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What's your weakness?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I have often read with amusement posts on this board about $500 custom-made shirts, $700 designer sunglasses, and $1000 bespoke shoes.  I have never paid over $100 for a shirt or over $250 for a pair of shoes, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  I drive a 13-year-old clunker that is on life support and live in an apartment the size of a large walk-in closet.  But alas, I am not immune to the temptations of conspicuous consumption . . . for I am a Watch Guy.  I fully realize that it is not rational to pay more than a couple hundred dollars for a watch and that the most expensive and complex mechanical watch in the world cannot keep as good time as a quartz Timex that you can buy in the drugstore.  Yet there is something magically indescribable about a fine mechanical watch -- the perfect marriage of art and engineering that at the same time expresses the wearer's personality -- that led me to spend several thousand dollars on a watch several months ago and again this past week.  All I know is that when I look down on my wrist and see the second hand sweeping around the dial, a smile comes to my face. So let me hear it.  Are you a Watch Guy, a Shirt Guy, a Shoe Guy, or something else?  Or have you managed to resist temptation successfully and spend you hard-earned cash on something practical?
post #2 of 33
I am, unfortunately, susceptible to great affection for most of the items you listed; I am, at heart, acquisitive as all get out, although I do so only at what I think are really good prices.  I love fine watches, but also shoes and suits/sportcoats.  While I own plenty of shirts and ties, these are not items I lust after, though I do appreciate the finer products in these categories.  As with you, it makes me happy to see a nice watch on my wrist, but also nice shoes on my feet and nice clothes on my body.  Also, the superior fit and comfort of the latter products to me is wonderful to experience. Furthermore, I would take issue with the implied equivalence of the watch and clothing/shoe fascinations.  As you noted, the expensive mechanical watches are in fact inferior to modern quartz ones in terms of timekeeping accuracy.  The same is not true where clothes/shoes are concerned.  While your personal value equation/and or circumstances may not lead you to spend more money on some of these products, don't tell me you can't tell the difference between a Brioni/Kiton/Attolini/Oxxford suit and a $700 Joseph A. Banks (or whatever).  If you've ever tried a properly fitted, high-end garment on, you'll know what I mean.  Likewise for high quality, benchmade shoes, which will both look better and last far longer than the cheaper brands in the market.  Finally, I think it is possible to get great shoes/clothes at a great price, if you know what you are doing and care.  The great thing about this type of forum is that people can learn to distinguish true quality/value from hype.  So, when you see that $2500 Oxxford suit on sale for $700, you'll know it' a great buy (assuming you like its fabric and fit), whereas the $2000 Armani Collezione or Prada might not seem like such a great deal for the same price. If you are interested in watches, I recently bought and read a book I would recommend:  A Revolution in Time: Clocks and the making of the modern world. by David Landes.  It is available used on Amazon cheap - make sure you get the revised edition, published in the late 90's/2000.  It is what I found to be a very interesting description of the evolution of the clock and watchmaking industry, from both a technical and economic perspective.  Also amazing is the under-appreciated impact that this industry had on the development of the modern economic and industrial world.  I might also recommend a book about John Harrison called Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel, a fascinating look at an incredible clockmaker.  Finally, I assume you are familiar with Timezone.com.  It has some great forums, both with respect to specific brands and more general topics; furthermore, some of the archived posts are great. As a business person and generally quite rational individual, I must say I find the whole fine watch fascination intriguing.  Clearly the Swiss watch industry has done a great job in marketing the notion of their products as both luxury goods and works of art; I have bought some watches that I found beautiful to look at but that I know also house great movements (Patek, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars, Breguet, Zenith).  Therefore, I like to tell myself that I have bought them because they are works of art, not because they are luxury goods per se.  However, more rationally, I know I have fallen prey to the Swiss marketing message, since, realistically, the watch movement is not a work of art, but rather a finely tuned engineering product, highly elaborated by hand.  I don't want to drive a Morgan or an older Rolls, even though they were hand-made --but clearly inferior to the modern, assembly-line competition -- so why do I care about this on my wrist?   Oh well, enouth introspection for now, and at least I do find them beautiful to look at. Also, if bought at the right price, they hold their value reasonably well.
