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Nobody needs a mechanical watch. Here’s why you want one anyway.

Jonathan Arnold
May 10, 2018
Heuer Autavia, Image: Bert Buijsrogge
TAG Heuer Autavia, Image: Bert Buijsrogge

 

Here’s a statement you probably weren’t expecting to read on the world’s premier online marketplace for luxury watches: you don’t need a mechanical watch. In fact, nobody does. Just as nobody needs a supercar or a pair of dress shoes that cost more than a hundred dollars. And yet, once you own one, you wonder how you had ever lived your life without it. Your perception of value for money is forever altered and, before you know it, you’ve become a legitimate watch fanatic. How did that happen?

 

They are impractical

 

On the face of things, we inherently know that paying a premium for a mechanical watch is nonsensical. For starters, it uses obsolete technology that was invented several hundred years ago and is less accurate and reliable than the cheap quartz alternative you can pick up at any local toy store. Sure, some models offer added functionality in the form of practical complications, such as chronographs and annual calendars, but many others just seem complex for complexity’s sake. (I’m looking at you, tourbillons.) Plus, just like with supercars, the more you pay for one, the more careful you have to be with it.

I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say the majority of mechanical ‘sports’ watches are not used for any type of high-intensity sport. The movements inside are simply too fragile to risk serious damage from a hard knock, plus gold is a very soft metal.

 

 

Of course, these days, you could make the argument that you don’t even need a wristwatch at all, mechanical or quartz. With estimates showing there were nearly 2.4 billion smartphone users in the world in 2017, it’s hard to believe that any watches are still sold. After all, that mini-computer in your pocket can perform pretty much all the same functions of even the world’s most complicated wristwatches and do so much more reliably. You also don’t need to worry about accidentally pressing the wrong thing at the wrong time, resulting in catastrophic injury to the delicate mechanical movement within.

And yet, millions of luxury mechanical watches are bought and sold every year, many of them right here on Chrono24 – what gives?

 

They are works of art

 

The answer is simple. We humans are irrational beings and place value on certain things based on the way they make us feel. Logic rarely gets a seat at this table. Buying a luxury product – particularly a high-end mechanical watch – is largely a matter of emotion, one that you get to experience over and over again every time you put your cherished timepiece on your wrist. Every time someone pays your watch a compliment, every time you catch a glimpse of your reflection and see how well it pairs with your outfit, every time you notice someone sneaking a jealous glance at your wrist, you’re reminded of why you chose that particular watch.

Plus, let’s face it, no one is going to hand down their smartphone to the next generation. You’ll be lucky if it lasts you more than a year. A mechanical watch, however, is created to last a lifetime and then some, especially if it is well looked after and regularly serviced. There’s a reason why the vintage watch market is booming. Today’s quality control standards are even better, and manufacturers are constantly experimenting with all sorts of innovative materials like titanium, ceramic, and various blends of precious metals. Despite what your friends may tell you, you don’t have to part with an arm and a leg to get a good-quality mechanical watch. There are numerous options out there from all sorts of interesting and well-established brands for much less money than you might expect.

 

Passion vs. Logic

Tudor Black Bay Black, Image: Bert Buijsrogge
Tudor Black Bay Black, Image: Bert Buijsrogge

 

If you’re still not convinced that owning your own high-end mechanical watch is for you, the next time you’re at a party, a café, or even just walking down the street and see somebody wearing a nice, mechanical watch, ask them to tell you about it. You’ll soon discover that they don’t have a good rationale for owning the watch and yet their enthusiasm is undeniably infectious. They’ll gladly talk your ear off about the watch and what it means to them. Maybe it was inherited from a cherished grandparent, or maybe they bought it to celebrate a specific milestone. Whatever the story, it won’t be long before you understand that owning a high-end mechanical watch is about much more than just telling the time.

 

Read more:

Why We Love Mechanical Watches

Watches, Conversations, and Friendships

The Journey to My First Mechanical Watch – A Fire Needs a Spark


Jonathan Arnold
By Jonathan Arnold
May 10, 2018
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