Women have a number of accessories to express their personality and style. Jewellery, watches, handbags, scarves, shoes, hair ornaments, make up…. Ask a man of quality how he expresses his style, and nine out of 10 times, the answer is his watch.
Men have far fewer fashion options than women. A man might own a fine suit, some old blue jeans, a selection of ties, or even a set of cuff-links, but when it comes to the personal expression of his tastes and preferences, the wristwatch is the go-to accessory.
Watches are big business. Despite the fact that the primary function of the watch – to tell the time – has been rendered pretty much obsolete by the invention of the mobile phone.
So why are so many people—men and women— still buying them?
Research has shown that a man’s desire for an expensive mechanical watch isn’t about logic; it’s about emotion. Typically, a man buys his first status watch to mark a career achievement, as a congratulatory gift for himself. It becomes a wearable trophy, a daily reminder that says — I can do this. Anyone can wear a suit and a tie, but a good watch sets the person apart.
Different watches telegraph different messages. Among those who know the handshake, a status watch can telegraph success and taste (or lack of it!). Some may argue that with a clock on every smartphone and mini computers on many wrists, no one needs a mechanical watch. But needs are different from wants!
A watch connoisseur considers his watches, fine art. He sees a watch as a reflection of not just his bank account but of his style. The choice of his timepiece needs to be well considered if you follow the adage that a watch is the only jewellery a man should wear. Watches are the acceptable face of male jewellery.
Men have traditionally used their choice in cars to express themselves. But a flashy car is not within everyone’s reach. Not only are cars big, expensive, and environmentally unsound they have another major disadvantage compared to the watch: they are parked in a garage rather than being displayed where everyone can see them. A watch is a Ferrari that you can take to meetings – and it doesn’t harm the planet either!
As with cars and wine, appreciating watches and making a thoughtful choice is a form of connoisseurship—acknowledging the craftsmanship, the months that it takes for a great watchmaker hunched over a bench with a magnifying lens to create his tiny masterpieces, are all key to understanding its value. The right watch is an investment.
Watches are no longer mere timekeepers. They are mini-masterpieces that showcase extreme craftsmanship, represent tradition, incorporate technology and embrace innovation. And despite their size, and passive presence, watches have the ability to communicate very loudly the kind of person the wearer is. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive watch either – it’s the quality that counts, along with the story that the watch tells.