The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

I'd like to explore some of the common psychology at play in the minds of people who enjoy wearing high-end wrist watches. This topic is interesting to me because I believe that much of the time if you ask someone why they like to wear high-end watches, they will give you a range of answers – most of which never actually get to the point. Other times people offer contradictory reasons for why they are compelled to wear a small, expensive machine on their wrist whose actual utility in life is marginal at best. So why is it that people like to wear and show off their luxury watches?

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

The Two Dimensions Of Luxury Value

There are at least two dimensions to the culture of appreciating and desiring luxury items. One dimension relates to a person's ability to appreciate the inherent value of a specific luxury item such as its materials, design, construction quality, and of course utility. For the purpose of this discussion, we can call that a luxury item's inherent value. The second dimension to the culture of appreciating and desiring luxury items is because of social perceived value. This is the value in the notion that the so-called luxury item is something that is perceived by other people to be either expensive or exclusive (or both). This is an item's social perceived value.

In my opinion, most of the time both types of cultural values are at play when someone chooses to publicly show off their fine timepiece. I'd like to explore each of them and propose that the social perceived value of wearing a luxury timepiece is much more important than people often give credit to. More so, I want to clarify that I am establishing as a given, the notion that people who enjoy high-end watches also prefer to wear them and show them off. Yes, it is true that a more private appreciation of luxury watches can exist (when someone buys and enjoys but does not publicly wear a luxury watch), but this type of watch ownership is relatively uncommon and in a way outside the scope of this discussion.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

Now let's look at two extreme ends of the spectrum when it comes to the type of luxury watch enthusiasts choose to display on their wrist in public. At one end of the spectrum is the "predominantly social perceived value" watch. These are timepieces whose main luxury value is in their ability to send the message that they are expensive and/or exclusive. The message of "this was very difficult to get and I like to show off the treasures of my success" is the primary statement the wearer is trying to assert in this case. Such watches tend to be highly recognizable as expensive and/or exclusive by being produced from commonly recognized luxury materials (precious metals and stones), as well as coming from well-known luxury names (such as Rolex).

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

Social perceived value comes exclusively from a shared agreement that something is very valuable or exclusive. Diamonds are a good example, because their real value comes not from pure inherent value, but from the fact that people agree they are valuable. People who wear diamonds might cherish the sparkle, but you can't divorce a diamond from the shared public perception that diamonds are valuable. Social perceived value is further measured by the degree to which a large number of people are familiar with an item's perceived value. This is where things can get both complicated and interesting.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

Arguably, a lot more people are aware that a diamond has high value than the volume of people who know that a niche timepiece brand has high value. Social perceived value then runs along its own spectrum of recognizability and form of social status. Therefore, there is a dimension of sophistication value in the realm of social perceived value. Allow me to explain. Diamonds are recognized by a large volume of people and as a result, it requires a low level of education and sophistication to know that by wearing diamonds you can communicate that you are wearing a luxury item. Diamonds are therefore recognized by a large volume of people, but what extra effort has the person wearing the diamond demonstrated? Almost none. In order to purchase or acquire diamonds you rarely need to travel and for the most part you need only afford it.

I consider this to mean that while diamonds will tell a large volume of people that you are wearing a luxury item, it doesn't communicate anything beyond the fact that you can afford it. Thus, there is very little sophistication value to diamonds. You can further make the argument that if a luxury watch is exclusively personified by diamonds, the type of person it is meant to communicate luxury value to is not required to have a high level of sophistication themselves. So while diamonds almost universally have luxury value, they come with almost no sophistication value.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

It is for the above reason that many luxury watch lovers do not find watches with diamonds tasteful. Their usually unstated reason being that diamonds are aimed at communicating luxury value at an unsophisticated audience, and are unworthy of being considered tasteful or refined. Instead, these luxury watch lovers seek watches that require more education and exposure to the luxury world in order to be appreciated. This brings up the notion of preferred selective audiences. It is the idea that even if a watch wearer is primarily interested in perceived social luxury value in a watch, they can refine down who the receptive audience is by selecting a watch that is widely accepted as a luxury item by the general public, or a watch that is not identified as a luxury object save for a preferred selective audience.

Let's return to social perceived luxury value below. I'd like to generally discuss inherent value, which is important but in many ways less so than perceived social value when it comes to many people's decision to wear a luxury watch. Inherent value is the "more respected" form of luxury value because in a lot of ways it ignores perceived value.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

Inherent value is the value something has simply by virtue of what it is or how difficult it was to produce or acquire. A painting produced by a master can have a high degree of inherent value even if no one is able to recognize what it is. The inherent value comes from skill and training of the painters, as well as the physical time required to produce the painting. Ideally that painting also benefits from inherent beauty value, which is another form of inherent value. Whether or not anyone recognizes the painting for what it is, does not detract from the inherent value of the paintings.

