Timekeeping (Ladies’ Special)

Some time back, I spoke a little bit about buying a dress watch, and soon thereafter was asked to do a similar piece for my (few) Lady Readers. That’s a problematic topic for me to tackle, because as always with women, I have very little clue as to what makes them tick [sic] and therefore any advice I have to give must necessarily be fraught with caveats and such. Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a shot.

As with my earlier discussion, I’m not going to argue about the merits and whatever of using a cheap and accurate digital watch, or about the merits or disadvantages of telling time via one’s smart phone. This post, therefore, will look only at the subject of dress watches — such as would be worn on special occasions, or for a job interview or whatever. As with the men’s watches, I’ll set an arbitrary budget of between $2,000 and $8,000 at first, then look at ladies’ watches from a different perspective at the end.

As women (even more than men) tend to treat watches as fashion accessories, something I’ll cover later, it may well be that choices may have to be multiple — i.e. one would wear this watch for that occasion, and that watch for another. Fortunately, women’s watches can be somewhat less expensive than men’s (although once one gets up there… phew), and so I’ll approach the topic from that angle.

Probably the most popular ladies’ watch ever made has been Cartier’s “Tank” model, worn by just about every fashion icon over the years (Jackie O., Princess Grace and so on).

That’s the Tank Americaine model, and while it’s spendy (the gold Cartier Tanks, as shown, can run anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000 depending on the bling level), I would respectfully suggest that if a woman were to own only one watch her whole life, this would be as good a choice as any. (Almost every ladies’ watch in this price range can add precious stones like diamonds or sapphires to the face, which drives the price up considerably. Your choice, your money.)

The stainless steel versions are the Tank Anglaise (also with the rectangular face) which is half the price ($4,000):

…and the Tank Française which is much cheaper (about $3,000) and has a square face:

Still beautiful, in my opinion, if a little more “masculine”, perhaps. But there are other brand options, so let’s look at a few. All three below are square-faced, and run around $3,000:

As with all things female, branding seems to be important — but I should mention that the lesser-known Baume & Mercier will have (I believe) a better action than the other two because the “fashion” brands carry a premium over their nominal price, for not necessarily better quality.

Should Madame prefer watches with a round face, or ones that look a tad more practical, there are these options, again all costing around $3,000:

“Nomos” is apparently watchmaker Glashutte’s “budget” line — GH watches typically cost well over $10,000 — and having myself owned a men’s Omega Aqua Terra before, it goes recommended; but Tag Heuer is excellent too.

Obviously, if a lady requires a very practical watch — Mrs. Free Market owns a Breitling because of her yachting “hobby” (obsession) — there are those types too, but be aware that their prices are usually well above what we’re looking at today.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t look at two of my favorite watch brands as well. Here are two from Jaeger-LeCoultre, at about $8,000 each:

..and another two from IWC, these running about $5,500 to $7,500 each:

Both the above are downsized versions of IWC’s Men’s Pilot- and Portofino variants.

Now let’s look away from the “one dress watch” category for the moment and examine watches instead as a fashion accessory — i.e. ones that can be matched to a particular outfit or occasion such as a garden party or suchlike. Here, the watches are considerably cheaper for the simple reason that Madame would probably prefer to have several different types. Here are some examples from the Olivia Burton line, which cost around $100 each:

OB is owned by Movado, so while they’re not Omega or Piguet, they’re not complete crap, either.

And should Madame wish to match her watch with her purse, here are some Michael Kors watches, each costing around $200 (i.e. somewhat less than the hand bags):

Frankly, however, if I talk any more about watches of this ilk, I’ll need to go and shoot something just to restore my testosterone levels.

Let me then, suggest a watch for those ladies who are independently wealthy, or who have indulgent husbands / long-time partners. It’s one for the ages, being feminine, practical, of high quality and eclectic enough so that anyone who knows anything about watches will give an approving nod. It’s a lottery watch, in other words (just as the Vacheron Constantine 1907 is my lottery watch), and because I’m an unashamed sucker for women, you get two choices, each costing around $30,000: a “plain” (classic) and something a little more ummm decorative.

Ladies: am I completely off-base here? (Wouldn’t be the first time.) Your thoughts in Comments, please.

