When I first started trying to explain watches and indeed Calibre itself to people, I talked about how enthusiasts would talk. Reference numbers were key, I said. Reference numbers that were used to identify watch models, movements, sometimes even parts. It was one of the ways I tried to explain that there was far more technical depth and historical importance to watches that just brands and model names. Enthusiasts and collectors would cite these odd (to most people) numbers as a way of being as specific as possible. There were hundreds of models of, say, Omegas or Speedmaster and even within families there were differences over generations. Some would be considered covetable, others very very not.
This all stemmed probably from the industry itself. Watchmakers and watch companies were producing very specific parts and complicated pieces, and they needed to be very precise for many reasons. Besides just keeping track, they needed to have some way of documenting what parts went in what, and where they were sourced or how they were made. And remember, the first clocks and watches often didn’t even have names. Or if they did, it was often of the merchant (often a ship’s chandler) who sold it to you.
Recently when I was talking watches and the industry with a visiting watch company head, it seemed like they began to feel that reference numbers may well be bad for the watch world. People were quoting this number or that as a “grail” or “their next grail” which kind of goes against the whole definition but that is another discussion. There wonderful pieces of technology and craftsmanship, these works of art, were being identified by people who basically new the number and the price and not much else. They might know what you could google off your phone or what algorithms sent you because you seem like the right type. But there were no discussions of any depth. History, technology, daring, risk. Why the shape of one tooth on a gear made such a difference. Why a multi-awarded watchmaker said something was impossible, until he figured out how to do it. Why some brands refused to use certain precious metals for shaped boxes until they could be up to their standards. That company owner said, you know I really don’t know why people buy so many colors of the same of our watches. What is worse, no one even cared.
It is arguable of course, and probably very true, that we can have these discussions because of our access to the industry. But that access came, as I would explain when asked how we started the whole publishing group we did (as just a magazine at first), that it all boiled down to the simplest of things.
The basic formula is available to anyone really. Get really enthusiastic about something. Learn a whole lot about it. People will start asking you questions.
That is really all it is.
And all this information is now available pretty much to everyone. Not everything of course, And all this information is now available pretty much to everyone. Not everything of course, But more information and access is far more available now than in any other time in history.
So please. If you love something, or even want to learn more about it. Go deeper.
You sell everything short, including your own passion, if all you talk about is what something might have cost.