For people who are into watches, watch spotting is a normal activity. Out in public, looking at wrists of passers-by is something that is in all watch fans. Looking at what other watches people are wearing is an everyday, automatic reflex for anyone who appreciates watches of any sort. Out in public spotting what watches people are wearing is the next level beyond stopping at the local watch dealer to see watches. The same watch spotting instinct is true when watching television or movies, attempting to name the watch the lead actor is wearing, especially easy when product placement is key to the character or setting (eg. How many Rolexes are in a single episode of the Soprano’s or Modern Family.)
After years of watch spotting, there are some tenants that I have found works well in public:
Don’t ask if the watch is real:
One of the worst questions I get when wearing a Rolex revolves around whether my Rolex, “is real.” Asking if it is genuine breaks the cardinal watch-spotting rule; “If you have to ask, then you don’t know and are not a sophisticated watch connoisseur.” Asking about the authenticity of a watch reveals two things:
- The person wants to steal your watch
- The inquisitor is a poseur who wants to start a watch conversation but does not know how.
Give a witty response:
Usually when someone asks me about my watch, I give a reply that it is a genuine “Hans Wilsdorf,” or a GMT. If they know that much, then they might be a legitimate question.
Don’t ask if they like their watch
Almost like a cheesy pick up line at a bar, don’t try to start a conversation about watches unless you are absolutely sure the person is into watches at the same level you are. The only places where I have had genuine watch conversations is in watch dealers, or at watch get-togethers, dedicated places where you know the audience is a bunch of watch geeks. In my experience of watch spotting, there are three different types of watch wearers:
- A person who like to wear a nice mechanical watch but is not a watch geek
- People who are not watch geeks but wears a watch
- People who are watch geeks but are uncomfortable with unsolicited conversation about expensive watches.
Each one of these types of watch wearers are people not expecting to discuss watches in public. Although it is always tempting to chat with someone who is wearing a 50th anniversary Daytona or DeepSea, most likely you’ll get the stink eye.