Similarly for watches, some have much more inherent value than others – regardless of what they actually cost. Inherent value in a watch is similar to a painting. Its value comes from the materials used to produce it, as well as the skill and time of both the designer and the watchmaker (or more than one of them) employed to develop and produce the watch. A timepiece with a complicated hand-made and decorated movement and/or case will have far more inherent value than one with a less complicated movement and case – if only because less time was required in producing it.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

Inherent value requires sophistication to understand. I used the term sophistication before, but never really defined it for the purpose of this discussion. Sophistication in this context is a level of education, exposure, and in many instances social status that an individual may have. Sophistication is important in the context of people sharing their luxury watches because if you want to impress sophisticated audiences, you need to demonstrate that you can match their level of sophistication by indicating a similar level of education and exposure.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

Inherent value alone is very rarely why people like to show off their luxury watches. Rather, knowledge of inherent value can create social perceived value when communicated to preferred selective audiences. So for the purpose of this discussion, inherent value can be one source of social perceived value. It is the perception that a known complicated and difficult to make timepiece is valuable because of the inherent effort involved, and will thus be perceived to be valuable by other audiences with a similar level of sophistication.

The above discussion of the dimensions of luxury item value hinted at some of the basic reasons why people like to show off their luxury timepieces. Even though the reasons are basic, they are prevalent and in my opinion likely account for the major reasons why people like to wear luxury watches. So let me more clearly enumerate those reasons below.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

The Value Of Good Taste

The most important reason why someone wants to wear a luxury watch is to demonstrate that they can afford it. This is a direct expression of wanting to communicate social perceived value. The level to which the watch exclusively demonstrates social perceived value is directly related to its "taste value." Taste value is my term for a luxury item's ability to blend both social perceived value and inherent value. The more inherent value a luxury item has (regardless of social perceived value) the more taste value it will have.

We value "taste" because it communicates both that someone can afford an item and that they also have the requisite education and experience to understand as well as appreciate its inherent value. Education and experience require time, effort, and the available resources to accumulate. These are forms of inherent value in the luxury item owner, versus merely the luxury item itself (which I find very fascinating). Authentic good taste cannot be purchased, and has high inherent value because no matter how much society perceives the value of one's taste, the effort and resources required to gain taste are a matter of fact versus a matter of perception.

The Psychology Of Wanting To Show Off Your Luxury Watch Feature Articles

Taste is open to interpretation, but most people agree that it requires at least some level of exposure and selectivity. In the scope of watches it means that someone has seen and handled a lot of watches, sufficient to allow them to choose among the best (or at least their favorites). Taste is directly related to the credibility of one's choice of luxury item. Meaning that in order for society to have the highest perceived value in a luxury item, it must have both high inherent value, and be worn by someone with sufficient taste (through experience) to have come to the conclusion themselves that the item is of good taste.

  • Dr. Renato Lazarus

    Let me kick this off by saying that in the very last photo, the alien face reflection in the car is really freaking me out. Very Guillermo del Toro.

    • P. Leavell

      I think the distortions really cool

    • Brian Hemphill

      What better way to show how sophisticated you are then getting your alien friend to take your picture.

  • John William Salevurakis

    In other words…..Veblen.

    • P. Leavell

      I wish I could give you a dozen upvotes. Pompous Rick P¢€£ piss me off.

  • HenryL

    I don’t remember where I heard this one. This doesn’t necessarily apply to luxury watches, but to many other luxury items. —-> “Too many people are buying things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t like.”

    • Norbs K

      Fight Club
      One of the best book/movie of all time.

      • Mark1884

        You broke the first rule……..

      • IG

        Nope, the best movie is The Human Centipede.

        • Norbs K

          I still need to find some meaning in that one.
          Maybe that don’t let a crazy person sew your mouth to another persons anus.

    • pingrava

      My tacky, gaudy, tasteless, superficial and feral in-laws chant the mantra “SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE MORE MONEY!”
      Guess that’s why their on their third mortgage and entering their 80s.

  • Brad

    In the end, humans are primates and primates tend to live in a hierarchical society. The desire to feel superior to other people runs deep in our brains. An expensive watch is a way of demonstrating wealth and therefore a higher status.

    • Berndt Norten

      Three lines of text–you said it all! What a windbag article

  • P. Leavell

    I read the the article and frankly crap. You don’t spend your way to wealth .trying to keep up with Joneses ,,he’s got nice Rolex .I got to get one .what a great recipe go broke . Any my kids well growing up show that kind of attitude they would been out on the rear. Just asked my youngest he started that clothes make the man crap with me he didn’t think that way when he had to pay for a Year’s Worth University, clothes and food.
    I have no problem paying for something of value and paying a man for artistic workmanship but I do when it’s just the name you’re paying for that’s like paying for a hooker and you know what you get then, and I personally believe a lot of a Swiss watch industry has a lot of hooker built into it.
    And I personally am not into hookers ..Ill stick with the wholesome girls .

  • Mark1884

    I don’t think this topic is “interesting and complicated” In fact, I don’t even think this is worthy of being a topic.

    • dennis

      Couldn’t agree more, i read one paragraph, boring

    • Ariel Adams

      That is OK. I still enjoyed writing it.

  • Yan Fin

    Boy, I missed ABTW Sunday sermon last week.

    • Berndt Norten

      I didn’t. Wading through thickets of high school level verbiage and repetition ain’t my idea of fun. The writing truly is second rate

      • Dr. Renato Lazarus

        Second rate? You generous bastard.

