Why do I keep looking at the homepages of Omega, TAG-Heuer, IWC and others like them, why do I keep stopping at the jewellery store near our office in Vienna to gaze upon the watches they have on display?
Every single watch in there is insanely expensive and does nothing but telling the time and maybe provide a date and stopwatch function.
All the while one can get a smartwatch from anywhere between twenty to a couple hundred Euros and they will do everything from monitoring your heart rate to GPS tracking, fall detection, e-Mail and what not.
If one would look at both sides here the Vulcan way, take pure logic and apply it, compare the watches spec by spec, one simply couldn’t be interested in classic watches any more, right?
I wouldn’t like to think of myself as a vain person, so there has to be more to this than the artificial exclusivity of these watches, that is created by their obscene pricing.
As a matter of fact, my favourite watchmaker isn’t one of those listed above, it is Tissot, the better looking brand of Swatch. While certainly not cheap, I wouldn’t consider them exclusive.
Most of their watches can be bought for less than 1000€, and given that these watches aren’t limited in their lifespan by software updates, that really isn’t bad, if you take care of them, your great grand children can still use them.
But, to be honest, sustainability isn’t it either.
Coming to think of it, the things I like usually aren’t very modern.
I know that modern, fully automatic coffee machines can do a great job and aren’t expensive, but I still prefer my classic espresso machine, where I have to grind my own beans.
I know an electric shaver works perfectly well, but I still prefer a classic shave with a blade and soap.
I know a modern EV is more efficient than gasoline cars, but give me the choice between an Audi e-Tron GT and and old Alfa Spider and I will always pick the Alfa.
Each of these choices mean less comfort, more work to perform to achieve the same thing.
However, in a world where the search for a partner comes down to swiping left or right on the first picture you get to see on your phone, things that require you to take the time become so much more meaningful.
Things that stay with you longer become so much more meaningful.
We live in a time where every wake second we are bombarded with information, distracted by notifications. Being able to lift ones hand and just tell the time, while getting a glance at a beautiful timepiece, without being pulled into the online world has become a luxury in itself.
Being able to shave or brush your teeth without an App telling you how well you did is becoming a rarity.
Wearing a watch without being told how healthy your day has been is almost impossible.
No, I don’t look at classic watches, cars or coffee machines for vanity, I look at those old things for one reason only, they make me appreciate the time I put in, make me appreciate the fact they don’t distract me from what I am doing right now.
The reason I like those old things so much, the reason I am willing to put in the time they need is, that they, in return, make me take the time needed to appreciate them, take the break from a busy day to get a coffee and after putting in the time to make it, enjoy it.
We might be steering at an age where everything is measured, compared and put in statistics, but being able to step out of that, have dinner with a beautiful, funny woman without your watch interrupting you to let you know it’s now time to stand up, or you got an e-mail, being able to put yourself in a position where you can afford doing so without your insurance stepping on yours toes, for sitting too long. That will become the true luxury of my generation, a luxury that was common with the last. The luxury being conserved by classic watch makers and their pricing.
We won’t ever get rid of them, these businesses are too big to fail, but given our current development, the luxury a classic watch conveys has changed.
It isn’t look what I can afford to buy any more, it has become look at everything I am being able to miss.