Join 3,496 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Montblanc Watches Chinese Ad:
May 5, 2011 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Montblanc Watches Chinese Ad is the everyday story a son of a billionaire that splits with his arty girlfriend and wins her back with ride to Switzerland in a private jet. I won't spoil the rest other than to say don't give up on the boring factory visit, the finale is worth waiting for.
posted by priorpark17 (102 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sit through a 15 minute commercial? Thanks, I'll pass.
posted by Silky Slim at 5:12 AM on May 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


hamburger, I hope?
posted by leotrotsky at 5:14 AM on May 5, 2011


Skimmed it. Wow. First against the wall, huh?

Also, Montblanc is a crap watch company with no history. You might as well wear a TAG Heuer. If you're going to spend the money, get a Patek Philippe you fictional nouveau riche cretin.

*recognizes that above comment likely indicates I'll be second against the wall*
posted by leotrotsky at 5:22 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


You never actually own a Patek Philippe.

Because you're the kind of schmuck who thinks a shiny gold watch confers instant status, you've grossly overstepped your finances and borrowed the cash to buy it. The bank owns your watch.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:30 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


don't give up on the boring factory visit

a.k.a. "this is not your daddy's sweatshop"
posted by chavenet at 5:32 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]



*recognizes that above comment likely indicates I'll be second against the wall*
posted by leotrotsky

More like an axe to the head, actually.
posted by ntartifex at 5:37 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, what a shitty ad. Finale not worth waiting for. Was totally expecting a twist at the end or something, but nope, just disappointment.
posted by yeoz at 5:39 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh christ it's so doofy I don't know if I can finish it. I keep laughing inappropriately.

cf. "Building the watch requires love and patience," etc.

My reaction: "Oh god they're going to cut to a relationship montage aren't they."

OH MY GOD THEY ACTUALLY CUT TO A RELATIONSHIP MONTAGE pfffffffff
posted by pts at 5:40 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


See I parsed the word "watches" as a verb. Crash blossoms!
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:41 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


leotrotsky: I'm presuming you're speaking from a place of experience, e.g. you are wealthy and own one or more fancy watches? In which case your username is killing me, seriously. Well done.
posted by pts at 5:42 AM on May 5, 2011


Holy shit I made it through. I don't even know where to start. That was definitely a thing I just watched, that much I can say for certain.
posted by pts at 5:49 AM on May 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


**Spoiler Alert** - for those who didn't watch the whole thing, he buys a Casio F91W-1, is put on a terrorist watch list, and is subsequently tased at the airport after trying to flee security.
posted by phirleh at 5:57 AM on May 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


Haven't watched the entire thing yet. I stopped it at 2:16, when they were walking past the statues of what look like laughing men, to try and find out where that shot was taken.

It looks like it's a piece by Yue Minjun, in the courtyard of the Today Art Museum in Beijing.

There's footage on Youtube of a similar piece by the same artist at Morton Park, English Bay in Vancouver. More on A-Maze-in Laughter, with pics that show the statues wearing Santa hats. :)

Article: The Many Faces of Yue Minjun
posted by zarq at 6:04 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who watches the watchmaker?
posted by b1tr0t at 6:07 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh my gosh, that watch crushed that man's independence.
posted by boo_radley at 6:07 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


2:10 the bottom right (brick building with statues) looks like "1949 Hidden City" opposite SanliTun
posted by priorpark17 at 6:10 AM on May 5, 2011


I have enough money tied up in watches to own a Montblanc if I could get it all back, but none of them individually cost over $150.

You've got to diversify your assets.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:16 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I just don't get this - it's an ad?
posted by synthetik at 6:19 AM on May 5, 2011


Also, Montblanc is a crap watch company with no history. You might as well wear a TAG Heuer. If you're going to spend the money, get a Patek Philippe you fictional nouveau riche cretin.

Can someone explain this to those of us who don't wear a watch because we have a phone that tells the time perfectly well? What has history got to do with it? How much longer would I have to wait before TAG Heuer had a history? If a TAG Heuer tells the time, doesn't break down and looks good, why should I get a Patek Philippe other than for reasons relating to snobbery? I can't afford any of the brands you mention, so this is purely academic interest on my part.
posted by jonnyploy at 6:21 AM on May 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


You guys are missing the context of this: China is moving to ban luxury, aspirational advertising that promote a foreign lifestyle. The ban started with outdoor advertising, but comments by the government against this kind of advertising have the industry concerned.