      • Second rate is King, Gaiman. Third rate is Rowling, Tolkien. To name known authors.

        • Looking forward to some Shakespearean verse in Old English for next Sunday’s opinion piece!


    Came here this morning to see the review of the next monstrosity but to be welcomed by the amateur hour in psychology so please stick to your day job.

  • Berndt Norten

    Allow me to stay on this topic because it is a bit confusing. This entire time I’ve been speaking about the value contained within a luxury watch. Now I am saying that the social perceived value of any luxury watch is heavily modified by what people think about the watch itself as well as the person wearing the watch. Ideally, anyone wishing to show off a luxury watch not only wants people to recognize it for what it is, but also for people to believe that it was specifically chosen by the wearer, who understands the value in their wrist watch. For this reason a watch with high inherent value can lead to a low level of perceived social value if worn by a person who communicates low levels of sophistication by an audience with a high level of sophistication. Let’s explore a few examples of how value and taste can mix.

  • Word Merchant

    A lot of this is about education.

    Seeing my collection of fine watches is probably the only opportunity the lower orders I deal with on a day-to-day basis have of seeing true quality. Though their eyes radiate feral jealously and hate, deep down I think they are thanking me for helping them see beyond the cesspit of their humble existence.

    • pingrava

      I live in South Jersey. The watch ladder stops with Rolex and you have to be clues about it’s use. If you want to take it to the next step, destroy it by customization. I actually saw one encased in a gold nugget with diamonds lining it’s crevice. I hate to see this guy’s tastes in Women’s gifts. Probably drives a Jaguar with a fake Landau roof (yes they do exist). BMW, Rolex, Range Rover, McMansion, kid named Zack.
      I assume the markets in Philadelphia, NY, LA and Europe don’t live in such a vacuum. A Rolex is not a kit car. Millions of dollars are spent to achieve an iconic design and bullet proof rep.
      I’d love to know how to get a part time job in a real watch store, even if I’m justs allowed to sweep and Windex the cases. Just to learn. The magazines are fawning and walk on eggshells. I appreciate real knowledge.
      Oh and as far as celebrity endorsements go? Really… how much of a puppy brain do you have to be to purchase a sophisticated, complex piece of miniature machinery because George Clooney wears one? Oh it keeps good time? So does my phone.

      • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        Perusing the responses on a Tuesday early evening; you appear to have the best, IMO, comment so far.

  • SuperStrapper

    Ah, the Sunday comment section. Also known as, “I’m smarter than you, time wasting loser”.

    • Shinytoys

      and this differs from the other 6 days how exactly…

    • Dr. Renato Lazarus

      At least ABTW puts out articles on the weekends. As opposed to the Hodinkee crew who are working their second jobs serving brunch or polishing the door knobs of Ralph Lauren’s upstate manse.

      • Kuroji

        Ha ha! They are knob polishers.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I would be pleased to ad some constructive critic to this sunday-articles. Articles about watcheconomics or watchpsychology should be more like a scientific paper. There’s some theory or models and Ariels articles should refer to them and ad some new insights based on other papers. There’s a lack of science in these articles. Science based articles could be an enourmos USP for this blog, but the amount of “In my opinion” kills it for me. More substance please.

    • Tempvs Mortvvs

      That would indeed be something valuable….but then again, that’s not how this site works. Everybody comes here to mostly give their opinion, starting with the bloggers, either sparsely or in detail. So, this is just another opinion piece….and the thing about opinions is that they are just what people choose to believe, even if informed.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        That’s exactly what happens with this article right now. What would change in your opinion after the inclusion of my suggestions?

        • Tempvs Mortvvs

          It might change or it might be confirmed.

    • Ariel Adams

      There isn’t that much science available on the topic – at least not readily available to me. I’d rather pose a very transparent hypothesis and let people discuss the implications. I’m happy to leave the actual testing of such ideas to researchers. Opinion fills the place of research evidence. As someone who respects research and its findings I would never want to disguises my “guesses” about the world for research-backed facts.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        I`ll let you know when I find some usefull stuff. When you`ll allow it.

    • It is obvious an opinion piece, based on personal experience and observation. NYT has those as well…

  • I just want people to know that I’m Bad Ass! So I always choose to wear a G-Shock.

    • Mark1884

      If you want to be Bad-Bad Ass…….. you wear the gold Hammertone G-Shlock !

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Spooky, i feel the exact opposite.

    • IG

      More Ass than Bad…

    • I thought a 60 mm Invicta was the hot ticket for that.

      • That’s only for wanna be Bad Asses.


    Next Sunday special: The psychology of showing off your manhood and your luxury timepiece in one swift move (hint: think ticking cock ring)!

    • proudAmerican702

      Ticktocking cock blocking. 😉

  • frauss

    Leave the touchy feely sermons to the clergy. Stick to the knitting.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I have the attention span of 2 pages max, especially when your not even talking about a watch
    As a Scotsman, specifically a Glaswegian ( weegie ) we were always told never to get ideas above our station. Some people walk about dressed head to toe in fake that you can tell a mile off. It would appear that they really dont care how they are judged. Normally am happy for anyone to go about their daily business the way they see fit , but when i see a fake watch (normally someone with a Rolex or tag ) and they are dressed like, to use an Americanism, trailor trash i feel sorry for them , right before i slap them,

    • Kuroji

      Maybe that was Die Antwoort

    • IG

      I’m proud of you Raymond. Never stop bitch slapping the fake wearers!

