Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Watches, Tales And Sprouts

The last time I needed a new watch my intelligent and stylish European Mother said, “Oh, don't buy one. I have a nice watch!  I'll send it to you.”  A few weeks later, it arrived and, indeed, it was a very nice watch, just what I was looking for:  1) trim on my wrist; 2) with numbers, making time easy to tell; and 3) an appealing design.  The watch had a vivid blue, round face with bright red and yellow accents and a matching blue leather band.  There was only one drawback:  Plainly, it was a Superman watch.  But when I mentioned this to my mother, it became clear that she didn't know who the heck Superman was.  The conversation went something like this:

Mom (Sounding very pleased):  Did you get the watch?

Me (Puzzled):  Yes, it's a nice watch, but it's a Superman watch.

Mom (Without a hint of comprehension):  “No it isn't.”

Me (Even more puzzled):  “Yes, Mom, it is.”

Mom:  “No ... no it's not.”

And clearly she was getting annoyed, thinking she had sent me such a smart timepiece, only to hear me find fault with it, some defect she didn't understand.

Mom:  “It's not a Superman watch.  It's an Armitron watch!”

That's when it hit me how culture and conditioning shapes our ideas of attractiveness.  If you grow up in the United States and see a Superman logo, you instantly know you're looking at an “S” and a “shield.”  But if you grow up in a country without Superman, what you see is pretty, primary colors and an engaging design.  Your mind doesn't automatically make the connection with Superman.  My exchange with my Mom was fascinating.  I've been wearing the Superman watch for a couple of years now, and my Mom still looks at it and says, “Boy, that's a nice watch!”

This weekend, I finally bought another everyday watch.  I found it at an Earth Day fair, and it's for occasions when I can't sport a super hero.

My new watch is from a green company called, Sprout.  When I put it on, the first thing I notice is how light and comfortable it is.  There is a choice of six bright colors, and it comes in two sizes, big and small.  The watch is constructed of renewable materials.  The dial is made of bamboo; the case and buckle of hard corn resin; and the strap is a soft, organic cotton.  It also has precision quartz movement and a durable mineral crystal face with silver hands and black Arabic numbers.  It runs on a mercury free-battery and at $30 retail, it's a steal.  Plus, the watch comes with a bit of clever marketing.  The packaging converts into a mini grass garden.  After removing the watch, you'll find a small plot with seeds, that you slide into the box, water, then place in a window for a little greenery indoors.  Makes an adorable gift.

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What A Difference 100 Years Make
Celebrating Father's Day
Turning To The Web For Eyeglasses
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  1. LOL! being a mom, I can relate! Moms are like that....Just when we think we've done something really cool, we are bounced back to earth! I'm sure your watch is VERY collectible, though!

  2. HA! This is too funny!