When the wristwatch became popular a century or so ago, men may have gained convenience, but they lost one of their few means of fancy adornment: the pocket watch fob chain.
Even more tragically, they were also denied the ability to execute one of the most graceful movements in a gentleman’s repertoire: the elegant withdrawal of a pocket watch from a waistcoat.
Much like smoking a cigarette (another dying art, forgive the pun), taking one’s pocket watch in hand to glance at the hour forces the body into a proud, sophisticated pose. The chest swells forward, the chin is raised, the torso slightly profiled, the feet take the stance of a duelling swordsman—and, indeed, the movement of the arm also recalls the removal of a sabre from its sheath. It’s a fabulously flattering, super-suave stance. The act of looking at a wristwatch is rather oafish and clumsy in comparison.
In his great munificence, Richard Mille has restored these potent gifts to the male populace (or at least the small percentage of men possessing the wherewithal to purchase one of Mille’s timepieces). Launched a decade ago and now considered among Mille’s most iconic creations, the RM 020 Tourbillon pocket watch may allow its wearer to bust a thoroughly old-school move, but it is a very modern piece of machinery.