Photo credits: Matt Hranek
“Fuck’em if they can’t take a joke”
This is probably one of the most famous caseback engravings out there, found on the back of a Cartier Tank gifted from film director John Landis to producer George Folsey Jr.! Or how about “Drive Carefully. Me” on the back of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona ref. 6239. Both watch models are not unique per se – however, the engravings on the back make specific watches one of a kind and irreplaceable.
Call me old-fashioned, but I use my watches to commemorate certain milestones in my life and remember the people who have moved on. Because watches are something else – to me, my watches always hold some kind of memory and have personal history attached to them. My watch collection (more or less) solely consists of heirloom pieces – both past and present. Some of them are not of huge monetary value, but irreplaceable and priceless in my eyes.
Watches, for most people, do not have the same meaning anymore. Today, the watches rarely stay with you for a lifetime – we own multiple, they are bought, sold, traded, etc. – and most watches are no longer made to last a lifetime. However, decades ago, when given a watch it was a lot more memorable and significant, maybe with an engraving and something you would keep for a lifetime; maybe even the only watch you would ever own.
Engraving a watch applies something significant and it enhances the connection and bond between said watch (or other items for that matter) and memory. So even if a watch itself is not something unique and special, engraving it instantly makes it a personal treasure, a one-of-a-kind and a family heirloom.
The watch I bought when my youngest turned 1 was a Tag Heuer 1000, reference 980.033. At some point she will take it over and (hopefully) wear this, and… Who knows if it ends there, or maybe travel on to her children? The caseback says: “I love you this much”. Admittedly, I am not the one having had this engraving applied, but I love how it captures the essence and initial thought of what I had intended with this watch.
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