One of the most iconic advertising campaigns ever produced by a watch brand is undoubtedly Patek Philippe’s “Generations.” The sentimentality and notion of timelessness–the idea that one doesn’t simply own a watch, but is actually holding on to it for the next generation–are well-known, so much so, in fact, that I’ve heard this sentiment from both serious collectors and casual enthusiasts alike. It’s a clever bit of marketing born of reality. The idea of passing down a watch as a family heirloom is an old one, and it’s undeniably ingrained in our culture (let us not forget the perilous journey of a certain little gold watch in “Pulp Fiction.”) Today, our longtime contributor, Jon Gaffney, tells us the story of his grandfather’s gold Hamilton watch, which was left to Jon’s uncle after the patriarch’s passing. It’s a watch of little value to those outside of Jon’s family. It won’t command record-breaking prices at auction. It’s no one’s grail. But it’s the embodiment of one of the many reasons why I, and many others, love watches. In an age marked by disposable pleasures and goods, this little watch remains an everlasting heirloom. I’ll let Jon take it from here.
Last summer, after a few years of thwarting doctor predictions by sheer will and escaping yet another stay in the ICU, my grandfather passed away at home with his wife and children by his side. He had a fairly incredible run. He lived for 95 years and was happily married to my grandmother for 74-and-a-half of those years. He served in WWII in Patton’s army and then returned home to raise a family and find a good career. He and my grandmother had no problem raising a family as they ended up having 13 children in 16 years (my mother being number 12 of the bakers dozen). My grandfather worked hard for Raytheon for nearly 40 years before retiring to travel the world with his wife, enjoy his large family, and play golf any chance he could. All told, at the time of his passing, he and my grandmother were the genesis for over 80 people: children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren.