Ulysses has some cogent words on those of us who go on watch quests and find ourselves going down anxiety-laden rabbit holes:
I think thrill-seeking behaviour is a part of human nature, and we have a tendency to obsess over certain things that will provide us with those strong emotions. We'd get more than our fill of that living on the plains of Africa and dodging lions on the way home after having stalked an antelope to exhaustion for 30 miles (some bushmen still do this - talk about job satisfaction).
For the most of us, that life style is dead and gone but if you really think about it, there are plenty of careers and occupations that people are drawn to that are substitutes. Context is everything. If you understand that there is a risk, you don't have to be chased down by wild animals to get that stimulation. The suggestion of risk, even if it is no longer a direct risk to your life, is enough to stimulate. That banker who is trading millions of dollars on a risky venture, holding the lives of thousands of working people in his hands, is probably getting off on the power he knows he holds over them. Gambling with our resources can be stressful but also exciting.
They say there can be no light without darkness, and perhaps there can be no thrill without that anxious build-up. The anticipation while waiting for a new watch to come through the door must become overpowering at times. Picking that scab you know you shouldn't, flirting with danger, risky sex - I think it all contributes to scratching the same singular itch.
Having said all that, while I am just as fond of thrills as the next man, the main reason I enjoy mechanical watches is because i'm fascinated with all things mechanical, and also how things are made. Some may say I have an unhealthy interest in CNC and 3D printing machines, and if there's a show on TV explaining how they make engines, i'll watch it without hesitation.
Addressing my anxieties over the cost and possible damage (when the watch is in transit) for servicing an automatic watch, a process that often involves mailing the watch overseas, Ulysses writes:
It's interesting isn't it? Nobody ever really talks about servicing quartz watches. OK, they're not reliant on a balance wheel, but there are other gears that must suffer from wear and tear after a while. Despite that, i've never had to send one in for service other than when an incompetent watchmaker damaged a movement.
Japanese mechanical movements are known to be quite durable and many get by just fine without ever being serviced. It's not as though it will suddenly explode after five years - it just might not keep time as well as it did, in which case you could skip a full service and just get it regulated and if necessary, lubricated.
Arguably, quartz watches are superior time-keepers and are more durable than their mechanical counterparts. We cling on to archaic technology because of how it makes us feel, not because it is necessarily the best choice, and it doesn't matter if it is mechanical watches or old sports cars that can't be driven a couple of miles without breaking down.
Ulyssess' words hit home. Part of me is tempted to sell my 4 autos (keep my SRP637 because it's so "cheap") and get an Omega Seamaster wave 41mm quartz. Or I could get another Ecozilla and put on a Super Engineer II. If that were the case, my collection would be thus:
1. Seiko SBBN017 quartz Tuna on Super Engineer
2. Seiko SBDL021 solar quartz Fieldmaster on Shark Mesh
3. Citizen Promaster Sky Black solar quartz
4. Citizen Promaster Sky Silver solar quartz
5. Ecozilla original (solar quartz)
6. Ecozilla on Shark Mesh (solar quartz)
7. Seiko SRP637 (automatic that I "would ride into the ground")
8. Benarus Moray Dart
9. Orient Saturation Diver
10. Citizen Grand Touring
Possible Future Watch
Omega Seamaster Wave Dial 41mm quartz or Ecozilla on Super Engineer and then my collection would be complete. Or a Seiko SRP307. And then my collection will be complete.
It's weird making this list. It's like I let practical concerns compromise my Watch Quest. I would miss the intoxication and craziness of it all. That's the "feeling" that Ulysses is talking about.
To lose that "feeling" would be to experience a sort of death.
I received my WR-15 two days ago. Unfortunately, I can't recommend the radio and will likely return it. AM reception is just plain bad. My Sangean WR-1, set up right next to it for comparison, clearly outperformed the WR-15 in sensitivity and selectivity across the dial. I had planned on putting it up against my Panasonic RF-2200 and GE Superadio 1 to compare against those radios but quickly realized there was little point of doing so given that it failed my first relatively low-bar comparison. I live in a pretty dense urban environment with a lot of radio noise, so perhaps that's affecting performance and it would fare better in another setting. But I have a lot of other radios that can pull in AM stations better than the WR-15 can.
FM performance was better but still inferior to my WR-1 (again, not a very high bar). My quick test of a radio's FM capabilities is seeing how it pulls in those low-wattage college, indy and NPR stations that tend to reside in the very low end of the dial, and here the WR-15 didn't fare so well. I was able to pull in several hard-to-grab college stations on my WR-1 that eluded the WR-15. For the big blowtorch FM stations though, the WR-15 pulled them in without difficulty and sounded great doing so. The speaker is great for a unit this size. This radio therefore might suit your needs if that's where you live on the dial. It's doesn't for me (I like the hard-to-grab community college jazz station -- a tough target for most of my radios, unfortunately).
One other characteristic of the WR-15 worth mentioning is its apparent channel-locking tuning, which I find very jarring and unpleasant. The radio tunes relatively quietly across the dial and doesn't engage full volume until it has detected a channel and is tuned (i.e.the green LED light is lit). This results in some unpleasant (to me) dial surfing, as tuning is very quiet when not "tuned" but then jumping in volume when the radio is locked on a station. This apparent channel-locking function also results in having to tune well past a locked station for the radio to relinquish its hold on it. I'm not technically savvy enough to identify what exactly this is, but tuning in and out of stations is abrupt and jarring on this radio. I immediately missed the quiet analog hiss of being out of tune that we're familiar with from most radios.
In sum, this strikes me as a radio where concerns about its aesthetics and speaker quality (both good, in my opinion) took priority over the radio's fundamental performance. This is definitely not an AM DX'er, and FM listeners can do better elsewhere.
I was jonesing like a classic watchaholic yesterday for the feeling of jonesing for a watch (because my collection was complete and God knows what to do when the collection is complete) and somehow I got fixated on the notion of having a Grail and this Grail, mysteriously enough, turned out to be the Seiko Marine Master 300 SBDX001. Its solid case back screamed Omega! But then I started researching the movement and the servicing of the movement and found out that it has to be sent to Japan. And worse the crown is fragile. And no sapphire.
And then I started reading about watches disappearing during service for 3 months and being returned with scratches with the watch owner having no recourse.
The anxieties curdled inside my stomach and after going down this rabbit hole yesterday I came out of the chasm bathed in sweat and wondering, "Should I just sell my mechanical watches? I can't handle this, man."
If I did, I would keep my $300 Seiko SRP637 because it will probably outlast its value. If I sold the other 4, my collection would be thus:
1. Citizen Promaster Sky black titanium
2. Citizen Promaster Sky silver titanium
3. Ecozilla with Suppa adapters and 24mm shark mesh
4. Seiko SBDL021 Fieldmaster on 22mm shark mesh
5. Ecozilla original
6. Seiko SRP637
7. Seiko Tuna SBBN017 on 22mm Super Engineer II
I would miss the OSD, the Moray Dart, and the two Citizen Grand Touring, but maybe their absence would alleviate some anxiety and open some new doors for me.