      • Raymond Wilkie

        They shall not pass ! 🙂

    • I imagine all that spoken like a weegie. It sounds righteous! Freeedooom! 🙂

  • Tempvs Mortvvs

    ugh, not another one of these. Didn’t read it,sure, but the premise alone is obnoxious. Why, oh why???!!!!!

  • Ironically, the psychology of wanting to conspicuously display a luxury item is precisely the same as the psychology behind writing a three page article about why people want to conspicuously display luxury items.

    • MeaCulpa

      That, my good sir, was an accurate and high quality smack down!

    • Ariel Adams

      (shrugs…) Maybe it is, but then again I am someone who likes to wear nice watches. I’m not perturbed by there being a similar thought process at work.

      • IG

        Would you like to wear luxury watches that has hidden or less-known luxury aspect like Langes?

        • Dr. Renato Lazarus

          Or stealth wealth so stealth that it went out of business, like Nubeo?

    • Chaz

      I’m just impressed Ariel tolerates as much shit as he does here.

      • IG

        There must be some hidden agenda, there’s no logical explanation.

  • Abdul Kalik Abdul Razak

    You rattle many people Ariel by writing the truth why people wear expensive watches, and pasting Rolex marketing gimmick sure hit the nail on the head!

    • Dave Pryor

      The truth hurts.

      I can tell by the reaction. 🙂

      • Mark1884

        What truth??? What hurts??
        Cant someone just wear a watch because they like it??

        If you can afford to wear any watch you want, why would I wear some cheap crap?
        I wear expensive watches because I can afford them, and I like watches.
        I don’t give a dam what anybody thinks.

    • Mark1884


  • Rob Crenshaw

    OMG, another armchair analysis. The problem with this and the watch economics articles is that they are poorly written, and read like late high school or college papers. Example: “So let me more clearly enumerate those reasons below.” When one writes enumerate, one should follow with a numbered list. If there is no numbered list, use the word explore, delineate, or explain. And that’s one tiny criticism of this pointless article which serves what purpose? To educate your readership? To shame buyers of fake watches (the two of them that spend their time reading ABTW in hopes of being shamed)? To attain your degree in psychology? LMAO!

    There’s an old phrase which is applicable to Mr Adams: “Don’t try to be clever, it doesn’t suit you.”

    • Ariel Adams

      If you don’t like how it reads that is fine. The point of these articles is to discuss the deeper meaning of watch appreciation and collecting. It is about exploring ideas and having a conversation about them. I’m big on enumerating my thought process so that others can understand where I am coming from.

      • Rob Crenshaw

        From the number of negative reactions of your own readership, I’d suggest trying a different tack if your purpose is to open a dialogue about watch appreciation. For example, some of what you wrote resonates with me, but you lost me with another diatribe against fake watches, using the same pictures as the last “serial collector” article. Nobody here needs an explanation as to why people wear fake watches, it’s condescending and boring. And to not recognize that your articles are poorly written is correctable – please take some writing courses and ask a professional what is wrong with your presentation. In the past one would have to attain a degree in journalism to be able to publish, now anyone with a computer can do so, and standards have not only fallen through the floor but destroyed the joists in the process. My 16yo son, who is actively studying for SATs right now, could tell you what is wrong with your article, but it’s much more important that you see it. That said, I’ll not bother you again with criticism.

        • Polly Molly Moo

          I just cannot understand the haters on here – ABTW publishes an article about the psychology of wearing upscale watches, and the flamers take aim and fire – For heaven’s sake, take it for what it was, and if you don’t like it, move on to the next article. It’s pathetic that all the pseudo-intellectuals throw their toys (and watches) out of the pram when an article doesn’t come up to their exacting standards or may, heaven forbid, stray away from analysis of a particular watch or watch accessory.

          • Mmm… Most of us regulars aren’t pseudo-intellectuals, and we aren’t “demanding” nobel price literary level. But we can’t but realize this type of articles are very poorly written, and we mention it, if only because we’re the readers of the blog. Not some other imaginary people. Us, the regulars.

        • I’ve suggested writing courses to no end.

    • Daniel Katz

      I did not write the article, but thx for the put down Mr Crenshaw
      By association
      i guess I’m just so stupid for not agreeing with you
      And since my dyslexia is what is
      I’ll have to just disappear for not being as efficient as your future MBA son

  • TheChuphta

    Next week: Why Bad Watches Happen to Good People.

    • You need to expand on that, for the purposes of this discussion, which you will get on with later on, after you have mentioned it two or three times changing the order of the words, for the purpose of this discussion.

  • Chaz

    I enjoy my luxury watches. Occasionally I meet meet a fellow collector friend I’ve gotten to know over the years for lunch or dinner to chat about anything. Watches are brought up but they’re not the focus.

