I abide by the wisdom that all a man needs are three good things: a good watch, a good pen, and a good pair of shoes.
All the rest--clothes, cars, gadgets--are superfluous possessions, unnecessary. These things everybody has. But your choice of watch, pen, and shoes--they individualize you: they say something about your taste, what you want, and if you mean business. And they're the small stuff, too. They can go unnoticed while cars and other men's toys are always seen precisely because they are meant to be seen.
A bold, thick signature from a strong fountain pen says you know what you are doing.
Your shoes tell you where you have been to and where you are going.
A good watch simply means that you let yourself enjoy some luxury from time to time (no pun intended).
Now of course these are only material possessions. They really do not say anything essential about a man, his mind and his heart. And I agree. So let's get that out of the way.
But that's also part of the fun. You know they mean nothing and that you can easily lose or give them away. (You should only own things you are willing to lose.) I like hiding behind things and appearances. Strangers and acquaintances judge me to be your usual materialistic young man. I like surprising them.
The irony is that I rarely bring my fountain pen with me because I fear I may lose it. (Happened to me already.) I also end up in sneakers because I do not have too many formal parties and events to attend. I also usually use my good watches only on weekends because wearing them in school kind of doesn't make sense for me. Which sounds sad, isn't it?
But precisely so. Because it's not about them being seen. It's about feeling good about a few beautiful objects. More than the luxury or the brand, what matters is you know you have things you find beautiful. And I like beautiful things. From beautiful lines or photographs to beautiful watches and pens.
What separates us from beasts is that we admire and create according to the standards of beauty. The day we make do with what could be more beautiful is the day we, well, feel less beautiful.