Quote:
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.  Mae West Moderation is a fatal thing... Nothing succeeds like excess. Oscar Wilde
post #3 of 33
My weakness is kryptonite. The green krytonite makes me weak and drains my powers, while the red kryptonite brings out my uncontrolled id. No, seriously, my weakness is a good bargain. I have bought all kinds of things on sale that I don't need but figure that if I don't take advantage of the deal, it'll never come around again... until the next sale season rolls around.
post #4 of 33
English shoes Neapolitan shirts/suits Boesendorfer pianos Panna cotta (especially at San Domenico's) Fresh brioches Good espresso Half-asian women
post #5 of 33
Watches, bargains [although I have yet to find a bargain on a good watch, thus am forced to spend a fortune on my collection of timepieces], and women... ... and I guess women are definitely not a bargain item.
post #6 of 33
Belts and watches and jackets/coats. I had a 50+ year old spring loaded automatic Omega Constellation that has been passed down in my family for 2 generations that I now refuse to wear for the shear sentimental value isn't worth the risk of damaging/losing it. Waiting for the day I can get another one to wear instead. Oh, and half asian women too. Though sometimes I'll relax the rules and allow the other half to be asian too heh.
post #7 of 33
i'd have to say Brioni (and now i can add Attolini )suits/ sportcoats, borrelli shirts, and english benchmade shoes (just bought my 3rd pair of dunhill P&S shoes.). i'd like to try Oxxford, but the Brioni shoulders and lapels have to be my favorite.
post #8 of 33
I'm a money guy. I like the sweet sound of $100 notes as I rub them around in my hand. Can't resist having more
post #9 of 33
Personally I have this obsession with various brands of shoes. Beyond what people say about Gucci's shoes I really love their shoes albeit only certain styles. Also every style of Berluti moves me. Another "hobby" of mine is fine fountain pens. Having just bought a new rather costly pen I still want more especailly in terms of limited editions. However these are not obsessions per se I throughly believe one can never have too many belts, ties, shoes, pens or cufflinks. By the way for watches I am quite stricken with the AHCI member's creations, and also Vacheron, and Patek. I can recommend a very good website for you of www.thePurists.com. Being a regular poster there one can frankly state that this site compared with TimeZone is much more genteel. TimeZone always struck me as hectic, and somewhat vitriolic in ways.
post #10 of 33
I used to be a necktie guy. I had 100+ neckties. They were not what anyone on this board today would consider quality ties, but in terms of number, compared to other items in my wardrobe, (heck, at the time, I may have had two suits and 4 shirts) they were my weakness. In relation to this, my mother remarked that overweight women sometimes have a disproportionately large number of shoes because that is one area where they can express themselves and vent their fashion desires. As my income grew, I became a "braces" ( or "suspenders") guy. I still do have 100+ neckties, but I don't covet them as much as before. I moved up in quality here, purchasing braces from Albert Thurston and Trafalgar. Later, I got into shirts. I started with Charles Tyrrwitt, and have moved into TM Lewin, Hilditch and Key, and Jantzen Tailor. I see my weakness as coveting. . . .rather than coveting one particular item to the relative exclusion of many others. Bic
post #11 of 33
i'm with LAguy here, I can't resist a good deal.
post #12 of 33
Is there a category for "all the above"- except for watches. I know better than to get started on those. Haven't bouught any cuff links for a while either, as my tastes have gotten so expensive.