    I refrain from attending “collectors” get togethers or AD/brand sponsored shows or “evenings” because it attracts the douchiest out of the woodwork. I know these instagram/Twatter “opinion leaders” are needed for marketing. I know there are some good, genuine blokes still out there, but there are now TOO many fresh faces that have come up purely in the “Hodinkee generation”. Ones that try to sound like they know and have seen it all but say “Audemars Piaget”.

    Git offa my lawn, old man rant over.

    Now I’ll go on to read the rest of this…

  • Kuroji

    The only reaction I get is “wtf, did you buy another watch?”
    Also, my children assure me I have enough of them already and should probably stop looking at more. I can only respond “enough for what purpose?”

    • Larry Holmack

      I get the same reaction from my wife, only it’s usually followed with….” Take it, or Send it, Back!!! You don’t need another &%$$%%%^^& watch!!”
      Now I have learned to buy new watches that look so similar to my other watches that she doesn’t notice the difference!!!

      • IG

        Why don’t you just point to her shoe rack when these conversations happen?

        • Larry Holmack

          I wish I could, but she does not have a whole lot of shoes, since she has had problems with plantar fasciitis, and wears only a certain brand of shoes. She has a thing for purses, but has only 3 or 4 that she uses regularly.

        • proudAmerican702

          …Because possessing a watch box full of $10,000 watches is much cheaper than allowing her to peruse the shoe rack!!!

      • You must have the new Daytona ref. 3.45.676.21.IV!

      • egznyc

        Or at least she doesn’t say anything just to avoid further conflict ;-). Now, how do you know she’s not reading abtw and looking out for your comments? (Not to make you feel paranoid …)

  • DaddyFlip

    AA writes good product reviews and event articles, but articles like this could use some form of peer review or other editing before publication, if for no other reason than for conciseness. I got the point early but the article was ponderous. Some time spent organizing thoughts and outlining the article first might help.

    In the real world, when it comes to watch ‘recognition of value’, there is Rolex and then everything else; everyone here knows this. For normal folks, there is no recognition factor for high end brands; one must be part of an already exclusive club of enthusiasts to appreciate them. This applies to any product that can be made and purchased and one need not be able to afford the product to be an enthusiast. Enthusiasm is about knowledge, not money. Because of my priorities, I can’t afford much more than the $200 watch I own. But because of my enthusiasm, I can appreciate and discuss the merits of my friend’s $20k watch and compare and contrast the merits of both in such a way that he leaves the conversation impressed with me and my watch.

    At some monetary level, even a watch devoid of diamonds becomes nothing more than a complicated piece of jewelry if it can’t keep the time without constant adjustment or requires excessive maintenance just to maintain function. The “let them eat cake” brands have and will always cater to the aristocracy of the world; they create exclusivity by charging high prices more than they do by manufacturing a product of commensurate value.

    Here is the psychoanalysis I want to talk about (I thought it would have been because of the picture): Seiko vs. Grand Seiko, Casio vs. Casio MR-G and Hammer Tone, just to name two examples. This happens frequently with Japanese brands in many product segments; creating a step-up trim level of the same product and charging an order of magnitude more for it. Every Seiko and Casio in the catalog costs $250 or less; why would I pay up to $6000 for a Seiko or Casio with a different trim level? It doesn’t matter what they did to it, it’s still a Seiko or Casio.

  • Ranchracer

    Geez, where to start? First, I’m NOT going to bash Ariel for the article in particular. There’s plenty of that being done already. What I WILL say is that this type of article doesn’t belong here on ABTW. It belongs in the gossip column on the society pages of the local print rag. This is simply the wrong audience for this sort of thing. ABTW readers are watch enthusiasts, or hobbiests, or whatever we decide to call ourselves. We visit and read sites like ABTW (and many others), sometimes obsessively, because we LOVE mechanical time pieces. 99.9% of your audience (sorry, no science to back up that number ?) is here because they’re passionate about a little wonderous, mechanical device that they can strap to their wrist. The fake Rolex wearers, and the guys (or gals) that are buying the quarter mil pieces are just not spending time on Internet watch blogs. So who is this article aimed at? Enthusiasts already get all of this, which is why we don’t buy fake Rolexes, and why most of us cannot afford Pateks and A.L.&Ss.

    The real audience for this stuff is the general, uninformed, ignorant Joe Q. Public who just wants to read something mildly entertaining with his or her morning coffee while killing 20 minutes. It’s not us Ariel. You started ABTW because of your passion for watches. Over the years though, you’ve gotten so engrossed in the industry, and had so much exposure to the, shall we say, high society side of time pieces, that sometimes it feels as though you’ve forgotten your roots, and why you started all of this in the first place. At your core I like to thing that you’re still one of us.

    I thoroughly enjoy ABTW, or I wouldn’t bother to type in the URL and visit the site and read the articles every single day, but maybe stick to time piece reviews and news articles on the industry. Send these types of articles to the Times or the Journal where they really belong, because more than anything else, they tend insult your faithful readership (as is pretty aparent from the comments).

    • Polly Molly Moo

      Why complain just because you didn’t like it? I found it interesting. It is entirely relevant to this website!

