Friday, February 12, 2010

They're the Chinese Eight Cents on the Dollar for Your Bonja!

I stopped wearing a wrist watch a month or two ago. I cannot say why exactly. The little rectangular Seiko did catch on the edge of my laptop, it's true. And there are clocks everywhere -- on the wall, on the computer itself, on a shelf underneath the stereo. That one notes presently that it is 72-degrees Fahrenheit with 24% humidity in this, a bonus.

But I've always been somewhat obsessive about time, even waking up in the middle of the night to check the bedside clock. This came to mind -- and the fact I once saved up money to buy a Bulova Accutron watch -- when I read Roger Cohen's column in The New York Times, "The World's Watchmaker.
Tommy Hilfiger, Jennifer Lopez, Coach, Titan, Trump — name the brand and Leung is manufacturing their watches in China’s southern Guangdong Province, the place that is now the world’s factory.


Leung was wearing a great hulk of a watch called a Bonja. It’s big in Gulf states, where it retails for about $4,000. Leung told me he’s paid $200 for this model and that leaves him a comfortable margin. For Juicy Couture watches that retail in New York for $95, he gets eight dollars. He’s still making money on that. In general he receives about 8 percent of the retail price, or about 40 bucks for a $495 Lacoste watch.
I think I paid $105 for an Accutron about 30 or 35 years ago. That Bulova was trendy, and the commercial -- one man leaning over to adjust another person's watch on a commuter train -- apparently meant that I could finally know the exact time.

 Until I could afford a Rolex.

But now my cell phone keeps better time than either of the Accutron's I had, which were somewhat fragile devices. And I always keep my cell phone in my pocket. And it lights up so that I can read it at night.

And I'm trying very hard not to be obsessively interested in the concept of time, or rather What time is it, I wonder. Perhaps it has to do with growing older. Perhaps one day I'll stop thinking Hey, I forgot to put on my watch.

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