Iron Skillet Love,”Patina”, and Emotional Connection

A few years ago we discovered the charm of cooking in an iron skillet, and I wanted to share the following photo of the after-effects of last night’s filet mignon — sautéed garlic and onions left behind.

Iron Skillet after Filet

I love the concept of “seasoning” an iron skillet — the idea that after cleaning it, one should dry it (using heat), and then spray it with an oil (we use olive oil). This of course makes the pan one’s own, which is an almost romantic notion if you love cooking.

This reminds me of the concept of “patina” in the vintage watch world. Over the course of decades, a watch dial will often change color, as can be seen in this comparison of a new Rolex GMT versus an older version.

Rolex GMT with patina vs new

The dial on the right has a brown tint, which watch obsessives refer to as “tropical” (as in “tropical dial”) and this feature actually increases the perceived value of the watch for many enthusiasts.

The mark of time certainly has an effect on the human psyche, especially when the object reflects in physical ways its interaction with the person (such as our iron skillet), and seems to facilitate an emotional attachment.

In recent years, some watch makers have chosen bronze as a metal for the express purpose of allowing a patina to develop in a much shorter time (months versus decades).

Here is a nice shot of Oris watches with some patina on the bronze case on the left.

Oris Bronze


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