The first good watch, a high school graduation Bulova, got scraped off and buried in sand on a night-fire range during basic.
So I got this one in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., or Baltimore --- the next three stops in rapid succession before settling down for a few months in Baltimore. Darned if I can remember which.
It cost a couple of hundred bucks, was made by an older Swiss firm called Zodiac (now owned by Fossil) and saw me through Vietnam, the tail end of graduate school and 30-plus years of newspapering.
And it's never stopped running (the mechanism is self-winding; as long as you keep moving, so does it). But every few years, if not taken to a jeweler and sent off to be cleaned, it does slow down and accuracy becomes an issue.
It spent a few years in semi-retirement while I flirted with Fossil fashion (never did digital, ugly clunky plastic things; a guy's got to have some standards). But it always got worn at least a few weeks a year.
Then the last Fossil died and the Zodiac reached the point where it was necessary to reset a few times during the day in order to track time accurately and I started experimenting with watchlessness.
Some found this annoying --- had to keep asking others what time it was; few wear watches these days, relying on cell phone displays and cell phones are a bother to pull out, activate and search for answers.
Meetings were another issue. I have severe reservations about the trans- or consubstantial nature of the sacrament, but none whatsoever about the value of meetings that run no longer than an hour. So I took to carrying a little clock into those I conduct in order to better govern my own mouth and those of others.
Finally a couple of weeks ago, I took the old Zodiac in to the Gold Boutique and inquired about cleaning. Yes, I was told, even though watch repair is not the common trade it once was there was this guy in Des Moines, at least in his 70s, maybe in his 80s, who still did it --- and so we sent it off.
It came back yesterday, cleaned, polished and with a new crown on its stem (needed not for winding but for setting). This all cost $50.
Now, whenever I want to know what time it is I just look at my wrist. Wonderful!