Why are men obsessed with watches?

No one wishes one. The Swiss made dive watches tend to be significantly expensive. There’s a recession on. And yet magazines nowadays are filled with ads for strength watches – and the industry is booming
Barack Obama checks out his Jorg Gray
President Barack Obama checks his Jorg Gray 6500 Chronometer Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jeremy Langmead
Mon 14 Dec 2009 00.05 GMT
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An everyday, less expensive watch by way of a quite unknown producer has these days racked up thousands and thousands of income in America and is set to do the identical right here. Its fulfillment has nothing to do with its layout, or a huge advertising campaign, but the reality that it’s far the timepiece currently favoured by means of the president of the US. The Jorg Gray 6500 Chronometer, at the beginning designed for individuals of america Secret Service, become a birthday present to Barack Obama from a member of his safety team.

When the £260 version – which made diffused appearances at Obama’s Democratic nomination in Denver, his victory speech in Chicago, Inauguration Day and the G20 summit in London – turned into diagnosed by Jeff Stein, an Atlanta-primarily based attorney and horological hobbyist, its business fulfillment changed into assured. Not due to what it offered as an eye fixed – the battery-powered version does little extra than inform the time and provide a stopwatch – but because of its affiliation. Owning the sort of puts you within the same membership because the most powerful man inside the global; and men like being individuals of clubs like that.

Watches are huge commercial enterprise these days. And the remaining 5 years have seen splendid increase within the zone. The Swiss watch enterprise, as an example, noticed its exports grow from £2.5bn in 1986 to £10bn in 2008. All this in spite of the truth that the number one function of the watch – to tell the time – has been rendered pretty a lot obsolete by means of the discovery of the mobile telephone and the BlackBerry. So why are we nonetheless buying them? Why do heads of kingdom still give watches to their hosts on the event of nation visits? (Silvio Berlusconi must have handed dozens to Tony Blair over the years.) Why did Bernie Madoff own 17 Rolexes and 7 Cartiers? Why are the most not unusual gadgets stolen from wealthy footballers in Cheshire now not sports motors but watches? Why are the pages of men’s magazines which include Esquire and GQ, or courses together with the Spectator and the New Yorker, festooned with glossy advertisements proposing A-listing celebrities carrying watches that fee many hundreds of pounds every?

It wasn’t see you later in the past that your father could hand you a gold-plated watch for your 21st birthday and that would be that. It by no means crossed a person’s mind that he would possibly need to add any other two or 3 by the point he hit 30. And it in reality in no way crossed his thoughts that when he reached 40 he might be thankful to get hold of a clever wooden container with unique felt-coated cubicles in which to maintain his “series” of watches.

The reality that guys are nevertheless shopping for and cherishing best timepieces is of splendid comfort to an industry that, within the early Nineteen Seventies, notion its time, if you’ll excuse the pun, had come. The invention of the quartz watch (in analog or digital form) in 1967 would possibly to begin with have been hailed a great technological fulfillment, but it wasn’t lengthy before it was additionally visible as the largest assignment the traditional timepiece had faced since the wristwatch first became popular at the give up of the primary international struggle. The fact that a reasonably-priced Casio with a flashing LED time display become what each younger hipster soon craved, coupled with the financial doldrums in which the sector observed itself in the 1970s, spelled disaster.


It took a few years of navel-observing and re-comparing what an eye turned into without a doubt for earlier than, in the mid-Eighties, some forceful and ingenious characters within the enterprise came lower back with a layout philosophy and advertising programme that brought the world again from the threshold. These horological pioneers decided that watches could now not merely be timekeepers, they might be mini-masterpieces that showcased severe craftsmanship, represented lifestyle, incorporated era and embraced innovation. They could correctly be a Savile Row fit, Ferrari sports activities vehicle, Mayfair member’s club and Nasa spaceship rolled into one bundle that might sit neatly for your wrist.

And regardless of their length, and passive presence, watches may want to even have a touch of game, risk and adventure about them. It became 25 years ago, as an instance, that Tag Heuer signed a cope with the system one McLaren crew and all at once its timepieces have been associated with one of the global’s most glamorous, high-octane sports. What guy would not need to have a touch a part of that – even if the nearest he got to the Monaco Grand Prix become a 15-minute trip on London Underground’s Circle line?

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