Are you a watch snob? Are you worried you might be? Or maybe you know one? Read our second installment on watch snobs. It keeps getting better!
I wrote last month about watch snobs. We’ve all met them, and we’ve all been one at some point (even if by accident). There are those who feel entitled to be watch snobs and those who absolutely hate watch snobs. There really isn’t an in-between. This post is the “how to” of never becoming a watch snob.
A watch snob is not dictated by which watches someone owns. No, owning a Rolex or a Patek Philippe does not make someone a watch snob. Being a snob makes someone a snob. These are the 5 realizations you must have to avoid being that guy that no one wants to be around:
1. Not everyone cares about watches the way you do.
Different people care about different things, but it doesn’t change their interests. For example, some people really care about their kid’s sports or cars or guitars or art. Does that mean they can’t also care about watches, even if only a little? Maybe watches are only a tangential interest for them, but for you (like me) they are a prime focus. Does this mean we don’t both like watches and appreciate them? As a result, our time and money commitment vary. If you are a wine drinker and you drink a fine Bordeaux: does it mean you like a glass of wine better than a person drinking box wine? I think you both appreciate that glass of wine the same. You can argue your experience drinking Bordeaux is different, but while that guy drinking the box wine could care less about your Bordeaux, he is more than happy to give you a ‘cheers’ and swap stories. The only difference between you and him is the amount of money you spend on wine. This is exactly the same with watches. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Not everyone spends their money on the same things you do.
Depending on varying levels of interest and also on finances, we all spend different amounts of money on watches. Whether it be $100 or $100,000, it doesn’t change how much we care about watches. Nor should you think that because your watch is so much more expensive that it somehow means you care more. If you feel this way, it only means you are out of touch with those around you. Do you enjoy food more than a starving person? Just because you can afford food, does it mean you are somehow a better eater of food? I think not. If you can afford a $100 steak, but choose to eat at McDonald’s, does it mean that you ate less-filling food? I think not. The same is true with watches. Learn to understand that just because you spend money on the $100 steak, doesn’t mean that everyone who doesn’t buy the same steak doesn’t care about food. They may buy a Casio watch while you buy Patek Philippe, but you both like watches the same. Maybe they can afford a Patek Philippe but chose to donate that money to charity — who is the better person now? Life is a lot easier when you appreciate your hobby and stop judging other enthusiasts as “less of a collector than me”. I will finish this off and say that the guy who spent 5% of his income to buy a new (“cheap” in your eyes) watch actually spends more of his money on watches than you, who can buy watch after watch and never even spend close to 5% of your income. Passions are about interests, not about how much money you can spend.
3. Some people care about function over form, while others care about form over function.
Some people care about the functionality of a watch more than the look. For example, someone out there buys the Rolex Deepsea. This watch can go down to 12,800′ below sea level — somebody cares about that (though I am not sure who — none of us can survive at that depth). Some people care about the precision that quartz offers. No matter how much you protest, there is no way your Jaeger LeCoultre is more precise than a quartz watch. If you own a Ferrari, are there not tasks that only a pickup truck could accomplish? If you are going on an off-road camping trip, you will be out of luck with a Ferrari. You would be a snob to go up to someone with a pickup truck and point out that your Ferrari is better or costs more money. So why do watch snobs at watch events like to point out how much they spent on their watch and how much better it is?
4. Only OCD people care about OCD details.
Have you ever met the watch collector that likes to explain how some esoteric feature on his watch required 3 skilled craftsmen 4 months to craft (I know, this is being facetious)? At the same time, I bet you didn’t care. I met a guy at a Red Bar function and then proceeded to explain to me how the case (including THE CROWN) on his watch was hand forged. Does this make you special for owning or does it make you a moron for paying more? If I sold you a wooden spoon that I hand carved for $100, that makes you unwise; you can buy a wooden spoon for $2. If you are willing to spend $100 on a hand carved wooden spoon, it means you care about something that 99.99% of the population DOES NOT care about. However, we are all entitled to spend our money however we want! So, if you care about that hand-forged crown, you buy it! Just don’t expect everyone at your Red Bar function to be as impressed with it as you are. It is the same as trying to explain to a non-watch wearer how a Jaeger LeCoultre is different than a Patek Philippe — they’ll look at you with a blank face and say “but they’re both expensive watches?”
5. Real watch aficionados appreciate all watches.
Something went into making a Casio and something went into making a Patek Philippe. I can assure you, nobody hand-chiseled the parts of the PP at the factory. Yes, somebody hand assembled it and tested it, but somebody also quality-checked the Casio. I agree, the quality is totally different inside, but I learned to appreciate Casio while in a rugged environment. My best buddy had a Casio pilot watch that took a beating, another had a Breitling that quit working halfway through the trip – (the repairs for the Breitling likely cost more than the Casio). My point is that I appreciate what the Casio did; it was the perfect watch for a for the environment, while a very nice watch broke when it actually could have been useful. I learned to appreciate all watches for what they are and where they fit into the watch ecosystem. If there were only $1,000+ watches, very few of us would have EVER been able to afford a watch and probably would have found a new hobby. Thankfully, we appreciated the first digital watch we got as a kid and it introduced us to the world of watches. It’s the gracious watch collectors I met throughout the years that taught me more and allowed me to appreciate the hobby.
HOW to not be a watch snob:
1. Follow the golden rule and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do you like your watch? Are you proud of it? Everyone else is proud of theirs too. Learn to appreciate theirs and they will appreciate yours. IT’S A HOBBY! We can all enjoy it. Nobody is asking you to buy their watch, only to appreciate it.
2. Read about watches. The more you read the more you will find that you appreciate aspects of other watches and you might even find a new one you want to buy. If you’re looking for good places to start, keep following us, and also check out hodinkee, ablogtowatch, or any of the other blogs listed here.
3. Find people that are passionate about their watches regardless of which watch it is. I have a friend who has a Seiko Baby Tuna. He loves that watch! He could talk about it for hours. It’s fun to listen to him tell how great it is. Find those people and talk to them.
4. Remember, somebody always has a better watch. As soon as you start to feel like yours is better and you don’t care about the person you’re talking to, just remember you’ll be the guy on the other side of the table if you give it enough time.
5. If you get hung up on whether SOMEONE ELSE’s watch has the factory band or factory buckle, you are a snob. Stop. A new watch band can give a watch a whole new look and feel. Remember, people have different styles than you and want to express their own identity.