The most expensive watch ever sold was a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime. It sold at an auction in Geneva on November 9, 2019, to a collector. The final price it went for? 31 million US dollars.
Now that watch was definitely an old classic and a collector's dream piece. It was, allegedly, perfectly preserved. However, how much action did that watch see during its time if it was so pristine until this day?
The thing about watches is that they are tools that men wear. They serve a purpose. Men of yesterday carried watches because they needed to be somewhere and they needed to be there in time. It was a trusty companion in their adventures. Some as simple as to punctually make it to a factory job.
Some as deadly as getting ready for takeoff into an aircraft mission in an active war zone. So, the men of yesterday that wore the watches probably had a lot of unbelievable stories to tell. Stories they lived while wearing their timepieces strapped to their wrists. Some of which they certainly proudly told to anyone willing to listen.
Those stories, those experiences are invaluable and worth sharing with the people they care about. So, it's the watch.
A Watch’s Value as An Heirloom
Older men giving younger men an inheritance and a family heirloom is nothing new. Culturally, it seems we as a species did so even before the family unit as we know it today became a staple of ours.
It's a way of entrusting responsibility into a young man, ultimately entrusting them the future of the family older men likely fought for.
The fact that watches are tools build to last makes them convenient as heirlooms for the same reason they are great for taking to an adventure.
It's not uncommon so that many, many classic stories both written and in film depict said tradition. An older man entrusting a younger one with one object he held dear for a long time and has a long history with.
Speaking of films, let's take a look at one of the most recent and famous examples of watches as heirlooms on film. At the end of this brief read, we think you will surely come to appreciate that money is not necessarily the only metric that measures a Watch’s Value.
A Watch’s Value as An Heirloom in A Tarantino Film
Director's Quentin Tarantino seminal pop-culture classic, 1994's Pulp Fiction, has such an example. The movie itself it's a black comedy featuring an ensemble cast of then-current and future big names. It told a series of stories that, although following several different main characters each, ended up intersecting with the others at some point.
The one segment of the movie that sets the example it's the one starring actor Bruce Willis as down on his luck boxer Butch Coolidge. The segment starts with a flashback to Butch's childhood, sitting in a living room talking to a man, played by Christopher Walken. We come to know by the conversation that Butch's father was a soldier enlisted to fight in Vietnam who died there.
This man talking to him was his brother in arms, and he came to deliver him with an item that Butch's father held dearly. The item was a gold watch. A watch that had been in Butch's family for generations.
It first belonged to Butch's great grandfather, who bought it during the time of the First World War (1914-1918). His great grandfather wore that watch as he served during that war. It was only upon returning home that he took it off and stored it safely. That was until his own son, Butch's grandfather, enlisted to fight the Second World War several years later.
A Watch Passed Down from Generation to Generation
It was before his son departed that Butch's great grandfather remembered the watch. He took it out of the old coffee can made out of tin, where he placed it for years, and gave it to his son. This was the first instance in which that particular watch passed from father to son, a not unheard-of male tradition.
Unfortunately, Butch's grandfather was not as lucky as his own father was. He fell on the battlefield in the pacific theater during an increasingly futile attempt to hold an island base. Before his post fell, however, knowing that he might not make it out, he entrusted a gunner of an air force transport with the watch.
This was a man he had never met before whose ship only made a stop at the post days before it fell. Still, Butch's grandad told him his story, his father's story, and of the Watch’s Value. This was enough for the gunner who, again, never met this man and had no obligation to him, to carry the favor. Butch's grandad asked him to deliver his father's watch to his newborn back in Tennessee, a baby he had never seen in the flesh.
Amazingly, the gunner kept his word, and, after the war, he paid a visit to Butch's grandmother to deliver the watch to his infant father. As destiny would repeat itself, Butch's father, an enlisted pilot soldier as well, wore the watch when deployed to the Vietnam War.
He had that same gold watch that had already seen three generations of the Coolidge family's men strapped to his wrist the day he was shot down over Hanoi.
Keeping The Heirloom in The Family Through Trials and Tribulations
By that time, Butch's father knew very well that the gold watch was a prized family heirloom. It held immeasurable sentimental value. It had an incredible story behind it. His father's father gave it to him, and so did his father to him himself. He knew the moment they shot him down, the enemy would take him prisoner, and prisoners are not allowed to have nice things.
Not about to let them have his prized watch, he hid it in his person in a very Tarantinesque, graphic fashion. The way he saw it, this watch was his son Butch's birthright, and it was worth any effort to keep it. He hid this watch in his person uncomfortably for five years until he died of dysentery.
However, during his time captive, he met another American prisoner, Captain Koons, the man telling all of this to Butch. Before he died, he relayed his story, told him of the Watch’s Value to his family, and asked him to keep it safe and deliver it to his son.
A man of his word, Captain Koons kept the watch hidden in his person in the same uncomfortably, and graphic manner as butch's father did. For two whole years, he held on to it until his time as a prisoner of war came to an end, and they sent him home.
Once in America, he made his way to Tennessee to see Butch to tell him the watch's story and deliver this heirloom to his rightful owner.
A Family Legacy Worth Keeping
Now, during the movie itself, an adult Butch does have to go through a very, very graphic, shocking, and sometimes hilarious ordeals to keep the watch. Needless to say, it is a Tarantino movie so of course things get weird. But the point is that the character of Butch goes through with it.
He really goes through the mill in order to keep that which his forefathers fought so hard for him to have. That golden watch itself might or might not hold much monetary value. But it doesn't matter. The reason these characters all fought so hard to keep it was because of its sentimental value.
It was for the fact that several men in his family made sure that their sons had a chance to hold this watch that made it valuable. Some of those men were even about to face their own mortality when, thinking of their sons, delivering this timepiece took precedence even in the face of death.
That it's worth something and just goes to show that money is not everything when it comes to measuring a Watch’s Value. Rather, it's the experiences lived wearing it and what we decide to do with it that gives it all of its meaning.
A Watch’s Value Its Beyond Money
While you might or, hopefully, might not have to fight a war during your lifetime, you will certainly face some trials and tribulations. We all man must do. As such, if you happen to be a watch man, someone with a taste for the finer things in life, then hear:
The trusty watch or watches that you wear when facing whatever life throws at you might become one priceless heirloom for your sons as well. When you are ready to rest and take life easier, another young man carrying your blood and ready to face life might use some help.
Besides our guidance, the younger generation could use one token, one item that shows not only that the old guard trusts them with the future. But that they are confident in their ability to face responsibilities. To carry on the legacy of their bloodline and persist in life just as they did before them.
If you are watch man, consider this:
A Watch’s Value can be beyond money. A watch can be one symbol of pride and legacy that your family can proudly carry on.
If you are looking to get one durable watch that you might someday pass down your family line, consider Megalith. As a brand that prides itself in offering affordable watches that the up-and-coming men of today won't have to break the bank for, we are here for you.
We got a curated selection of stylish, great-looking watches that can last one or several lifetimes available for you. May you find exactly the watch you think worthy of keeping you and your sons company for a long, long time.