2020 has been a tumultuous year, from a health, political, social, financial perspective and the watch industry has had its fair share of obstacles and challenges. While there are serious issues going on in the world right now, August 2020 saw some products and content that can be placed in the category of ‘head scratchers’. Enthusiasts were out to kill and while I am all for a bit of debauchery, I think there is worth in analysing what we’ve seen beyond the absolutely incredible memes that have surfaced over the last month.
Boy did the big H get a rinsing for this one. Hodinkee began their campaign with a standard watch this space post on instagram where everyone began prodding around trying to conjure up which watch manufacture would be the latest to enjoy a successful collaboration. Only this time, it wasn’t a watch. It was a clock. A travel clock. During Covid 19. That retailed for $5,900 USD. Eye brow raiser? It was so much more. The watch community did not hold back and interrogated (accompanied with a fair share of abuse which is totally unacceptable) what seemed to be an absurdly priced, insensitive accessory that had no business being released in the midst of a pandemic. The travel clock on its own merits is not a bad product per say, but that’s not to say there wasn’t anything wrong with it. The community was incensed by the price tag, especially since the 96 ‘historical’ movements were touted as somewhat special and significant, not just a parts bin special found in a warehouse in Switzerland. These movements did not receive any additional finishing and the alarm actually sounds like the mechanism is missing a bell. Hodinkee then went on to defend the onslaught of enthusiast artillery by turning off the comment section ‘to protect customers who have purchased the product’ and conveniently applying the brakes to negative feedback on their instagram account. Shortly after, they doubled down and stated they ‘always’ turn off the comments on collaborative products available in the hodinkee shop. This would have been a fair statement if it were actually true, comments have never been turned off for hodinkee products which added fuel to the fire. After a few days and a number of emergency meetings I presume, the big H came back with a carefully considered response saying sorry. Not sorry for releasing the product, but more for the treatment of the feedback they had received. Which I think, was an appropriate and positive action. If Hodinkee wants to release a travel clock for $5,900USD during a pandemic, sure, go ahead. I couldn’t be less interested in the product and the idea of a travel clock right now is a bit on the nose but hey, shoot your shot. Enthusiasts felt betrayed given that Hodinkee pride themselves on looking after the watch community, however we cannot forget they are a business. They are a profit making entity and have investors to answer to. At the end of it all what do we think? An 8 day travel clock does absoloutely nothing for me, regardless of the price. And guess what, that’s totally okay because I’m sure there is someone out there who loves it. Had the marketing strategy changed to offer it as a ‘desk clock’ the feedback may have had a whole different tone. This is probably the only time Hodinkee have got their marketing strategy entirely wrong and in future, they may well be taking a bit more care in their collaborations and keep a closer eye on their social media manager.
Another product that caught us by surprise. The Luxwi Watch Lock is an attempt to solve the ever present issue of watches being stolen off wrists. I can’t imagine anything worse than being stripped of your prized possession and am very respectful to the fact someone has attempted to offer a solution to a very serious problem. However, you can’t help but wonder what was going on during the supposed 3 year R & D phase. The Luxwi watch lock is secured to your folding safety clasp to prevent sleight of hand theft, kind of like how steering wheel lock is applied to a car back in the day (remember those?). The lock retails at 130 Euros and primarily effective on folding/deployant clasps. This Watch Lock has me genuinely perplexed on all fronts. How did they come to this design? Does it impinge on the wearing experience, I’d hate to get crown bite from my watch let alone my clasp. Who is the person who buys this product? Is this going to be another trend like bezel bracelets? Are enthusiasts so concerned about their watch being lifted from their wrist that a lock is the only way to instil peace of mind? For myself and many others, if I am too scared to wear a watch in public or travel with it, I’m leaving it safely stored while I go about my day. Further, the clasp lock may reduce the likelihood of sleight of hand theft, but I doubt it would prevent a felony at knife or gun point. I guess you can’t be too careful, but if you’re reaching for your clasp lock as you get ready it may give you pause to put down that Daytona and put on the G-Shock instead. You can’t be too careful when it comes to you prized possession and if it saves just one owner from their watch being stolen it makes all the difference in the world. However, I prefer to wear my watch as they are intended, unobtrusively, freely and will not adding it to my shopping cart.
This one hits a bit close to home. Friend and fellow Melbourne Watch Enthusiast @thewatchrover was called out for taking a photo of his Tudor Black Bay GMT balanced on the corner of a full plate. Apparently, such a photo exhibits attention seeking behaviour and ‘shows extraordinarily poor taste’. The clickbait article calls out watch enthusiasts on a broad scale for practicing highly narcisstic behaviour and just how ridiculous it is that @thewatchrover would treat his own watch, that he paid for, the exact way he wants to treat it. Unbelieveable right? Dmarge absoloutely misses the mark about the watch community as a whole and is made clear they just don’t get it when referencing the Black Bay GMT as one of the best investment pieces of 2020. Oh how we love the term ‘investment watch’. The silver lining of this horrendous article is just how quickly the watchfam has banded together far and wide to back our friend and highlight that he is one of the goods guys. @thewatchrover donated a watch this year with all proceeds going to bushfire relief here in Australia. Quite the opposite to poor taste and attention seeking behaviour I would say. But hey, in 2020, whatever it takes to get views I guess.
If the first half of 2020 is anything to go by, we are in for an exciting second half to what has been one hell of a year already. Now, time for me to figure out how to produce a lock for my travel clock and write a clickbait article about it. Ciao!