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"I purchased the first ancient mariner from you all number of years ago…I have many watches…Uylsse Nardin, Rolex, on from there….but I'll tell you the quality and attention to detail, looks and workmanship in your watches…is so far above these others its almost laughable.  For the heck of it,  I took part in a kickstart of a new company LUXURY watch…I don’t think people understand what luxury means…its not PRICE its workmanship, its what makes the watch.. you all have nailed it.. from many years of work and detail….I enjoy and appreciate my watch more every year…"  R A

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Library:
Articles written by D. Freemont McCready

About Time Magazine
 Issue #2  |  Issue #3  |  Issue #4  |  Issue #5  |  Issue #6

Watch what happens…
Reprinted from About Time Magazine Issue #2


By D. Freemont McCready

In defense of quartz…take it from me, they command a great deal of respect. We are in the real world today where the exotics only live on the fringe of reality. More than just trying to keep up with time, quartz accuracy is beyond exotica. We tend to associate dollars with value. Take it from me there is a great deal of merit in quartz and true value in watches so equipped.

I personally grew up with a 17 jewel Bulova on my dad’s wrist and a half dozen Ingersols in my pocket. It wasn’t until the Christmas before entering high school that I entered the world of real watches. I opened the long box on Christmas Eve and there it was, a Clinton 26mm square, 17 jewel with a genuine Swiss movement. What I remember most was the care and feeding of the Clinton. I would wind the watch every night so that it would be ready for the next day, wipe the sweat from its back in the summer and lay it to sleep in the winter next to the heat vent. Dad and mother, survivors of the great depression, taught me to care for valued possessions… sometimes all good intentions have unintended consequences.

Today, I recommend to all my customers – “Don’t kill it with care”…Having had all of my Ingersols tinkered with most destroyed with care, I was cautioned to never take the back off the Clinton –“ the forbidden fruit curse”. I delayed my curiosity to open the Clinton until some future event that could over rule the curse and let me inside the Clinton. The Clinton woke up one morning with moisture fogging the crystal. Not a year had passed before the curse was to be declared null and void. Wow! look at that… sparkling tiny little blue screws, ruby red jewels and gleaming wheels so artfully polished and engraved…I was dazzled. Several moments went by before I could collect my thoughts about the reason for opening the Clinton. Oh yes, the moisture… I clumsily removed the moisture, but when I was putting the back on the Clinton, it lay dead in my hands.

I remember clearly the next day… the Clinton had to go to the watchmaker to pay absolution for my violating the curse. Dad told me that the penance for tampering with the Clinton was nearly eight dollars, a sum equal to the more than 25% of the purchase price of the watch. Now let’s move on to 2013 and you will begin to appreciate my defense of quartz. The cost of labor hasn’t really changed in proportion over the past fifty years and that’s precisely why I am defending quartz. Your new $2000 automatic will need service later or perhaps sooner if you have my level of curiosity and that 25% labor issue is now $500 not eight dollars.

You can see where I’m going with this point of view. In today’s world, even though I have produced thousands of mechanical automatic watches, I am beginning to equate more value to quartz. I see more and more notable brands investing in the quality of watch cases and bracelets to house the quartz movement. I don’t mean to say that quartz movements are not quality. It is only the perception and the uncertainly that the battery will go dead the day before the wedding. Most of the early maladies of the quartz are now history – the accuracy is far beyond any mechanical watch. The thermo compensated Swiss made quartz carries the COSC rating that is within one second per year.

Still there is magic in the mechanical… I have to admit that they are my favorites, but perhaps my time and your time are changed. I get a great sense of pride to disassemble a 2824, caring and calibrating it to keep up with time, and that is my reward. Perhaps the reader’s reward is that his quartz will take a licking and keep on “keeping on” without costing a cursing fortune.

