Sometime in the fall of 1995, over a quarter of a century ago, I got a cell phone from work. The same day, I took off my watch, tossed it in a drawer, and never wore it again. Why would I wear such a narrow thing on my wrist if you can also read the time on your phone? The watch now belongs to the same category as a phone case, cassette tape, or encyclopedia. Something outdated from previous times.
I still see myself walking into the jewelry store in the center by my mother’s hand. It must have been the day before my twelfth birthday, because a real men’s watch would have fit my dad at that age. After all, it’s only half a year and I’m going to high school. There sometimes you had free time on the menu, and there you also started one day later than the other. Then it was important to take the time with you.
My mother succumbed to my plea to buy a watch with an appointment. It was a little more expensive, but quite modern. It sounded agonizing ‘that it just wasn’t possible for me, that I always wanted something special’. But I was also a king. Gold-tone case and black leather strap. Elegantly packaged in a box, lined in beige velvet on the inside and lined with black imitation leather on the outside, I take home my new Lasita watch.
The name Lasita is engraved in my memory, because the watch was a serious gift. Much different from fire truck with extension ladder or leather football. To this day, I have had the impression that the Lasita was an Italian-made watch. But Wikipedia just woke me up. It is a Dutch brand, which has been marketed since 1954 by the Hochheimer Company of Amstelveen. The name is an acronym for the names of two girls.
Since 2018, Lasita has been owned by wholesaler Beers Wholesale from Heemskerk. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s now made in China by imprisoned Uyghurs. The cheapest price for Lasita is 19.95 euros, and the most expensive is 299 euros. Lasitas from the contemporary collection most similar to mine – dated 3 – are priced at $69.95. On Marktplaats I see an old revised version from the 1960s, asking for €139.
It takes a while to find my first watch. But I find my old Lasita in the midst of curiosity like a pin sent to me through my 25-year membership of the Dutch Journalists Association, a scoop-shaped tie pin, a City-Pier-City Race medal and cufflinks I got after opening a gallery in Louis Cobras Museum. There is no strap and the glass is completely scratched. There are also a few other watches, all insignificant, like the Velona: the home brand of the defunct V&D.
In the early 1990s, watches suddenly became a widespread fashion item. The digitization of watches has made production simpler and therefore much cheaper. Especially trendy plastic products from Swatch contributed to this trend: Swiss precision for little money. Just as people suddenly wore different glasses in different models and colors as accessories, it suddenly became one of the most natural things in the world to wear different watches every time.
Until everyone owns a cell phone. Nowadays, I don’t really know anyone in my area who still wears a watch. Few of them have a smartwatch, with which you can receive messages, measure your blood pressure and the number of steps you take. But if you’re only interested in time, the phone will do it; You can also set an alarm or a notification, if desired just as a vibrating signal. There is no longer any need to wear such a sweaty thing on your wrist.
But there seems to be an external class. Sausage with a Rolex, Patek Philippe or Jaeger-Lecoultre watch. These hours cost from 50,000 to 100,000 or even 500,000 euros. These are watches that wearers rarely look at, but wish others would look at. It’s hours that scream: Look at me being successful! genres such as Ali B, Lil Klein, and Gordon; Who immediately stole a precious gem.
Football millionaires also love to decorate themselves with expensive Batsrklocks. They combine very well with all those tattoos. Well, you have to do something with your money. And you not only wear such a watch that weighs a few tons is clearly visible, and you also do not display it heavily on Instagram. So it’s about waiting for the thieves to appear in your house. Rene van der Gibe, Eran Zahavi, Sergio Peña, Gabriel Magalhaes and Nicholas Otamendi can talk about it, as can now Ajax captain Dusan Tadic.
Of course, those stolen watches are eagerly sold in the criminal circle, because drug dealers, extortionists and pimps also derive their prestige from appearances. There is something pathetic about all this. No, it’s not that those watches were forcibly robbed – although that hurts, of course – but it’s still sad for people to think they have to show themselves that way. To derive your self-confidence from an hour worth of villa. And I’m sure all those sausages are a lot less happy with their watch than I was with Lasita at the time.