.“What, that one?” I asked leaning down to get a closer look.
“Yes,” Ibrahim replied.
I straightened up to take in the store. We were standing in the high-end watch outlet tucked away behind the security gates, passports controls and baguette shops of Heathrow. This outlet often grabbed my attention when I passed through UK airports on my way to a business meeting somewhere and on this occasion we had been drawn by the bright open door. While perusing Ibrahim had offered to show me his “grail” watch. A grail watch is the name for the one watch you would buy if money was no object. His choice was a mind-meltingly expensive Hublot. It sat proudly in a clear glass case near the back of the store.
“It’s titanium,” Ibrahim said.
“And yet is shines in the light,” I remarked.
Indeed it did though some alchemical flooding of light into the case from an unseen source. The almost black grey of the strap led up to a case of dark angles where the light was somehow simultaneously absorbed and reflected. Only once one reached the face did the effect hit you properly; the skeletal structure, a common feature on Hublot watches, pulled the focus of the eyes into the dial, searching through it for the bottom and the movement. This created an optical effect where the hands seemed to float on top. Combined with the eye’s journey up the strap and body, the effect of the face was to dazzle where it should repulse. It was, after all, a mishmash of a layout. A photo of the watch would be easy to dismiss as foppish and crass, but in person it was dominating and on the wrist would lurk in the shadows of the shirt sleeves, pulling the gaze of onlookers like the galactic black hole it resembled. It was the sort of watch Batman would wear.
“It’s incredible,” I assured Ibrahim, “but… do you think you could pull it off?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’d have to upgrade everything else to fit it. You couldn’t wear it with anything but a handmade suit”.
“This is a hand made suit,” he said making a gesture with his arms and a little annoyed.
I smiled conciliatorily by way of apology. Well, that just goes to show, I thought, if someone who loves men’s business fashion couldn’t tell a handmade suit when they saw one then perhaps the watch is all that is left to signify a man of taste these days? Or perhaps I needed more coffee.
Ibrahim continued, “I want to buy it with my first bonus cheque, to represent myself as a salesman.”
“Why not get a Rolex?” I asked, nodding at a nearby glass case, “that’s the traditional watch of sales success”
“Bah, everyone has a Rolex,” he said with a dismissive hand gesture, “but this,” and his eyes glinted brightly as he peered into the case and the magical lighting caught them, “this is unique and different. No one will have one of these”. And then he smiled like Thorin beholding the Arkenstone.