The Healer

Hello Max, my watch is acting erratic
It’s running very fast, this old watch
Max studied the watch for a moment
“Age plays tricks near the end, we rush
It’s the twine of life”, says he
The spool spins faster near the end
Trying to fit all into the last of things

“Let the watch with me, we’ll see”
Max sensed the problem
He wound the spring
Like a cat chasing its tail it relaxed
Fighting for every second since the last
Max’s eyes did tear for the old watch
It recorded decades of the past

If only the watch could tell more
But it couldn’t even tell its own time
Now near the last it pushed the pulse
Wanting to spill out the record of its life
Desperate to reflect on its grandeur
Half suppressing its grief and anger
Wishing it could all last a little longer

Max put the watch to his ear, then to his eye
Looking closer to see deep inside
With care and compassion he cleaned away
The debris of the past and the magnetic
Influence of some evil spirits
Max wound the watch again
The pulse stopped its quivering

It began ticking and recording time again.
The watch responded to care just as we do
You seem to love this old watch, yes Max.
“Max, thank you, thank you
If only you could do this for men”
Max thought a moment and remarked
“Only God Can”

D. Freemont McCready © 2013

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Watch what happens…
Reprinted from About Time Magazine Issue #3

By D. Freemont McCready

Question? How many watches constitute a collection…? Let’s try six. I took notice that on my dresser there are six watches that tend to hang-out there. Consider that I have a four figure inventory of new and pre-owned watches; wouldn’t it be more likely that I’d have a larger assortment on my dresser? My personal watches include d.freemont – Santorini, d.freemont Airbatic, a Davosa Trenos, an old Brietling Shark, and a 1950’s Girard Perregaux. And, you couldn’t have guessed this one in a thousand years, an Armitron (quartz chrono-alarm).

Let’s stir this pot a little more… what about that Armitron – why? Sometime ago I hurriedly left the studio and mistakenly picked up the Armitron, thinking it was a d.freemont Acugraph, I put it on and had to live with it the entire day. You can imagine that d.freemont, who is devoted to mechanical watches, had to minimize this error and carefully hide the watch from prying eyes throughout the conference, a watch seminar. That Armitron lay on the dresser for about a month before I wore it again – that day was to have some rough events, so in an effort not to abuse my pet watches – the Armitron went to work with me; it’s like an old pair of boots, ready for anything but dancing.

So where am I going here… it’s human nature to protect your attitude and status. Snob appeal abounds the watch industry – I have a relative who has a “President” that hasn’t kept reliable time in years… he wears it to enforce his smack appeal. Then there is the old watch like my Breitling Shark, a watch I traded in on a new Davosa; it was in pitiful shape. I liked its honest work, semi-battered appearance; then taking one step at a time, I installed a new movement (ETA 2824) like the original, repaired the case tube and fitted a genuine lizard strap – WOW! A tasty watch to be sure. You see the reasons are reasonless, just like picking a mate; it seems like the Almighty is in charge of our peculiarities.

Let’s not dismiss any watch that works hard for you keeping up with time…watches have a deep amulet value, almost like a St. Christopher for the wrist. Therein is the meat of my plea – you will always need a small collection, perhaps to ward off a variety of lingering curses. I highly recommend that you confine your desires to watches you can afford to own and not willing to sacrifice when money gets tight. That philosophy points to pre-owned watches and modestly priced new watches… that price range is the merit of this magazine - $2400 and under. Consider the retail price of a new watch… $1500 for example. That watch may be discounted to about $1200 then within two to three years it will have a resale value of about 40% of the original selling price or about $500. Here is where your collecting will get its start. A good watch value for $500 that originally carried a SRP of $1500, that’s collectible.

My first suggestion however, is to choose a unique watch that you find fanciful, a watch that tells more than time, and perhaps something about you – a companion of quality and enduring classic style. This early leap into a good watch should embrace a classic rendition… stay away from fad watches. Remember that the Swiss standard ETA movements are difficult to eclipse at any price. They are reliable, easy to service and parts are always available from reputable watch repair persons. Once you have your first choice on your wrist you can begin to explore the pre-owned arena– that’s when the fun begins.

Did I say, “Fun”? Well, take a look at your automotive purchases – how long did those once nifty vehicles remain in your stable? Like anything else you must look at long term residual value. If you obligate yourself to a $7000 watch, applying my previously depreciation example… in just a few years you would be hard pressed to get $2500 for it. Now, apply that $5000 potential loss to purchasing pre-owned depreciated watches… Like magic you are a collector. And what if you make a mistake?