      • As he said, it depends on where you stand: “real” enthusiasts won’t like this article, simply because Ariel is preaching to the choir. We KNOW all this. We don’t want to waste our time reading it (many of us simply skim through and jump to the comments).

        The regular commenters are ARE the real watch enthusiasts that visit this blog daily, so maybe our opinion is representative of the intended audience of this type of blog?

        On the other hand, the uninformed, noveau enthusiast, average Joe, will find this very entertaining (and no offence at all intended! We were all uninformed at one time!)

        • Polly Molly Moo

          If you don’t want to waste time reading it, don’t.

          Also, don’t assume that only the contributors are regular readers of this blog. I read it all the time, though I rarely comment. Compared with a lot of watch blogs, particularly the appallingly ingratiating and sycophantic Hodinkee, this is one of the best.

          I will forever hold this blog very close to my heart, because as a result of writing a short article on when I could have done with a serious elegant watch, I now have a Baume & Mercier Classima sitting on my wrist. It is a beautiful watch and I never tire of looking at its simplicity and timeless elegance.

          • Yes, of course, lurkers always are out there. But the only “real” “thermometer” blogs have, are regular commenters.

          • Polly Molly Moo

            Perhaps ‘Lurkers’ as you call them, just enjoy the articles without feeling the need to engage in lengthy debate after each article. Opinions are like arse-holes – everyone has one, though some are perhaps a little more discreet than others.

          • Certainly, I see your point… but, what you couldn’t do before blogs, was precisely engage in a discussion based on what you just read.

            Maybe some arse-holes enjoy debating more than others.

    • BJ314

      You’re wrong. You don’t speak for us. Please use “I feel” in all future posts.

      • DaddyFlip

        You’re wrong. Please use “you don’t speak for me” in all future posts.

      • Ranchracer

        I will use whatever words I like in my comments. You don’t like what I write, don’t read it, but DON’T tell me what I can and can’t say. And maybe you should try adding something useful to the discussion, rather than simply attacking someone else’s comment. Cheers.

        • Polly Molly Moo

          Ooh – a keyboard warrior! Do you pull the wings of dragonflies as well?

          • Ranchracer

            Hmmm. Interesting comment Molly. I wrote a very clear and concise response to Ariel’s article without defaming or insulting anyone. I was not “complaining” as you stated in your other response. It was merely my opinion, because after all, that’s what blog posts are for (sorry if you’re so sensitive that you can’t handle hearing other people’s opinions). I even ended the comment by thanking Ariel for his continued work on ABTW.

            BJ314 then responded by telling me what words I can and cannot use in my future posts. Feel free to go back through all my past posts, and you will see that I DO NOT attack other commenters. I am not a “keyboard warrior”, as you call it. If you would like to meet in person to discuss this further, I’m in the Northern California foothills. Just name the time and place and I will be there since you seem to feel that my typing somehow gives me more confidence. Happy to prove that’s not the case. You? 🙂

          • Polly Molly Moo

            Jeez – get a life

          • Ranchracer

            Hah! Thank you Molly. You’ve been very entertaining. I will do my very best to “get a life.” LOL!

          • Polly Molly Moo

            The first time I’ve been called out on any blog/forum. I’m guessing you like that orange man in the White House!

          • Ranchracer

            That you for demonstrating your true colors. You’ve just proven who the keyboard warrior is. Very adult to make assumptions about someone. You are demonstrating the intelligence, common sense, and ignorance of a six year old, and you are now blocked. Not worth my time. Cheers.

          • Polly Molly Moo

            Oooh – keyboard warrior gets ANGRY!!

            The force is not strong with this one. A reluctant IQ, like all Trump supporters. Displaying the redneck origins.

            I’m in Stockton, W of San Fran. Where are you?

    • Can’t agree more.

      Type the URL? Check out The Old Reader, best Google Reader replacement out there, for your feed needs.

      • ?mperius ???????


        • What a horrible way to live.

    • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      Thanks for pointing out other places that may buy this article.

    • Julien Buro

      I think you should speak fo yourself so avoid “we” and don’t bring whatever numbers without backing up…

      • Ranchracer

        Blah blah blah. Thanks or your input. Next.

  • Dr. Renato Lazarus

    Ariel, you need to hire someone to help you, either to:
    1.) Run an experiment based on your theories, even if it’s just a small group of people
    2.) Edit your pieces into 2 pages max of coherent English
    3.) Keep you away from the keyboard altogether

    Love ya, and I know you probably put a lot of work into these, but you have to try harder or not do these at all. You mentioned that employees had to work on improving their photography because it is a part of the job. Well, so is writing. This writing is unfocused and really, really poor. You can blame it on us not liking the topic or having unhappy lives, but this is on you. Sorry. You owe it to yourself and to us to be more professional. Your conversational, stream-of-consciousness, oh-I-just-thought-of-something-else style just isn’t cutting it.

