not the world’s most trustworthy people. While I was happy [enough] to sacrifice my freedom for recovery, I didn’t want to lose a Rolex, Grand Seiko, Omega, Tudor, NOMOS, Montblanc, Blancpain, Yema, IWC or Dufrane in my pursuit of sobriety. By the same token, my rehab watch couldn’t be too “flash” – in a “you really should check your ego at the door” kinda way.

So I restricted myself to my selection of affordable wristwear. The top pic shows my horological choices on that fateful afternoon: Torgoen, Citizen, Seiko (Solar), Seiko (5), Seiko (chronograph), Braun, Armour Lite or Casio.

Torgoen T-10, Citizen Promaster Tough, Seiko Solar

I decided to go with a minimalist watch, reflecting my desire to pare myself down to the basics. That narrowed my choices to the Torgoen T-10 Turnstone, Seiko SUP873P1 and Citizen ProMaster Tough BN0217-02E . (No commission on links.) I chose the Citizen.

I figured it was tough enough for exercise class and the ropes course, and durable enough to survive a watch’s worst nightmare (a hot shower). Powered by any available light source, the Eco-Drive WR200 eliminated the threat of a drained battery.

[NOTE: I abhor date windows, but the Citizen’s miniscule aperture was most welcome. You’d be amazed how easy it is to lose track of the date when you don’t have a smart phone or TV to mark the passage of time.]

It was the wrong choice. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated the Citizen’s accuracy – if you’re not on time for a rehab class you get a ticket, and tickets don’t mean prizes. As my sleeping patterns remained erratic, I made good use of the watch’s superb lume. Equipped with an upgraded rubber strap, the Japanese time-teller was comfortable 24 – 7. But it was . . . cheap.

Well, the $235 Citizen ProMaster Tough IS cheap (as in inexpensive). But there came a time in rehab when I needed to see something, anything, with elevated aesthetics. Some physical object that assured me that people can do more than just survive. They can aspire. They can create. They can achieve.

If I have to do it again – and I’m doing my best to make sure I don’t – I’ll wear my Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39. That’s the quintessential watch in my collection – a timepiece that combines masterful minimalism with endless elegance and unimpeachable quality.

Progress, not perfection. That’s the rehab mantra. I’ve taken it on board, I swear. But there is such a thing as perfection. It’s not me. My Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39. This perfectly realized timepieces doesn’t feed my ego. It’s a testament to man’s ability to design and manufacture devices that transcend basic animal needs. The OP39 inspires me to be the best me I can be. For that, I am, and remain, grateful.


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