This is why Buzz Aldrin wears three watches at onceLuke Benedictus
In 2021, Deloitte surveyed 5,558 international consumers on their watch-wearing habits. Of those polled, 23 per cent said they wore both smartwatches and conventional watches. Admittedly, there was no mention of whether these watches were paired together. But having multiple options means that decisions must be made and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of those respondents succumbed to the decidedly contentious habit of double-wristing.
It’s easy to understand why someone in this position might be tempted. You may have a deep attachment to that vintage Rolex that was passed down from your dad and that discreetly conveys your impeccable taste. Trouble is, your daily sense of achievement has somehow come to hinge on meeting your “activity goals” as decreed by your Apple Watch. Suddenly, you start to think that maybe craftmanship and connectivity shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Next thing you know, you’re wearing two watches at once.
There are certainly plenty of famous people who’ve gone in for double-wristing. Bill Murray bowled up for the Cannes Film Festival one year with an inexpensive Timex on his right wrist and a Cartier Tank on his left. Fidel Castro, Diego Maradona and Hunter S Thompson all went in for it, too. Meanwhile more recent dabblers include Billie Eilish, Chris Pratt and Drake.
Recently though Buzz Aldrin raised the stakes. The former astronaut and second person to walk on the Moon posted a photo recently that showed him enjoying a magnificent breakfast of steak and eggs while wearing three Omega timepieces. In the photo shared to Twitter, Aldrin is wearing the Skywalker X-33, the X-33 Marstimer Chronograph and the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Speedmaster. So what’s going on?
The standard explanation for double-wristing is that once voiced by “Stormin’” Norman Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War. The American general explained that, in order to keep track of two time zones, he wore a Rolex Day-Date set to Saudi Arabian time on his left wrist and a Seiko dive watch set to Eastern Standard Time on his right. Now this may sound ostensibly reasonable. After all, you don’t want to forget to factor in daylight savings while synchronising a ground invasion of Iraq. Then again, if visual efficiency is really your goal, GMT watches have existed since the 1950s and were purpose built to deliver two time zones on a single dial.
Aldrin, it turns out, has a rather more idiosyncratic reason for his horological threesome and it’s got nothing to do with international time zones. The 93-year-old explained: “You need an odd number in case there is a discrepancy so you can sort out which one is what.” And you can’t really argue with logic like that.