So that puts the ad into an entire different light. Yes, by western standards the ad sucks, but that's because we are expecting the watch to be worn by some chiseled celebrity with a bulletproof haircut stepping out of a luxury supercar towards some hot model oozing sexuality while looking past the guy into the camera at us.

That appears to be precisely the kind of ad China doesn't want, so instead you get this long-form commercial espousing "traditional values" which apparently includes (a)subverting the marxist commodity fetish by showing the consumer exactly where the product comes from, and the workers who make it, (b) rebranding luxury goods as "the watch is really a piece of art" and "a masterpiece"and (c) reinforcing the traditional idea that women are property, and that if you spend a lot of money on a girl and fly her around the world, showering her with "art", she'll love you again.

Capitalism: now exploiting Marxism!
posted by Pastabagel at 6:23 AM on May 5, 2011 [67 favorites]


Pastabagel: You have it down. Spot on.
posted by priorpark17 at 6:27 AM on May 5, 2011


Capitalism: now exploiting Marxism!

Now?!?

If you think this is some kind of new thing, maybe I can interest you in some officially licensed Che Guevara gear?
posted by chavenet at 6:28 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"no description available"
posted by Blasdelb at 6:29 AM on May 5, 2011


why should I get a Patek Philippe other than for reasons relating to snobbery?

Because if you're just going to get a TAG, you may as well get that Casio instead & use the money you saved to buy something nice at the food court.

TAG is an aspirational brand for people who don't understand what they're supposedly aspiring to.

Or, phrased differently, it's for suckers.
posted by aramaic at 6:30 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


That appears to be precisely the kind of ad China doesn't want, so instead you get this long-form commercial espousing "traditional values" which apparently includes (a)subverting the marxist commodity fetish by showing the consumer exactly where the product comes from, and the workers who make it, (b) rebranding luxury goods as "the watch is really a piece of art" and "a masterpiece"
Interesting. When I saw it I thought the factory visit was more about educating Chinese people about what a mechanical watch is and why it should be considered a luxury item to begin with. After all, if you didn't know that watches were mechanical and hand made it you might think a $14k Patek Philippe isn't any better then a cheap quartz powered swatch with some glass beads on it.

For those that didn't watch the video, the end is that they get married in a western style wedding, except instead of rings, they exchange expensive watches. It's quite weird.

However, it makes sense. Why do people in the U.S. get married with expensive diamond rings? It's because in the early part of the 20th century DeBeers spent a ton of money promoting the idea in America. In other words, a European company promoted a new social custom in a newly rich country so they could sell diamonds.

Now as western-style weddings are becoming popular in China (i.e. where the bride wears white rather then red) it would be a huge boon for watchmakers if they could confuse the issue by making watches, rather then rings, a wedding gift.

And, honestly giving watches would actually be better then giving diamonds, since watches are created by skilled human labor rather then just being dug out of the ground in often 3rd world crapholes.
posted by delmoi at 6:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


TAG is a conglomerate that purchased the perfectly fine Heuer, and then was itself acquired by LVMH. It's gauche.

Listen, it's obvious that buying a mechanical watch at all is slightly ridiculous, what art isn't slightly ridiculous? But if you're going to the trouble, you want a company that has a history of doing it, makes their own in-house movements (instead of buying them from ETA) and has demonstrated a little creativity in the art of watchmaking.

As I've said before, if you want a great watch, get a NOMOS. No gold, no fancy complications,
(relatively) reasonably priced, normally sized, manufactured in Glashutte.

No one but a vanishing few people will ever recognize it, and that's as it should be. But it is a completely beautiful, function piece of art which is a joy to behold.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


When does the guy named Montblanc begin watching the Chinese ad?
posted by Mike D at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's gauche.

Well, I guess that settles that.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:50 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, also the watches cost $1.5 "million" (and they buy two) although they don't say the currency used, which would either be RMB or euros, I guess. 1.5m rmb would be like $231k
posted by delmoi at 6:50 AM on May 5, 2011


That appears to be precisely the kind of ad China doesn't want

Which China are you talking about? Seriously. The Communist, hyper-controlling government, or the still rapidly growing populace held down by that government?

China has a rapidly emerging upper class that wants these things and will find ways to get them. For the proletariat, of course, this is not possible. Take the one-child rule in China, for instance: did you know that those citizens with sufficient funds (read: yuan equivalent of hundreds of thousands of USD) can have as many children as they want? They just pay an additional tax for each child, and all of a sudden the number of children that a given Chinese family might have has become as much a status symbol as their Mercedes Benz or their Mont Blanc gadgets.

