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Omega anchor why buy watches

Why Do We *Really* Buy Watches?

man looking at rolex watch why buy watches

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

In this day and age when a watch is no longer a necessity—we’re looking at you, smartphones—why do people still decide to strap these seemingly one-dimensional embellishments on their wrists?

Well, it turns out, there are several reasons behind our mania for all things horological.

As with most things, it all starts with biology: Research suggests that people—with then in particular—do things because they’re genetically programmed to find ways to attract their preferred sex. Think: peacocks. And because watches are one of the most luxurious items purchases, or in some cases, hard to come by, having an expensive watch, in a way, gives a person the sort of status that essentially implies that its wearer has made it to the ranks of the rich and the powerful. Having an expensive watch also provides the wearer with an internal sense of pride—and as the millions of women’s mag articles have told us, there’s nothing sexier than confidence.

Anecdotally, some admit that they purchase luxury watches because they’re status symbols …and this is totally accurate. A watch is and has historically been a symbol of wealth and power. If you’ve worked hard to get to where you are, chances are one of the first things you’ll purchase to show off your achievements is a pricey watch. More than just a mark of wealth, a watch can be a very motivating symbol, not just for yourself but for other people. A gorgeous timepiece has the power to make people think: ”I want to be like him.”

There is also the allure of collection. People are magpies: We’re drawn to shiny, pretty things, and when we get started, we—to paraphrase a popular game’s catchphrase—have to catch ‘em all. It’s ingrained in us to want more of the same, in the most nuanced of styles, and we want as much as we can get our hands on. Diving deep into the world of watches also means joining an exclusive club where its members might not only have a net worth that might equal a small European country, but also one that is passionate about the nuances and subtleties of watchmaking. Compound this ever-increasing knowledge and need to complete your collection with the desire to keep up with the proverbial Joneses, and what you’ll get is a very dedicated aggregator of all things horological.

man looking at rolex watch 2 why buy watches

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Beyond showing off, there are other factors, of course. There is a humble side to watches; contrary to popular belief, watches aren’t all about flashy materials and hefty price tags. For some people, buying, collecting, even just looking at or reading about watches can be an emotional experience.

Take, for example, how some watches were a fundamental player in some of history’s most iconic moments. Seeing astronauts in the space shuttle heading to the moon made children dream of piloting their own spaceships, driving their own racecars, or winning a prestigious sports trophy. For many, owning a watch that was front and center during those pivotal moments might be the closest one could get to achieving a childhood dream.

Certain watches have the ability to offer something that can’t be replaced with money: sentimental value. It’s idolizing your father and wanting to own the same watch he wore, or purchasing a watch on the day a child is born to commemorate their entry into the world. It’s receiving a watch on the day you step out of school into the real world, or to mark many, many years of service. It’s passing on a watch from one generation to the next, with the hope that the memories made with it live on.

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