In the world of luxury goods, the watch obsessive is a rare and curious animal. He seems to understand that luxury speaks to not only the best aspects of our character, but also the worst. On the one hand, it allows us to flaunt our wealth and buttress our egos with unnecessary trinkets. And on the other, it encourages us to appreciate the finest things in life like true artistry and craftsmanship.
So, the watch collector strikes a balance between the two, one as artful as any of the mechanisms that hold him in such thrall. On the one hand, he is unquestionably extravagant and on the other, he is understated.
Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with showing off your riches. It’s just another way of enjoying your money, after all. And so many of the interests of the rich tend to draw attention to their wealth— there’s nothing showier than driving around in a Bentley, wearing a wardrobe of marquee brands and filling your home with Picassos.
But who can fail to admire the quiet connoisseur who keeps his Picassos under his shirt sleeve? The humble tycoon who’s not obsessed with brands that will impress his friends, but with those that most people have never heard of like Vacheron Constantin or Jaeger-LeCoultre?
The watch obsessive knows that watches are an art form, a synthesis of aesthetics and engineering. He understands why some take a full year to make. He uses words like tourbillon and cabochon and he doesn’t mind if you’re mystified—he knows that the magic of watches isn’t necessarily for everyone. And, above all, he understands that the principle function of watches is not to tell the time, as so many think. If that were the case, the watch industry would have been rendered obsolete by the digital age many moons ago.
We’ve put together our first annual watch issue with the confidence that there are many of you out there who are as obsessed as our hypothetical watch collector. And for those of you who aren’t yet addicted to the marvels that emerge from Switzerland each year, well, perhaps, it’s time. Enjoy the issue.