Fighting the urge for "photogenic" watches

Anyone else find themselves fighting the bias of a photogenic watch?

 I've seen many posts lamenting the influence of social media (https://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewcatellier/2020/12/26/social-medias-influence-on-the-watch-industry-artificial-popularity/?sh=85dae58319f1) and hype on which watches people buy. 

But, when searching for and saving for "the grail" I find myself thinking even of pictures of celebrities (like McQueen and his Sub) and worrying that anything short will not "look" the part on my wrist either. Anyone else fight this bias (unconscious or otherwise) and how do you combat it?

Exclusive: The Secret History of Steve McQueen's Rolex Submariner

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What's your grail?  I'm sure that no matter what it is, it'll look fantastic on your wrist, and you'll look fantastic with it on.

For some reason, I never cottoned on to social media - I think it's probably both a curse and a blessing.  On the one hand, I haven't kept in touch with any of my friends or relatives, and am quickly becoming an isolated nut job, like the Unibomber, but at the very least, Instagram doesn't in any way affect my watch preferences!

I think I've come to the conclusion that I will never look the part, with grail watch or without.  Unless and until Ken Jeong becomes a leading man / Hollywood heart-throb, I'm just gonna be a four-eyed, Asian dork, wearing a nice watch.  My wife didn't marry me for my looks is definitely an understatement!  But, in a way, it's incredibly liberating.  

Flex culture on social media is absolutely the worst.  And, in a weird way, it only seems to reinforce how low status all those flex bros on Instagram are.  I mean, it's all a bit too try-hard, ain't it?  If anything, I would imagine that one might want to specifically stay away from the photogenic watches, precisely in order to avoid being lumped in with those try-hard flex bros, yeah?

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I won't lie and pretend that I never cared about that stuff before, because I certainly did for a while. 

What caused me to stop worrying about getting the "likes", because that's what a lot of it comes down to in the end, was a cold hard look at what would improve my happiness/enjoyment in life. ie. Would a $10K CAD watch make me as happy as a $1.5K CAD watch, and doing more kayaking/camping? 

For me the answer was simple, a more expensive watch, no matter how "cool", would not make me as happy as getting out and doing something interesting outdoors. 

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HotWatchChick69

What's your grail?  I'm sure that no matter what it is, it'll look fantastic on your wrist, and you'll look fantastic with it on.

For some reason, I never cottoned on to social media - I think it's probably both a curse and a blessing.  On the one hand, I haven't kept in touch with any of my friends or relatives, and am quickly becoming an isolated nut job, like the Unibomber, but at the very least, Instagram doesn't in any way affect my watch preferences!

I think I've come to the conclusion that I will never look the part, with grail watch or without.  Unless and until Ken Jeong becomes a leading man / Hollywood heart-throb, I'm just gonna be a four-eyed, Asian dork, wearing a nice watch.  My wife didn't marry me for my looks is definitely an understatement!  But, in a way, it's incredibly liberating.  

Flex culture on social media is absolutely the worst.  And, in a weird way, it only seems to reinforce how low status all those flex bros on Instagram are.  I mean, it's all a bit too try-hard, ain't it?  If anything, I would imagine that one might want to specifically stay away from the photogenic watches, precisely in order to avoid being lumped in with those try-hard flex bros, yeah?

That’s the thing—the “grails“ are more affordable than the GRAILS: Bretiling Chronomat 36 instead of the unattainable VC Overseas or ParmagianI, the Seamaster/Pelagos instead of the Sub, the Frédérique Constant instead of the Patek… 

I cant tell if I like the Seamaster 300M over the Sub because I know the sub is out of my price range, or if it “doesn’t scratch the itch” because social media has shown me to “hold out for the wrist shot,” or because I just genuinely like one over the other. 

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Ignore social media unless it's your friends and family - a watch will never make you look good.  

Hit the gym, get a haircut, look after your skin and teeth, make sure your clothes are in good condition and fit well. And smile.  This is what people notice, what makes you look good. Nobody notices your watch.

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Image

Depends on one's stylistic role models, I guess. For example, I admire the style of Roger Moore in his early (and late) days on shows like "The Saint". So I'd probably consider any 50's dress piece on a braclet with tiny links to be highly photogenic. 😅

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I definetaly take impression from outside. Not necessarily ”grails” or GRAILS. I always thought that Ryan Goslings vintage dresspieces looked cool. To my understanding he has worn both vintage Rolex and Omegas. I found my version that I thought looked cool but I’m pretty shure he never worn this particular model.

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I don’t there really is a way to completely fight off influence from others except not interacting with others. Lots of people are lamenting the new IG generation and the role of influencers, but this is absolutely nothing new. Your image of Steve McQueen is a great example. Celebrities and other cultural icons have always had an effect on the general public when it comes to fashion or other life choices, it’s just more consolidated now on a few social media platforms. 
 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being influenced. But we should all admit that we are. I’ve seen lots of comments where people have said that they’re never influenced by what influencers or celebrities wear or do. Most of them are likely just under denial. I’m not saying we are all influenced by all influencers, but perhaps someone who doesn’t care about what Watch Lady Gaga is wearing might instead see a watch on some sports personality or world leaders and be influenced by that. 
 

I guess where I’m going with this is that it’s ok to be influenced by what you see out there. We aren’t all trailblazers and self-made style icons. Like what you like, regardless of why you like it. 

