“Daddy told me something that I don’t think is true, and I don’t think you will think it is true either,” my son said to his mother. “He said that he can’t be killed, and I know everything can be killed by something so… I think that makes me smarter than Daddy.” Well, I have been insisting to John that I’m immortal, ever since he expressed concern that I could die from random tornadoes during my various road trips. There was a solid month where all he talked about was the danger from tornadoes. I remember going through a tornado phase myself, brought on by an issue of National Geographic that showed photos for F1 through F4 tornadoes but a terrifying artist’s concept for the mighty F5.
John wasn’t satisfied by my assurances that I would avoid tornadoes. So I told him that even if I got caught up in one, I wouldn’t be killed; that I was, in fact, provably immortal, having survived many crashes and injuries and disasters in the past four decades. Naturally, I was lying and that’s more or less why I started wearing my IWC Ingenieur again.
A bit of background: In April of 2006, I participated in the AMG Challenge, a customer event for Mercedes and AMG owners as well as potential owners, at the request of a friend of mine who shall remain nameless because he bitched out and didn’t show up for the thing. Okay, okay, it was my old Pakistan Express teammate and friend Faisal, stop twisting my arm already! It wasn’t cheap ($1,750 as I recall) but it was a really neat opportunity to drive all the AMG cars at Autobahn Country Club, from the C55 to the SL65. There were about sixty participants of varying skill levels.
Part of the event was a timed autocross in the C55. I’m not much of an autocrosser by SCCA National standards but this particular course suited me exceptionally well and despite having to run the course early in the day when it was damp I beat everybody else and the instructors and Tommy Kendall himself. I then set the fast time in the CLK63 short-track thing and qualified on pole for the kart race. Some malcontent in the group then decided he’d had it up to here with my reign of terror and he punted me off-track in the first corner hard enough to rattle my small intestine.
Those things will happen. Still, at the end of the event Tommy Kendall handed me an IWC Ingenieur Titanium, courtesy of IWC and AMG. Insofar as the most expensive watch I’d owned up to that point was a $499 Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay purchased at a mall jewelry store, the prospect of wearing a $7,250 anything was enough to make me jittery. Sure enough, the second day I owned it I managed to ding the bezel on a metal doorjamb. Fearful that I’d break or seriously damage a watch that I’d never be willing to replace, I put the IWC back in the box and replaced it with two other watches: an Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow and an IWC Spitfire UTC. The stories behind those watches are also hugely interesting to me and probably nobody else, so we’ll leave it at that.
Earlier this month I was going through my miscellaneous-stuff stand next to the bed and I found myself opening the Ingenieur’s box. I took my Omega DeVille off and put the IWC on. For the last twenty days or so I’ve been wearing it constantly. I’m no longer worried about damaging or even losing it.
This is why: Eight years ago I was thirty-four. Eight years from now I’ll be fifty. Eight years after that? Who knows. Dead, probably, from heart disease or colon cancer or on-track incompetence or another sheet of ice hidden beneath another blanket of snow. I’m not really immortal. I’ve already packed a watch away for my son, the aforementioned Speedmaster. To no one’s surprise, the AMG Ingenieur is the one IWC Ingy that hasn’t retained much value; it was discontinued a few years ago. You can get them on eBay all day for $4,500 and that price will probably drop further as more people gravitate to the larger-diameter Big Ingenieur. The titanium construction isn’t very flashy and very few people want to spend that kind of money for a non-flashy watch.
Walking into my hotel during the PCOTY week I let my clumsy arm swing wide again into a metal doorway. Now there are two dings in the bezel. It’s alright. I should have never boxed it to begin with. From now on I’ll wear it and not care about damage or wear. Very few things are truly collectible and we live in an era where Switzerland is making five billion dollars’ worth of luxury watches a year even as the American standard of living heads for the cellar at warp eight. Like the man said:
And don’t worry, about tomorrow, hey, hey. In the long run, we’re all dead, right?