“WHAT IS IT WITH MEN AND WATCHES?” Is a question, I’m sure, that those of you who are partial to a timepiece or two have been faced with before. Only this weekend, my better half made the slightly shocking postulation that one can have too many expensive watches. Obviously, she’s wrong. You can never have too many expensive watches. Ever.
But it did get me to thinking: What is it with us blokes and watches? You don’t tend to see the same fanaticism from the fairer sex, despite their (in general) greater preference for jewellery.
Therein lies the answer, I believe. We men are pretty constrained when it comes to outfits and fashion. Admittedly the dandier amongst us are embracing various trends, but it’s a fine line between going full hipster and riding a penny farthing and expressing yourself a bit. As such, we don’t tend to wear much jewellery, and our accessories tend to be scant more than a pocket square or a tie bar.
Stranger in the Night: This Ulysse Nardin “Stranger” plays Frank Sinatra’s Stranger in the Night (and I think it’s absolutely beautiful).
Fancy some Old Blue Eyes wherever you go? A mere £87,000 and it’s yours. Alternatively, you can get it at the bargain price of £65,000 from Xupes.com (Image courtesy of Xupes.com)
Indeed, bubbling beneath the surface of us conservative men is a real will to express ourselves, all the while remaining subtle and ever-so-slightly under the radar. Just look at cufflinks and the veritable smorgasbord of ‘out there’ designs available (some, like watches, more tasteful than others).
Watches are the embodiment of this. As traditionally the only real piece of jewellery acceptable for a man to wear, watches have long been far more flamboyant than any other prevailing pieces of men’s couture.
Ultimately I think all of this arises as a result of a man’s need to be unique, without looking like Liberace. All of our flamboyant jewellery desires have been condensed, distilled and concentrated into a single piece.
Something A Bit Different: This bonkers HYT comes complete with a liquid hour indicator and 18k rose gold case. It’s not for everyone, but it’ll always make a statement. Yours from Xupes.com for a smidge under £40,000.
This is only further amplified by the need for the various watch manufactures to showcase their prowess with progressively more and more complex designs. Watches are testament to an ongoing arms race in the anachronistic world of horology; a battle of wits, creativity and skill to miniaturise, innovate and design the most complicated movements around.
The one-upmanship has given rise to some sort of strange mating dance or peacocking mentality among the watch manufactures. Like baboons bearing their crimson bottoms, they scrabble for the attention of any person willing to wear them upon their wrist and forever be a walking advertisement.
So you ask, “What is it with men and watches?” It’s our major outlet for expression, creativity, wackiness or even sheer grotesque expression of wealth. Like many sorts of haute niches, they divide and unite people – some are gaudy, others minimalistic. Some playful, others clinical and all-business. Whatever they may be, there are no end of choices for how you might want to show a little bit of ‘you’ upon your wrist.
Many thanks to xupes.com for providing the images. Xupes specialise in the sale, sourcing and brokerage of the finest watches, jewellery, handbags, fine art and antiques – all substantially less than RRP, without compromising on quality or service.
Nathan Stowe owns and writes for Manporium.com, The Luxury Blog for Men.