Wrist Check: Floyd Mayweather Buys Five-Week-Old Grandson a $45,000 USD Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Reality check: that’s insane! Well, maybe not. Infants of that age wearing their first good watch can’t wander off – or lift their timepiece high enough to smash it. Specific to this example, I’d be worried about one of those diamonds entering my baby’s digestive system. Then again, Rolex water resistance is up to challenge of baby sick. It’s when babies become mobile that equipping a rug rat with a $45k Rolex becomes problematic. Time to store the Rollie (or suchlike) until . . . when?
Let’s start with a definition of a “good” watch.
An inexpensive G-SHOCK is a damn good first watch that can be lost without tears before bedtime (by you anyway). It also can’t be broken – at least until your teenager decides to test his G-SHOCK’s durability by running it over with the family truckster. An Apple Watch is also an ultimately disposable first good watch – that no one reading this website would consider unless and until they fell through the ice while skating.
For the sake of argument Let’s define a “good watch” as a watch that costs more than than a trip to the ER and the follow up doctor’s visit. A watch whose loss requires you to give a hypocritical lecture about the importance of responsibility. Say anything above eight hundred dollars.
As the parent of four very different daughters I feel obliged to point out that children have various levels of conscientiousness. One child may be OCD – to the point where cleaning their room requires therapeutic aftercare. Another wouldn’t remember their own head if it wasn’t screwed on. At the risk being accused of gender stereotyping (especially by my last born), boys and girls are very different when it comes to concentrating on something other than anything else.
Bottom line: it’s an age thing. I draw the first good watch line at college age (18). That’s when most sprogs realize you’re not going to replace an $800+ timepiece that disappeared down a black hole. That adult stuff has work-was-required-to-buy-this monetary value. That they won’t be able to afford to buy their own nice watch for five years or so, and have a concept of what a year is.
Some watch enthusiasts like to give a good watch to their child when he/she/they graduate from high school. I reckon the grad’s good watch shouldn’t be that good; college costs more than a small house or rent on a decent apartment (for those whose children realize that a liberal arts degree is as useful as a kickstand on a Sherman tank).
Even if you can easily afford a high school graduation watch, and your child can read an analogue timepiece, and they’re willing to sideline their smartwatch, you can’t afford to endow your child with a sense of entitlement. Not if you want them to make their own way in the world.
Then again, some people – I’m looking at you Mr. Heavyweight boxer – have more money than sense. Some of these financially well-endowed parents are happy to start their children on the road to consumer combat from the year dot. They consider a good watch – a really good watch – part of the process of helping their children expect a lifetime of unearned privilege. In the name of love, of course.
When it comes to a really good first watch, I believe you should only bless a child with expensive horological excellence if they’re a diehard watch enthusiast when they’re old enough to express their watch lust in technical, historical and financial terms. In other words, when you know they truly value the watch.
Otherwise, don’t buy them a Rolex, Grand Seiko, Vacheron, Patek or suchlike, ever. Wait until you’re dead and give them yours.
That’s my plan. The way I figure it, my kids can either keep my cherished timekeepers for sentimental value – which inspires them not to lose them (though not necessarily wear one) – or sell them and use the money to take a nice vacation. At the end of the proverbial day (i.e. when you’re so old your health is more important than your possessions), watches are just stuff. Teach your kids to value time first, watches second.