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
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?