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WorldTempus Newsletter
Editorial - It's question time

Editorial It's question time

Why can’t we have nice things like the other guys?

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a classic car rally, the Gran Premio Nuvolari, as a guest of rally sponsor and WorldTempus partner Eberhard. I’m not much of a car person — various good friends of mine have attempted to imbue me with motoring knowledge and passion, but although I can momentarily get into the spirit of things, it never seems to stick. Watches are too strongly entrenched in my heart and mind for anything else to permanently take root. 

One thing that did stay with me, however, is the amazing atmosphere that permeated the entire event. The Gran Premio Nuvolari is, by its nature, centred on collectors and their personal cars. It struck me with some force that we don’t have anything like this in the watch world. Something open to the general public, I mean, where collectors are happy and proud to share what they have, with zero paranoia for their prized possessions. 

On the starting day of the Gran Premio Nuvolari, when all the cars were on display in the Piazza Sordello in Mantua, I saw young children lay grubby hands on meticulously maintained aged leather. I saw ladies with their studded Balenciagas lurch dangerously close to lovingly polished paintwork. I saw some of the rally participants urge visitors to get into the driver’s seat to have a feel of what it was like behind the wheel. Lastly, I saw the way some of these guys drove, and it’s hard to imagine that some of these cars can cost upwards of half a million.

I unleashed a question into the wilderness of Instagram, asking why something like this doesn’t exist in the watch world. I received over 50 responses, and none of them satisfactorily answered my question. Responders suggested that watch brands are not community-focused enough to budget for such events, but these community events aren’t reliant on corporate backing anyway. Others remarked that watch collecting is too cliquish and snobbish to manifest in the kind of inclusive way that I had in mind, but you can’t tell me that snobbery doesn’t exist in car collecting, so that can’t be a deciding factor. Some cited privacy and security concerns, and risk of damage to expensive timepieces — but I imagine it can be just as pricey to fix a damaged car, the rally car owners I observed didn’t seem to care that people knew the value of their cars, and surely security technology is advanced enough that we don’t have to worry about people grabbing your watch and making a run for it. 

Just last week, I was at the Monaco Yacht Show for the launch of Only Watch 2019, and to spend time with Monaco Yacht Show partner Ulysse Nardin. At the yacht show, I witnessed again the kind of openness and wide community interest that we seem to lack in watches. This is perhaps closer to the answer I’m looking for. The audience isn’t there for such an event. But why not?

In general, people seem to think that a watch beyond their purchasing ability is not interesting for them. But no one seems to feel this way about multimillion-dollar yachts, or cars with stratospheric price tags.

Now, I’m not a jealous girl. (I can say this with confidence because I know that none of my exes are reading this.) But I see what they have in the car community, I see what they have in the yacht community, and I think, why can’t we have this? I have my theories, and I’m happy to discuss them if enough people ask, so email us and let me know.

Lecture 2 Comment(s)

30 September 2019
franck Desmons
J'ai peut être une piste pour l'automobile, souvent les passionné mettent les mains dans la graisse. Ils vous parlent du moteur, de la sellerie etc. En horlogerie un peu moins! Qui se targe d'avoir une complication (GMT / Chronographe / tourbillon / jour date etc.). Souvent c'est le prix qui est avancé, malheureusement...
30 September 2019
Rene Bart
Bonjour, Pas étonnant ! Pour moi, une automobile s'admire, se touche, "bouge", vous permet de partir, d'emmener quelqu'un, de découvrir, de sentir ... rien de ce que peut offrir une montre. Qui d'ailleurs possède ce petit côté possessif, personnel, secret, "ne dites rien au fisc" ! Bref, un rassemblement de porteurs de montres, dans l'esprit des rencontres ouvertes de passionnés d'autos, je n'arrive pas à l'imaginer !!

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