First of all, thank you to my friends at WatchPaper for posting a Remembrance Day tribute story. It was a great article and I thought it was a very nice WatchPaper way of honoring the sacrifices made by so many fallen heroes. Never forget.
I also thank my friends at WatchPaper for posting a story about a space-flown Omega going up for auction. I am, in no way, a vintage guy. But I am a history buff and a space fanatic. So this story really struck a cord with me.
Space exploration is the most important endeavor in the history of the human race. I’ve had pals tell me that it’s all a big waste of billions of dollars that could feed poor people around the whole. So why ignore our needy people on Earth to send space shuttles into space on useless missions? Why not work on the environment? Well, the short answer is that deep space exploration is human. It is the essence of the human spirit. Pushing our limits and boundaries and striving to achieve what was once thought impossible is…human. Since the beginning of mankind, man has explored. Man has expanded his known world. And we cannot deny that mankind’s only LONG term (like thousands of years long) chance of survival is to colonize distant planets. Therefore, to cease space exploration would be to deny our own spirit.
A great benefit of space exploration is learning and knowledge. Just like in Formula 1 racing, where knowledge gained on the racetrack filters into road car production. F1 technologies such as Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems have now been adapted to city buses and road cars. Like space exploration, critics complain that F1 is an environmental disaster and a waste of money and resources. But some of the best green technology is now coming directly from F1 research and development. The space program has also taught us about high tech materials and production techniques. The R&D that goes into designing a space craft, for example, eventually filters in industry.
We will never advance as a species unless we push our limits. We must continue to push our boundaries as we advance our science and technology. If we just sat around all day tidying up our back yard, we would never evolve. There are so many questions yet unanswered in the universe and we, as humans, have the potential to answer them – if we explore.
It’s a similar story with timepieces. People think I am crazy for spending lots of money on ”useless” wrist candy- mechanical toys for boys. And people think watch companies are crazy for spending millions on R&D just to improve the design of a mechanical novelty. Take a look at the Hublot LaFerrari limited edition piece for the LaFerrari supercar. It’s mind-boggling engineering and design. And it costs about $350,000! I know a lot of people won’t get it. Look at an Urwerk. Or even Omega’s new Liquid Metal pieces. What’s the point??
The point is that these guys are pushing the envelope. Each new design or experiment adds to their knowledge and teaches them how to use new materials and processes. By going further and further with each design, each idea, watchmakers are taking design and technology to a new level. Some of these high tech ideas could eventually be used on medical devices, household devices, or who knows what else. Who knows? This is human – to push, explore and learn and then ask new questions. This, my friends, is the essence of the human spirit. And owning a high tech mechanical timepiece is just one small way of enjoying the journey.