This principle appears to apply to everything in their society, however. I was in Beijing a year and a half ago to visit a friend living outside of the city in a rural-yet-suburban neighborhood about an hour outside the city. The contrast between the 3rd-world one short bus ride from Tienanmen Square and the the surrounding 1st-world Beijing blew me away. You could walk out of the Mont Blanc (Gucci, Prada, et. al.) store with your shopping bag, hop in a taxi, and an hour later be in a place where almost no one had any running water or electricity.

The fact is that there will always be those in the current communist structure of China's society that want and are granted access to luxury. This isn't anything new, the screaming gap between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie - we saw it played out in the former USSR, and what it eventually led to (looking at the former member states as they currently exist), but China is trying to find new ways to hide it from the public / delay the inevitable. They have to, for the system to keep functioning - of the major foreign holders of US Treasury Securities, China claims nearly 1/4 of the total volume - that is, they own more of the US dollar than anyone else, and more than most of the others combined.

It seems a rather poignant reflection to me that of such a complex, massive political and economic powder-keg - that for every one of those jet-setting business-owner's sons there's a few million people living in poverty. I don't see how it can last, no matter how they try to engineer around it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:51 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


But it is a completely beautiful, function piece of art which is a joy to behold.

For people who aren't that into watches, isn't that true for the vast majority of mechanical watches? When Obama was running for president I don't think many people saw his TAG Heuer and thought "What kind of asshole wears a watch like that?"
posted by burnmp3s at 6:58 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Right, but if I want a watch with an ETA movement (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that) I can get the same thing for 1/5 the cost by not spending it on LVMH's luxury industrial complex.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:03 AM on May 5, 2011


Because if you're just going to get a TAG, you may as well get that Casio instead & use the money you saved to buy something nice at the food court.

TAG is a conglomerate that purchased the perfectly fine Heuer, and then was itself acquired by LVMH. It's gauche.

Folks I'm not sure this is true. These watches have a perfectly fine history and are still well-made.
posted by the mad poster! at 7:03 AM on May 5, 2011


are we sure that Tag has ETA movements?!
posted by the mad poster! at 7:04 AM on May 5, 2011


Pep-swatch Blue.
posted by ColdChef at 7:04 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was weird consumer porn, where the thing that is being objectified is the consumer of the ad's product, the objectifier is the producer (of the commercial) and the target audience is the producer of the product. Not being either of those three it just struck me as one weird motherfucking five minutes. (I couldn't get any further).

...and would someone be so kind as to remind me "ETA"=what exactly?
posted by From Bklyn at 7:06 AM on May 5, 2011


ETA. They make the (functional) parts of watch insides. I just looked it up and it turns out that a lot of Tag watches do indeed use ETA movements hmm

That's definitely a demerit although I'm not sure that X was bought by Y is a legit complaint if the product is good.
posted by the mad poster! at 7:09 AM on May 5, 2011


ETA, owned by Swatch.

The Swatch Classic is also a great looking watch.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:09 AM on May 5, 2011


Oh, my, two threads in which I can tell the same story…

My dad was a modest fellow, but did well in business and wanted to have some nice things. He'd always wanted a suit of armor, a real one, fully articulated and hand-crafted and all that. So by-God he bought one, pre-internet days, researched and talked to someone in England and was finally able to order one from Spain, a glorious thing with a sword and everything.

A few years later, he decided that he wanted a Rolex, so he got one of those, too. Then he died.

Mom was, and is, still very much alive, so we weren't in the business of cleaning out the house, but we had the Rolex to deal with. I wanted to sell it and split the money, but my brother wanted the two of us to do some sort of time-share operation. As a compromise, I was given the opportunity to have first dibs on anything else in the house, once Mom kicks it.

Mom will likely live to 100, but I got a full suit of real by-God armor waiting for me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:13 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


My $70 Skagen watch has worked perfectly for the past decade and I think it's real purdy. And I can say the same thing about my car, which I bought for less than the price of a lot of these luxury watches.
posted by twsf at 7:13 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"You never actually own a Patek Philippe."

You own two, because one is always away being repaired.
posted by bz at 7:15 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


But if you're going to the trouble, you want a company that has a history of doing it, makes their own in-house movements (instead of buying them from ETA) and has demonstrated a little creativity in the art of watchmaking.

Like Tianjin Sea-Gull, which has been making nice, reliable, solid mechanical watches in China (with, yes, in-house movements) for 50 years.
posted by enn at 7:15 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


When Obama was running for president I don't think many people saw his TAG Heuer and thought "What kind of asshole wears a watch like that?"

