I was not raised Catholic, and I’m not one today. You wouldn’t know that, however, from the guilt that I carry. There are things that I’ve done that simply can’t be undone, and there are watches I’ve worn that surely can’t be unworn. There are also some pitiful habits I have that make me feel like less than a devoted watch guy. Today, in this article, it’s time to come clean, and confess my dirty little horological secrets. Forgive me, Fratelli, for I (feel like I) have sinned.

Was that opening paragraph slightly melodramatic? Of course, it was, but it’s midnight, and I’ve got to start this somehow. Nevertheless, this idea has been brewing for weeks, while the seed of guilt that inspired it has been growing for years. As self-proclaimed watch collectors or enthusiasts, we sometimes think that we must live up to higher horological ideals. “Life’s too short to wear less than my best.” “I must be the brightest beacon of horology in all the land!” These are sentiments that I and perhaps many others have felt. But what happens when we don’t live up to our self-imposed standards? That’s what, hopefully, we will find out today.

My watch box by Epiphany

Dirty little secret  #1 — Dominated by quartz

At the end of 2021, most of the Fratello editors submitted info for their personal year-in-review. Sinara, our Social Media Manager, then shared their answers with the Fratelli in posts on our Instagram account. They included the following info, specific to each team member, of course — Top 5 Watch Brands Of 2021, Top 5 Watch Models, Latest Watch Acquisition, Favorite Watch Type, and Most Worn Watch Of The Year. I won’t lie, the prospect of selecting my Top 5 Watch Models initially had me scratching my head. But had I done a bit of digging, I could have probably come through. No, that wasn’t what stopped me from submitting my info. Rather, it was admitting my Most Worn Watch Of The Year. As an amateur watch enthusiast turned “industry pro”, I felt guilty that my wrist was dominated by my grab-and-go quartz beater.

Coming clean

My most worn watch of 2021 was my Vapaus Vorcut meca-quartz chronograph. Purchased for a small sum of £315 shipped, it’s the least expensive piece in my eight-watch collection. Now, don’t misunderstand; this is not my “Guilty-Pleasure Watch“. I feel no shame in the fact that I love its aesthetic. The orange fumé dial is intensely intriguing, and the 38mm case wears like a dream. The meca-quartz movement has never once let me down, and it’s been a perfect grab-and-go choice that fits my lifestyle well. The thing that I feel the most guilty about is that it took up as much wrist time as it did. I don’t have concrete data, but if I had to guess, I’d say I wore this watch close to 200 days last year. And the reason why is even more embarrassing — I was too busy, lazy, or worried to wear my other watches.

Last year, when I was somehow always rushing out the door, I often hadn’t had time to get a “good watch” ready. I’m not trying to blame my children, but as parents of three- and six-year-old siblings will tell you, wrangling the kids off to school or activities isn’t always a quick task. Could I have gotten up earlier and prepared my watch for the day? Yes. Did I ever learn how to do that consistently? No.

I also ride my bicycle almost everywhere, and bumps in the road are a very real thing. I wore my Zenith Striking 10th on a bike ride two years ago, and the day after, the watch was running nearly 30 seconds fast. Over time, the deviation has corrected itself naturally, but that experience put the fear of “watch God” in me. My quartz Vapaus Vorcut never skips a beat. I just wish it wasn’t so good at being reliable…

Stowa Flieger Blue. Spending more time in a tree than it does on my wrist?

Dirty little secret #2 — I’m naked too often

No, I don’t mean I’m bare-bodied and bold. Heck, I’m too self-conscious to take my shirt off at the beach… Rather, I mean I’m bare-wristed and bashful that I almost never wear a watch while at home. It’s true; despite over 15 years in this hobby which I am now lucky enough to call my profession, I’ve never really felt comfortable wearing a watch in my house. Like all of the dirty little secrets I’m revealing today, this is more of a bad habit than anything else. Nevertheless, it’s one I’ve not managed to break, and especially recently, it’s got me feeling guilty as hell.

