I am sorry to disappoint the superlative loving masses but there is no one best watch and I regret to inform you that I don’t have a standout favorite timepiece or watch brand. It is worth noting that what prompted me to assemble the collection of thoughts in this article is the experience of several years of people innocently repeatedly asking me these questions. The inquisitive remarks themselves are no doubt natural but few people seem to be satisfied with my response. When it comes down to it, I cannot in good faith claim a single best or list of best watch brands, nor will I put myself in a position to choose “just one watch I could own if I had a choice.” Here is why, and this gets philosophical at first…
The topic of what one does for a living is a natural query in social conversation and few people respond with the answer of “I write about watches” (or whatever description I feel to offer at the moment of what I feel is a less than straightforward career path without a clear title). There just aren’t that many of us around. In fact, perhaps our regular followers might be better equipped to properly define the nature of a person’s job who runs a site on watches and engages in activity related to that for a living.
Getting back to the subject at hand, I am always satisfied to meet people who are not familiar with timepieces but naturally curious and friendly who want to know more. Perhaps the logical follow-up for most people is to ask about the best items in an industry they don’t know very much about. Assuming timepieces combine aspects of the worlds of fashion, art, and technology… I wonder if this question is merited in other areas?
Is there a best automobile or artist? Is there a single item of clothing that rules indiscriminately above all else? Is there a brand whose products are so widely amazing that I’d hands-down choose their products among all others in every instance? Getting even more simple; is there one culinary dish or cuisine that in taste and nutrition is a clear winner among everything else available? I don’t think even the most qualified people would be able to adequately and in good faith answer any of these questions with one simple response.
In fact, the more you know about something, the less likely it is that you will have a favorite. More than likely it is the subject matter or field that you are interested in, rather than one specific item or situation. Being interested in art supposes you love artists and at least one form of art to the degree you enjoy the works of several people who practice it. Can anyone truly call themselves an art lover if they love just one work of art to the exclusion of others?
Perhaps the definition of an enthusiast of anything is that they choose not to have a favorite. How can they? To have passion for a subject matter by nature implies that you enjoy the various options offered within that subject matter. Of course people can specialize or focus their interests, but does that imply that the subject of their focus is the best?
Each year brings thousands of watches into my hands and the hands of my colleagues. I write more than 500 articles per a year on watches and have been exposed to a great variety of small wearable items that indicate the time or other information. In fact, I even continue to do this in pursuit of my interests. I have yet to put a watch on my wrist and declare “That’s it. I am done. This is the best watch in the world. I will dedicate the rest of my days to spreading its gospel.” No, I don’t think aBlogtoWatch or my career has a natural endpoint. This is no ultimate holy grail for me or most people. Perhaps this is why a passion for timepieces (among many other expensive hobbies) is enthusiastically referred to as an addiction. You just keep wanting more.
It may even be morally wrong to have a favorite watch. Philosophically, I am not exactly a proponent of moral edicts, but I do feel an ethical obligation to my readers to be open-minded. This is especially true given my role as someone who helps frame opinion and inform people on a variety of new watches. Sometimes my work is suggested to be akin to that of a movie or art critic. That would indicate my role is to give people the tools and condensed summary of products so that they can best determine for themselves what is worthy of their own investment. Not to tell people that they need to like what I like. Naturally, I will have my own tastes and preferences and am not expected to be completely neutral. The best critics are those with very strong opinions. My preferences exist to allow people to agree or disagree with me, but my value is in offering an insight that people can incorporate into their own sense of good taste.
So, in other words, having favorites dilutes my ability to educate and inform. It has been told to me on more than one occasion that the role of most fashion magazine editors is to narrowly address to their audience what is right and wrong, right now, without confusing cause. Perhaps that is why I am not terribly interested in reading fashion magazines. If what I am told is true, then their primary focus is to tell people what is proper to adorn themselves with in the instant moment. What is cool isn’t a matter of knowing the good from the bad, but rather a function of listening to the self-appointed authority. Then when everything changes “next season” you have to choose new items to wear based on their prescriptive advice.
Would fashion magazines be more useful if they instead explained to people what they feel looks good and why? Is there a benefit to a detailed explanation of why some “looks” appear better than others given the particular state of pop culture and socioeconomic elements? It is entirely possible less magazines or websites would be read, and less products sold, but strictly speaking is it better to give people the tools to make their own decisions rather than simply tell them what is right and wrong?
No doubt my assumptions are lofty and somewhat idealistic. To suggest that each member of society has the time or interest to invest in critical thinking skills sufficient to make their own qualified and deeply personal decisions about what is best for them is not perhaps, strictly speaking, highly efficient. Though it does seem to make for a good goal or editorial mission. The first thing I find myself thinking when someone asks me “what is the best watch” is “I wonder what the best watch for you would be? Let me ask what they like.”