No, but the brand TAG Heuer has always conjoured up a certain impression. I'm a man's man and I have a man's watch, man. Did I mention that I'm a man and do manly things? When Tiger Woods copped to his 314 infidelities he was dropped like a rock by most of his sponsors. One exception was TAG Heuer (although they considered it) because, apparently, a guy who screws around on his wife (multiple times) isn't a problem for their target audience.

Yes, this is a completely unfair characterization, but brands have an association and the TAG Heuer brand doesn't say to me "I am a family man" or "I appreciate and admire a well made watch".
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:34 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


My interest is in quality items such as Mont Blanc. They give status to the owner (evolutionary pecking order; see what I can afford), and often perform very well. But then take a pen refill and use it in another holder (even can be done with Mont Blanc) and the performance the same but....
so too watches: fine Swiss watches a status symbol but now with digital, accuracy just as fine and you can toss it away if it breaks rather than go for expensive repair. Thus Performance and Status involved in so many things, cars too of course, and sometimes we can choose.
posted by Postroad at 7:38 AM on May 5, 2011


Right, but if I want a watch with an ETA movement (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that) I can get the same thing for 1/5 the cost by not spending it on LVMH's luxury industrial complex.

Or, if you want a bulletproof, understated watch with a reliable automatic movement, you can get a Seiko 5 Sports for 1/10.
posted by Skeptic at 7:39 AM on May 5, 2011


so if you want to be a stickler for authenticity you either have to get something that's only a couple hundred or you have to cop Patek Phillipes? this seems like a false choice and the people who're actually dropping a few thousand on a watch don't seem to be the ones who're mulling things from this point of view. If you push out the midrange then the marketing brands of the world will capture it
posted by the mad poster! at 7:43 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to tease people at my old office with my new watch. It had lots of little dials and gauges on it, it was teh techno-swank. I'd ask them "How much you think this cost?" They would get a pained look on their face, and venture..."uh, a hundred fifty?" I would laugh, and tell them. It was $1.95. I had gotten it in a blister pack in the line at Rite-Aid. I got a lot of smiles with that routine.

It told the time, it looked cool, it was stupidly cheap, and best of all, it was a real conversation piece. Now that's a watch.
posted by Xoebe at 7:44 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm curious as you how you define understated. That watch looks like mecha godzilla's kidney stone.

That said, Seiko does make some tremendous watches. The Marinemaster is a great diver, and a tank of a watch
posted by leotrotsky at 7:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Am I wrong in thinking the real gag was that the bride and groom are both wearing men's watches, and there's some gender subversion going on here?
posted by mhoye at 7:50 AM on May 5, 2011


leotrotsky Is this one understated enough for you?
posted by Skeptic at 7:50 AM on May 5, 2011


I HAVE A SWISS ARMY WATCH AND IT COST WELL NORTH OF $99.00 I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW.

It was excruciatingly hand-crafted by Swiss army personnel.
posted by everichon at 7:55 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Skeptic, I'll grant your point that a seiko is going to run cheaper than a swiss watch with the same movement.

But do you not see how busy that face is? Seiko's just not that good at aesthetics. Look at their Grand Seiko high-end domestic line. Does nothing for me. They're good for divers, crap for dress watches.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:58 AM on May 5, 2011


My mechanical watches are old Soviet Poljot chronometers. (Except I didn't pay anything remotely like those prices for them.) That lets me combine my appreciation for mechanical timepieces with my love of old Soviet kitsch while not feeling like a sucker for paying huge amounts of money to the Swiss for aspirational branding or James Bond fantasies. (I get those for free.)

As I understand it, (yes, that is a disclaimer) back in the day, when all watches were mechanical, the Soviets licensed some Swiss movements and started making their own watches. Time passes, quartz technology comes along, and the Swiss, who dominated the industry, wanted nothing to do with it and kept making mechanical watches.

The Japanese embraced quartz and took over the mass market for watches around the 1970s or so. The Swiss were forced into the top end of the premium market, and indeed went pretty much all in on that, so the watch market was cheap Japanese quartz watches for everyday use, and very expensive handmade Swiss mechanical watches for the rich. (Except Swatch, which was basically a Swiss attempt to fight back with affordable mechanical product.)

