It's comforting to have your prejudices reinforced. For years I've followed the belief that the flashier the watch, the more worthless the man. News that Madoff has attempted to thwart liquidators by smuggling his bling out to his family has just confirmed me in my belief. The FT reports gold and diamond encrusted Cartier and Tiffany watches amongst other tat.
Me? I've worn only one watch for the past eight years. It cost then, and still costs, less than £20. It needs a new battery every four years or so, and because it only gains about a minute a year, a twice-yearly adjustment when the clocks change keep it as accurate as anything costing a hundred times more. It's been covered in cement, antifouling, sea water many times, and has been knocked, cracked, struck and dropped times beyond count. It's easily readable in poor light and is as valuable a sea-watch as one can find. It's made out of plastic and was designed, of course, by the Americans. MWC, who made it, have just manufactured another batch and even though the original shows no sign of flagging I'm about to order another two; even in the worst circumstances, these will see me out until they coffin me.
So before you entrust your life savings to a plausible investor, take a good look at his watch.