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Scan Day -- Cortina Donated to a Good Home

It is just past midnight, here in the eastern time zone of the US, and so far we have two Scan Day messages -- one about a newly-arrived jacket and the other about a newly-arrived camera. So maybe it's time for a story about a watch?

Let's start with the story, and then well show a couple of photos.

Several months ago, I received an e-mail message from an OnTheDash reader, which read in part as follows:

    ". . . I also would like to donate a Heuer Cortina to a good home. It is complete but in need of a few repairs. . . . I can send it to you and then it is your decision to keep it or distribute it elsewhere. I have never liked the shape of this watch and do not intend to ever use it again, so someone else should have it. At any rate I would wish to be an anonymous donor."
Amazing!! Here was someone who I knew only from an occasional e-mail; he had purchased this Cortina new, approximately 25 years ago; now he wanted to donate the watch to a "good home"!! Well, this particular home is rather old (built in 1932) and rather busy (with five kids), but in terms of the Heuer chronos, there would be plenty of them keep the Cortina company and all of them are treated well.

It turns out that there were only two conditions to my receiving this gift.

  • I agreed to keep the identity of the donor confidential.
  • I agreed that if I ever was ready to get rid of this Cortina, rather than selling it, I would give it to another good home.
Of course, I was thrilled to accept the watch on these terms, and my "anonymous donor" would not even allow me to pay for the shipping.

I had never actually seen a Cortina "in the metal", and as I waited to receive the watch, I made a decision: if I didn't really like the Cortina, I wouldn't keep it, just because it came to me at no cost. After all, to be in a "good home", the Cortina would need to be cherished and admired (and worn).

When the Cortina arrived, it was love at first sight. I tend to be a minimalist -- preferring markers to numerals, preferring a standard dial to one with a tachy scale, and preferring black and white to colors (most days). To my eye, the Cortina is one of Heuer's most beautiful designs. Simple, clean lines, with a couple of angles added for fun, and a sporty (and very comfortable) bracelet.

After I received the Cortina, I sent it away for an overhaul. It came back during the summer, and with that it takes its place as my favorite arrival of the summer of 2004.

Thanks again to my "anonymous donor". The Cortina seems to be adapting well to its new surroundings, with plenty of Heuers to keep it company when it's at home and plenty of wrist-time to get around town and enjoy some fresh air (and admiring glances).


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