The one exception was the Russians, who behind their little iron curtain had missed out on all this and were still making real mechanical watches for everyday use. Once the curtain fell, Russia became the one place where you could still get rationally priced mechanical watches that weren't some kind of weirdly overbred fetish object. Plus, as I've mentioned, cool Soviet kitsch.
posted by Naberius at 8:02 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


leotrotsky Granted, it's busier and uglier than a Nomos, but then I was comparing it to a TAG Heuer (and God, are some TAGs ugly!).
Conceptually speaking, I also would prefer a Nomos, Glashütte or ORIS. But they are still in the "too fucking expensive" range for me, and if I had one, I'd be perpetually afraid of breaking it. An automatic, 100m waterproof for $100, on the other hand...
posted by Skeptic at 8:06 AM on May 5, 2011


I'll grant you that Grand Seikos are ridiculous, though. Best workmanship in the world, for sure, but with the aesthetics of an (equally well-made) Toyota Century Japanese government limo.
posted by Skeptic at 8:14 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Skeptic, I'm right there with you. That's a great price for an automatic.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:14 AM on May 5, 2011


BTW, I love how watch geeks have completely hijacked this thread.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:15 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Those Nomos watches are beautiful. Maybe I'll hit the lottery, one day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:18 AM on May 5, 2011


Stowa antea line provides nomos looks at half the price. Just sayin'. Watch geeks ftw.

I'm wearing a seiko samurai
posted by reverend cuttle at 8:28 AM on May 5, 2011


Cuttle: It depends which Nomos you get. For a basic model it's a toss-up. They really do look almost identical. Stowa makes a good minimalist watch. I dig the flieger.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:32 AM on May 5, 2011


OK, reading this thread, it's clear that this isn't viewed as a worthless SLYT... but it's still a SLYT, that could have been so much more with context, such as that provided by Pastabagel.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:38 AM on May 5, 2011


So, Watch Guys - In looking at your linked watches I ran across the HMT Pilot, and Indian line of watches. I love the look and they arte cheap (at least in 2009). Does anyone know where I could get one. i tried emailing the listed guy but I have little faith in a 2009 offer. Ebay has nothing.
posted by rtimmel at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2011


I have a sweet-ass Minnie Mouse watch.
posted by padraigin at 8:49 AM on May 5, 2011


I went to Switzerland and bought a Swatch. True story.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:58 AM on May 5, 2011


My favorite watch store, although those soviet ones are nice
posted by jtron at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2011


allkindsoftime:

You're right, of course. The wealthy chinese want these luxury goods for the same reasons westerners want them. But the government is not only supposed to represent the people it's supposed to represent the proletariat, the poor and working people. So they are trying to prevent producers from shoving products in the faces of the proletariat that it can never have, for fear of well, repeating history.

But I believe that it is actually impossible to advertise these kinds of goods without making that western message at least by implication (I have a post on my blog about this). You don't need a $10,000 watch to tell the same time as a $1 watch does. You want the $10,000 watch to get something else, completely unrelated to watches (women, cars, fame, etc.) Unless you can communicate that , you can't really sell these things in the quantity you need to make a profit.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:09 AM on May 5, 2011


With my love of mechanics, I could easily be a watch geek, and probably already am in a somewhat limited way, but I don't think I could ever be an expensive luxury watch geek. There are just some things that I can't justify the cost on, and a thing that I strap on my wrist that tells me the time should cost no more than $100 according to what the frugal-meter in my brain tells me.

I can see the appeal in the appreciation of well made artistry, but my personality simply can't accept the idea of a $15k watch. Something about it starts making my lizard brain scream about everything I could do with the other $14,900.

I guess I was never meant to be a rich person. I'm not wired for it.
posted by quin at 9:12 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, Watch Guys - In looking at your linked watches I ran across the HMT Pilot, and Indian line of watches. I love the look and they arte cheap (at least in 2009). Does anyone know where I could get one. i tried emailing the listed guy but I have little faith in a 2009 offer. Ebay has nothing.

I have some HMT mechanical watches bought off Ebay—you just have to keep looking. Beware of redialed ones, there are a ton, especially of the popular Pilot model. I hear they are more widely available within India so if you have contacts there that may be a better way to go. They are quite nice for the price (I think the list prices on these come to like $15!), they have a ton of models, and the movements are a licensed Citizen design manufactured in-house by HMT.
posted by enn at 9:31 AM on May 5, 2011


When Obama was running for president I don't think many people saw his TAG Heuer and thought "What kind of asshole wears a watch like that?"

True, but that's because we all knew what kind of asshole wears a watch like that and we were busy convincing ourselves that Obama is not actually that kind of asshole.

When I reached a certain stage in my career a few years ago, I started geeking out over mechanical watches and really wanted one that would say "I know and care about awesome watches," since I knew a lot of other people in my field who were that sort of person and, well, I had begun to geek out over it. But I'm cheap and not wealthy, so I had a very low budget to stick to. And I'm a functionality geek, too, so I wanted the most dead-reliable, geeky automatic watch I could find. I already had a nice but inexpensive and not pretentious swiss watch with an ETA movement that was given to me as a gift - a Tissot - and it has been totally reliable and great for going on ten years.

