Timepieces, Wristwatches, Pocket Watches; I have loved them all for as long as I can remember. More than anything I love the way they look and by association, the way they make me feel. Even new watches radiate a timelessness and sense of history in the intricacy of the hands; the indices and markers around the edge of the dials and bezels; the complications; and the delicate skipping of the second hand as it inexorably ticks in, then out again, the hours of every day.
Watches are historic in the most literal sense … they ARE the physical embodiment of time. Not simply the markers of it’s having passed, as you see in gray hair or eroding landscapes … but the actual progression of time. They make visible the invisible. Without a watch (or other timepiece) you could not “see” a second pass.
All you philosophers out there will rip that apart and explain that the timepiece itself is simply a result of time and not the actual passing … yeah yeah … relax and work with me.
Timepieces are special not simply because of their functionality but as much if not even more so, the accomplishment of the artistry and master craftsmanship required to deliver that vision in each piece. These are kinetic works of art.
In my mind you don’t really purchase a watch as an investment. Not that I am an expert but I see few watches that actually increase in value over time. Unless they are desirable but also increasingly rare. A Rolex Submariner for example is a beautiful watch but I would imagine a horrible investment. It seems that if anyone has a Rolex … they have at least one Submariner. It’s a pretty standard issue Rolex which has been around forever and everyone seems to have one. So dropping $5000 – $8000 on one will probably not be redeemed for a profit anytime soon. It’s my opinion that a watch like this is the first step into the big boy watches. It’s a landing platform for sophisticate noobs, that simply states “I made it“.
Watches have become synonymous with refinement and sophistication; power, wealth and influence. It’s one of the most important personalized attributes of any gentleman’s raiment. People gravitate towards the watches (and other accessories) of people, whether real or fictional, that they admire … or want to be. So … US President, British Super Spy, GOAT NFL Quarterback, or genius, billionaire, playboy, super-hero … yeah … If I could get any of that in a watch (or a pill or surgical procedure) … I’ll take it.
As a fan of history I particularly enjoy items with a story. I have a pair of old steamer trunks that my great grandparents used when traveling back and forth from the “homeland” in 1901. Similarly wristwatches can provide snapshots of a great deal of modern history. A B-Uhr Pilots watch gives us a look back into the cockpit of a German pilot in WWII. The Omega Speedmaster was with the first man to land on the moon. An Accutime Batman watch was on my wrist the day my 3rd daughter was conceived … OK … some history is less interesting than others.
Then there are those that satisfy our novelty needs. Timepieces from movies or characters that we are fans of. That appeal t our sense of sentiment or loyalty.
You’ll see either commemorative editions or designs that replicate the look and feel of these watches that evoke some sort of loyalty, sentiment, desire … something that people can relate to. Nothing appeals to people more than being able to personally connect to an item.
Homage vs Forgeries
Homage watches are so named because they supposedly “give respect” to a particular brand and/or design of a watch. In my mind this is less about paying “respect” as it is about exploiting the designs of another brand/manufacturer to make some moolah … but in order to keep things strictly legal they do not plagiarize the brand directly.
Personally I don’t have much of a problem with this. These “homage” watches are usually targeting a demographic which would or could never pay for the more expensive counterpart, which means that they are not really cutting into the business of the design being copied. For example, below is a $135 Parnis “Luminous Marina”. It is an “homage” to the $7000 Panerai “Luminor Marina” next to it. Given the price difference it’s unlikely that anyone with the budget for a $7000 watch is going to consider downgrading to the Parnis. However, if I like the look of the Panerai but don’t have the budget for an authentic piece, then whether the Parnis exists or not, I would not get the Panerai. So it’s not as though Parnis is pinching the more frugal Panerai customers.
Forgeries, on the other hand presume to be someone that they are not. Which means they are in a position to tarnish or otherwise reflect negatively on the actual brand that they imitate. Below, when the “Rolex” on the right starts to shit the bed the owner may think that they caught a crappy Rolex (even though they paid thousands less for it). Therefore, it reflects poorly on Rolex. This is completely uncool … and illegal. If you’re purchasing a forgery knowingly then it’s really cheating anyway. It doesn’t matter what the watch says, it’s not a Rolex, and even if people think it is, it still doesn’t make you a Rolex wearer. It’s not a Rolex and you still don’t own one. Lying about it doesn’t change that truth.
As we delve further into the world of cheap Chinese timepieces, we are undoubtedly going to encounter a number of “homage” pieces. It will be fun to match these doppelgangers with their more expensive inspirations. What you will NOT see however are forgeries or fakes. I may be cheaping out … but I won’t fake it.
Many of these images came from random internet searches and I want to make sure that I thank and recognize each site for them.