We have so many ways of telling time these days – smartphones, tablets, laptops, you name it – so much technology to give us a precise indication of exactly what time it is. So, who needs a watch on their wrist, right? Yet, for many men, the wristwatch continues to be bought, admired and desired.
The allure of a watch for some men is pronounced, more so even than a fancy car, a sharp suit or other accoutrement that signals good taste and an appreciation for the fine things in life. An expensive car can be tacky for some and an expensive suit look ill-fitting on some men, but a fine watch always looks good, always looks the part. And that can be an expensive watch or not, by the way. A well-chosen watch has the uncanny ability to make its wearer look more refined, more urbane, even more classy.
It has been said that men choose watches for four main reasons: as a talisman (almost a highly personal good luck charm); as a token (of wealth, of stature), as an emblem (of taste, of the good life, of success) and, finally, as a status symbol. A watch can say a lot about a man. And an expensive or very good watch can be highly aspirational, of course. For example, Digital Luxury Watch recorded how there was a 45% increase in consumer interest or the OMEGA Seamaster collection after the James Bond movie Skyfall in which Daniel Craig was seen wearing one. Worldwide, men scrambled to buy the watch as worn by 007 not only because the Seamaster is known to be a high-quality Swiss-made watch, but because of its aspirational significance. I wear, therefore I am. Not to mention a secret desire to be a smug British secret agent who likes his martinis shaken, not stirred.
There’s no denying that the world of horology can be highly intimidating for the uninitiated. It can indeed be a nerve-racking experience for the first-time buyer of a luxury watch, or any person not overly familiar with watchmaking for that matter. The fancy terms and cryptic language alone – words and terms like tourbillon, tonneau, cabochon, tachymeter, skeleton case, PVD – can make you feel like the dodo of the year. But it’s precisely because it is such an exclusive-sounding world with such exotic terms and such a rich history that so many men can’t help but be seduced into becoming watch enthusiasts, even junkies. Think of it as a secret club full of code words and fancy language – but also know that once you’re in, there’s no going back, because the world of the watch is beguiling, fun and with so much to learn, not to mention addictive.
If you love trivia and bits of cheeky, irreverent history, then the world of watches is perfect for you. For example, there have been watches made entirely out of ceramic, plastic and even wood, whilst Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, was wearing a watch as he famously walked on that alien surface – and it never stopped working up there in space. And have you noticed that watches, when displayed in shops, are often pre-set to show the time at 10:10? Why so? Simple, really – when displayed at that time the hands on the watch face resemble a smiley face. That in turn is said to subconsciously help raise the customer’s mood, which may subliminally encourage them to make a purchase. Imagine the rolling of eyes when you show off to friends and lovers with those titbits, huh?!
Some men wear a watch to be different. Some men wear it as part of their look or for a special event. What goes better with a tuxedo than a slim, simple watch with a leather strap, right? The great thing about a watch is it’s just about the one piece of jewellery that men can wear without in any way feeling less masculine or too ‘out there’. It also goes to something far more primal and far more instinctive for us, and that is our fascination with time. Time is both our biggest enemy and our most sincere friend. And the watch keeps us in step with time, as universal and relentless as it is. Time is also a constant and can even be soothing, and a watch is perfect companion to that. And, of course, a watch’s design and movement can be a thing of beauty that defines our aesthetic and presents technology that looks gorgeous and feels eternal.
We all know that a great watch does not always a classy man make. Tacky men and expensive watches gravitate to each other like magnetic poles. Not to mention those pretentious wannabes who flash their (usually oversized) watches in your face. Oh, the next time some pretentious twat lords it over you with his expensive Rolex watch, just tell him that there’s a Rolex you really, really have your eye on, namely the so-called Popeye Rolex, complete with Popeye’s bulging arms as the watch’s hands! Tackarama! Just watch with glee as that smug look melts to shock in three second flat! We all have our taste in men and the watches they wear. Some go for the suave metrosexual with his Cartier, whilst others may be drawn to the quirky guy who wears the gimmicky Mickey Mouse watch with plastic strap. Just watch yourself – the man and the watch you are drawn to may say a lot about you.