post #13 of 33
I definately love a good bargain, but find that my main weakness is my rapid escalating taste and appreciation of quality. My first job post college required that I wear nothing more than what is commonly considered business casual. I sent my wife, girlfriend at the time to go buy me a bunch of dockers with shirts and ties to match. She did as I asked, and did an excellent job of matching things together. At some point I decided that I was tired of Dockers, and wanted to step it up to Perry Ellis pants. When I got my first middle managment job, and needed to wear suits I found myself wearing Joseph Abboud as my main suit. Having received many compliments, I thought that I had come pretty far in terms of clothing. On my first trip to London for my new job when I had my clothing Epiphany and without be too blasphamous, began the fight with controlling my desire to completely rebuild my wardrobe. I just posted about a steal I found at off 5th, but have been just as happy paying several hundred for a superb quality garment on eBay. Aside from looking and feeling better, I get a thrill out of putting my knowledge that I have gained here to practice. For instance, I was able to look at the Canali exclusive collection piece I bought yesterday, with the Canali Proposta suit I bought on that fateful trip to London. To have the ability to distiguish and understand the characteristics between the high and low end of one label was very exciting. Admittingly it was easier in that case than it was between the Canali Exclusive and Attolini coat I have, but I am learning and after all that rambling, I guess my weakness is once I get a taste of new knowlege am become addicted to learning and putting to practice as much as I can. -Andy
post #14 of 33
Excellent point Andrew. I can vividly remember my 'ascent' in tastes. Structure and Gap during the teens... Polo, Banana Republic and J Crew in early 20's... now at mid 20's, I still shop for/wear BR, J Crew and a bit of Polo, but augment these with an occasional high end purchase. I make decent money, but certainly not enough to coming close to revamping my wardrobe as totally high end- nor do I want to. It's probably 80/20 right now, I'd like it to be 70/30. My weaknesses are pretty much everything, but especially fine knits shirts/sweaters and good fitting jeans. I know most here abhor jeans but I love them.
post #15 of 33
I have three sartorial weaknesses: shirts, glasses, and winter coats. Above all, I am a shirt man. I like to think that, of the vanities, it is the least offencive, because the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said in a Hadith that his favourite garment was the shirt. However, I doubt Rasulallah (pbuh) had a fiftieth as many shirts in his wardrobe as I did before I edited my wardrobe. Glasses are also a weakness. The average sight-impaired gentleman probably has one pair of glasses and perhaps a supplemental pair of sunglasses. Now I'm up to seven pair, although I wear my favourites probably 60% of the time. At least I've never broken the four-figure barrier on a frames/lenses combo..... To be perfectly frank, one of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity to move back to Europe (others being landing a dream-job and the obviously the more civilised political climate) was to have a reason to keep my collection of winter coats. I figure the average man probably has two or three; a formal coat, a beater, and perhaps a rain coat. Coats in camel, coats in brown, coats in grey, coats in black, coats in navy, coats in orange. Coats in wool, coats in shearling, coats in wool impregnated with rubber, coats in oiled canvas with removeable shearling linings that can be worn as jackets. Single-breasted coats, double-breasted coats, full-length coats, 3/4-length coats, peacoats, duffel coats, polo coats, Chesterfields. Bespoke coats, "designer" coats, mass market coats, thirft store coats. Basically, every permutation of coat save the motorcycle jacket. By contrast, I don't greatly elaborate my wardrobe in any other area. I went on a trouser-buying binge when a store had a bunch at insanely low prices (and really, I doubt anyone on this forum would turn down pair of Brioni, Zegna Napoli, Loro Piana, and Incotex trousers for two figures), and since then have only bought trousers to sweat in or that were irresistable deals. Considering that I wear them just about every day both professionally and socially, I probably have an average number of suits and sportcoats. I haven't bought a tie in probably eight months; I have enough variety so as not to be bored, but not so much that I'm overwhelmed. I have enough shoes; unless my feet change significantly (I suppose one can always have a car accident or something) I doubt I'll be buying any new shoes, save the odd pair of trainers as wear old ones down. But I can always find a new shirt I have to have. I am spectacularly able to avoid belts; I only own three of them, one black, one brown, and one tan. I've only felt the need to purchase one watch for myself, although I have been given others. Peace, JG
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