 

 

 

Ideal Companion

Yesterday’s SHTF post was altogether too serious. As the general theme of a Sunday post here on my back porch is “beautiful things”, let’s get whimsical.

Here’s the setting. Assume you’re not married, the S has or is about to HTF, and you’ve decided to hunker down in your house and ride out the storm.

The question: Who would be your ideal companion?

I’m going to confine this question to the Male Readers, because we all know that the Ladies’ choice would probably be end up being Bear Grylls, even though he’s a complete tool in real life and would probably make you eat garden caterpillars or something.

So, on with the show.

The immediate reaction from most men would be to choose one of the celebrity chefs, e.g. Nigella Lawson or Giada de Laurentiis:

…but I’ll bet you a thousand pizzas that both women are not only unfamiliar with guns, but quite probably gun-fearing wussies. (I may be wrong, but I doubt it.)

No, it’s quite clear that the criteria for your female co-defender are simple: she’s got to be self-reliant (i.e. can cook and shoot a gun) and, considering that you might be facing the End Times, likely to be fun in the sack as well. Here’s an (anonymous) example:

Now I’m going to go waaaay out on a limb here, and make the assumption that most women who are comfortable shooting are most likely going to be comfortable in the kitchen too — it’s a self-reliance correlation — so let’s look at maybe the best example:

Sarah Palin

She may be getting on a bit, but ol’ Sarah would probably top the list of most red-blooded men anyway. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that she is the Gold Standard of SHTF companions.

Let’s see if you guys can come up with a competitor. As usual, do it in Comments.

 

 

Always Classy

Question: How can a burlesque dancer and sometime-nude model be called classy?

Answer: When she’s called Dita Von Teese. Here’s another strong contender for Kim’s Online Object Of Desire:



…and oh yeah, she’s not shy about taking it all off, either:


Yeah, I know… not that classy. But remember: burlesque is her job; how she looks when she’s not performing is what I’m talking about.

Update: I know she’s only in her mid-40s. Hey, life is all about those little compromises, right?

Squares, Cubes And Blocks

When I was reading this article about Graham Norton’s beach house, several things struck me. First of all, I marveled at how anyone would want to spend a couple of million for a beach house which overlooks the English Channel — let’s be charitable and say that it can be used as intended for about twelve (non-consecutive) weeks of the year — and for a change, one Daily Mail commenter to the article got it right: it belongs in Malibu, not Kent.

But of course, what struck me the hardest was the house’s extraordinary ugliness.

Now I’ve written before about my distaste if not outright hatred for modernist architecture, so I’m not going to repeat it here. But in this particular case, what amazes me is how little the house is part of the milieu: with only a few modifications, it would fit in quite well with similar structures on the other side of the Channel; only those were the concrete bunkers of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, built to repel an Allied invasion of Festung Europa.

The ugliness isn’t just skin-deep, by the way: it extends to the interior as well.

Now I know that many people like this kind of interior design because it’s “clean” or something. To me, it’s not a design to live in, but meant for display — like those awful Architect’s Digest spreads which look more like museums than homes. I could no more live in such a place than in a hospital room — now there’s “clean” for you.

And yes, here comes the inevitable disclaimer: taste is a personal thing, one man’s ugly is another’s gorgeous, beauty is in the eye etc. etc. Of course it’s personal. I’m not saying that places like this should be blown up and replaced with thatched cottages.

I’m just saying I wouldn’t shed any tears over it.

 

Definitely In Contention

Thinking of Playboy stuff last week reminded me of a strong candidate for Kim’s Online Object Of Desire (the one to replace the now-too-skinny Nigella Lawson).

She’s 52, she has one of the sexiest smiles ever caught on film, she’s one of the greatest ever to play her sport, and OMG it’s Katarina Witt:

…and yes, those incredible legs are still, well, incredible:

In keeping with the season, here she is in some demure Oktoberfest-Kleidung:

Definitely a gold medal contender. And speaking of Playboy, Hef would have wanted me to post at least one of those pics…

Dollars And Scents

Continuing on from the post about my naked face, I decided to shop for aftershave / cologne fragrances. Oy, vey.

As I intimated, the last time I used this stuff at all was in the 1970s / early 1980s, so times have changed [sigh] and as always, not necessarily for the better.

