Hello! I'm a 26 year old man living in Connecticut and I've been in love with watches for as long as I can remember. I've worn a wrist watch since I was 8 years old. To this day I'm amazed and fascinated by mechanical movements and beautiful designs and finishes. When I was 17, I began to tinker with watches, taking them apart and putting them back together. I started with old pocket watches, then moved on to wristwatches. I'm by no means a watchmaker, but I have an incredible amount of respect for the craft. I love combing WUS, Watchville and Hodinkee for all the latest news and articles on the subject. A few years ago I received my first invitation to a "watch event" at a watch shop in CT. It was advertised as a chance to meet other collectors/enthusiasts and to see some amazing concept watches from various brands. I was really excited to go. I was looking forward to meeting people who shared my passion and respect for the craft. My girlfriend and I got dressed up, put on our favorite watches (Speedy) and went off to the event.
Within 15 minutes of arriving at the event, I was disappointed. I was expecting to meet with a group of people who shared my passion. Instead, I was met with a group of men and women who were only interested in proving they were more successful than the person next to them. I spoke briefly with a gentleman who proclaimed "If I'm mad at my kids, I'll threaten to send them to public school." and another man who asked me "How many Rolexes do you have? Because I have 29. I'll have 3 more within the next month because of Christmas." I was even approached by someone who (I'm not making this up) immediately grabbed my wrist, looked at my watch, said "Aw, that's a shame" then walked away. I remember everyone treating the wait staff at the event like garbage. Hardly anybody was talking about watches! It was all about peacocking and bragging about how important they all were. I left thoroughly disappointed.
I had hoped that I could chalk it up to one bad experience. Since then, I've been to nine other events in venues around New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Las Vegas and Atlanta. All of which were the same. At one of the meetings, someone told me how their "beater" watch is the Rolex Sub Hulk and anything with an ETA movement is worse then quartz. I was saddened to see that to most of these people, a timepiece seemed to be nothing more than a status symbol. I suppose that could be said for people who collect cars or art as well. It's possible for someone to collect something merely to demonstrate power and status, but after nine collector's events and countless trips to watch shops around the country, I'm beginning to wonder if it's possible to love timepieces, but hate the "lifestyle" that surrounds many of the people who wear them? I'd love to hear your take on this!