I Believe in Mistakes

Miracles are generated by mistakes
The stuff of errors is also the meat of destiny
Would you sit by – idly while things go right?
Not wondering what could have been out of sight.
We are inheritors of the way of the sails
Isn’t it just that we go with the wind?
Or isn’t it more daring to tack in its face
I wish I would have taken the storm in my face
Too little planning is the stuff of great adventure
Organize your life and miss all its surprises
Marvel if you must that complex can be simple
Error in favor of adventure
But simple is the result of complexity
Condensed grains of sand and bits of wood
Calculations reduced to buttons
Understanding reduced to rubble
Are we now so modern?
Simplicity of addition subtracted

David Freemont McCready 2008

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Watch what happens…
Reprinted from About Time Magazine Issue #4

By D. Freemont McCready

Could this be the time for a paradigm shift in the watch industry? The computer people are devising wristwatch-like computers, while the bridge between Kmart and Bloomingdales is being dismantled. It’s the economy stupid… there is no shortage of buyers for the $10K watch, just as there is an abundance of buyers for a $5 watch. It’s under that dismantled bridge, I mentioned, that finds $3K buyers swimming against the current of our economic times as their discretionary funds are being swept away.

It’s no cliché to say “everything is economic”, I asked my grandson to write a list of items for the grocery store while I looked over the pantry. I asked him later for the list and he said he couldn’t print a list from his IPod. Well then get a pen and write a list by hand. “Grandpa, we don’t use pens in school any more”. “There is hardly a man alive” in the Age of Aquarius, who doesn’t like watches, pens, rings and cuff links. There are fewer and fewer of them being bred that share this passion. Those of us between forty and their call to eternity can see the shift to a wrist “COMPUWATCH” Just like the shift from Pens to IPods – My survey indicates that it’s right before our eyes; notice how our children are possessed by their smart phones. This is the new bridge – the do everything, “compuwatch”. Will it fill in under the bridge? Where does this leave the watch industry, the watch enthusiast, the passion for innovations of mechanical marvels?

I hesitate to answer these questions, but if the industry continues to make the under $2400 watch with “something extra”, a sustaining generation of enthusiasts will not be lost. I have encountered some radical interpretations of current events that flatly believe the wrist watch we now cherish will go the way of the “POCKET WATCH and Pens” destined to be cast away into the drawer of time with other inherited junk at the passing of generations. Notice there is a common denominator under the bridge – a watch must do more than tell time.

Over the decades the watch has been able to retain that elusive “extra something” beyond time keeping. That “extra something” is manifested in exquisite complex craftsmanship, adornment, special purpose, exotic metals and gems. Most of these characteristics resulted in prices affordable to only the wealthy. It was the modern era that offered great precision at $5 each – that “something extra” was a low price… a market that will persist. It’s going to take innovation and imagination at the $2400 level to continuously bridge the gap – that “something extra” supporting the bridge could be related to commemorative, historic world event, tribute to famous persons, and human values, woven into the reason for the watch’s existence… this will keep the watch within reach of the human psychic over the next few decades. I will leave the speculation and point out that I see an important shifting within the pages of AboutTime, that watch producers are beginning to understand reasons for those “something extras” in their designs. If not, we will forget how to write and tell time and if you consider texting – perhaps we will no longer talk.

David Freemont McCready © 2013


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Watch what happens…
Reprinted from About Time Magazine Issue #5

By D. Freemont McCready

Did you see the last issue of “About Time” Dec /Jan 2014?

The front cover features the new Boccia line, the back cover is full of G-shock, but within the binding of that issue the reader is dazzled by page after page of enlightened innovations of function and style. Extraordinary leaps and giant steps burst from the pages with color and contemporary class. That “something extra” I have been championing over the years has hit a home run within the minds of the younger energetic designers. These dedicated producers stretched their imagination, embracing customization, personalization and attached identifiers – giving the watch aficionados a good reason to lust after watches that go beyond just telling time. This is the stuff that our industry and watch buyers need today with the doldrums of the global economic malaise. There is that old saying, “need is the mother of invention” – let me reinforce that concept with another old story that goes back in time when a different need pushed a new industry into existence.