So, anyway, I selfishly and stupidly spent a few hundred bucks on what was reputed to be a super reliable yet geeky Japanese "watch geek" automatic diver, which never worked right and had to be taken to the repair shop constantly. The last time it stopped working right, I spent the money I would have spent fixing it on a cheap but nice looking ESQ and a $12 Casio A158W-1 from Wal-Mart.

So then one day a couple years ago I go to argue before the Court of Appeal on the first case that I've taken from step one all the way through appeal as lead counsel. It's sort of a big deal, so I'm all dressed up in my best suit, etc. And I get my fancy watch and wear it, because I'm stupidly convinced that's how you roll when you do that sort of thing. I get to the court and there are all the lawyers - all of them at least a decade my senior - with their fancy suits and Omegas, Pateks, Tags, Breitlings, what have you. So I'm feeling a little lame with my Japanese "fancy" automatic watch, but at least I've got something sort of aspirational, right?

It comes my turn to argue and the judges come out and I stand up at the podium to argue. I deliver my argument and the judges start asking me questions. And that's when I notice that the judge asking me the toughest questions - the judge I have to convince if I'm going to win - is wearing a Casio F91W-1. And I feel like a pretentious jackass.

The argument went fine and my arguments were ultimately successful. And I haven't worn my "fancy" watch since then. It wasn't expensive compared to real "status" watches. But I feel like a jerk even owning it. And that's OK, because people often comment on my awesome and 100% reliable Casio terrorist watch, whereas nobody ever said anything about the fancy, expensive one.
posted by The World Famous at 9:57 AM on May 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


The World Famous: "True, but that's because we all knew what kind of asshole wears a watch like that and we were busy convincing ourselves that Obama is not actually that kind of asshole. "

Nobody did this. "He's got the kind of watch you can respect". Nobody says that. "I could definitely pound a few beers with a guy who wears that kind of watch."
posted by boo_radley at 10:06 AM on May 5, 2011


Nobody did this.

I did.
posted by The World Famous at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2011


Which is not to say that everyone I know who wears a Tag is an asshole. In fact, I know lots of great non-asshole people who wear Tag Heuer watches. Nevertheless . . .
posted by The World Famous at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2011


Ooo! Watch snobbery. I love it. Truly. I'm kind of bummed that as a woman, my choices tend to be veer toward the ostentatious. My husband says it's because women have shoes and purses, etc and guys have watches. *sigh*

Also, if you feel like it, Christie's is going to have a few watch auctions in the near future and their catalogs are online - one catalog is 300 pages of watch porn.
posted by spec80 at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2011


Something about it starts making my lizard brain scream about everything I could do with the other $14,900.

I guess I was never meant to be a rich person. I'm not wired for it.


I dunno, if you save a $14,900 here and a $14,900 there you might find yourself rich someday.
posted by Hoopo at 10:13 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. Dig those NOMOS, definitely bookmarked. I'm currently at the Hamilton level of the horological madness: ETA movements, reliable, handsome, not hugely expensive. Thought the next move would be Omega (almost purely to have the Daniels co-axial movement, just cuz), but perhaps NOMOS as an intermediate...
posted by billcicletta at 10:19 AM on May 5, 2011


a thing that I strap on my wrist that tells me the time should cost no more than $100 according to what the frugal-meter in my brain tells me

I hear you quin, but then I have a wedding ring on my finger that cost over $1,000 and doesn't tell time for shit. Expensive watches have other purposes (other purposes that you may not be interested in, but telling time is, frankly, the least of it).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:47 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Expensive watches have other purposes (other purposes that you may not be interested in, but telling time is, frankly, the least of it).

I really, really love the look and feel of certain very expensive watches. But I've noticed that, at least in my own professional and social life, the negative signals they send about the wearer are far stronger than any positive signal I've ever noticed.

What are these other purposes you speak of? Are you just talking about the sense of personal satisfaction that comes from wearing a beautifully-crafted piece, the social signal sent by displaying such a piece, or some other purpose? I ask because in my own life I'm at a point where I think the downsides - not even considering the ridiculous price tag - of a high-end mechanical watch clearly outweigh the up sides. And, again, I really love the look and feel of certain very expensive watches, and I appreciate and geek out over the craftsmanship, the intricacy, etc. of watches.
posted by The World Famous at 11:00 AM on May 5, 2011


My computer, bare bones cell phone, and car keep me well informed as to what time it is. My old watch sits on the dresser with a dead battery. I think it's a Pulsar. It has a really cool glow in the dark dial face and a genuine leather band. It's railroad approved. I haven't worn it in 3+ years. I wish I had my money back.

