sevesteen discusses form and function...
ditto from me on appreciation of simple, functional elegance...and watches, cars, and guns exemplify the best and worst of those attributes.
rolex watches were a specialty of mine...it never ceased to amaze and disgust me that so many of these fine handcrafted mechanical wonders would be festooned with diamonds and colored stones on the bezel, face, even the band...heresy, really.
i still come across and appreciate some of the early models and am always entranced as i fondle one and envision the craftsman carving it long ago from a block of gold and skillfully making and assembling that beautiful movement...
cars? how many of us who remember and/or appreciate American detroit iron from the fifties and sixties wouldn't trade our new benz, lexus, or suv for a showroom '67 chevelle ss? screw gps-equipped, ipod-ready, four-wheeled, three thousand pound bundles of microcomputers with an internal combustion engine buried somewhere deep inside and require an electronics degree to decipher!
and is it really possible to improve upon the smooth, sexy functionality that mr. browning designed a century ago?
since turning 50 in '04, i've developed a serendipitous appreciation for examples of these three categories that were all produced in '54, the year i myself debuted.
four years ago for my fiftieth birthday, i got a '54 chevy pickup that had been tastefully hotrodded with a built 350, four wheels discs, ac, etc...it was the last year for this classic body style that is now copied in the new chevy ssr...coincidentally, that same year a local deputy traded to me a very clean unmolested colt cobra snubbie revolver (for a glock m27, which he wanted as a backup to his department issue m22). a little research later, if found that the colt was built in '54 and its lovely fifteen-ounce self has been my regular carryon ever since.
then while cataloging my inventory in '06 as i prepared to turn over my business to a new owner, i took a closer look at an old omega seamaster wristwatch that had been in the showcase for over a year...it still had the original box and certificate and was in near-perfect cosmetic and functional condition. when i traced the serial number on the movement, i found that the range of numbers for 1954 included it...i'd always worn a rolex from the showcase; usually a two-tone datejust or submariner, and occasionally a presidential or cellini dress model...these are all priced in the k's, some way into the k's, and i enoyed wearing them, but mainly it was a sales device; i sold many of them right off my wrist. but the simple elegance of the little seamaster, with it's bumper automatic movement and clean unadorned face is now my everyday watch; it keeps near-perfect time if worn daily and is instantly readable by my 54 year old eyes even at arms length.
so i have kind of inadvertently surrounded myself with mechanical examples that are the same age as me; i depend on them all almost every day, and i have no qualms about trusting them as they are equal or superior to any newer or more elaborate versions available today...and i know that when (if) they do wear out they can be repaired/restored to like-new, serviceable condition...for another 54 years.
i only wish the same could be said for this also-made-in-1954 thing i call self...i'd replace the high-wear parts; a fresh set of laserbeam eyeballs, new springs for my ticker and my step, and maybe even a brand-new, supercharged umm...plunger mechanism...yeah, baby!