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Editorial - The life cycle of a watch enthusiast

Editorial The life cycle of a watch enthusiast

Field notes from a decade of observation in uncharted lands.

All of us get asked this at some point: How did you get into watches? For some of us, it’s a family interest, passed down from generation to generation, kind of like the timepieces themselves. For quite a few of us, it’s an acquired passion that comes from moving in particular social or professional circles. I entered the watch world through the most mundane door of them all — through my job, though I’m happy to report that this hasn’t diminished the joy of my experience in any way. 

Because my position is, in a sense, both a part of and apart from the watch industry, I’m able to take observations from a distance while still possessing a finely nuanced take on what I’m seeing. And I’ve noticed that there are certain patterns to the growth and evolution of your average watch lover.

Those who are newly inducted, coming to this world for the first time, are just like any of us when discovering an unfamiliar landscape. We follow the opinions of established leaders, our Yodas, our Mr Miyagis, those you might call our horological parents. We admire the watches we see on celebrities, on giant billboards, the commercially successful timepieces (because thousands of consumers can’t be wrong). 

Then we grow into our horological adolescence. We reject all received wisdom! We forge our own paths! We want independent brands and watchmakers! You don’t understand us, man! We sneer at your Rolex-wearing ways! And sometimes, we mistake unconventionality for originality. 

After a while, we discover the secret shibboleths of vintage watches. We say things like “tropical” and “honest” and “degradé” and other things with completely different meanings from their dictionary use, we say insufferable things about rarity and relative value that make regular people want to punch us in the face.

But eventually, if we linger around long enough, we go back to the one thing that really makes us tick. (Ironically, for a lot of us who went through extended horological adolescences, that thing often happens to be Rolex.) We are the gurus, the sages at the top of the mountain. We are the Yodas, the Mr Miyagis, the parents to our own little passel of wide-eyed newbies.

It can take a long time to achieve any level of comfort and familiarity with the vast territory of horological knowledge, as I’ve discovered from first-hand experience. And while I wouldn’t recommend shortcuts — any such purported “crash course” or “instant expert” type of scheme is massively overselling itself and unlikely to withstand even five minutes of conversation with an actual connoisseur — there are references that one can always reach for, if solid facts are required (no fake news here, please).

That’s why over here we’ve begun a little series we like to call WorldTempus Selections. Having been around since the beginning of the new millennium, WorldTempus has been documenting the products and major happenings of the watch industry for a lot longer than anyone else in the online business. WorldTempus Selections curates the best of our content, organised by subject. So whether you’d like to refresh your understanding on the topic of chronograph complications or read up on the extensive compilation of Audemars Piguet articles we’ve created, head on over to our special WorldTempus Selections page. With you, may the Force be. (I’ve never watched original Star Wars. Don’t @ me.)

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

20 October 2019
Stéphane TENCER
Bonjour Suzanne, Bonne analyse du parcours initiatique de l'amateur de montres ! J'ajouterais pour ma part celle de la sagesse et du confort. Il arrive un âge où le plaisir de porter une belle montre est moins influencé par la représentation sociale, toujours plus ou moins implicite, et où le confort et la simplicité d'utilisation l'emportent. Pour ma part, je reporte depuis 2 ans ma Swatch scuba qui subit allégrement mes parties de tennis, les voyages moto, le bricolage et le jardinage. Notre relation est confiante et APAISÉE.

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