Online vs In-Person

This weekend I attended the Wind Up Watch Fair in NYC. It was an amazing experience.

First of all, the people.  It was wonderful to chat with other enthusiast and the people behind the brands.

Second, I don't think there is a substitute for a "hands-on" experience with a watch. Quick hits:

  • I watched another enthusiast try on a vintage Speedmaster professional. The experience changed his opinion on the watch, and he realized it wasn't too big on his wrist. He will probably pursue a speedy pro over a speedy reduced.
  • I stumbled over to the Fortis booth. The brand hadn't been on my radar before. I tried on the Stratoliner S-41. I was playing with the chronograph function, and I noticed it felt different/better. I flipped the watch over and realized it was the first time I used a watch with a column wheel.

I know that not everyone lives in NYC. But I suggest stopping by your local ADs when you have a chance. If you don't live in a major city, try to stop by an interesting watch store the next time you are on vacation, or on a road trip. You might bump into some cool people (and watches of course).

Finally, I still think there is a lot of value in online forums like WatchCrunch.  I do think they are a great resource for gathering information and building relationships. However, I think there is some intangible benefit to in-person experiences.  

What are your thoughts? Can a watch community be fully digital? Could you buy an expensive (to you) watch, without seeing it in the metal?

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True benefit of going to a watch show and seeing/trying on the brands. One can absolutely tell and feel quality but touching/engaging with the watch vs relying on idiots like me. If someone is only used to a certain brand or build quality, it is eye opening when they play with something a level or two up in terms of build quality. For me, it was playing with the upcoming Farer Chrono Classic. It was my first time experiencing that movement and became an imemdiate must have.

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I prefer the in person experience. Nothing calms my mind more then having the product in my hand, looking at it from every angle and scrutinizing every aspect of it before buying.

Of course the in person experience isn't always an option. My Casio Duro isn't available where i live so all i could do was get the most information i can, roll the dice and hope for the best (I'm happy i did as its a great watch but i wouldn't do it with an expensive one) 😀

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This forum is great and useful, but for any major purchase I want to see things in hand. For me that’s anything over about $1k.  I’ve not listened to my own advice before and feel I’ve paid the price. This is because of me, I’ve realized more and more what I truly like is subjective. I’m willing (and lucky enough to be able to) get some less expensive watches just to try out features before getting a premium watch. That’s been helpful to me, but has taught me almost everything bought online has some niggling annoyance I would have picked up on in a shop. 

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I do think seeing a watch in the metal prior to purchase if achievable efforts should be made to do so.  However, I just purchased the blue dial Serica diver as seeing in person was just not an option at the time.  Fingers crossed as I should receive next week.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could pay to test drive a demo watch prior to purchase since you find out so much while on the wrist that trying one on in person is not possible.

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Zachattack

I do think seeing a watch in the metal prior to purchase if achievable efforts should be made to do so.  However, I just purchased the blue dial Serica diver as seeing in person was just not an option at the time.  Fingers crossed as I should receive next week.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could pay to test drive a demo watch prior to purchase since you find out so much while on the wrist that trying one on in person is not possible.

Warby Parker for watches would be amazing!