Watches For The Office
The Watch Snob Weighs In On The Perfect Watch To Wear To The Office
An Affordable, Flashy Watch
I love your articles and your honesty. I’m a mid 20’s sales guy working in Selfridges, an aspiring actor (doing a drama course). I’ll be very honest, I do like attention, I wear designer, but I always had a bit of disappointment showing my wrist. I own a GC & a Raymond Weil(a lot of time people told me that they love my watch, people who were wearing Cartier/Rolex). As I grew older I realised that what I own is a piece of Swiss made crap. I have less respect for entry level Swiss made.
Now, I do have a taste for Pateks, Panerais & Hublot’s but my budget can’t afford them at the movement. I live in London, travel by tube and honestly speaking I hardly ever see a “good watch.” Rolex/Omega is the best I see, which for me is too boring.
Long story short, I want to buy a watch. There are few of them I would like to see on my wrist and be confident. When I wear a watch I should be ready to face a snob like you and be appreciated.
So the watches I have in my mind are Tag Link Chronograph, Porches Design Flat Six, Bell & Ross Classic, Zenith Star, Eterna Kontiki & Montblanc Meisterstuck. Really appreciate your time. Thank you.
And I in turn appreciate your honestly. So you want something a bit flash, but don’t have the money for anything really recognizable, and you have come up with a list of what, let’s face it, you and I both know are really also-rans. I think that given the fact that Patek, Panerai, and Hublot have little or nothing in common in any way whatsoever that you really do not yet know your own mind.
The first piece of advice that I would give you is to calm down and realize that a watch is not a two-week run in a piece of forgettable musical theatre; it is a longer term relationship (a lifetime relationship, in fact, if everything goes well) and if you are an actor, you will benefit a great deal from having a little bit of the stability on your wrist that you are not going to have in your professional life. The least expensive Panerai at the moment is, pre-owned, not much more than some of the watches you have named and for God’s sake, don’t settle for something just because you have the actor’s occupational hazard of having a gnat’s attention span.
A Watch For The Office
I am a 25 year old law student, about to start a government job in September, and will be in a suit and tie every day. I was wondering what office appropriate watches you may suggest, considering my lowly government salary of course. Any help would be much appreciated!!
Alas that I missed your missive back when you wrote to me in July, but as this is a nearly universal problem of a young man starting out at the beginning of what he hopes will be a promising professional life, allow me to dilate a bit on the subject. Here are three watches I hope you got one of, or at least considered.
First, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple and very, very versatile. Second, the Rolex Explorer. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple, and very, very versatile. And finally, pretty much any Grand Seiko. It’s . . . well, you get the idea. There are certainly other watches you could consider, but in many cases they are either a bit specific as an every day office watch (the Speedmaster Professional) or they are a potential source of future disappointment if you learn anything about watches (a lot of Frederique Constant, although not all of it) or too expensive (AP, Patek, Lange, and Vacheron should properly mark the arrival of success, not the setting out in search of it.)
What Makes A Watch Great?
I understand comparing a $1000 watch with a $10000 watch (forgive me for relating cost with value) is much like comparing a meal at the neighbourhood “causal dining” joint to the upper class Parisian restaurant owned by the same family for 200 years. Sure, both are filling and may have similar nutritional values, but the latter is crafted as a form of art by real artists and for that it gains intrinsic value. I understand the value of value. I appreciate anything that contains subtleties, detail, meaning, a raison d’être. Most of these are experienced or felt: music is heard, food is tasted, paintings are seen. My question is, what are the experiences or feelings that separate good from great watches?
The only watch I ever wore was a Timex Ironman for a year or two, nothing since then. The past two weeks I’ve realised, however, watches are another form of art with intricacies worthy of appreciation. I’m starting to appreciate them but I don’t know how. I feel like once I finally “get” it, my interest will last a lifetime.
I would like to know what is it exactly that separates the good from the great. I drink scotch and I can taste the difference peat and 20 years makes. Can we really experience the difference a quality movement makes? I mean, quartz is pretty accurate, right? What does “innovation” mean when it comes to this? Watches have been around a long time, is there really any room for innovation? Why do we care? I’ve seen $1000 watches designed very similar to $7000 ones too, what is it watch connoisseurs respect so much about those certain brands? I need to be shown the way.
This is an impossible question to answer in any format short of a book. That said, you are not wrong to ask it. As you have very perspicaciously noted, there is essentially an extremely steep curve of increasing price relative to very minute increases in quality in watchmaking. Essentially, it is a matter not just of the details, but what pains have been taken over the details, and how much those sorts of pains mean to you. A fine mechanical watch, even the finest, is in most respects functionally inferior to a Casio G-Shock, and if you are looking at mechanical watches there is almost no discernable difference to the uneducated eye —even a keen one —between a Seiko 5 and a Patek Philippe. The difference, however, lies in the amount of hand-work that goes into each, which means that much of what differentiates a really fine watch from a perfectly good one is finishing. This may sound like an invitation to be cynical, but it is not. It’s a matter of realizing that what a fine watch does, is put you in touch with people —with craftsmen, both living and dead, who have contributed to keeping a very arcane set of skills alive and passing them down to the next generation. Modern watchmaking is very easy to feel cynical about, and even the best brands are hard pressed to resist the temptation to cheat, because they can make more money by doing so, and their clients are largely too stupid, or too unobservant, or too both, to know the difference. The brands most worthy of respect, however, are the ones who keep doing things the right way, because they know it is the right thing to do.
Do you have a question for the Watch Snob? Send it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.