It is argued by some that a watch- like many other accessories- is a window into a person’s personality. As a result, you can supposedly tell a lot about a man by the timepiece on his wrist.
For the sake of acknowledging an argument and providing evidence, I’m going to present a few examples of the so-called “character traits” associated with certain brands that I’ve come across over my short years:
- Rolex:This is perhaps the most well-known of the brand traits. Rolex is the label associated with someone who has done well for themselves in life. The personification of the phrase: “made it”. Wearing a Rolex says that you’re able to afford nice things, and that you always know what you’re getting out of life. A Rolex wearer probably drives a Jaguar or Mercedes and drinks expensive liqueurs with their buddies at the country club.
- Patek Philippe:Regarded as the ‘crème de la crème’ of the world of watches. The Patek wearer is at the top of the economic food chain. They don’t associate themselves with the typical bourgeois; oh no – they’re much classier than that. Their income doesn’t come from running a small successful business, but more along the lines of being a financial advisor to the Rothschild family. This is your top investment banker or hedge fund manager. A Patek wearer has Warren Buffet’s number on speed dial and spends their evening dinners discussing important political affairs and trade deals whilst drinking fine wines with names I can’t even pronounce.
- Hublot:The Hublot wearer is a young fashionable upstart; everyone knows they’re a party animal. They have more money than sense, and use it to buy extravagant brand name clothing and drive cars faster than the sound barrier. Their Instagram profiles are full of selfies with celebrities and pictures of nights out at the world’s most exclusive clubs. A group of them in a room have a combined IQ less than a walnut.
- Casio and Seiko:Plebs that aren’t worth the time of day to talk about.
I’m going to say that the above points are amusing to read and will admit to using a few of them as jokes in conversation with friends. If I wanted to, I could dedicate a paragraph each to about 20 more brands, but that isn’t the point. You’ll find variants of the above examples dotted over the place with semantics being argued upon depending on who you ask. However, it has to be pointed out that such examples of views are one sided and are inadequate as a result; especially if you want a generic ‘rule of thumb’ explanation to explain a person’s conduct. They paint a behaviouristic image of people and claim the relationship with their watches being nothing more than a preconditioned response to practical circumstances. Marketing teams of top watch labels absolutely love this as it makes for easy pickings when it comes to promoting a product to a target audience. In fact, branding is the largest contributor to the misconceptions of character and wearing watches. One of the most familiar taglines in the luxury industry is owned by none other than Patek Philippe:
“You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”
The tagline is part of a 15 year old campaign that sought to brand the ownership of a Patek as a something that gives birth to a legacy. Let’s not kid ourselves over the fact that the whole marketing campaign was designed to get middle aged executives frothing at the mouth and hot under the collar. It suggests the idea of buying into a product is suddenly worth a lot more, as it somehow paves a legacy for the next of kin. The aforementioned stereotype of a Patek owner being at the top of society becomes something more intrinsic, something more achievable, and something that can be passed down the family. It sounds baffling to some people, but boy does it work.
I accept that watches can be mediums of vested interests and personal ambition and that yes, they do-to an extent-shape material life. But there’s so much more to human nature than plotting a linear graph and seeing where the piece of metal on your wrist puts you on the spectrum. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. Take the tropes about Tag-Heuer as an example. It’s easy to look at someone wearing a Tag-Heuer and call them “unsophisticated” or an individual who doesn’t know anything about horology. What’s to say that all a Tag owner wants is a sturdy, not particularly expensive and nice looking watch that accurately tells the time? Some of the people dearest to me wear very simple and cheap watches that you can source from an Argos catalogue. There’s no basis to judge them at all.
I can sing the same song about people who wear Vacheron Constantin, IWC or any other high-end brand. I’ve met some incredibly obnoxious and self centred individuals with high-end timepieces on their wrist and never once have I stopped and thought “I must be doing something wrong, and perceiving this person the wrong way. The fact that they’re wearing an *insert brand* on their wrist must mean that my perceived rudeness of their actions is false”. It sounds stupid once you put it into writing, and that’s because it is. (I’m going to admit that in reality my thought processes consist of a lot more expletives and graphic imagery)
Take a moment to notice how I chose to start the article by focussing on what a watch says about a “man”. If you were to search up the article tagline on Google then you’ll see that pretty much all of them talk about watches describing the personality of men. It isolates watches (The vessels in which horology is embodied) as tools only for males. I don’t want to come across as someone spouting “leftie” political views on a blog about watches but there is a point that needs to be made. What you have on your wrist doesn’t define your character, and shouldn’t therefore make you question your masculinity. A person should be able to wear whatever they want without the fear of being shunned. You could bump into any odd individual and it would be a poor judgement of character/decision to appropriate them by what they have on their wrist. In the end a watch makes no difference. Let’s celebrate the fact that people wear watches for any odd reason, whether it is for function, aesthetics or pursuing a hobby. Nothing productive is achieved from alienation.
To conclude, I’ll leave some parting words:
“If you are a degenerate prick, you are a degenerate prick. If you have a nice watch then it makes you a degenerate prick with a nice watch. The watch didn’t change anything.”