Sometimes we all want to be the guy to stand out from the pack? It literally is a jungle out there and we all need to be fed and loved, so it’s pays to just have a slight edge.
Admittedly there are boundless ways to look, smell and taste different but generally you have to go that little bit further to be truly unique. There are only a few ways in which a man can really do it, just to be clear, I don’t mean to assist in our continual lifelong struggle to attract women, I mean in the deeper more cerebral way of garnering both respect and admiration from other men. Having another guy, friend or not, give you an honest compliment is a truly satisfying experience, it’s like being given a medal for acting “above and beyond the call of male duty. For setting a shining example of maleness that we should all emulate. Ok so I exaggerate, but what are the ways and means to being this uber man?
Earning your daily coin from doing a cool job is one sure fire way, leaning away from the table at a dinner party and saying things like, “Oh I just got back from a small island in the Pacific, I’m writing a piece about it” or “the planet looks incredible from outer space, it makes you feel really insignificant”. Certainly these are impressive anecdotes but let’s be honest how much would you like to punch the git right on his smug nose if you heard him saying these at a party? You see, most of the really obvious statement clichés are just that, cliché’s. If you have to tell someone, if you’ve got to look people in the eye and explain to them in no uncertain terms “I’m cooler than you”, well, it’s got potential for making you an excruciating party bore.
Alternatively another way to stand out is owning something stylish and expensive. We all love a sleek looking sports car (which if you ask Italians is mentally linked to adoring the female form anyway), but you have to be aware they all make statements about you. Do you want to be considered flamboyant? Then maybe it’s the Ferrari showroom for you, organize a test drive of the 399 and drink in the jealous male faces and swooning girls faces as you swoosh past. Maybe you model yourself on the Jason Statham type? Therefore your choice may be the functional yet beautifully proportioned Audi A6 with full body kit. What colour? Black of course, black body, blacked windows. We don’t want normal people looking in. But if you want to project the concept of style over substance how about a classic light blue E type jag, it’s elongated bonnet oozing sixties style, but no earth shattering performance. But generally if it looks like an English Premiership footballer might also own one, you may still get that punch in the face.
However none would look cool sat in traffic outside the Sarit centre, with little Johnny the street urchin putting his grubby fingers all over your classic paint job.
The reason I know all this? Well a few years ago I had a particular good year in business and decided it was time to treat myself to that statement piece, I didn’t have deep enough pockets for a Ferrari (I’m more E type) but I could treat myself. After a huge amount of consideration I whittled the choices down to two things, either spend a few visits to a famous gentleman’s tailor and have a custom suit made or buy a Swiss wrist watch.
I was living in London at the time, the perfect place for the traditional suit. So off I went to the spiritual home of the suit, Jermayn Street, London and spoke to a 4th generation tailor. The process sounded horrendous, hours of standing on a small table while a doddery old man poked pins into you. That and also you pretty much had to design the thing yourself, what fabric, how many pockets, how many buttons. Nope, not for me, it was far too exhausting and how often will I be wearing this creation? Not enough. So I finally decided it was to be a watch. Let’s be honest when a man meets a man, he looks at his watch. It says everything about who he is. If he has a cheap functional watch, he has no money. If he has a brash, flashy watch (whatever the brand and cost) he has no class. If he has no watch, he has class, but no money. I like to think I’m quite the action man, so I decided to get a chronograph, the ones that look too big, have metal straps and loads of buttons and functions…for all the supposed action I do.
After serious research it boiled down to the final three; the Omega Seamaster, the Brietling Navitimer and the Audemar Piguet Royal Oak. I liked all of them but could only afford one. I couldn’t choose which one to buy and it was becoming decidedly stressful. Then one day it dawned on me, each one of these watches represents an actor playing the character James Bond. Right this should make this easy. The Omega was Pierce Brosnan, the Brietling was Sean Connery and the Royal Oak was Roger Moore. I definitely preferred Sean Connery (this was before Daniel Craig became the best Bond ever, but that’s another story) so I found an old antique version, born the same year as me and with all the original paperwork.
When I first put that watch on I felt ten feet tall and bulletproof, I had arrived. I was different. In fact I still have a warm feeling every time I look down and see those beautiful dials.
About six months after I had bought my watch I was at a dinner in New York, in a fairly swanky restaurant in the East Village. I was sitting next to the sister of the companies owner.
“Now that is a beautiful watch, may I see it?” what’s your name? She was the International Marketing Director of Audemar Piquet maker of the Royal Oak, one of my watch finalists.
“Adventurer, The Anonymous Adventurer”. I answered…