For a long time I believed no one noticed my watches. In my early days of collecting I could never identify what watch brand/model someone else was wearing even though I looked intently. After a year or two I got a little better at that, but I still can't recognize 80%-90% of watches I see others wear. Then a while back my wife drove us to join a social club mainly to provide better swimming instruction for our son. Lets also be clear, this club is a bit heuty-teuty. My watch of choice for the club was my Rolex BLNR. I wore it for months and months and continued to assume most people do not recognize watches, but figured it was an appropriate watch for the environment. Interestingly, in this "club" environment it was easier to see people's watches... while dining with others... having cocktails... at the swim meets... I was just closer to people in a social setting than I normally found myself. My first observation was there were a fair amount of Rolex... Gold DayDates, Yachtmasters, DateJusts... not really too many Subs. I'm still the only one I've ever seen with a BLNR. The next brand of choice I've seen is Oris. I know this brand is appreciated on these forums but was not expecting to see so many in this environment. I think I've also seen a handful of Blancpains. I see a lot of "bold" Hublot-like watches as well... and maybe they are Hublot... I'm almost certain they are pricey but it is beyond me to figure what they really are.
Over the last few weeks the discussion of watches surfaced amongst "the crowd" when one of our members lost his Yachtmaster when water skiing. It was good conversation and he had it insured, so not a major catastrophe. This is when someone brought up my BLNR. One or two knew of the model but many others mentioned they've noticed it for months without knowing what it really was. All thought it was an awesome looking watch... the blue ceramic in the sun is really complimented by the blue water around. Since the "ice was broken" around watches I've had more people mention it to me, compliment me on it, inquire about the model, etc, in recent weeks.
I'm still trying to figure out what it all means... "this crowd" is appreciative of good looking watches... clearly it is not about being a pricier watch as pricier watches abound in this setting. Aside from Rolex-haters rolling their eyes at this story believing it validates all they've ever thought of Rolex, its been a bit eye opening for me. I used to chuckle at those that believed others noticed their Rolex... silly people, that doesn't actually happen. Now I'm not as sure.