Diary of a Patek Philippe Collector (Sunday 15th December)

It is getting too much, right? The commercialisation of the watch industry is just finding its way into everything. I had a private message on my IG account this week. It went like this: “You have for sale watches?” I replied that I didn’t. The individual then asked…”You know anyone who have stuff for sale?”

So, now I am intrigued. I asked what “stuff” he was looking for. The reply was “Patek. Mille. AP” I replied that I did not have any of this “stuff” nor did I know of any “stuff” for sale. The individual then left the chat after saying “bullshit.”

Bullshit? What? Well, this is actually just a reflection of what some areas of watch collecting have morphed into.

Exclusive cameras with eye-watering mark-ups from watch blogs. Exclusive limited edition watches from manufacturers with the name of a forum engraved on the caseback. Baseball caps. T-shirts. Forum moderators getting kick-back payments to help sell watches. Or whatever. The commercialisation is getting into everything. Has independent thinking been compromised?

OK, I can understand it to an extent. I can understand how capitalism will spur certain things. And for many things its all just part of the process. But to my mind, it has taken this fantastic hobby and created somewhat of a monster. Since, once money gets involved, then often it is ego that comes to the fore. And civility goes out the window.

Let me ask a very simple question. When is it ever correct to insult another person’s watch simply because it is a different taste to our own? When is it acceptable to use a public forum to describe another person’s watch as “hideously ugly?” Is it acceptable to behave in this way and justify it on the grounds of having the right to have an opinion? Is this just strong-minded opinion that the watch industry needs to hear? Or is it just rude?

Let me be really clear, one of the reasons I decided to leave moderating a watch forum was because some forum members actually don’t understand that having an opinion can be separated from being rude. Just because one doesn’t like a watch doesn’t then require one to describe it in a way that is offensive to others. It is the educated and civil way to convey opinion without causing offense to others. Yet, in an industry that has become so wrapped up in egos and profit, maybe educated opinion and good manners no longer matter as much?

I think they should. I don’t think anyone has the “right” to knowingly cause offense when there is a perfectly good alternative that avoids being offensive. Which do I prefer – 5711 versus 5070? I prefer the 5070 myself as it suits my taste more. I prefer complications to time only unless the latter is endowed with some superb vintage charm. Hey look! I managed to give an opinion there without using the words “hideously ugly.”

Rudeness has no place. It is often a reflection of a lack of understanding and a lack of thinking. People get rude about things that they don’t understand.

There are still plenty of people who are not driven by ego. Plenty who are focused more on collecting watches than they are about portraying their watches hanging from the steering wheel of shiny red cars. People like Blomman, for example, who gets this week’s shout for “read of the week” for his exposition of the “U.S. market: Special watches – the Mercury 7 – Followup Report”.

Check it out on www.blommanwatchreport.com. Here is a watch collector who isn’t focusing on his ego or his image. He is focusing on his watches and their history and the stories behind them. Bravo Blomman!

While I am on Jaeger LeCoultre, I want to give a shout out to @jaegerlecoultre_aficionado. Like Blomman, here is a collector who is focused on the joy and passion of his watches. It is a pleasure to follow your iG account.

Lets also give a big shout to @drjuanola for his iG post about enamel dials. I have been wearing my son’s 5131R all week. It was perfectly timed to see Dr.J’s report on iG. Another post detailing the wonderful approach to enamel dials and world time complication given by Patek Philippe. Dr J, your posts are always informative and always delivered with great humility and style.

Yes, the commercialisation of the watch industry has had a number of negative effects. But true collectors will always be there.