Current view from my desk

Changing circumstances

The fact is I spend the majority of my days slumming around in my pajamas and working from home. And my watches, as much as I truly do love them, have always been the last thing I throw on when I walk out the door. On the days last year when I didn’t hurriedly grab my Vapaus, I might not have even left the house at all. When I worked as an after-school English teacher full time, my job forced me to actually get dressed every day. I took pride in wearing my watches to work, and sometimes, I’d even talk with my students about them. My wrist game was, no doubt, much stronger back then. Well, at least from 3:00-9:30 PM.

But here’s another thing — even back then, I always took my watch off as soon as I got home. The nightly pocket dump extended to my wrist, and my watch of the day just sat there at night with my wallet. I know some guys who never take their watch off. They work with it, shower with it, sleep with it, the works. But for some reason, I’ve never been that type of guy, and these days, too many of my watches suffer neglect.

Dirty little secret #3 — When right is wrong

The final secret is perhaps the most shocking of all, especially for someone now in his mid-30s. And while I hope you won’t crucify me for such a transgression, I can’t say I would blame you if saw it befitting. When I do actually manage to get dressed and leave the house, I wear my watch on my right wrist. But here’s the kicker — I’m not even left-handed!

A Timex very similar to my first watch — Courtesy of Watch Charts

How dare I?!

Yes, I’m a righty, and a right-wristed watch wearer. I always have been, and I probably always will be. Again, this secret is more of a habit, dating back to the very first watch I got when I was eight years old. I got a Timex Ironman with an Indiglo backlight from my mom and dad for Christmas in 1996. Unfortunately, I no longer have the watch, and I’m not sure there are even pictures of me wearing it. But wear it I did, and boy, how I loved it! It had green accents and a black Velcro strap, and it was as important to me as Nacho’s F-91W was to him. But even though my parents told me, “Wear that watch on your left wrist,” doing so never felt comfortable at all. Maybe it’s because I’m quasi-ambidextrous, and I’m a “lefty” for a weird smattering of random things.

Guilty

Wearing a watch on my right wrist always felt better, even if I couldn’t check the time quickly while writing (that’s what classroom wall clocks are for, right?). A watch on my left wrist never felt good, and I’d have rather not worn one than wear one “correctly”. Twenty-five years later, I’m still guilty as charged. My right-wristed watch-wearing combined with my long “hippie” hair has sent more than one Facebook keyboard warrior over the edge. You’d think, especially as someone with such a passion for horology, that I’d at least bring myself to wear my watch “properly”. In recent years, I have tried to make the switch a few times. Unfortunately, the discomfort wasn’t worth the reward.

All is “right” with the world

A plan for change

So, there we have it — my dirty little horological secrets. They haunt me, guilt-trip me, and make me feel unworthy. But I’m not just going to sit here and whine, oh no. This year, my friends, I’m taking action to change.

Gray watch, gray sweatpants. As the cool kids say, “YOLO.”

In order to break out of my quartz-beater rut, I’ve put a moratorium on wearing my Vapaus for now. Even though I still suck at preparing my watch in the morning, I’ve vowed to grab a nicer watch even if it’s not running. I’ll throw it in my pocket for a bike ride if need be and set it once I get safely to my destination. Wearing that good watch for the rest of the day will certainly be better than not wearing it at all. And even on days when I don’t leave the house, I want to force myself to wear my watches at home. Whether that means I’ll either actually have to get dressed or rock my Vulcain Cricket with sweatpants, so be it. My watch collection is too personal to be neglected. Watches are meant for wearing, not for sitting in a box!

Next up for a week on the wrist…

But with regards to my wrong, right-wristed watch wearing… well, I’m afraid we might be waiting a while. Does it make me feel like a bit of a weirdo? Yes. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a weirdo at heart!

Do let me know what you think, both of my confession and of my plan to address the two more-pressing issues. Can you relate to my dirty little secrets at all? Or am I more of a weirdo than I give myself credit for? And if you have any watch-related confession you’d like to get off your chest, feel free to let us know in the comments below.