When ever I see some really rare or expensive collectible, I can often appreciate it but I'm glad it's not mine. Sometimes you can expend too much psychic energy worrying about things. It can get to the point where your possessions own you, and you serve them. For instance, fancy watches.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:37 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what they did do his voice but right here at 2:41 the dad totally sounds like Darth Vader!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:43 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm still giggling at 3 MILLIONS. OK.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:43 AM on May 5, 2011


Metafilter: Vitality of Perfusion
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:46 AM on May 5, 2011


What are these other purposes you speak of?

I think you pretty much have it (personal satisfaction, social signals, etc). I'm trying to convince myself that I need a nice mechanical watch (the wanting is already taken care of) and I've been looking at various web-sites rather too much over the last few weeks.

(Then I think of the scene in American Psycho where two guys compare business cards like they're lost Rembrandts and I look at my 10 year old Kenneth Cole watch and think I should get a grip on myself).

(But I will remember the name Nomos. Just because)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:56 AM on May 5, 2011


I have a Yes watch. Specifically the Cosmo. It's gimmick is that, if you tell it where you are, it calculates the sunrise and sunset times and displays that information intuitively on its 24hr face. I do photography as a hobby, so it's ostensibly useful to know how long I have until the 'magic hour'.

That was my excuse at the time. Now I can admit that I thought it was cool and just wanted it.
posted by Compulsion at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2011


I love mechanical things, but watches have never really done anything for me. I guess it's because the super-expensive ones are always worn by rich douchebags, at least in my exposure to them. The big chunky watches especially just scream insecurity to me, and affectations like wearing one on the outside of a shirt sleeve are laughable.

A classic car magazine I read, Octane, is pretty good but they have a watch column and it just leaves me scratching my head. Last month they featured what sounds like an insanely annoying watch, a "repeater" which makes a different sound on the strike of every minute, fifteen minute, and hour (or something equally dorky, anyway). I think the price at the end of the article was "from $750,000."

Really? You might as well wear a noose and stand by a lamppost.

I don't like wearing watches anyway, all they tell me is something I already know: I'm late.
posted by maxwelton at 12:15 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


(c) reinforcing the traditional idea that women are property, and that if you spend a lot of money on a girl and fly her around the world, showering her with "art", she'll love you again.

That's pretty harsh. Rather, the girl is the one who triumphed in this story, she just married the son of a billionaire! The story is clearly aimed at a female audience, it's right out of Jane Austen, "IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife," the archetypal romance storyline.
posted by stbalbach at 12:23 PM on May 5, 2011


Ugh, he put the watch on over her wedding gloves.
posted by sawdustbear at 12:23 PM on May 5, 2011


the watches cost $1.5 "million" (and they buy two) although they don't say the currency used, which would either be RMB or euros, I guess.

1.5 million Swiss Franc's = $1,724,340
posted by stbalbach at 12:26 PM on May 5, 2011


Personally, I'm with Darrell.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:41 PM on May 5, 2011


Hahah, I wasn't wearing a watch when I came unto this thread but halfway through I put on my TAG cuz fuck you that's why.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:54 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I watched the whole thing. I suspect the soul they put in the watch is stitched together out of the pieces ripped out of the people who watch the commercials.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:32 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And if I had a wrist watch it'd probably be a Skagen.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:33 PM on May 5, 2011


After a heated debate about watches with friends of mine, which devolved into a ridiculous argument about the perception of time, and whether or not a hyper-accurate watch should be offset to account for the time it takes for the light to get to your eye, travel to your brain, and your mind to recognize the images and the significance of it, I just gave up on the discussion.

I threw up my hands, walked over to my desk to grab a sharpie, and drew a watch on my wrist. Instead of numbers and hands, just had the word "NOW" in capital letters written on the face.

You can't get more accurate than that.
posted by chambers at 5:06 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I threw up my hands, walked over to my desk to grab a sharpie, and drew a watch on my wrist. Instead of numbers and hands, just had the word "NOW" in capital letters written on the face.

You can't get more accurate than that.


First, it would have been a lot more interesting if you had thrown up in your hands.

Second, you can, in fact, get more accurate than that by adjusting the "NOW" indication on your wrist to compensate for the speed of light, brain activity, etc.
posted by The World Famous at 5:09 PM on May 5, 2011


Second, you can, in fact, get more accurate than that

But it's 'now' when the light is reflected off the wrist, 'now' when it hits your eye, 'now' when you comprehend it, and, even better, it's still 'now' when you think about it a second later. It is 'now' at all stages of perception.

