Watch popularity doesn’t just occur because enthusiasts like us talk timepieces all day long. Real mainstream appreciation (well, at least awareness) of watches comes from penetration through pop culture – especially, these days, when fewer people actually need to wear watches. One type of penetration of watches into pop culture is when timepieces are worn by characters in movies and shows. Sometimes these are intentionally placed marketing techniques, a decision by a prop master or wardrobe person, or other times simply a personal choice by the actor or actress.
Placement of watches in movies and shows has been celebrated over the years when either those watches or characters have been popular with fans. It doesn’t always work, but it is undeniable that people carefully notice what characters are wearing and doing on the screen. When characters don’t merely wear watches but exhibit something familiar to those who participate in watch culture then the effects can be even more profound – or, alternatively, totally meaningless. For example, in a trailer for upcoming 2016 movie Doctor Strange, lead character Dr. Stephen Strange (played actor Benedict Cumberbatch) appears to open up a drawer full of winders to select a timepiece for the evening to match his tuxedo prior to speeding away in a Lamborghini. What will people who view this scene think when they are watching it, what effect will this have years from now?
I think it is obvious that watch lovers notice timepieces in popular culture – especially on-screen. The question is (and it isn’t necessarily easy to answer) how seeing those watches affects how they feel about a particular brand (assuming they can even identify the brand). A common question we get asked on aBlogtoWatch via e-mail is “what watch is he/she wearing?” This is typically accompanied by a blurry or impossible to decipher (even for a forensics expert) picture of someone wearing something that is probably a watch and otherwise non-identifiable.
If you see a watch or brand you like in a movie or show does it tend to elevate your appreciation or esteem of the brand? Can it reduce your appreciation of the brand if it is worn by the wrong character or in the wrong entertainment property? Do you get skeptical about why the watch is placed and whether it is a marketing ploy or not? Or are you just happy to see watches you recognize in entertainment at all?
I think the answers to these questions help us understand our own perceptions of the brands we like, the ones we don’t, and the ones that we may not have otherwise felt one thing or another for unless we got to see them placed on a wrist in a culturally relevant context, as opposed to less lifelike in sterile marketing images. We’d like to know any strong feelings you have about the issue and if you can think of experiences seeing watches in movies and shows that changed how you feel about or perceived a particular brand.