What is the difference between a “serious” watch versus one that falls into the category of fashion or jewelry?
Price doesn’t necessarily signify where a watch fits. One that costs five thousand can be more consequential than a bejeweled timepiece that sets you back over a hundred grand—beautiful though it is.
According to Dictionary.com, fashion is defined a conventional usage of dress and manners in polite society. Of course, when you buy into what’s fashionable now, you run the risk of your choices becoming unfashionable later. In the 1980’s, you would “fur sure” turn your collar up and make certain your hair was at least as high as your IQ. I wouldn’t advise this look if you’re trying to dress to impress, unless your destination is a costume party.
Like the seasons, fashion and the watches that enter into this trendy scene change constantly. What is red-hot right this moment might seem extremely dated and maybe even a bit, dare I say, silly, when seen in the nostalgic afterglow—and, in comparison to the newest fad. Witness the fierce competitiveness in the haute couture game. One bad collection and you go from being a demigod with super sartorial powers to an out-of-touch fool who isn’t trusted to design a wrap for a piece of gum.
You see, fashion is a tricky mistress. She beckons you with promises of entry into that most exclusive of clubs, the trendsetting cool. When you wear what is fashionable you’re viewed as stylish, sophisticated and savvy. Fashion trades on that most vulnerable of human traits: our vanity. As quickly as fashion promises you the world with one design, she whisks off to another paramour, offering up a better choice you must have in order to keep your membership in her club.
Its What’s Inside That Counts
With serious horology, the focus tends to be on the watch movement rather than the face. Though that doesn’t mean the dial gets ignored. Not by a long shot. Decorative techniques such as engraving and enameling are used to catch our eye. After all, there’s a reason a Ferrari engine comes in a Pininfarina body and not one supplied by Dodge, and so it goes with watches. You look at your watch countless times each day and you must love what you see.
Getting Serious About Watches
In contrast, a serious watch usually does something to expand the conversation in horology. This can mean incorporating new and high-tech materials into the components or case to improve performance, or finding new and interesting ways to measure time. It also includes coming up with a complication or suite of complications not previously accomplished and new technical solutions to age old problems. High watch making approaches creation without chasing trends or with a specific purpose of creating one—though if this happens as a byproduct, the brands and watchmakers will celebrate.
I will follow up with some fashionable watches that are quite serious. Now, I must bid you adieu, because I must leave in order to be fashionably late to my next engagement. I’m serious.