Watches – The Sta­tus Sym­bol On Your Wrist

Vishesh Sahni lo es the idea of an old boys’ club of watch geeks, ash­ing their wrists to show o their lat­est ac­qui­si­tion

Business Traveller (India) - - OPINION - VISHESH SAHNI WATCH GEEK, MAR­KET­ING PRO­FES­SIONAL AND BLOG­GER

Ire­ally want to start with an anal­ogy that ex­plains the whole ‘di­a­monds are to women what watches are to men’ sce­nario. But I couldn’t nd one so I am just goiw wvng to state it ex­plic­itly — “watches are to men, what di­a­monds are to women”. I am con­vinced that women buy di­a­monds to cel­e­brate suc­cess, while men buy a time­piece to show­case their po­si­tion in the so­cial strata. You may think that a fancy house would do the trick, but no… un­til a heavy watch lies upon the wrist of a man, his sta­tus hasn’t been achieved.

A case in point is Vi­jay Mallya, who boasts a mas­sive col­lec­tion of di­a­mond stud­ded Rolex and Aude­mars Piguet pieces. ( at’s prob­a­bly where all his money went, spent in buy­ing mul­ti­ple watches mas­querad­ing as bracelets). en there’s this whole crop of “new hob­by­ists”, who have re­alised that a watch col­lec­tion can go be­yond a Rolex and have thus started ex­per­i­ment­ing with other brands.

I met a cou­ple of twenty-some­things, just a few days ago, whilst they were hav­ing a heated dis­cus­sion about why their Richard Milles were so light­weight. Strangely enough, not one of them was aware that Richard Mille uses a spe­cial NTPT car­bon to make their cases so un­be­liev­ably light. It is no se­cret that Richard Mille watches are like the rac­ing cars of the watch world for their op­ti­mal use of tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion, which come at an in­sanely high price tag. But show o they did!

Such watches are like the morse code of suc­cess — they are silent ver­sions of a soc­cer

eld chest bump, if you will. I see this as a crazy cult of adult males, who can con­nect with each other even if they don’t speak the same lan­guage. Hell, they’d even talk to an alien if he was wear­ing a Patek Phillipe Nau­tilus 5711.

Just as peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate whisky, wine and cars, watches make the cut in terms of their cra sman­ship. Rar­ity and time spent mak­ing them are other fac­tors. One of my favourites, the Rolex Deepsea comes with a he­lium es­cape valve and can func­tion un­der­wa­ter even at a depth of 3.9km. Just be­cause I know what the watch is ca­pa­ble of, does not mean I will ac­tu­ally take it deep sea div­ing. But the idea of wear­ing some­thing on my wrist, so ad­vanced and so ca­pa­ble, makes me drool even more.

Don’t you o en won­der why there’s a wait­ing list of a cou­ple of years for a Patek Philippe Nau­tilus, and why this watch de­mands a pre­mium in the grey mar­ket. Is it a gen­uinely com­pli­cated watch to con­struct?

e brand says yes, and I have to agree with them. It takes around 55 di er­ent hand

nish­ing op­er­a­tions to com­plete the Nau­tilus case and bracelet. e pol­ish­ing process alone in­cludes ma­chine sand­blast­ing, lap­ping, felt pol­ish­ing, satin brush­ing, and bu ng. So the prod­uct is truly hand­cra ed with time and pa­tience.

For nos­tal­gia’s sake, I will also high­light the ex­am­ple of Abraham-Lous Breguet, who in 1795, in­vented a move­ment, which, by con­stant ro­ta­tion, can­cels out the e ects of earth’s grav­ity. is in­ven­tion earned him the right to patent it and call it the “tour­bil­lon”. ough the func­tion does not have much of a prac­ti­cal use, it is still one of the most beau­ti­ful and ex­pen­sive com­pli­ca­tions in the watch­mak­ing world. To­day, with the ad­vent of tech­nol­ogy, a watch is no longer in­dis­pens­able. It may not even be a pri­or­ity for some. Plus, there are the naysay­ers who will ar­gue that this ob­ses­sion with watches is over-the-top. While they are en­ti­tled to their opin­ion, few will un­der­stand the ac­tual emo­tion con­nected with buy­ing a watch or gi ing one. ere is a jour­ney that ev­ery col­lec­tor has to go through. Ev­ery col­lec­tor has to un­der­take their own unique jour­ney to nd their “watch emo­tion”. I have gone through my own unique jour­ney, where I pa­tiently waited and worked hard to­wards pos­sess­ing a Rolex, only to sell it a few days later. I just didn’t nd the con­nec­tion nor the emo­tion. It wasn’t yet my time to own it. At the time, I didn’t yet un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate its value and cra sman­ship. I do now. One, two, three watches later, I nally set­tled on my morse code. is is the only jew­ellery I will ever wear and it is way bet­ter than di­a­monds.

For me — like for many other men — watches will al­ways re­main a sta­tus sym­bol. In my world, my col­lec­tion is my pride and joy. I am al­ways on the look­out for the next piece to add to my col­lec­tion. It gives me a sense of pride to add a new ob­ject of de­sire to my trea­sure. e process may take months or years, but there’s an un­de­ni­able sense of sat­is­fac­tion, once you own a piece of your choos­ing. And this emo­tion is only for me to en­joy, not to be shared with any­one else.

I’d like to end by go­ing back to my state­ment about own­ing a fancy house as a sta­tus sym­bol. You can’t wear a house on your wrist, now, can you?

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