There's a zen lesson there somewhere.
posted by chambers at 6:09 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


After a heated debate about watches with friends of mine, which devolved into a ridiculous argument about the perception of time, and whether or not a hyper-accurate watch should be offset to account for the time it takes for the light to get to your eye, travel to your brain, and your mind to recognize the images and the significance of it, I just gave up on the discussion.
Huh, that's an interesting question. It actually turns out that you can measure that somewhat. The brain does something weird such that you perceive as 'now' is actually lagging behind actual time. Anyway, it's pretty much irrelevant.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 PM on May 5, 2011


It told the time, it looked cool, it was stupidly cheap, and best of all, it was a real conversation piece. Now that's a watch.

I bought a similar watch, it had a rotating face with teeny and important-looking numbers and symbols printed along the edge, which was a flight calculator and a kind of compass. Or something like that. And it had the date and time, a stopwatch, second hand, and some other stuff I forget. Black metal and glass. Looked expensive, but cost maybe $40. I got a lot of compliments on that watch and wore it for years (then lost it one drunken, misguided night out).

I'm now watchless again (I have a knack for that), and I'm thinking of a cheapo Timex for $20 or so. Or I might spring for something somewhat nicer, but I can't see myself spending more than $100 on a watch. I'm cheap, I'm poor, so I guess that makes sense, but spending thousands on a watch is kind of amazing to me. I guess if my paycheck were an order of magnitude or two higher than it is now, it'd be a different story, but as it stands now...I'll go for cheap that just looks good. As it has been pointed out, Seiko makes damn fine watches that aficionados would probably find beneath them, but are still way out of my range.
posted by zardoz at 6:25 PM on May 5, 2011


You can't get more accurate than that.

Realizing that you were joking, but ignoring that fact (because it's inconvenient, and this is the Internet, where we automatically assume the worst): You can, in fact, get a lot more accurate than that but it requires mucking about with neuroscience.

...which is really irritating, on some level.

I'm reminded of the saying (for me, this first came up in the context of private citizens owning multiple atomic clocks and using them to directly measure the speed of time at differing altitudes):

"A man with a clock always knows what time it is. A man with two clocks can never be sure."

Or something like that, anyway.
posted by aramaic at 7:00 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


nth'ing the Seiko 5 love. What's not to love? All the features of the fatboys, with 21 - 23 jewel self-winding movements, for 1/10th the price. FYI: the 5 stands for the line's essential features: shock resistant, water resistant, automatic, and day and date display.

For people complaining about the design, stop looking at the sport watches. Look at the regular Seiko 5's (not an endorsement of the site, for illustrative purposes only). If you're going to buy one, I suggest making sure you get a "Made in Japan" one. The country of manufacture is listed in tiny print between the six and seven markers on the dial. They have a higher resale value and slightly better durability imo.

A good starting point for getting a Seiko 5 would be ChronoShark, they seem to put one up every two weeks or so, usually in the $50 - $70 range. These are not the made in Japan ones. But seriously, where are you going to get a 23 jewel movement automatic for $50? And if you need watch-status on the cheap, Seiko makes some close copies of Rolex SeaDwellers and GMT-Masters.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:57 PM on May 5, 2011


I too seem to have the same lizard brain switch regarding watch prices as others here!

Like Naberius, when I discovered Soviet mechanical watches, omg... I had to have one. Best thing is, you can find them vintage at really reasonable prices. I especially like Molnija (молния) watches for their understated flourishes. Ended up getting this Molnija pocketwatch whose iridescent violet face and chunky-yet-soft numerals, along with the beautiful hands, I just adore. Here's the outer case with its embossing. Adore it so much that I haven't yet dared to wear it out... but I wind it every evening. It keeps time as well as any of my other watches and clocks. And gosh it's purdy.
posted by fraula at 6:12 AM on May 6, 2011


My Molnija link got borked: Molnija (молния) watches
posted by fraula at 6:13 AM on May 6, 2011


"is put on a terrorist watch list"

i see what you did there
posted by Eideteker at 10:18 AM on May 6, 2011


OK, I'm convinced. Seikos ARE awesome. I just picked up an SKX007, which is an absolute steal for a 21 jewel 200M diving watch with an in-house movement.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:34 PM on May 13, 2011


« Older BADBADNOTGOOD play instrumental jazz versions of O...  |  In 1993, The Velvet Undergroun... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments