A Discussion on Mycroft’s Psychosis:
When Intervention Is Indicated…

Posted by Mycroft on December 30, 1997 at 20:01:45:

In many of the things we do, and the hobbies and interests (such as watches and horology) we have, there is always a very thin line between appreciating a subject to crossing over to that of obsession. I am writing this discussion in a forum whose participants would field the whole spectrum from one end to another when it comes to watches. See if you can identify yourself in some of these descriptions below.

This maybe, I believe one of the first consolidated descriptions of a syndrome that I shall name Mycroft’s Psychosis for obvious reasons. A
PSYCHOSIS is defined as “Any major mental disorder of organic and/or emotional origin
characterized by derangement of the personality and loss of contact with reality, often with delusions, hallucinations or illusions.”

We shall begin with a typical patient’s profile before going into categorizing
the major and minor symptom criteria that would help with diagnosis.

Patient Profile

  • Sex: most often male
  • Age distribution: usually adult onset, although there are those cases who begin when young and remain latent till triggered at an older age.
  • Incidence: hard to tell, because very often these look like otherwise normal humans. Many go underground and harbor an occult (hidden) following.


The symptomatology of this disease is very complex because it embraces a combination of 3 other more commonly seen conditions. These include:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis
  • Bipolar (manic-depressive) Disorder
  • Substance Dependence

Often the cases can be classified into mild, moderate, severe and a fourth, extremist/fanatical groups. Some of the
symptoms may be identified by answering a simple questionnaire and scoring the result. These questions are arranged to show the order of severity (mild to fanatical):


  • Do you think about watches constantly, even at inappropriate times?
  • Do you constantly search for any material you can get your hands on watches to read, researching your
    favorite watches to the neglect of your friends, relatives and loved ones?
  • Are you constantly on the internet at Timezone.com or Watchnet.com reading every last post and raking up an enormous bill?
  • Do you often buy watches whenever you can, depleting your finances to get that special watch you lust for?
  • Do you hoard your watches and lie to your spouse and family, hiding the true number of watches that you own?
  • Are you able to justify to yourself giving transparently superficial reasons why you need another watch?
  • Do you minimize your symptoms, telling yourself that you can stop this at anytime and deny that there is a problem?
  • The average number of times that a normally adjusted person glances at his watch a day is about 5-6 times, it is considered within normal limits below 10 times. Do you constantly glance at your watch even if you don’t need to know the time, just to admire your watch or its face?
  • Are you or have you lost friends because your conversation centers around watches and horology to the exclusion of all else, thus boring them to death? Are your “non-watch related friends” avoiding you?
  • When introduced to a person, do you first glance to see what watch he/she is wearing even before you look at his/her face?

Special Questions to Identify the More Severe Cases

  • Do you engage in watch stalking activities?
  • Have you started to disguise yourself so that your favorite watch retailer doesn’t start recognizing your malady, and start charging you rent for almost living in his shop?
  • Have you started naming your offspring and pets by names such as Audemars or Patek? Or have you changed your own name to these?
  • When you have insomnia, do you count your watch ticks in order to try to sleep? Do you then fall asleep only to the ticks of Lange or Patek
  • Do you flick your watch-arm just to hear the delicious sound of your watch winding? Some will make a ballistic movement called hemi-ballismus, while others use a more graceful arc giving a choreiform (dance-like) movement.
  • Do you have panic attacks or harbor irrational Separation Fears of losing your watch?
  • Do you still have flashbacks, dreams, cold-sweats and hallucinations from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of the near-death experience of losing your
    first watch?
  • Do you harbor a secret wish of having your favorite watch surgically implanted into your wrist so that you would never be without it?
  • Are you exploring the possibility of having a direct high-speed fibre-optic link to the Timezone server?

Many of these symptoms are culled from a life-time of observation in the afflicted such as myself. I am posting this so that there will be a greater awareness and identification of the problem, then you can decide what you want to do with it and how to proceed. Like Alcoholism, another form of substance abuse/dependence with similar characteristics, denial of the symptoms and problems is a critical feature.

I leave you with just these thoughts and invite your comments on any mistakes of omission or commission. Lastly, its the end of the year if you have any resolutions, and please do not take this too seriously!