Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Rolex

In 1976 I bought a used watch from a friend. It was a Rolex Daytona Cosmograph. I paid him $150 for it. I wore it everyday for the next half dozen years. During that time I spent about $600 to $700 keeping it running. This included sending it to Switzerland once for a clean and lube. It was becoming apparent that wearing an expensive watch everyday was not practical – a little like commuting in a Ferrari.

One day I was at a trade show in Chicago when a man offered me $1200 cash for the watch off my arm. I sold it to him on the spot and went to Dillards the next day and bought a Swatch for $50. I couldn’t have been happier. I loved the Rolex, but it was becoming a burden.

Paul Newman was photographed several times wearing a watch exactly like mine, and that model has since become known as the “Paul Newman Watch.”

Not long after that I began seeing ads wanting to buy Rolex Daytonas for $3,000 and up. The current book value is $17,000 with a recent auction high of $84,000.

Do I regret selling mine for $1200? Not at all. Sure, I would rather have $17,000 than $1,200, but, to me, a $17,000 watch would be a real burden. I could never wear it, and keeping it safe and in good working order would be a chore.

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us lay aside every weight…and run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Expensive watches, cars, or guitars are not bad things, but they can certainly weigh us down. I know people with cameras so expensive that they never take them out of the house, musical instruments so expensive that they never get played, and cars so expensive that they never get driven. I guess just knowing that you have them can bring pleasure, but to me they are burdens that keep us from life.

The watch that I wear now, I bought at a kiosk at Oak Park Mall. It is not a Rolex, but it works just fine and when it quits, I will throw it away and buy another one.