After all these years of frequenting the flea markets, auction dens, retailers, antique-collectors and of course, authorized dealers, now I’m in a somewhat fortunate position to make an effort dabbling into the area where opinions are as varied as the people who hold them.
While that doesn’t make me an expert hammering down the last words on the subject, it definitely helped me to get a grip on the specific aspects of watch collecting, if not granting me the core skill of reading the public psyche behind wearing watches. And with that meager know-how, I can say this much: Not everyone who wears an expensive watch is a self-aggrandizing wazoo! And the difference is as much as between a drunkard and an oenophile. This is about the sheer romance of owning a piece of time-tested innovation and a scientific work of art. It never stops to amaze.
It’s simply enraging when some of the people plain relate wearing an expensive watch as a male alternative to wearing a piece of flashy jewelry; or maybe, owning an exotic sports car. True enough. But these critics miss out on the subtle difference between money spent in admiration and money spent for admiration. The latter type does not make a watch connoisseur but a fool who will soon be seen partying with his money and with a fair bit of bad luck, selling his possession (in this case, the watch) to cope with his other expensive bad habits. Many of these people are upwardly mobile, bathetic, yet fundamentally insecure of their stature and the watch is just a tool to back up self-distrust.
Being a braggart is one of the biggest hurdles towards becoming an admirer. So, the – “See this? This Breitling costs more than your car, bro. Don’t touch!”– attitude confines within the authorized dealer circuit, watering down more than half of the charm the watch-world holds. It’s that charm that holds a $450 Citizen in higher regard than a flashy, $4000 diamond jewelry; or in that case, a $2500 Grand Seiko than the Ferrari swerving down the corner. Don’t get me wrong; I admire the Ferrari as much as the Grand Seiko; it’s just that I do not drag forth unjust comparisons. Both are great at their respective state of existence, but the Ferrari, to me, lags a few steps behind.
It’s simple logic. I can carry my prized possession even inside my workplace and enjoy its existence throughout; its gleam under the chandelier inside the bistro and I can look up to the red tinge reflecting from its satin surface. It’s not possible with the Ferrari. It’s not possible after you step out and lock the doors. But there’s no denying the two makes for a killer combo. And that for sure puts the owner of both the exotics many steps ahead of the idle, rich lay-about.
An expensive watch is for him who values his time, subtly and silently; so much, that it does so without raising the stark wall that differentiates the rich, spoilt brat from the rich, tasteful and elegant people.