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WorldTempus Newsletter
Editorial - Actually, we do need watches

Editorial Actually, we do need watches

No more apologies, no more justifications

You know what we need to stop saying? That we don’t need mechanical watches. I’m always hearing people say this. People begin presentations with this statement. Big state-of-the-industry speeches inevitably include something along these lines, that luxury mechanical watches exist outside the sphere of utility. Entire marketing campaigns are built on the assumption that a mechanical watch is not a need but a desire. 

After a while, we get used to the fallacy that we’re only here due to the indulgence of wealthy elites. We become habituated to the idea that what we do is fundamentally frivolous, and let me tell you — it doesn’t exactly foster healthy working attitudes. Who wants their work to exist in a paradigm that systematically devalues what they do?

So let’s stop with all this apologist crap. First of all, how are you going to define “need” anyway? Fine, so a mechanical watch is not like air, or water, or any other substance that we’d literally die without. But let’s just pretend for a second here that we have more needs than the need to physically survive. 

One of the defining traits of the human condition is our need for individual expression. And not just any type of individual expression, because let’s face it, there are some forms of individual expression that could lead to the removal of our personal liberties and relocation to facilities of state incarceration. I’m talking about individual expression within the boundaries of socially and legally approved behavioural codes. It’s called the social contract, you guys. 

I’ll give you an example of individual expression that no one questions. The stuff we wear. There is a physical necessity for us to protect ourselves from the environment, which is why we wear clothes. But unless you’re Batman or something, you probably appreciate some variation in your wardrobe.

A watch is a perfectly legitimate outlet for individual expression. It also fulfils our need to know the time — a need that some other people may choose to address with their smartphones or fitness trackers or whatever.

Once, I told a watchmaker friend of mine that I was a little depressed about how no one really seems to appreciate fine mechanical watches anymore. (I was in a mood.) He said, in an attempt to make me feel better, “There are more important things to worry about.”

On one hand, I kind of understand — poverty and international conflicts and all sorts of Issues with a capital I. On the other hand, the phrase “more important things” is confusing for me when you look at it on a personal, microcosmic level. More important than what? More important than the things we care about?

People need to have little things in their lives which they care about. It could be mechanical watches, it could be skateboarding, it could be botany, or practically anything you want.

There seems to be this idea that needing these things makes one weak. I don’t agree with that. I think it makes me human, and I gotta say I’m pretty happy about being human. I don’t really know why you’d choose to be anything else. Unless I could choose to be a puppy — but then I wouldn’t be able to wear my watches anymore.

Lecture 4 Comment(s)

29 October 2019
Haye Ocadta
Fantastic Read! I sell fine jewelry & watches and somewhere along the line I fell into the habit of saying “we don’t really need watches or jewelry” and after reading this my mind has been reset! Thank you!
29 October 2019
Christian de Jonghe
Ces regulierEs elUCubrations interessent elles quelq’un ?
29 October 2019
Worldtempus
Thanks for reading and commenting! We're always trying to improve for our readers. If there's any topic that you would like to us to discuss, leave a suggestion in the comments and we can put it on the agenda. Have a great day.
28 October 2019
FERNANDES Rui
100% True
28 October 2019
Alon Ben Joseph
Well put! Very well put.