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Will smartwatches replace the traditional watches?

Every now and then I get asked this same old BEEP.

It is on a par with “why spending so much in a Rolex when the primary function of a watch is to keep time and my Timex does it”.

Basically, both assertions seem perfectly logical, but are instead based on a false premise.

The premise is that watches — and I say, traditional watches — are just an expression of a function, while they are not.

This might sound strange, but even a small historical research would show it otherwise. Through the years, watches have always represented an object of distinction, which had primarily a social function as a status symbol. …

The attention towards VIPs as role-models is not something new, being them fictitious or real.

So, we have found that some screen characters have made the fortune of many watch models — one of them is the most famous watch of the world, that is, the Rolex Submariner, which has graced the wrist of the most famous spy of the Western world, Mr. 007 himself, in the memorable playing of the super-spy by the quintessential James Bond actor, Sean Connery.

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But apart from the virtual nature of Mr. Bond and the huge panoply of his watches, which have included many brands and models, we can also get back to some of the most interesting ones belonging to living persons, and we will focus on the wrist (and before that, the pocket) of possibly the most powerful world leader alive: the President of the United States of America. …

When and how were modern watches born?

You can write much more about the history of watchmaking — and I have done it in much more detail in my book, The Watch Manual — but what follows is a 5-minute summary.

The clocks as we conceive them today were born around 1300, and one of the first was an Italian timepiece, the Astrarium, created by Giovanni da Dondi of Padua around 1315.

The Astrarium was an exceptional clock. …

From one million views per month to peanuts: the rise and fall of good content.

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A Q&A website offering free content from top experts worldwide in specific fields that you can access without shelling out a dime? How cool is that?

Indeed, Quora looked very cool once. The site was ripe with useful and interesting information, published by knowledgeable authors worldwide. The website grew steadily to reach the 80th place in readership in the world — and 37th in the USA. It looked like its meteoric rise would meet no end.

Until something happened.

Around the end of 2018, Quora’s attention shifted. Until then, its main focus was growing a steady number of good writers who would be nominated in a Top Writer program. The Quora algorythm would process and push their stories to the feeds of the users of the website. …

What is the quality of Cartier watches from a horological perspective? Are they just watches with a fancy name or are they really high quality in terms of the construction of the movement and watch?.

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The Santos, the first commercial wristwatch ever made

The real problem with Cartier watches is that Cartier is the Cartier name. That is, possibly the most famous jeweller there is.

And when you have such an image, everything you do in other fields will always be seen as a brand extension — even if you do it masterfully (as they did with their watches, and I use the past tense for a good reason that will be obvious if you read on). …

Protect your little ticking friend to let it serve you trustfully along

Before beginning, remember that the mechanical watch of yours is like an old car. A vintage car, that is, one which is not assisted by electronics, requires a constant care — and the presence of someone who knows how to spot problems before they become serious. And you won’t have a sort of electronic unit which you would plug to the watch to check it, as you do with a modern car. Nope.

So, this all amounts to the fact that your mechanical watch — be it automatic or not — is a sort of tiny mechanical wonder, which is a miracle in itself — and requires lots of attention and care to keep on ticking and tocking. …

Loving Rolex or loving what Rolex makes us before others?

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A good homage is much better than a replica

I love Rolex but I can’t afford one because its too expensive, so I want to buy a good replica…

How many times do I get asked this question? Almost daily. And every time people do, I feel there is something utterly wrong with this.

To put it very bluntly, a question posed like this reveals that there is no love for Rolex at all.

If someone really “loved” Rolex in the way it is professed, with a sort of admiration and awe, he or she would not even think about buying and wearing a fake (let’s call it like this, without sugar-coating, as it is more fitting to explain the real deal). …

Mechanical timekeeping is a sort of esoteric secret, and it provides a lot of mysteries to wonder about. Let’s explore one.

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Why would a wrist watch seem to lose time or gain time at night but be fine during the day? This is something that has always happened to the most typical watch guy.

Our precious little engines seem to have a life on their own, and a malignant will that makes them accelerate and slow down, their only intent seeming to frustrate our ability to understand their logic.

Well, there IS an answer to this apparently mischievous behavior.

It happens because any mechanical watch performance depends on the position the watch works in.

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Is the luxury watch market currently experiencing a bubble with limited production Swiss pieces from big makers selling for sometimes more than double list price, or is it just the start of a booming market?

As of mid-2020, the Swiss watch export is not in a boom at all.

The COVID influence (sorry for the wordplay) has added much stress in a market that was already suffering from the Hong Kong political turmoil. For your information, a large part of Swiss export towards the Far East passes (or used to pass) through the city-state of Hong Kong.

More, the trend about watch buying shows a clear trend since many years. The data of the Swiss Federation of Watch Manufacturers show that the number of watches sold worldwide is less than before, but the value of the global market is increasing slowly but steadily. …

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We often think that our Western world has invented the concept of timekeeping, yet the Chinese had their own approximately at the same time. However, early Chinese timekeepers were marred by the lack of development of the concept of the pendulum and the hairspring, relying instead on water clocks.

However, horology in China took a huge boost when European-styled clocks were brought in the Empire by the Jesuit monk Michele Ruggieri, around 1600.

Put put the situation in context, in 1600 horology was still in its infancy, and clocks were somewhat inaccurate, as the spiral spring, driving the balance wheel, was invented only in 1675 by Huygens. …


Franz Rivoira

Book author, global marcomm, luxury and design product pro, specialized in architecture, furniture, design and watches.

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