What your timepiece can and should say about you.
A fellow journalist once told me about his friend, who had received a gift from her boyfriend. It was a watch, and she had already worn it for several weeks by the time they had the conversation about it.
Unfortunately, she wore something else on her wrist that day, and could offer painfully little about the watch.
All she remembered was that it needed regular winding, came from a brand that starts with ‘B’, and had a cute little rotating mechanism on its dial.
With the little information we had, we could only guess what it was exactly: a Breguet Classique Complications with a tourbillon, perhaps?
The only conclusion that we could draw that day, was that some female watch owners could do with remedial lessons to learn more about their timepieces.
Like it or not, visual cues form a substantial part of our non-verbal communication, and dressing is a significant contributor. Watches are included here, of course. (I’d loathe to categorise timepieces as “accessories” – they’re not – but it will have to do in this context.) Although this applies to all genders, men seem to put more thought into what watches they wear.
Ladies, if the ticker on your wrist is acting as a signalling device to implicitly convey who you are, wouldn’t you want to actively shape this narrative?
The process begins even before the purchase is made, when you’re doing your research.
You could, conceivably, walk into any boutique and ask the nearest salesperson for recommendations, but you wouldn’t be making an informed choice like this.
Remember, you’re better off browsing, reading, and learning more online first, to get a rough gauge of what you want.
Does a Cartier Tank with its Art Deco design fit you best, because its clean lines and geometric shapes match your personal aesthetic? If it does, exactly which sub-collection would you narrow it down to – the Tank Française, which has sharp corners that further accentuate its case geometry, the softer Tank Anglaise that rounds them off instead, or something else entirely?
Maybe you’ll prefer the ultrathin Piaget Altiplano, which practically melts into your wrist to create a sleek silhouette unlike any other?
Or perhaps it’s the larger, louder Franck Muller Vanguard that you prefer, to make a bold statement with?
Research is tedious, but it’ll start you off right by steering you towards the most suitable timepieces to fit your personal style.
Of course, the real “work” only begins from the time you take the timepiece home.
Imagine this: if your watch comes up as a conversation topic, in a business or social setting regardless – you could say a lot about yourself with just a brief, informed introduction about your watch.
For a start, you must know both the brand and the exact model of the watch you’re wearing, along with the background of each.
Is the watch an icon from the 1960s that has remained relatively unchanged over the years, a new iteration of a classic, or part of a completely new line that was just launched last year?
What are the salient points about it? Did the brand affect your buying decision in any way?
A slightly deeper look into things will involve learning about your timepiece’s features. If it comes with complications, you should at the very least know what they are and how they work.
A tourbillon isn’t a “cute little rotating mechanism” (it spins the balance to ostensibly even out any timing errors caused by gravity); a power reserve indicator doesn’t show how much battery is left (it shows the level of energy remaining in the mainspring).
Technical details aside, be sure to learn about the crafts that were used in the watch’s production, if metiers d’art is involved.
Guilloché, for instance, are the regular, recurring lines that are cut into a dial to form patterns and create a textured surface. Enamelling, on the other hand, involves vitrifying glass powder to form a smooth glassy surface.
Finally, remember to weave in your experience with the watch too – there’s nothing quite like an owner who reflects on the timepieces that she wears.
What do you like about it?
Have your impressions about it changed over time, and how so?
How has this timepiece fit into your lifestyle?
Has it influenced what you’ll consider buying next?
Remember, you needn’t be an expert in horology to appreciate timepieces, especially the ones that you already own.