Pawn Shop Horology:
A Unique Fossil Watch & Victorinox Chronograph
By: Aaron Clements
Part 1: A Player Parts and A Collector Gains
One thing me and my father have in common is that we both really enjoy scoping out pawn shops for some good deals, and living in Lincoln, Nebraska there Is a strong influence from college football and college life in general. So you’ll often find some neat stuff that some college kid pawned off to pay for rent or groceries. Among the many things you find, watches fill most the pawn shops around town.
One such instance was a while ago in the heart of downtown Lincoln at a pawn shop I frequent near the University. We’ll call this place “Ultimate Pawn Shop.” I wanted to see what kind of gems (or trash) the kids were selling these days. My father was also in town visiting so I mentioned the “Ultimate Pawn Shop” and told him about all the stuff that ends up there. My dad thought it would be fun and without missing a beat we were heading over together.
We open the door and the first thing that catches my eye is the massive oval shaped jewelry counter in the center of the store. I walk over to the display, but my father gets side-tracked looking at the coins. Being a coin collector, that’s what he usually looks for. While I’m standing there, drooling over all of the watches they have in the case, my dad eventually walks up behind me and starts to look as well. He points out this one watch sitting in the back in a dimly lit, overlooked corner of the case.
Right off the bat I can see that it’s a Fossil watch; it has an awesome steel bracelet with green rubber coated center links. But what really hooks me is the dial, which is stamped with the “Music City Bowl” logo. The watch is still in the original plastic and everything is in perfect condition. The band had also never been sized, so it had all the original links and everything. Fossil made a limited run of these watches specifically for the players on each team in the Music City Bowl. It is also ONLY given to players and none are distributed to fans or the general public.
I quickly realize that the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers played in the Music City Bowl in December of 2016. With this shop being close to campus, it seems like one of the players went and pawned it off for some quick cash. I asked one of the gentlemen behind the counter if I could look at it.
As I’m holding the watch, my dad is next to me, just as excited about it as I am. So I finish drooling over it and remember that I basically have no money in my pocket. At that point I didn’t bother asking the price thinking they would have it marked way up given the back story. I decide to give it back to the gentleman. He returns the Music City Bowl Fossil watch back to its dark, forgotten corner of the jewelry case. I go on my way walking around the rest of the store and letting the realization sink in that I had just missed out on this amazing watch.
I then notice my dad is over at the counter checking out, so I walk up to see what coin he’s buying or what little thing he found. I then see that it was The Watch – The Music City Bowl Fossil Watch. He turned to me and says “They only wanted $100 for it and I couldn’t see you pass that up. Happy early Birthday.” I still go to the “Ultimate Pawn Shop” every now and then, but haven’t seen anything as cool as that watch to this day.
This is one of the watches that will always have a spot in my case and to this day has not been sized or worn for the sake of keeping it nice. The story behind this Fossil watch is enough to make me smile every time i look at it, and who knows maybe someday I’ll decide that it has more sentimental value that monetary and size it to wear.
Part 2: Technology and Horology
Before I tell you how I went into a pawn shop (which I’ll call “A+ Pawn”) without any money and left with a Victorinox panda chronograph and $1.50 in my pocket, there’s a little back story.
I have been looking to add a panda dial chronograph to my collection for a few years now, but I could never find The One. I wanted something that really popped, and that wasn’t a cheap fashion watch. The One needed to be a high quality (preferably Swiss Made) watch that would stay in rotation for a long time to come. I had also been playing around with the idea of finding an additional piece that would be a nice racing watch, but I hadn’t put in as much effort to look for that one yet. Who knew that I would find both in the same watch.
On my way to and from work I pass “A+ Pawn” shop with the words “Fine Jewelry” on the outside. One day I actually get out of work early and had some time to kill. So I decide to stop in and see what “A+ Pawn” has to offer. I’m not super impressed when walking in the door, but as soon as I walk over to the jewelry counter I see It. Staring back at me was a Victorinox 241495 Panda Chronograph. It was love at first sight with its Swiss made heritage, 1\10 second, 60 second, and 30 minute subdials with a little date window at 6 o’clock and a Tachymeter bezel. The beautiful stainless steel bracelet with polished center links and a sturdy butterfly clasp, paired with the unmatched Swiss design of the panda dial and the power house Swiss ETA movement.
This watch represented the end of almost a year of researching and searching for the perfect watch to fill the spot – coming to an end in this random pawn shop I see literally every day. As I stand there probably looking like a complete idiot to the clerk who was helping me, I just knew that I needed to own this watch. Everything was perfect and this was more than I thought I would ever find in a pawn shop. Not to mention the Victorinox came with the original boxes and all the paperwork. This was The One. The only downside was that it was priced at $479.95. I didn’t have any money on me cause I don’t take a lot of cash to work.
So I asked the woman working if I could look at it anyway. As I inspected the chronograph she leaned in and said “You know, that thing has been here for so long I’ll take $200 off if you take it today.” And then it hit me: I had my old laptop out in my car and was in the process of trying to sell it. I asked the woman if she would make a trade. Cut to 15 minutes later as she hands me the Victorinox 241495 Panda Chronograph in its original box with papers… plus $1.50 cash – thanking me for my business.
For those wondering they had it priced at $479.99 and she knocked it down to $212, which the laptop trade-in covered. So basically I traded an old laptop I didn’t use for a watch that filled all of the parameters I was looking for, and I also had some money to get a burger afterwards!