Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article with the premise that “Your Watch Says More About You Than You Think”. Prominently featured is a certain 27-year old attorney from Chicago. The article begins:
AN OLD WORKPLACE adage says you shouldn’t wear a watch that’s fancier than your boss’s. For Tony Traina, 27, an associate lawyer in Chicago, however, it would have been difficult to find a more casual timepiece than the $399 Apple Watches his firm’s higher-ups tend to favor. He didn’t bother. As a watch-lover, he ignored protocol, showing up at work in a $1,500 mechanical watch by German brand Nomos Glashütte. But it barely went noticed.
Perhaps I’m being self conscious, but I’m pretty sure I come off like a raging douche bag here. “Guy shows up to his fancy new job with a fancy new watch, then cries to the WSJ when no one notices” — it’s not exactly a made-for-Disney fairy tale. On a surface level, it bothers me most that my watch is the only one for which the author explicitly lists a price, right there in the first paragraph. Not to mention the fact that I bought the watch pre-owned at a fraction of the price. So fuck me.
But that’s all beside the point. The entire article is written from the perspective of how your co-workers, or your boss, view your mechanical timepiece. I disagree entirely with that premise. I buy watches not to “flex”, but to feel a connection to people, places, or events that are meaningful to me. I bought a Nomos for my wedding because I love the brand’s minimalist aesthetic and commitment to independent German design, engineering and manufacturing. And now, when I look at the watch, it reminds me of my wedding day. I got into vintage primarily for the stories behind the references, brands, or people that wore those watches.
And I don’t care that no one has noticed my little watch. In fact, that’s exactly the point; I don’t want anyone to notice. I wear watches for me, not anyone else. It’s almost akin to the reason people get tattoos — to symbolize something permanent about their identity or who they are.
The author then goes on to recommend a few watches. For the “low-key lawyer”, he recommends a Nomos Tangente Neomatik 41 Update. The watch certain looks low key, but wears rather big, with its near bezel-less case and longer lugs. And sure, it’s more discreet than the Rolex Daytona and Patek Phillipe Nautilus the author recommends for the “always be closing” guys, by why not recommend something vintage? When I talked to the author I made the point that I like vintage pieces for their discreetness: smaller cases, some patina to dull the shine, watches that readers may not find in a GQ spread.
Bottom line, I think the author of this article had a headline and perspective in mind when he started writing, then cherry-picked a few quotes from me and the others quoted to back up his narrative.
Head to the WSJ to read the entire piece.