So, we’ve talked about where wearing a watch beats checking a cell phone; now we’re going to talk about why rocking a timepiece on your wrist is the superior choice, for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with knowing the time

1. A WATCH PROJECTS AN IMAGE OF WHO YOU ARE.

Imagine you’re meeting a group of people for the first time, and one of them is wearing this Greubel Forsey GMT Earth…

Greubel Forsey GMT Earth

… another arrives wearing this Eberhard Chrono 4 Full Injection Chronograph…

 

… and the third person is sporting this Grand Seiko Caliber 9F…

Grand Seiko Caliber 9F SBGT241 - soldier

As a watch lover, you are going to form some different opinions about what each of these people are like, aren’t you?  That is because each watch choice gives you silent clues as to what what each is like personality-wise (and, let’s face it, income-wise) and what he or she wants from his or her watch.

Now imagine none of them are wearing watches, but they all pull out their cell phones to check the time. That doesn’t tell you much, right? But if they are wearing these beauties, you’ll at least know for sure that all of them have really great taste in watches… which leads to our second point.

2. WATCHES ARE GREAT CONVERSATION STARTERS.

If you see one of these high-jewelry pieces slithering out in the wild on the dance floor, at a wedding reception or in a night club, you can break the ice with  “I love your Bulgari Serpenti; where did you get it?”

I’m going to guess an opening line like that will make a better first impression than any of the old cheesy standbys (“Heaven just called, they want me to bring you back home, Angel,” is pretty played out, after all). Seriously, I have bonded with a new dentist over his love of all things Oris…Oris GMT Rega Limited Edition

… with my bankers, who sport a Baume & Mercier and a TAG Heuer…Baume & Mercier Baumatic

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300m

… with a nurse about how she used the features on her Casio G-Shock to help with her duties…

Casio G-Shock GDX6900

… and with my friend’s new father-in-law at a wedding when I found out he collects Rolexes.

Vintage Rolex Milgauss

A simple “That is a great looking watch; what is it?” can get a new friendship off on the right foot and lead to a great back-and-forth conversation. On the other hand, “So you’re an iPhone guy, huh? Me, I like Android” has never really led to the kind of talk I enjoy, but maybe you’ve had better luck than I.

3. WATCHES MAKE GREAT GIFTS.

Buy your daughter this Cartier for her graduation and you’ll see her wearing it for many years to come — and maybe your granddaughter too one day…Cartier Baignoire Debordante

Give her a cell phone and she’ll be upgrading your gift in two months’ time or less.

4. YOU CAN PASS YOUR WATCHES ON TO YOUR HEIRS.

Think of it this way: when your time comes, and may that be a very long time from now, do you want the reading of the will to include, “and his cherished collection of Omega Speedmasters goes to his sole surviving heir…”Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 - soldier

… or do you think your beneficiaries would rather hear, “He leaves his iPhone 6s with 16GB from 2010 to…”?

5. WATCHES ARE MUCH HARDER TO LOSE OR BREAK THAN CELL PHONES.

Put a sturdy diver like this UTS on your wrist…

… and you can fling yourself into the ocean depths, crash through the obstacles in a Spartan Race, or simply jump in the pool after flipping the burgers with no worries, and you won’t need to constantly check your pockets to make sure your watch is still with you.

I’ve found at least four cell phones so far — on my train, in a cab, on the street and at a restaurant, but I’ve never had to turn in any Breguets or Patek Philippes at the New Jersey Transit Lost and Found.

Breguet Tourbillon
Patek Philippe Ref. 7150 - soldier

(And no, that is not because I kept them after finding them.)

I have seen cell phones dropped into rivers and flung by accident while trying to shoo away a bee. I have run to get a bag of rice when a co-worker toileted their work phone and watched my nephew’s phone fly out of his pocket on a looping roller coaster.

