past the point of utility!
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  1. #1
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    past the point of utility!

    Posted this as a reply in the Citizen thread but figured it would be better for public discussion.

    The question: Why do we collect watches or more aptly: What causes us to go beyond the point of utility in watches (i.e. why do we buy a Sinn when a Casio does just fine). My reasoning:

    I've thought about this a lot. What happens when you surpass the point of utility in an item (i.e. I have one watch that tells time, why do I need 3 or 4 other watches or 10 watches, etc)? I think there are two primary reasons:

    1) We get bored easily nowadays. Think about how much excess time we have to surf the internet, watch tv, etc. 100 years ago, you did not have this ultra easy access to knowledge/information/consumerism/etc. So, we get bored and we start looking into things, say watches, and one thing leads to another and you find yourself all of a sudden with 10 watches because they are an extension of the massive amount of time and thought you spent while bored! "It's something to do"

    2) Watches, or any other "refined niche" hobby is a symbol of our choices. For instance, if you have $5k and you plan to spend it on a watch, you have freedom to choose from thousands of watches within in your budget. And your own personal goal is to maximize it's personal value to yourself (i.e. I want a watch that is both flashy and mechanical or I want a watch that can withstand a nuclear apocolypse!). In the end the watch is not something merely on your wrist that tells time, but a symbol of the refined choice you've made that's taken you countless hours to whittle down!

  2. #2
    Member X2-Elijah's Avatar
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    Aesthetic appeal. Some watches simply look nicer than others.
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    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    Quote Originally Posted by gte355u124 View Post
    Posted this as a reply in the Citizen thread but figured it would be better for public discussion.

    The question: Why do we collect watches or more aptly: What causes us to go beyond the point of utility in watches (i.e. why do we buy a Sinn when a Casio does just fine). My reasoning:

    I've thought about this a lot. What happens when you surpass the point of utility in an item (i.e. I have one watch that tells time, why do I need 3 or 4 other watches or 10 watches, etc)? I think there are two primary reasons:

    1) We get bored easily nowadays. Think about how much excess time we have to surf the internet, watch tv, etc. 100 years ago, you did not have this ultra easy access to knowledge/information/consumerism/etc. So, we get bored and we start looking into things, say watches, and one thing leads to another and you find yourself all of a sudden with 10 watches because they are an extension of the massive amount of time and thought you spent while bored! "It's something to do"

    2) Watches, or any other "refined niche" hobby is a symbol of our choices. For instance, if you have $5k and you plan to spend it on a watch, you have freedom to choose from thousands of watches within in your budget. And your own personal goal is to maximize it's personal value to yourself (i.e. I want a watch that is both flashy and mechanical or I want a watch that can withstand a nuclear apocolypse!). In the end the watch is not something merely on your wrist that tells time, but a symbol of the refined choice you've made that's taken you countless hours to whittle down!
    And there are those of us who enjoy a Casio along with an Omega.

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  5. #4
    Member SomeAssemblyRequired's Avatar
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    Quote Originally Posted by X2-Elijah View Post
    Aesthetic appeal...
    That, and engineering. And history. And most of all, variety and availability.
    X2-Elijah likes this.
    “I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.” Umberto Eco

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  6. #5
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    People like material possessions. Period. The reasons vary, but that's the bulk of it.
    WPAC Member #35.
    "No Desire to Acquire!"

  7. #6
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    Man, I wish that weren't true...My deepest fear is that I'm addicted to material possessions!! Deep down, it's our stupid human nature to "possess" things and raise ourselves in societal standing! noooooooooooooo

    Quote Originally Posted by sirgilbert357 View Post
    People like material possessions. Period. The reasons vary, but that's the bulk of it.
    adimaano56sl likes this.

  8. #7
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    Ah, the monthly WUS attempt to rationalize the irrational. I'm sure we'll get it all figured out this time...

  9. #8
    Member ffritz's Avatar
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    Quote Originally Posted by gte355u124 View Post
    1) We get bored easily nowadays. Think about how much excess time we have to surf the internet, watch tv, etc. 100 years ago, you did not have this ultra easy access to knowledge/information/consumerism/etc. So, we get bored and we start looking into things, say watches, and one thing leads to another and you find yourself all of a sudden with 10 watches because they are an extension of the massive amount of time and thought you spent while bored! "It's something to do"

    2) Watches, or any other "refined niche" hobby is a symbol of our choices. For instance, if you have $5k and you plan to spend it on a watch, you have freedom to choose from thousands of watches within in your budget. And your own personal goal is to maximize it's personal value to yourself (i.e. I want a watch that is both flashy and mechanical or I want a watch that can withstand a nuclear apocolypse!). In the end the watch is not something merely on your wrist that tells time, but a symbol of the refined choice you've made that's taken you countless hours to whittle down!
    I agree to both points, but that's nothing new. In all ages people spent time and efforts on artwork that didn't fulfill any technical purpose. Look at all the wood carvings on viking ships, the stone masonry in medieval cathedrals, etc. Even in prehistoric times, people found the time to created artwork. If archeologists dig up such a piece now, they often call it a "cultic artifact".. ..what will they say if someone in 1000 years finds a wrist watch with a visible tourbillon?

    Watches, just like jewelry and clothing, serve more a social function than a technical one. We don't need 20 different t-shirts either, still we have them. We hunt for objects that will express our personality. Some are very apparent (clothing), some are more subtle (watches), others are hidden in our modern "caves", reserved for the people we trust. What I wrote may sound a bit dismissive*, but that's not how I mean it at all. It's just perfectly normal human behavior.


    *or disdainful, or contemptuous, which would be the correct word? Sometimes posting in a foreign language isn't easy..

  10. #9
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    I see it similar to art. Why pay millions for a painting when you can just pay a few hundred to have a printed copy?

  11. #10
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    Re: past the point of utility!

    Because the reason we buy mechanical watches has almost nothing to do with utility. I buy them for both their aesthetic appeal and my appreciation of the beauty and simultaneous simplicity and complexity of the mechanical watch movement (one reason why most of my watches have a sapphire case back). For others, I suspect it's the enjoyment they get out of finding and collecting watches, learning about them and their history, trading them, talking about them -- somewhat like those who collect and trade baseball cards and enjoy talking stats and the history of the game (i.e., the hobby aspect). Still others simply see fine mechanical watches as a status symbol. Regardless, functional utility rarely has anything to do with a watch purchase.
    Last edited by TLud; March 28th, 2016 at 18:04.
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