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I’m just going to be honest and say no, and I don’t care. I’ve also never let anyone or anything put me off a watch unless it is genuinely something akin to a deal breaker from experience of ownership - bad QC, poor customer care, dodgy movement, impossible repair… Looks are subjective; I like the look of every watch I have ever bought, or I would never have bought it. I care little about how it looks to others, and I think you have probably picked that up in a lot of my posts. 
In terms of not being able to pull off a watch because you are not Steve McQueen or whatever sexy Canadian Ryan is in fashion - nonsense. I can pull of a Monaco (don’t own one but I’ve tried on most editions), and I look like a lost lumberjack most of the time, the key is not giving a s***. I also want a Silverstone more.

On a side note - I have never photographed my wrist so much since joining, so this is weird, and is almost an anti-flex on this platform as there is a lot less flossing of the usual suspects than say IG or FB. Today I’m wearing an Albion from the 70s - who and what is an Albion in horological terms? I don‘t know; I don’t care.

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I think the problem described in the opening post is that everyone gravitates towards the same watches, partially due to social media, because of an implied consensus of what a desirable watch is, thereby creating a dynamic that favors a few manufacturers and leaves out many other worthwhile watches. And yes, I very much see that. 

The market would correct this, but only as long as watches are not purchased as investment. Could this lead to a dynamic similar to meme-stocks? Probably not, watches are not easily traded, and the market is far more compartmentalized. (A Rolex owner may not want an AP, or vice versa.) 

But for people who collect watches for the sake of the watches, this really shouldn't be that much of an issue.

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KyleC93

That’s the thing—the “grails“ are more affordable than the GRAILS: Bretiling Chronomat 36 instead of the unattainable VC Overseas or ParmagianI, the Seamaster/Pelagos instead of the Sub, the Frédérique Constant instead of the Patek… 

I cant tell if I like the Seamaster 300M over the Sub because I know the sub is out of my price range, or if it “doesn’t scratch the itch” because social media has shown me to “hold out for the wrist shot,” or because I just genuinely like one over the other. 

Hey my man, I think you're definitely touching on something incredibly important and nuanced.  How is it that we human beings form our preferences?  How much of our preferences are intrinsically-driven versus extrinsically-driven?  

I suspect that our preferences in many products and services are very heavily extrinsically-driven, as we are primates and primates are social animals.  (All of this is sub-conscious, and takes place in the lizard brain.)  Thus, our ultimate motivations are to signal status to others, and we use things like luxury goods to do so.  However, social media is conceivably the worst source by which to be influenced, and what is popular on social media can and often does signal low status, not high status - after all, social media is designed to reach lots and lots of people, in which case, the people who are consuming the Instagram wrist shots are...  the vast middle.  And, weirdly enough, doing the opposite of what's popular on social media can and often does signal high status - it's called "counter-signaling."

Here's an example:

  • One of my closest buddies and co-workers grew up poorer than dirt in a communist Eastern Bloc country, but through crazy hard work is now an executive in Big Tech and makes ~$1.5M / year
  • One day, we're walking out the building together, and he's gotta grab something out of his car for me, and as we round the corner to the parking lot, he pulls out his keys and unlocks his...  Porsche?  Ferrari?  No, no, no...  it's gotta be a Lambo, right?  Nope.  He unlocks his Chevy Sonic.  He literally has to insert his key into the door, because it ain't got the electronics to support remote lock / unlock.  Like, it's got those little lock knobs on the sills of the doors!!!  The car don't even got power windows.  You gotta use those manual window cranks to roll 'em up and down! 
  • He's not consciously thinking about signaling or counter-signaling or any of that.  He couldn't care less about signaling to others what his status is.  Why?  Because he's so high status, the last thing he would ever even bother to think about is status!  He likes what he likes, he buys what he buys

I know this is a long, strange digression - but as I stated before, I'm slowly becoming weirder and weirder by the day, like Ted Kaczynski.  I think what I'm trying to say is that if you genuinely like the Seamaster 300M over the Sub or the Overseas or the Royal Oak, and wear it with pride, that signals a level of confidence that trumps a thousand Instagram wrist shots.

And I will say it right now:  That Tissot in your profile picture absolutely screams AWESOME.  If I met you in real life, and you were wearing one of the Instagram darlings on your wrist, I'm certain that my subconscious, lizard brain would immediately react with, "OMG, another low status loser engaging in high status cosplay, by heavily overpaying for an over-hyped wrist watch."  Meanwhile, I see that Tissot on your wrist?  This reaction (from the famous Russ Hanneman meets Jared Dunn scene in Silicon Valley):

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bui.watches

I don’t there really is a way to completely fight off influence from others except not interacting with others. Lots of people are lamenting the new IG generation and the role of influencers, but this is absolutely nothing new. Your image of Steve McQueen is a great example. Celebrities and other cultural icons have always had an effect on the general public when it comes to fashion or other life choices, it’s just more consolidated now on a few social media platforms. 
 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being influenced. But we should all admit that we are. I’ve seen lots of comments where people have said that they’re never influenced by what influencers or celebrities wear or do. Most of them are likely just under denial. I’m not saying we are all influenced by all influencers, but perhaps someone who doesn’t care about what Watch Lady Gaga is wearing might instead see a watch on some sports personality or world leaders and be influenced by that. 
 

I guess where I’m going with this is that it’s ok to be influenced by what you see out there. We aren’t all trailblazers and self-made style icons. Like what you like, regardless of why you like it. 

I've never been on Instagram. I watch a lot of stuff on YouTube but never watch-related channels. I can't stand shills and other advertising/marketing/PR.