Opinion: Is It Possible To Love A Watch Brand, But Not Their Watches?

by Matt Clymo

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I really like that watch brand and what they’re doing, but I don’t love any of their actual watches”?

It’s an interesting question that I found myself thinking about the other day. Is it possible to love a watch brand, what they’re doing with it and where they are heading, but not really connect with any of their pieces on the market today? Being immersed in the world of watches and connecting with all different brands, you start to lift the veil and peak under the hood of the brands themselves, and really get an understanding and appreciation for them. Which is exactly what we do here at Watch Advice.

But in doing so, you start to look at watches and the brands in two different ways. One as a journalist, where your job is to delve into the brands, their strategy for the future, how the past dictates what their brand stands for and the pieces they’re creating and bringing to market. The other as a watch lover and buyer, where you gravitate towards certain brands and models that resonate with you as an individual, says something about who you are and reflects where you are in your collecting journey at this point in time. And this is where sometimes the ideology of each isn’t one in the same.

Christopher Ward The Twelve Purple Dial – You love it or hate it…

Now, I’m not going to mention any specific brand here, as it’s my opinion and personal tastes that dictate this, but rather give general examples to highlight my points. What you think and feel about certain brands and watches as a reader may differ greatly here, so it’s more to highlight a point.

As watch journalists, it’s our job to look into the brand, their history, what made them who they are today and ask, where are they heading now and in the future? What is going to get them there? How will this resonate with the general watch buying public? And from these questions, you get a good sense of how the brand is faring and the amount of future success they may have.

MB&F – The brand demands respect, but with unique pieces, may not be everyone’s cup of tea

You talk to a watch brand’s CEO, Brand Manager, or Heritage Director (which many brands now have) and you get a good feeling. You start to understand why the brand is dong what it is, and you think to yourself “wow, they’re doing some great things, and bringing some great pieces to market that are well received”. When brands then bring out pieces that speak to this strategy, and the general consensus is overwhelmingly positive, you know they’re onto a winner.

This alone gives you a greater appreciation of the brand, and potentially more respect for it. With many brands these days delving into their archives and vintage timepieces, bringing out re-issues and homages to watches of the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s it’s easy to say many are giving the watch buying pubic what they want. After all, nostalgia is a major part of this industry. However, when you look a little closer, not all are able to deliver a product that lives up to the promise or the hype. Those that do however normally nail it!

It’s much easier to connect with a brand when you have more of an insight into their strategy moving forward, like Jaeger-LeCoultre. Pictured is Justin Deveax, Head of JLC in Australia (Left) and yours truly on the right.

And this is where the quandary starts. The brand has executed on their vision and strategy. They’ve designed and built a watch, or collection that is very well thought through and constructed. Finally, they’ve introduced it to the public, much to the applause of all. But, there’s something that’s not resonating with you. You want to love the watch, but you don’t. The brand has done a good job with it, and it appeals to lots of people, but not you. It’s a bit of a let down, and frustrating as you want to like the piece and consider it as your next purchase, but can’t bring yourself to buy it.

The other issue which I’ve encountered in the past with certain brands is somewhat different, and slightly easier to get your head around. You have a certain level of affection for a brand, their history and what they stand for. You love their vision and plans for the future, but the models, their design and quality just isn’t there when compared to others. The brand is like a young child. Pure and full of promise as to what they can achieve in the future, but right now, their promise is greater than their ability!

Hublot is one of those brand that polarises, both as a brand and their watches. This doesn’t phase Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and brand ambassador Olivia Cowen cutting the ribbon at the newly opened Vienna Boutique last month.

In this instance, I feel it’s just time that will rectify this. The brand needs time to get their quality right, the designs more refined and their price points adjusted to make sense when compared to others. And this is ok as you will them on, waiting and hoping they achieve their goals and the watches match your expectation of what they can be. They’re the little engine that could, or at least they will be!

So, what is the solution here? In the first scenario where the brand and watches are in in alignment – producing great watches, priced right and positioned well, then it’s a matter of seeing if any of the watches pique your interest eventually or grow on you. Do you throw caution to the wind and buy a piece that you could love eventually? Or do you wait and see what pops up in their new releases in the near future?

Rolex is a brand that has the history and respect worldwide. But not everyone loves their watches for a range of reasons.

In the second scenario, then I feel the solution is more about patiently waiting and giving them time. As long as the brand keeps pushing forward and doesn’t lose sight of their goals, puts in place some strategies and manufacturing procedures, not to mention efficiencies of scale with production, then they will get there. In the meantime, you can follow their journey in hope.

So, this brings me back to the original question posed and the title of this article. Is it possible to love a watch brand, but not their watches? It seems you can, and that is ok. With so many brands out there, and many, many more watch collections, models and variants there’s a brand and a watch for everyone, and it’s ok if these two – the brand and the watch don’t always line up. At some point they most probably will, and when they do, you will have a watch on your wrist from a brand you love.

Are there any brands that you feel this way about? Or am I alone here in this watchnerd dilemma? Let us know in the comments section below!

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