Sunday, February 17, 2008

Horology is dead

Another year, another SIHH and Basel coming.  Debate of the relative merits and shortcomings of the new watches will rage on forums everywhere.  Watches have gained enough popularity fuelled by the internet that they are brought to people who would never otherwise have been interested.  That's great, that you'll awaken people to it and you'll also get the inevitable attention of the unknowledgable opinionated ignorami, but more irritatingly a slew of rubbish watches.  The upsurge of watch culture in just a few years has led to a flabby market exploited by companies, auctioneers and privateers big and small.  This slingshot of horology to the mainstream is for many the dark cloud of of doom. 

I've been part of this watches thing for a long time. I can honestly say I've been watching watches since before watches enjoyed any sort of popularity.  I enjoyed them and enjoyed their absence from the mainstream and being 'a part of something' obscure like ThePurists was. Before the market took over, horology inspired us, taught us new and old technical ideas and it will again.  Horology isn't dead though rather, it's the coolness, which has faded.

Horology, which has become reduced to a market serving platitude.  With popularity, watches have become predictable, and regrettable. Horology's fundamental ideals are compromised for the market, lost in plain sight, leaving only the impurities precipitated from it. Here's the bottom line for me: I still like watches and properly executed horology.  One generation ago the hobby didn't even have a name.  The internet and resultant communication between like minded enthusiasts did spur the market and lead to some great new things.  It's what came on the coattails I have a problem with. The saving grace is that the two edged sword of success gives some companies the ability to invest in true horological innovation; it's just harder to see the wood for the trees.  

"Horology is dead.  Long live horology."