I used to use Halston 1-12, but it’s no longer in production and while it’s still available — and cheap! — I fear starting to use something which is no longer made because after a while, it starts to cost more and more because of diminished supply.

And anyway, just because it smelled okay on me back then, there’s no guarantee it would still smell good on me now, because one’s body chemistry changes with age (I’m told).

So I would have to, I thought, start looking for a “new” fragrance and experiment over time to see which one would work — and just for the hell of it, I hie’d me off to Macy’s. Dear God.

Firstly, the prices… sheesh, I’m a guy, not a chick. You can’t expect me to spend $100 (or more) just for some smelly stuff, when there’s ammo to be bought from the same pitiful bank account.

Plus, I think that the product offerings are just proof of the Pussification Of The Western Man,, to coin a phrase, and I suspect that the fragrance people use the poxy inhabitants of the West Hollywood YMCA as product testers. A few samples:

Eros? by Versace? Nope. Next:

Perhaps if they spelled their name (and product) with a “U” instead of that pretentious Latin equivalent… but no. To proceed, then:

Sorry; Dior to me means “chick stuff” and while I am quite secure in my masculinity, I wouldn’t use a product called “Kotex” either, even if it came in 140-grain boat-tail softpoints.

Ditto anything made by some Spaniard, and also, did you see the price of it?  That’s five boxes of quality self-defense .45 ACP, at the discount price! Next!

“Chanel’s Bleu by Chanel” — from the Department of Redundancy Department. Also: Chanel? See “Dior”, above.

Even the perfumes in “masculine” packaging look as gay as Brian Boitano:

“Viktor and Rolf”?  “Spicebomb”?
A man could get some exotic venereal disease just by buying that stuff. To continue:

“Guilty” of what? Spending too much money on bullshit smelly stuff?

No no no no no. No. Clearly, I would have to resort to the more old-fashioned scents and/or potions. But which?

$105 for Ralph Lauren? It is, as they say, to laugh.

So I quit Macy’s because clearly I was looking in the wrong place, and headed off to Amazon.

Before I entered their online portal, however, I decided to do a little pre-research, because I was going to have to try more than one cologne, just to avoid problems with unsatisfactory smells etc. So I called up an old girlfriend (Skype is a godsend) to get her ideas on the topic.

“I remember liking the way you used to smell.” (After so many years… hubba hubba.)
“Do you remember what cologne I wore back then?”
“I liked the Old Spice… it always smelled fresh, you know?”
“Great. So I’ll get some of that…”
“Wait… I also liked English Leather on you. You wore it to that party at Carol Beith’s house, and I remember it.”
Better and better. “Remember the Halston 1-12?”
“Oh yes — YES! I loved that smell!” [pause] “Or was that the cologne that Kissy Foss [my replacement – K.] used? It’s SO long ago.”

So that was my research. I know, it’s a sample of only one ex-girlfriend — but I couldn’t do any more without running afoul of the restraining orders.

The next question, as I clicked on the Amazon link and started to enter product names in the search bar, was: does anyone still make these things anymore? Well now, lookee here:

…and just for kicks, and the hell with Kissy (his actual nickname) Foss:

English Leather wins out, on a cost per ounce basis anyway; but I’ll try them all, get some feedback from some of the (very few) women whose opinions I trust, and make my final decision. Then I’ll order a boatload of the winner, so that I won’t run out anytime soon.

Or maybe I’ll just grow my beard back.


Afterthought: In response to Reader goingtothefields (Welsh? no matter) in Comments, I need to tell y’all something.

I too know something about the fragrance business — back in the days of sailing ships, I worked at an ad agency whose client was Max Factor, and at whose behest I did a one-week course on fragrances: their types, their classifications, their histories and most tellingly, the trends.

As with all things, scents follow a pattern — one falls out of favor, another comes in, and the large perfumiers can actually predict what fragrances will be popular up to five years out: musk, floral, citrus, spice(s) and what have you are all combined in different measures to create the product, akin to the creation of blended whiskies and whose formulations are closely-guarded secrets..

It’s all a lot of bollocks, of course. Basically, the costs in the fragrance industry are 65% marketing, 20% packaging, 10% merchandising and 5% product: hence we end up paying retail prices of hundreds of dollars per ounce for perfume (as opposed to cologne / eau de toilette, which are cheaper, but less effective because of dilution).