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Watch the Time

Value a watch not for what it tells you but for what it says about you

Washington Redskins fullback Darrel Young and his silver Ball Orbital will be at the watch event Friday evening.

What’s the value of time?    
    Told time, that is — not the priceless sort that keeps slipping into the past, flinging you into the future.
    When every cell phone tells the time and more, who needs a watch, let alone a fine watch that costs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars?
    That was my question to Steve Hammalian, who is throwing a seminar on the who’s, what’s, how’s of watches at his Little Treasury Jewelers in Gambrills November 4 and 5.
    The answer, Hammalian said, “is not about time.”
    “It’s really an expression of taste and individuality. Men who love fine mechanical art — fine cars, guns, fly reels — are going to love watches.” Said Hammalain, whose late-life fascination with fine watches has earned the local store renown in the international world of fine watch-making, wearing and selling.
    What’s more, said Hammalain, “a fine watch can be worn every day. They are almost the only distinctive adornment men can wear in normal life — beyond their clothes.”
    We are not talking about watches you buy in drug stores or truck stops. Nor even about Rolexes.
    We’re talking about “post-mass market luxury watches,” Hammalian said. Fine watches are what connoisseurs think about “after they’ve gotten over Rolex or Tag Heuer or Breitling and start getting discerning.”
    The watches at Little Treasury are limited edition works of art, mechanical wonders with sapphire crystals and exhibition backs so you can admire the decoratively engraved Swiss movements inside.
    They are seldom diamond encrusted.

Miss Maryland Carlie Colella will be on hand Saturday to receive a Ball Lady Conductor.

    “Mostly we sell watches that don’t emphasize the bling,” Hammalian said.
    Quietly elegant historic timepieces like Ball watches are what you’ll see here. In 1891, Webb C. Ball of Cleveland made Americans on the ball, meaning as accurate as the trains that ran to a nationwide schedule synchronized by his pocket watches.
    Washington Redskins fullback Darrel Young wears a Ball watch. You can meet him and see his silver Ball Orbital Friday evening. On Saturday, you can meet Carlie Colella, Miss Maryland 2011, who’ll be taking possession of a Ball Lady Conductor timepiece, proving that women, too, can appreciate fine watches.
    Ball Watch president Jeffrey Hess is coming and may have just the watch for you.
    Unless you prefer a Perrelet watch from the world’s oldest watchmaker, around since 1777. The Swiss watchmaker’s modern specialty, Hammalian said, is “highly complicated dress watches” that tell not only time but also the phases of the moon.
    Michael Goldstein, president of Perrelet USA, will be on hand to show you Perrelet’s Turbine, which Hammalian described as a “very modern watch with a rotating American flag on the dial, spinning on a flickering red and white background.”
    Or you might be better served with a fine British Bremont watch, made to endure the stresses of extreme flight and worn by the U2 surveillance squadron. The first of the PF1 — made from skin of the 1944 P51 Mustang fighter plane in an edition of 250 — awaits you at Little Treasury.
    As does the official Pride of Baltimore watch, created in a limited edition of 100 by Towson Watch Company right here in Maryland. Towson principals Hartwig Balke and George Thomas are coming, too.

Refreshments and door prizes, Friday, Nov. 4, noon-8pm and Saturday, Nov. 5, 10am-5pm, 2506 New Market Ln., Gambrills: 410-721-7100; www.littletreasury.com.