Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Rosemary Simon writes about the Vestal Datamat calculator watch.
I think I suffer from some kind of dissociative trance when it comes to telling time. No matter how many times I check the hours or minutes throughout the day, I never actually absorb what time it is. It's a stressful step and repeat process: check the time, remove it from my memory attoseconds later, check the time again, stare down a tunnel, forget why I checked the time in the first place, feel the watch battery wearing on my pulse and so on. Needless to say, I'm never on time, highly distractible and kind of a turkey-brain, split off from normal human consciousness.
This probably explains why the only watches I've ever owned have always been multifunctional devices aimed at those desiring more than simple time measurement. I've owned a ton of "special feature" watches (aka toys) in my day. There was the flip-top lip gloss watch in first grade (the face of the watch flipped up to reveal a pot of cherry lip balm underneath), the FM radio watch in fifth grade (I could plug in headphones and run them under my sleeve to listen to music), the remote control watch (the bane of every middle school substitute teacher), and of course, every nerd's companion, the calculator watch.
I've gone through many generations of the calculator watch, but Vestal has come out with a sweet new version of the ol' classic that has swifter operational features. The soft, nimble buttons make typing out numbers much easier than it used to be, and the new watch also has a relatively small faceplate, which is nice when you are a tiny person strapped with a giant data center. Now I can calculate how much money Francis Farewell Starlite spends a month on his hair or the optimum time to start a conversation on a park bench with merely the flick or a wrist. If only someone would make a watch that could take photos, make phonecalls, and type emails or something with a soundboard that meowed like a cat, my watch collection and mindspace might just be complete. Who needs watches to tell time anyway!