  • Polly Molly Moo

    Watch psychology explained:

    Richard Mille: Head of Mexican drug cartel, brand ambassador or F1 driver

    Hublot Big Bang series: Heavily into getting noticed, usually bond/share trader using first month’s salary to put something big and shiny on wrist

    Omega / Tag / Breitling: Management consultant – needs flash watch, doesn’t know much about them, buys what colleagues have got

    Panerai: Mafia

    Any women wearing a watch with metal band or man’s watch: “I’m just as good as any man”

    Franck Muller: Coke addict

    Anything with a skeleton dial: “I don’t care what the time is”

    Anything with a tourbillon: “I’m happy to pay £5,000 for a watch service”

    Rolex with date bubble: “Look what I’ve got”

    Rolex with diamonds: High-class hooker, Lottery winner, Rap star

    Rolex Daytona: “Don’t tell anyone I have never used the stop watch ‘cos it’s such a bloody nuisance to undo all the screw-down crowns, but I do have a big willy”

    Anything by Urwerk or MB&F: “I had this acid flash-back last night…….”

    Cool: Patek, Jaeger le Coutre, Oris, Casio G-Shock, Seiko mechanical diver, Breguet

    Cooler: Anything German-made, Sinn, Glashutte etc. Grand Seiko, Rolex no-date Sub

    Sub-zero: Voutilainen, Roger Smith

    • Rolex DateJust – German luxury car salesman. To show that they are as successful as their customers.

      • Chaz

        I’d buy from a German car salesman wearing a Sinn or Nomos. Lange if I’m buying a Maybach.

        • German cars, not German salesmen. Although in some cases they are both, ha ha.

          • Chaz

            Ahhhhhh…you write vis zee treecky vording!!

      • IG

        Two-tone Datejust: used car salesman.

    • Berndt Norten


    • I’m 2x cool.

    • But you got it wrong on Rolex (any Rolex):

      Unsophisticated people psychologically interested in showing off to others what they can afford, “unworthy of being considered tasteful or refined.”

    • Jon Snow

      Actually, it goes like this:

      Thinks a lot about watches and has plenty of cash: Lange.

      Thinks a lot about watches, but doesn’t have much money: Anything German-made except the high end, Nomos, Sinn, Grand Seiko.

      Thinks a lot about watches and has almost no money: mechanical Seiko.

      Couldn’t wait for a month to get the Rolex date sub: Rolex no-date sub.

      Omega: Wants a Rolex, can’t afford one.

      Panerai: small cock.

      Squale: misinformed individual who watches to much YouTube, but not enough AC3.

    • Word Merchant

      As a Daytona owner, I have to say you’re spot on, except I’d substitute ‘fantastically ginormous’ where you have written ‘big’.

      • Polly Molly Moo


    • egznyc

      Pretty damned funny. I read through the article in spite of knowing it wasn’t going to shed much light on my own thoughts on why I like watches. Interesting but it didn’t have to be so lengthy.

      Not sure what this says about me but I was excited by each of the articles from Friday, featuring brands that provide little to no cache, thinking whether there’s something that would look good to me, on my wrist. Definitely not brands that most folks would have heard of, but I felt there was lots of value on display.

    • Julien Buro

      Haha like it.. wonder what AP stands for..

  • Rich Thomas

    Wow! If your intent was to get people engaged at a visceral level, you are triumphant.
    While I disagree with points, you have captured enough truth to make me squirm, at least a little. ?

  • Geraldo123

    A good read. But don’t read too much into it.

  • Spangles

    You seem weirdly obsessed with this topic, Ariel.

    • TrevorXM

      Maybe. I think he’s just trying to find things to write about to keep the blog going with material. It must be difficult to do that day in and day out and this kind of pop psychology stuff is easy to write about because you can do all kinds of speculation and go on and on — mostly for your own entertainment. I certainly didn’t waste any time reading it, but others did it seems. So it is a successful post that accomplished what he wanted.

      • Julien Buro

        Well.. if you didn’t read it why do you bother commenting?

      • Still,one love for Ariel being a lover of the timepieces!

  • TrevorXM

    I’m one of those guys who got rid of his TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-time because people took notice. The kind of people I didn’t care to talk to. Not sure what that says about my psychology.

    • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      I also passed-on a ROLEX 2 tone Datejust because it attracted the “wrong” attention.

  • Berndt Norten

    I haven’t read all the comments so forgive me if I’m repeating someone else’s question. Here goes: I think we also need an article on the ‘Psychology behind NOT wanting to Show Off Your Luxury Watch.’

    I own luxury watches but I often try to hide my wristbling from others’ eyes. Why do I do that, doc?

    Is it because I simply want to enjoy my watches myself and not draw attention to my affluence? Do I feel guilty about my affluence? Do I not want the people I interact with at work to know that I can afford to spend several months of their rent on a wristwatch?

    I’d venture to say that a sizeable minority of luxury watch owners avoid flaunting their goods.

    • John William Salevurakis

      …or the truly obscure brand purchaser. Members of the “This is a cool watch but I’m sure you’ve never heard of it” crowd. 🙂 People are either snobs or reverse snobs ultimately. People either buy something to be noticed or to NOT be noticed but to secretly lord over the great unwashed in their ignorance. Then there are the people who are snobs because they know they have the extreme luxury of not giving a damn if people know their watch (or not) or they are rich enough to not care about whether or not people see them wearing a Casio. In short….anyone can be defined as a snob or be psychoanalyzed into being whatever the writer wants them to be.

