Watch Snobbery... Just Say No!
I have talked a lot in previous blogs about watch snobbery and why it’s important to avoid it. Watch snobbery can not only have negative impact on your collection but it also severely limits the experience you can get out of this wonderful hobby.
When we talk about watch collecting most people automatically assume that it’s all about the expensive, hard to acquire pieces. I have experienced this first hand when I have spoken to people about watches and my own collection. There’s this assumption that my office is filled with high end pieces from Rolex, Omega and Breitling and I think people are surprised when I tell them I actually own more G-Shocks than Swiss pieces.
And it isn’t uncommon for a few people to lose interest and walk away once they hear this. They assume that if I don’t have an extensive collection of the finest Swiss pieces then it isn’t worth talking about. I never try and persuade them otherwise as I feel by walking away they aren’t real watch people anyway…. They are brand people and this is an important distinction.
The luxury watch industry, while popular, is just a small segment of a much larger and much more interesting community. It’s only so popular because of great marketing from big brands and celebrity endorsements, but there is so much more on offer when it comes to watches and watch collecting.
In a previous blog I highlighted just a few different options when it comes to watch collecting (check it out here) but it’s a great example of what else is out there rather than focussing on luxury watches and big brands.
Personally, I find watch snobbery counterintuitive. In my opinion, you can’t call, yourself a watch enthusiast while turning your head up at the other 70% of the market (not a real statistic) and, like I said before, if you find yourself doing so it’s not because you value higher end watches, it’s because you value higher end brands. But you should ask yourself, where does that value come from?
Are you someone who appreciates the time, effort, research and development that has gone into making a watch? Or do you base your assumptions on the history and power of a brand. But even this is can be tricky. For example, Gucci certainly has a strong brand presence and commands high prices for its luxury goods. But Gucci is not well known in the watch community for pushing the boundaries of watch making. I personally wouldn’t be tuning in to Watches and Wonders to see the latest review of a Gucci watch. Yet the Gucci G-Timeless costs £2000!
For £400 less I could get a Longines Heritage Classic with a mechanical self-winding movement powered by the calibre L893, a silicone hairspring and 64-hour power reserve. In all honesty, I think you’d be better buying every colour variant of the new Seiko Alpinist… And you’ll still have change!
This just highlights the fine line we walk when we talk about “luxury”. It a massively loaded word and extremely subjective. And while I don’t want to keep going on about it, there are so many things out there, even outside of the watch world, which brand themselves as ‘luxury items’ which don’t offer any more than just a higher price point.
Even if you do have more of an interest in the “luxury” segment, it doesn’t mean you have to turn your nose up at less extravagant brands. It’s my belief that by doing so you are only doing yourself a disservice and ultimately missing out on some great brands, communities and conversations. A perfect example of this in watches is the Seiko 5. It is such a collectible item and I know plenty of people who have multiple variants of this particular watch in their collection, even Rolex owners! The watch is a perfect daily driver and can be tinkered with, modified and customised to your hearts content. Speaking with Seiko collectors their passion for the brand shines through and the best part about all of this is that the watches are around £200.
The same can be said for G-Shock collectors. My latest GA-2100 was £99 from Casio’s website and it has started more conversations than my Breitling Avenger ever has. And these are quote mainstream brands. Things can get really interesting when you start looking at micro brands, Kick Starters and vintage pieces.
Additionally, while watch snobbery can massively limit your own options and experiences with watches, it can also have a negative impact on other collectors. In my very first blog post I mentioned how I used to admire the watches in the window and displays of Argos and Elizabeth Duke. Being around 13 years old, £60 on any watch seemed like a big expense but there were some nice offerings to be had. I didn’t have the knowledge I have today but more importantly, I was a kid who was quite naive and easily influenced, so if someone would have made a negative comment about a watch I owned I certainly would have taken it to heart. It may have been enough to make me not wear a watch or accept the idea that, if I didn’t have thousands of pounds to spend, there was no point. My passion could have ended right there!
Thankfully this wasn’t the case for me but you never know who you’re going to meet and how your actions may influence others. If you are what I’d call “brand proud” that’s fine, but there’s a difference between enjoying high end brands and making others feeling rubbish for not having the same opinion as you.
And this is what it boils down to. Watch snobbery is simply an opinion. It’s a subjective view of what someone thinks is worth more, better quality or higher end. But all these things are subjective and we aren’t all going to agree on what makes something better or worth more! That’s the joy of watches, watch collecting and the watch community! The only thing watch snobbery does is stops a potential discussion, ends a potential debate and reduces the chances of meeting potential friends! Cheesy but true! Say no to watch snobbery!
Thanks for your time and see you in the next one!
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