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Why I Purchased Bruce Lee’s Watch

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

There’s rather a lot you may speculate about Bruce Lee from his selection of Seiko: Ferrell factors out that the 6139 was removed from an affordable watch—it will’ve retailed for round $200 within the early ‘70s, roughly the identical value as a Rolex Submariner in that period. Eschewing typical Western standing symbols in favor of a timepiece designed and constructed fully in Asia, then, would possibly’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 People are chasing the 6139-6010 at this time.

“We really 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 observe in anybody’s footsteps. What takes him to a different stage of icondom, very similar to Muhammad Ali, is that he was the total package deal: a cinematic hero, a philosophical hero, a mode hero. And rising up, I wished to mimic him in each attainable method.”

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

For Ronny Chieng, sporting his Seiko onstage is a method to channel a few of that power in a touch subtler method than “frickin’ dressing like Kill Invoice,” he joked. “It actually offers me an additional swagger,” Chieng says. “It jogs my memory of Bruce Lee’s battle to precise 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 individuals—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, actually, to the bracelet Ferrell had sourced for Daniel Dae Kim. For the primary time in my life, I understood the enchantment of sporting a critical timepiece: the load of it, the exact engineering, that stark however hanging dial. It snaps all of my seems sharply into focus—my matches immediately really feel a contact extra thought-about, 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 a bit taller and really feel a bit 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 finest.

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