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Editorial - A sense of humour ?

Editorial A sense of humour ?

A look at the lighter side of watchmaking.

Can you remember the last time a watch brand made you laugh? In an industry that is so often criticised for taking itself too seriously, the brands that at least attempt not to do so tend to stand out. This can be manna for a small brand looking for valuable publicity, but sense of humour can be a fickle thing and finding universal appeal can be difficult. The red baseball caps in the style of Donald Trump that Corum distributed at Baselworld last year and the hastily withdrawn “Frankenwatch” presented by H. Moser & Cie. on the eve of the SIHH this year are two examples where the “joke” may have gone too far. 

I don’t expect brands to be making me laugh on a regular basis and producing their own sit coms. Being a comedian is, after all, a thankless full-time job and it is mostly the preserve of the Anglo-Saxon world, and more specifically of my fellow countrymen in the United Kingdom. I’m not just saying that because I’m English; it’s simply a fact. To corrupt a familiar adage, heaven is where the comedians are British, the cooks are French, the mechanics German, the lovers Italian and it’s all organised by the Swiss. 

What I do expect, however, is for some brands to at least attempt to make me laugh some of the time. I remember in my youth that even a relatively serious car manufacturer like BMW would systematically publish a fake advertisement in an equally serious newspaper like the Financial Times on April Fool’s day. It’s a day I often forget, which my mother took great delight in every year by convincing me to jump out of bed in the morning to see the snow. She used the same story every year and there never was any snow, yet I fell for it every time. 

A sense of humour ?

Seiko Presage press conference, Baselword 2018 © Seiko

When a brand does make the effort and raises a laugh, it deserves praise. So it is an honour for me to present this year’s totally unofficial WorldTempus award for best comedy performance to Seiko. Not only do the otherwise staunchly serious Japanese put on the best press conference every year at Baselworld, incorporating without fail a funny interlude (this year it was the Shippo cookery class that showed us the recipe for producing the Shippo enamel on the new Presage models), they were also the only ones this year to send me a press release on the eve of April Fool’s Day. It was for their “new” Shiruken collection, which incorporates a thoroughly dangerous Ninja throwing star on the bezel. TAG Heuer deserves an honourable mention as runner-up for presenting a new “aroma detection” function for its smart watch on Instagram on April Fool’s Day, but when it comes to humour the watch industry definitely needs more Seikos!

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