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The Only Watch I Would Ever Need

by Johnathan Chan 16 Jun 2022

Like every superhero/villain has an origin story, us watch nerds all have one that kickstarted this whole ridiculous obsession.

If you had told me 5 years ago watches would become my passion, I would have thought you were joking and asked to have a dose of what you were having. They were just pieces of metal that told the time, often less accurately than my phone and the thought of spending the amounts that some cost just baffled me.

One Saturday afternoon, just like any other one, a good friend and I were partaking in our favourite pastime, some casual day drinking and just shooting the breeze.

He had always been into watches growing up, the topic on watches came up and I asked myself why I didn't have at least 1 nice watch. I had been working for 10 years after graduating school and never once did it cross my mind. I found myself thinking, "Yes, why shouldn't I reward myself with something to celebrate my 10 years?"

The question next was well, which one to get?

The first answer common to these stories is almost always a Rolex but I didn't want to get a Rolex; I actually never liked the look of their watches growing up and I didn't want to get something just so I could wear a watch that had the same look as everyone else's; they were everywhere in the city of Hong Kong. I wanted something different and something versatile, as I was only ever going to get one watch, I wouldn't need more than that surely.

I remember when I was younger, walking by the Jaeger-LeCoultre store and feeling like their watches were what I would want if I ever were to buy one. I have always been attracted to the more simple and classic aesthetics and this brand seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

So my watch buddy suggested I consider the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Geographic with Sector Dial, which was being produced for a limited 1 year period. I looked up the pictures online and thought it was something I could see myself wearing and before I knew it, we were in the boutique, handling the piece in person.

I loved the look of it, with the different textured silver sector dial paired with the blue hands, grained lighter centre portion and black markings, timeless and elegant. I loved the complication, me having a propensity to travel and friends across the world, it was easy to adjust the timezone, which had an oddly soothing click sound and sensation every time I operated it. I loved being able to see the mechanical movement through the sapphire case back, although admittedly, I had no idea what did what. Most importantly, I loved how the price tag fit my budget.

I would have been lying if I told you I knew the history of the brand, the exact specifications of the dimensions, how the mechanism worked. All of that came after, like finding out Jaeger-LeCoultre was considered to be the watchmaker of watchmakers, providing countless calibres to other high end brands over the years, like the one in this watch, the JLC calibre 939B/1 which often appeared, albeit slightly modified, in watches costing multiples of the price. I just knew that I enjoyed having it on my wrist and did not want to walk out of that store without it in my possession.

So I made sure that I didn't and bought it on the spot.

Since that day a lot has changed, but one thing that hasn't is my appreciation for this watch. This one to me, marks the beginning of the journey. It marks my 10 years of toiling away, trying to make something of my career. It marks the chilled Saturday afternoon I had with my close friend, hanging out, having a good time.

I've worn it to work, to travel, to weddings, to almost every occasion one can think of and it has always served me well, never out of place.

Did I stick to the promise that I'd only get 1 watch?

I'll let you take one guess.
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