Yet I’ve never seen one person’s well-clasped watch spinning helplessly to its doom before my very eyes.Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon phase Retrograde Date - Clasp

6. WATCHES DISPLAY ARTISTRY.

You can lose yourself gazing into the craftmanship and beauty of a lovely watch like this Bovet Recital 22 Grand Récital…

… or staring again and again at this Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar — not to check if the date has suddenly changed but simply to enjoy the tradition and precision engineering it represents.

Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar - soldier

But do you ever think to yourself, ” I think I’ll pull my phone from my pocket just to stare at the lush details and skill displayed by the assembly line worker who oversaw the stamping of it?” The only thing unique about cell phones are their screen-crack patterns, I’m told no two are alike, just like snowflakes and fingerprints.

A bonus is that you might find other watch lovers staring at the artistry on your wrist but you won’t often see someone trying to get a better look at your smartphone — unless, that is their trying to glom your personal information for identity theft.

7. WATCHES OFFER YOU DAILY VARIETY.

Some lucky collectors with a big “snack budgets” wake up and start the day deciding which of their watches will go best with that day’s outfit or plans.

Wolf 1834 Cabinet Watch Winder

I have yet to hear anyone claim he couldn’t decide which of his cell phone collection would be best to carry to the board meeting or charity gala. “Should I go with the Space Grey 6S or maybe my Lilac Purple S9 today?”

8. WATCH COLLECTING PROMOTES FELLOWSHIP.

I have personally witnessed lifelong friendships develop over the love of watches at our WatchTime New York Events and on our Swiss & German Watchmaking Readers’ Tours.

At our events, watch lovers come together, share their stories, compare their collections, debate the merits of the new models and maybe even buy their grail watch.  On the tours, our guests travel together for a week, seeing firsthand all the skill, craftsmanship, and tradition that makes the premier brands in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and America so special and unique.

I suppose this might happen among diehard smartphone fans, but having never been invited to any phone-collector gatherings thus far, couldn’t say for sure.

9. WATCHES SOMETIMES RISE IN VALUE; CELL PHONES, NOT SO MUCH.

As a WatchTime reader, you will have seen our extensive coverage of rare or historically significant watches that have come up for auction and sold for impressive amounts.

Philips Geneva Auction - Rolex

I don’t recall ever seeing the auction coverage on Paul Newman’s flip phone, but I may have missed it.  Does anyone know what the winning bid was?

10. THERE ARE NO HIDDEN CHARGES WHEN YOU USE YOUR WATCH.

Glance at your watch to see the time, admire the artistry, or simply to watch the hands revolve all day long…

Jaquet Droz Charming Bird

…or admire the movement behind a lovely display caseback for hours at a time…

… or roam the world with a GMT indication.

All of that fun and functionality comes with no crushing monthly data plan charges, overseas roaming fees, surprise data overage costs, unused insurance costs, or inexplicable carrier fees and taxes. Oh and you don’t need to worry that your kid is using up all your shared watch-staring time, or buying things off Amazon with your watch without telling you.

11. USING A WATCH IS NOT ANNOYING TO OTHERS.

I have never had to dodge a person charging at me on the sidewalks while setting their watch, or stopping dead in front of me on my way down to the subway to check and tap away at their chronograph pushers.  I’ve never wanted to strangle a person for spoiling a movie by holding up his brightly glowing watch in the front row of a dark theater to record the show. I’ve never had to warn somebody not to back up any more or they’d fall off the 30-foot-high viewing platform at an indoor rock climbing gym while trying to angle their watch to photograph their face better. Nobody’s watch has ever charmed constantly next to me on the train, and no one has screamed loudly into his watch for an entire ride.  Nobody has ever spammed or tried to scam me via email on my watches. I’ve never watched a person walk in front of my car against a red light and then flip me off when I screeched to a halt, saving their life because they were so engrossed in admiring the guilloché on their dial. All of the above, on the other hand, have happened to me with people texting, pirating, selfie-ing, screeching to be heard above the train noise, spamming and scamming (recently in Chinese, I might add) and being so hypnotized by the blue glow that they endanger themselves.

Please feel free to add your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.

 



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