    • egznyc

      Yes either because of fear of being robbed or looked down upon as an ostentatious bore or a sucker willing to waste hard-earned money on useless trinkets. Basically, getting more attention than what one is comfortable with. Maybe fear of being judged based on the wrong criteria.

  • “Their usually unstated reason being that diamonds are aimed at communicating luxury value at an unsophisticated audience, and are unworthy of being considered tasteful or refined.”

    You meant Rolex, not diamonds. Typo right there!

  • Der0

    Bring out the rage of the WIS to comment…..
    and engage!

  • Itsguy

    Perhaps some people really do buy things ‘just to show that they can afford them’. But what sad, hopeless, depressing lives they must lead, if they don’t appreciate those things for what they actually are.

    • Radium head

      You are wise beyond years

  • I had my popcorn ready but Marius did not show … Must be an internet outage in Pattaya…

  • commentator bob

    Ariel gets inherent and perceived value backwards. Commodities like diamonds, tacky as they are, create inherent, or intrinsic value. Watches generally sell for significant multiples of that intrinsic value, but there is intrinsic value. Artistry creates percieved value.

    Also, the unpopularity of diamonds is due to the De Beers cartel convincing the world that diamonds are for women. It is not because even the poor and uneducated know diamonds are fancy.

    The poor and uneducated know Rolex and yellow gold are fancy, yet those are both very popular luxury choices. Often in the same watch.

    • Hooray!!! I so agree.


  • JF Schnell

    There is much more to what we are than whatever luxury item you use to show off. One is who he/she is by the way they live not by whatever they show. And yes a watch doesn’t show who you are… show status or possession never what you are.

  • Plyphon

    What happened to FakeWatchBusta? His account has gone quiet since May.

  • DL

    I wear watches that are on the low end of the luxury scale in terms of price. I bought them because they are for me beautiful objects that are made with great attention to detail and they can be used and appreciated daily without drawing unwanted attention. They are always covered by a shirt cuff so they are seldom seen and even if they were, they are models that would probably not be recognized by those who opt for displays of wealth. It’s not to make a statement but rather to enjoy a secret pleasure.

  • Mapston

    Inherent value is different than social value and inherent value requires sophistication value and taste value is the combination of inherent value and social value and as taste value goes up so does inherent value but sometimes taste value is at odds with social value even though most of the time they’re friends. They value each other.

    –not spam–

    • Mapston

      I left out deception value and exclusionary value, but editing your work too much results in spam-flagging. Maybe that’s why Ariel doesn’t do it.

      –not spam–

  • Dean Fox

    I was raised to avoid ostentation for the sake of ostentation. I drive an expensive car because I am a lifelong car guy, and every time I drive it, I can appreciate and enjoy the technology and performance it delivers. I don’t care what other people think about it.

    It’s the same with my watches. I choose them for their excellent design, technology and performance. Almost no one ever asks me about them, and that’s exactly how I want it. A lot of luxury brands do not attract me, because of their design (too conservative or too flashy), exorbitant pricing or emphasis on the status of wearing one. The reality is, not one in ten thousand people would identify a Lange or even a Patek, but they just don’t appeal to me. Some fine brands, like Cartier and most Rolexes, seem to be the choice of people who want to impress most of all.

    Which is why so many people here drive Mercedes Benz or BMW. The performance of these cars is not important to them.

    • Elijs Dima (@x2eliah)

      How the heck would you feel or enjoy the ‘performance’ of a watch? Unless it’s grossly inaccurate (i.e. seconds on the minute), you cannot even notice it with your primary senses…

      • Dean Fox

        Judging by your comments above, it seems like you’re just looking to pick a fight. If an expensively produced, high-quality mechanical watch doesn’t speak to you through its accuracy, durability, design, fit and finish, wearing comfort, etc., buy a Swatch.

  • Sly

    I think this article misses a third (and perhaps the most important) psychological factor of buying a nice watch. People don’t necessarily buy a luxury watch to impress others, or to appreciate it’s nature, but to tell somehing about themselves to themselves. We all have an “ideal” version of us in our minds, and in reality we constantly fall short of that ideal. Buying a watch (or any other item) one idealizes is a way of telling yourself:”I’m the type of person who owns a Rolex/Patek/Nomos/Seiko, hence I belong to this or that group I idealize, with good taste”. In a consumerist society we express our identities through consumption. Thats why people take negative comments about watchbrands they own so seriously – since they tie their own identity to a brand, an attack on a brand is an attack on our identity.

  • Elijs Dima (@x2eliah)

    Neat article. Read through it (granted, not super-attentively).

    Seems like a 100% opinion-piece, though. Would be far more interesting if you had investigated social studies, experiments, or acknowledged scientific theory/frameworks of status symbols, human psychology and behaviour.

    Or at least take this through the lens of qualitative science, and run through a case study of a couple of exemplars – people with luxury watches, and how they choose to show/not show.

    As is, you’re taking a case study of one – yourself – and applying those conclusions to the general population; that’s not really a valid way to do things.

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