Friday, 8 April 2016

A good home at last for a posh watch

Back in January 2009 I bought a TAG Heuer watch for myself, spending an outrageous £950. But at the time I genuinely wanted a good watch, I certainly had the money, and I urgently needed to boost my personal self-image after several very difficult months. It was intended to be a psychological pick-me-up - as much so as the Prada handbag purchased soon afterwards (which cost much the same). Here is the watch on my wrist in February 2009:

Gosh, I was so slim then! Not the fatty I am now. Here's another picture of the watch, taken in July 2009:

It was a stainless-steel watch, but it went very well with my silver jewellery.

These hyper-expensive indulgences - the watch and the handbag - worked brilliantly. My sense of self-worth recovered, and never faltered thereafter. And for a while both articles functioned as eye-catching fashion wearables that I wore as much as possible, and enjoyed doing so. It wasn't long, of course, before the Prada handbag had to be set aside and reserved for special occasions only, and a more practical Radley bag substituted for all the punishing everyday use bags get. But I kept the TAG Heuer watch on my wrist, because it looked so good. And after all, it was useful - it did tell me the time!

But when the battery eventually died, I was reluctant to pay £70-odd to get a new battery fitted. It was so much because the shop I bought it from (in the Brighton Lanes) insisted that it be sent away to Switzerland or Germany, so that having taken the back off the the thing, and inserted a new battery, it could then be factory-resealed to resist submersion in the sea down to 30 metres! I considered this to be an utter waste of time. I wasn't even going to wear it in the bath or shower. They could whistle for that £70. I refused to play that game. I donned a cheap but nevertheless good-looking Timex watch I'd bought from Argos for £11, and put the TAG Heuer away. Permanently.

Years passed. I was conscious that I had wasted good money on this watch, if I wasn't going to wear it. In 2015 I looked into the possibility of selling it on eBay. But the purchase documentation was flawed. It did not substantiate that I myself had bought it, and was the proper owner. In other words, I couldn't prove that I wasn't selling a stolen watch. A serious bidder might well require that proof.

And I knew full well that if I tried - as an alternative - to sell a watch like this for cash to the kind of jeweller who would ask no questions, I would get very little. Indeed, I'd be very fortunate to get as much as £50. This meant taking a £900 loss. It was an insult to the watch.

That still left gifting it away to a female friend, preferably someone close to me. I wondered whether Emma, who was at one time my step-daughter's school friend, would like it. We no longer of course had a parent-child relationship. She was a long-married woman with grown-up kids. We now met up several times a year as two adults, for a nice grown-up day out. A forty-something lady and a sixty-something lady, with eighteen years in between; but for all that possessing a shared outlook, and shared memories going back to 1984 or so. So when we met up just before last Christmas, I sounded her out. She said yes. And so I duly gave her the watch (together with its elaborate packaging and flawed purchase documentation) when we met up the other day.

She was delighted with it. And it did look good in her hands.

She put it on. It fitted her wrist perfectly. That clinched it. I said I was so pleased it could be worn at once without any modification to the bracelet. I cautioned her against getting a new battery from a posh jeweller - they would only follow the official routine of sending it away, at vast expense to her. She should go to some ordinary shop - a branch of Timpson's perhaps - and get the new battery fitted without worrying about that daft waterproof seal.

So there it is. One watch gets a new home. I hope it and its new owner will be very happy with each other!

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