It seems to me that the reason Ben Clymer ascended to the top of the watch media food chain (or more significantly, the online media food chain in general?) has to do with his ability to put things into perspective. Ben’s got a nose for watches and obviously lots of other very cool things, but the thing i’ve admired most about him is his deft skill at describing subtle things in powerful and insightful ways. You’ll catch these interesting little takes in everyday writings on Hodinkee, and in all sorts of other places like this Mr Porter Aficionado piece. At the minute twenty six mark Ben talks about the significance around his Universal Geneve Tri-Compax and the larger importance the original owner’s grandfather had to horology. Clymer then goes on to connect those things back to his own grandfather, to watches and the larger meaning all of those things have to him. Those are the moments and circles of thought which impress me most about Ben and Hodinkee. I like watches a lot, but obviously not on the same level as him. But I like the way in which Ben talks about watches and what makes them important and interesting.
I think that it is perfectly fine to just own things simply because you just like them. It’s also fine to own nice things that you know nothing about. And it occurs to me that nothing must be better than being at a cocktail party or dinner and blowing someone away with hyper in-depth knowledge of your specific timepiece when someone makes a small remark about liking your watch as Ben must be able to do. “Did you want to talk about the weather or were you just making chitchat?”
Clymer’s combination of good taste, sense of significance and attention to detail should make us all think a bit more about what we own and why we own it. Or maybe even what we aspire to own – a 356 and a Paul Newman Daytona doesn’t seem like a bad way to start that list.