I was sitting in a bar in the south of France and ordering a long island ice tea. As my drink was served a silver sparkle caught my eye as the barman’s hand passed through a ray of sunshine.
My pupils dilate. My instincts kick in.
It is clearly a Rolex, judging by the bracelet and clasp a recent model at that. The bezel leaves no questions unanswered, we are dealing with a GMT-Master batman.
Having forgotten my drink I turn all giddy and share my watch spot with Floriana, the Italian girl I came to the city with. She is, unsurprisingly, little impressed and doesn’t seem to share my excitement. Clearly, for a watch conversation, I will have to turn to the barman himself.
How would I start the conversation though? I ended up going with the classic, yet hardly creative option of “nice watch“. Unsatisfied, and in anticipation of my next watch spot we have accumulated tips for how to engage in great watch conversations.
1. Money doesn’t matter:
This has two meanings. First of all, I would avoid the topic of money completely unless opened by the other person. Money has always been a touchy subject. Whats more, if you really want to know prices you can google the watch after the encounter or check chrono24.
Beyond that, though the price of the watch doesn’t matter in the sense that you don’t have to feel intimidated spotting a Patek while sporting a Seiko. Despite what the “watch snob“ might make you believe at times most watch enthusiasts are warm and open people who are happy to share their passion.
2. Go to the right places:
Most of us feel lucky to just randomly spot a cool watch in the wild. A method, however, to not only see a lot of amazing watches but also find people willing to talk about them is to go to meet-ups or events around you. I had some of the best times while attending fairs like Baselworld.
3. Ask for permission:
Trust me, I have been there myself. You get over excited and you take a picture to the dismay of the owner. I am the kind of guy to hand my watch to everybody and his mother if they show the slightest of interest, but when it comes to 4, 5, or sometimes even 6 digit timepieces courtesy is key.
4. Don’t be a creep:
Sure, going to talk to a stranger can be intimidating, but it is significantly better than just staring at their watch. Remember that watches remain to date one of the most commonly stolen objects, and you don’t want to give the impression of harbouring a malicious intent.
Unfortunately, not all conversations are meant to be. On a recent flight from Marseille to Edinburgh, my heart skipped a beat when I spotted my first Richard Mille ever in the wild. Unfortunately, the man wearing it was on his telephone the whole time in the queue. If someone is clearly busy, don’t interrupt them and be aware of your situation, unless of course, he is wearing a Rolex Zerograph, in which case normal rules don’t apply.