It's interesting how worlds that seem very apart can actually run in parallel. This week, the Taiwan Bike Show is on. Igor and Clint have headed over there to see the show, talk to our suppliers and see what is new with the industry and how it might help us offer better, more interesting products to you. On the other side of the world, Baselworld is happening in, yep, Basel Switzerland. This is one of the big watch shows of the world. Everyone from Rolex down to folks who make the straps and buckles for watches go to this show. Similar to how Shimano and SRAM are at TBS as well as the small companies that make nuts and bolts for cranks and brakes.
I've been getting into watches in the last year. I partially blame a good friend of mine who collects older mechanical watches for starting me down this road, combined with a podcast or two that has enlightened me to this world. One similarity that I find between the two worlds is that there are watches that are super complex, made of carbon fiber and thousands of little parts that cost a fortune, that coexist in the same world as the vintage inspired watches that cost, shall we say, a more reasonable sum of money.
Now one can say, watches? Who needs one? Smart phones can act as a time piece that also can keep all your appointments organized and your schedule running along. I grew up prior to smart phones, and I always have a watch on me. Igor and Clint, younger then me, are also watch wearers. Both have automatic watches - one that relies on the action of your wrist to keep a spring moving inside the watch that keeps the second hand moving. The result is no battery required. To me, this is the watch equivalent to the mid 80's Trek and Miyata touring bikes. A solid mechanism, that, given a little bit of love and care every few years, will see you through just about anything.
Quartz watches (the ones with a little battery) were supposed to kill off automatic watches. Yet, shows like Baselworld show that the desire for automatic watches/mechanical watches still exists. The rise of carbon bikes and 11 speed index shifting should have meant that steel bikes and non aero levers should have disappeared and yet year after year at NABHS, Bespoke in the UK, the Philly Bike Expo, and the New England Builders Ball, more small steel frame builders rise up to take up the torch of a steel frame builder.
So who still wears a watch and do you wear it while cycling your steel bike?