Why I Purchased Bruce Lee’s Watch

Why I Bought Bruce Lee’s Watch

Bruce Lee throughout a press convention, September 1971.South China Morning Submit / Getty Photographs

There’s so much you possibly can speculate about Bruce Lee from his alternative of Seiko: Ferrell factors out that the 6139 was removed from an inexpensive watch—it will’ve retailed for round $200 within the early ‘70s, roughly the identical worth as a Rolex Submariner in that period. Eschewing typical Western standing symbols in favor of a timepiece designed and constructed fully in Asia, then, may’ve been a pointed assertion as Bruce struggled to realize traction as a number one man in Hollywood. There’s no query, although, why so many Asian Individuals are chasing the 6139-6010 at the moment.

“We actually solely had one individual,” says Will Yun Lee, whose father competed at martial arts tournaments alongside Bruce within the late ‘60s. “At the moment, Bruce was the one Asian determine courageous sufficient and daring sufficient to not comply with in anybody’s footsteps. What takes him to a different stage of icondom, very like Muhammad Ali, is that he was the total bundle: a cinematic hero, a philosophical hero, a method hero. And rising up, I needed to mimic him in each doable approach.”

Yang-Yi’s private Seiko 6139-6010 Automated ChronographCourtesy of Yang-Yi GohYang-Yi’s private Seiko 6139-6010 Automated ChronographCourtesy of Yang-Yi Goh

For Ronny Chieng, carrying his Seiko onstage is a method to channel a few of that vitality in a touch subtler approach than “frickin’ dressing like Kill Invoice,” he joked. “It actually provides me an additional swagger,” Chieng says. “It jogs my memory of Bruce Lee’s battle to specific himself authentically, which is the purpose of stand-up comedy. You need to get to the reality of the matter, specific your self unfiltered and truthfully, and convey pleasure to folks—which I feel is what he was attempting to do, too. That’s one thing anyone can take inspiration from. However then as a Chinese language individual in America? As a Chinese language artistic, a Chinese language performer in America? It’s an excessive amount of. It’s an excessive amount of. You simply put on it and also you get it.”

I do get it. Final autumn, I pulled the set off on a pristine Seiko 6139-6010 from Ferrell’s steady, full with a really comparable rally strap to Bruce’s personal—the back-up, the truth is, to the bracelet Ferrell had sourced for Daniel Dae Kim. For the primary time in my life, I understood the attraction of carrying a critical timepiece: the load of it, the exact engineering, that stark however hanging dial. It snaps all of my seems to be sharply into focus—my matches immediately really feel a contact extra thought of, extra completed, extra grown-up. At a time when being Asian in America has by no means felt extra fraught or sophisticated, that connection to Bruce Lee’s unwavering, unrelenting self-belief actually does give me a jolt each time I slip it on. I stand slightly taller and really feel slightly braver. It jogs my memory that I belong precisely the place I’m and that no person can inform me in any other case. I really feel highly effective. And it’s proof, above all, of that best of all truths: Mother all the time is aware of greatest.

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