COMMENTARY: Does A Watch’s Ability To Photograph Well Change Your Love For It?

by Matt Clymo

In the age of social, many of us are taking pics of what’s on our wrists, which led us to ask, “Does how a watch photograph affect your love for it?

It’s an interesting question. Social media has changed a lot of things in our lives, and one of those things for many of us is living our life online, sharing with the world our adventures, trips, families and hobbies. Whilst this doesn’t affect all of us out there, it does for most. How many times do you head out now and see a table of people at a cafe or restaurant and rather than talking deep in conversation with their friends or family, you’ll see at least one or two of these on their phone? Possibly taking pics of their food or drink #lovinglife #foodporn #celebration

Yes, coffee and watches are a thing!

But if you’re a watch nut like me, and many of you out there, the chances you’ve taken a wrist shot or wrist roll and put it up on Instagram or Facebook (or insert your social platform of choice here!) And if you are like me, it’s a daily occurrence and you want to make them great pics as there are a lot of good photographers out there now, especially with the advancements in phones and editing apps. It seems that it’s getting harder to take a bad photo of our watches.

The Zenith Skyline is one watch that is hard to take a bad picture of, like this one taken on the iPhone 13

However, some watches are naturally more photogenic than others. There are some watches that just can’t take a bad pic, and then some that can’t seem to take a good pic at all! Now this all depends on how the watch is designed, the dial colour and material as well as the crystal shape and how effective the anti-reflective crystal is. There are a lot of factors that get taken into account and depending on the combination of all these, you can have a highly photogenic supermodel, or something that you can never quite capture the beauty of.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph is one watch that is a pleasure to shoot, the grey on the wrist above, and the blue in the car below!

Being an avid watch photographer, I love it when you find a watch that takes great photos, no matter what. It’s a joy to know you can pull out your phone for that quick wrist shot to share on a Facebook group with minimal editing, or take it off your wrist and set up a great moody shot with a camera and create a masterpiece shot. On the flip side, it’s highly annoying when you just can’t seem to get a decent pic no matter how hard you try. Or you have to go to much greater lengths to get the right shot and if you don’t have an at-home studio (which I don’t) then it’s a lot of trial and error!

The Panerai Radiomir Tre Giorni – love the watch but the domed crystal makes it very hard to get a clean photo!

It’s the latter that got me thinking about this small niche corner of the watch world. Does the watch’s ability to photograph well impact how you feel about it on a daily basis? Does it impact how much you wear it or does it affect how much enjoyment you get from said timepiece? Personally, I had to think about this for a while and the conclusion I came to was that for me personally, it does and it doesn’t. Yes, I know this is fence-sitting, but hear me out.

The Tudor Black Bay Third Generation – one of my current favourites to wear and photograph

When I think about my collection over the years, how it’s changed, and what I’ve kept and let go depending on the situation, I’ve realised that some pieces were a dream to take photos of, but for some reason, just didn’t do it for me in person and on the wrist. Conversely, others were the complete opposite – love it on the wrist and how it wears and makes me feel, but terrible for photography! There have been many, many images I’ve taken and then deleted as I wasn’t happy with them and when you’re an active member on forums, chat groups and just building your Insta page, then the final photo in my mind is important.

The Omega Seamaster was one piece that was great in real life, but hard to capture due to the polished ceramic dial and laser-etched waves. The black also reflected the light quite a lot.

I’ve previously worn watches more for their ability to photograph than I have for my pure love of the piece, which in the end, has ultimately led me to let it go to a better home – to be loved and cared for, not treated as some prize piece just being used for it’s good looks! But is that wrong to wear it as it takes great pics even if you don’t love the piece as much? Surely part of the joy of owning it is what you do with it regardless, right?

The Tudor Black Bay GMT – one piece I let go due to it not connecting with me the way I thought it would, but great to capture on camera.

Maybe. The purist in me says buy only what you love and will wear and enjoy each day, as the reality is, you look at your watch more each day than you take a photo of it. But then there is that part of me that wants the watch to take great photos, to share my love of the hobbies that are watches and watch photography. #Spreadthelove #watchphotography!

The Rolex Sea-Dweller. One piece that I love to wear, and love to take pics of, and one I’ll be keeping around for quite some time!

Let me know your thoughts on this topic. Have you this issue, or am I just being plain weird? Leave your comments below and if you want, add your Instagram handle in the comments to let people know about your account. In the meantime, here are a few of my other favourites from the past few months…Spread the love #Watchfam!

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