- Dec 24, 2011
- Reaction score
After reading your post, it seems like you wouldn't wear your Explorer to go mountain biking, wake boarding, or mountain climbing (one of the things that made the Explorer famous), because it's not interesting or a new enough design. But I'm not sure what problems a new design would actually solve for you as you go mountain biking or mountain climbing?It might make sense for me to wear my explorer while skiing, but I can't see myself wearing it mountain biking, wake boarding or even mountain climbing, to be honest. If Rolex made a new and interesting watch design, I could consider it, but we all know they won't.
When you partake in this consumerist hobby, you have to decide what you care about and what you don't. It's largely based upon artifice and/or emotions. There is no genuine practical reason to wear a mechanical device. This is the part I struggle with the most. When I look at what's "better", I find I have to draw a pretty narrow set of criteria in order to not throw my hands up at the whole things and question why I even like watches. Everyone has their own set of criteria, and I think that's perfectly ok.
For me - I find that the vast majority of the high end mechanical wristwatch world is ultimately not that interesting because it is based upon a worldview that I largely no longer subscribe to (to the extent I ever did). If you accept that certain elements of traditional watchmaking are requisite or desirable, than you end up defining the solution space. I think that's largely what has happened with most of the traditional watch houses. What I like about RM and others is that they are questioning what that solution space should look like. I don't agree with RM's choices, but I do largely appreciate the approach they're taking - modern technology to solve modern problems, but still requiring mechanical timepieces as the outcome.
Let me give a counter example. We recently talked about the greatest pateks. Some might say that I should aspire to a split seconds chrono PC because they're hard to make and therefor a test of a watchmaker's skill. Lange might say the same about their triple split. But in both cases the desirability of the product is largely based on the implicit understanding that they are hard to do. If swatch came out with a super simple mechanical version of one of those designs, they would no longer have the same level of interest. I appreciate the challenge involved in designing and constructing those pieces right now but feel that they are only compelling solutions to a problem if you accept Patek/Lange/traditional watchmaking definitions of the problem itself.
RM is interesting to me because they identified a "problem" that I care more about. They obviously still face the same challenge that all mechanical watches face - my $150 solar g shock does it better and is actually built with modern technology.
Sure, many people, myself included probably consider traditional criteria when evaluating a watch. Design, workmanship, functions/purpose (if it is a diving watch, GMT, chronograph etc), history, etc. I probably consider standard old school ideas as a way a measure a watch against competitors just as I would use certain criteria if comparing suit brands, or other items.
I guess I look at RM and I struggle to see that they solved a problem, beyond you finding them interesting. IMHO, RMs simple time only watch is their best looking watch, most of the others I find relatively gimmicky and unattractive.
Most of my friends think an iphone or even apple watch, does the trick and there is little need for a watch (especially an expensive watch) these days. In some ways they are right, but I can still put on a 10+ year old watch and it functions looks great, and still make sense for my purposes. I've gone through several iphones over the years and the old ones are basically useless today.