By Jon Gaffney
on 1.6.10

buckle_rec_plAs with most things I end up stuck on, I did not go looking for this particular piece or expect it to sing me a siren song. While searching on eBay for an engine turned belt buckle over Thanksgiving I stumbled onto a very unique belt buckle from Hayes Silver. In addition to wanting something very few others possess, I was as enamored with the story behind the Hayes Aspen Belt Buckle.

Hayes Silver is located in Aspen, CO and founded by Jim Hayes. In 1949, he moved to Aspen as a ski bum and started silversmithing. By 1950, he was creating the distinctive Aspen leaf design belt buckles that would come to be his signature piece, and a cult item apparently to Aspenites. Their construction is such that they’ll outlast you, me, and maybe probably my future kids. That construction comes at a heavy price of upwards of a grand. All those factors had me bidding like a fiend to acquire this rarity that retails for more than my rent and dreaming of having the Brothers Bray create a suitably unique belt to pair it with. In the end, after fending off numerous, “Why do you keep checking the computer?” queries from the wife and in-laws, I got sniped by one dollar with under a minute to go…brutal. Now I am left with a burning desire for this unique buckle, but with less explaining to my wife come credit card statement time. Until I’m rich I’ll keep hoping another one comes up for auction… I shant lose again.

Cost: $1,000-$1,500

The Fixation is a new series of posts focused on… well, fixations. Unlike our regular posting schedule, yet much like the fixations that have laid victim to many-a-coveting, lusting men, these posts will come without measured planning (though we’ll aim for a weekly basis). There is no true rhyme or reason behind the uncontrollable yearning of a man’s fixation; a moment that flirts with the dangerous line of ruined caution as he makes an innocent trip to get coffee and returns having acquired a three paycheck timepiece*, or “accidentally” having purchased a vehicle on eBay*, or in a moment of slightly drunken stupor, stumbled out of an Apple Store with bags full of kit*. No, the products you’ll see in this series are not traditional Gear Patrol faire per se, but rather, the documented evidence of an illogical, nonsensical want. We are men after all, and what are without the occasional flaw?

* – for the record, these incidents have actually happened to GP writers who will remain nameless.

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