There was no enthusiastic marketing when the pocket watch was first sold. It was the toy of the wealthy. About the time of the great Civil War, a shipment of watches was abandoned at a mid-west railroad station. The station’s telegraph operator failed to link the consignee and the manufacturer, leaving railroad officials to resolve the situation – so they put them up for grabs… the clever telegraph operator bought them for the accumulated demurrage. Now, think about this… the telegraph operator was connected to every telegraph operator at every railroad station in America. This crafty operator told all his associates along the line about buying these fine watches. His price was low and the shipment was quickly disposed of, with requests for more watches. It was Richard Sears, none other than the Sears of Roebuck, then a lowly telegraph operator. He ordered more watches and the rest is history. That common ingredient was and is “communication” the telegraph was comparable to the internet today. In the early days as the word spread over the telegraph lines, people and travelers came to the train station to buy watches.

Richard became so busy that he had to hire a professional watch maker to help him with the orders. The telegraph operators had their overhead covered by the telegraph business and their location was right in the face of business activity.

That’s where history earns its respect… there is really nothing new, just a twist in the imagination to make it fit today’s needs. The internet is parallel to the telegraph of yesterday, and that’s my point – The watch producers presented in About Time magazine are the innovators of today; they are the champions of commerce that will lead the watch industry into the future. These are the honest people; there is nothing wrong with selling any quality watch regardless of where it was produced but it’s less than honest to pretend and mislead… remember, it’s that something extra based upon truth, it’s catching that brass ring of risk, and it’s that boldness of thought and imagination that has captured the young watch makers of today. Bravo to you all!

David Freemont McCready © 2014

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Watch what happens…
Reprinted from About Time Magazine Issue #6

By D. Freemont McCready

Ok, have you noticed About Time has half the magazine up side down? Well, did you know that is to separate the “Functional Watches” from the “Fashionable Watches”? Take a look and see for yourself… that’s not my topic for this issue so please read on:

What’s the latest paradigm in the watch business? That word, paradigm, reappeared in the language at the beginning of the last decade. It seems that everything is shifting from old to new, small to large, classic to modern and back again; however, I even uncovered a paradigm – at the post office just yesterday; my counter man was wearing his new Samsung wrist computer – what a dazzler: a watch, a blood pressure and rhythm monitor, direct internet and telephone, and GPS in a 38 x 48mm package – I asked “How much?” “$300”, he remarked with an apologetic manner for being so extravagant. Is it 1970’s all over again or are we entering a period of paradigm paralysis? Remember when the quartz and tuning forks struck a death blow at the mechanical watches? We are in the vortex of a turning point paradigm tornado. I notice that Basel this year has pointed the spot light on the classic watch – time and date with tasteful styling and conservative sizing – The last issue of About Time shows advertisers with more quartz and Oriental movements than Swiss mechanicals, with the emphasis on style and quality case work – I just love those bronze diver cases.

It seems that quartz is no longer a six letter word or that Oriental movements considered lower then cast-off tuna can, I personally endorse quartz in spite of my snobbish watch making history. But, now I find myself wearing a quartz powered diver design with the unheard of size of a mere 44 mm. Not only that, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from an Oriental mechanical… Where did I go wrong? How was I lead astray? Well, as I said, I uncovered a few new paradigms staring me right in the face in the pages of About Time – last issue. I feel vindicated from my paradigm paralysis - the automatic syndrome that “springs” make the world go around. I usually start at the back of a new issue to catch-up with what I’ve been missing, and there they are - paradigm watches from a world wide market. Even the cover stories about Vostok and Oakley are standing tall with the likes of Sistem51. This all translates into confusing the collector’s mindset. Now with the price of a good traditional Swiss automatic you can spread your paradigm over a larger collection and make a daily choice to fit your mood and still not be apologetic about your wrist wear. There is even a watch that tells the day, date and time for any place on the planet and reminds you where you stand at that very moment.

A few more pages and I see that classic is making its way back with the Grand Seiko leading the pack. I must be showing my age because I find myself shedding the 44 magnum quartz in favor of a simple 40mm time and date manual wind… especially if I am going out in public where I need to keep my nose elevated. Money is too hard to come by of these days to be squandered on expensive Swiss made toys intended to keep your nose above water. The light at the end of this tunnel is reflected off of the sapphire crystals of quartz watches. Now, factor in the younger age of today’s watch buyer… inexpensive maintenance, low initial cost with great styling – that’s the “watch word” of today’s watch business and no one will have to apologize for spending too much money.
I agree heartily with the sentiments I read in the letters to the editor… “I love your brilliant new magazine for the watch collector on a rational budget”

David Freemont McCready © 2014

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llery


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