Jack Forster: Five Days, Five Reasons to NOT Buy A Mechanical Watch
Deep Thoughts, Uncategorized

Jack Forster: Five Days, Five Reasons to NOT Buy A Mechanical Watch

For those of you who do not know Jack, he is truly one of the most eloquent and deep thinking watch writers in the world.  He has just posted a new series on Revolution Online to play devil’s advocate.  Five Days, Five Reasons to NOT Buy A Mechanical Watch.
I like this idea a lot.  I’m going to follow his series here and post some comments as he goes.

The first reason is “They are bloody expensive”.

A fitting place to start.  Most of my friends are not into watches and not fabulously wealthy.  I generally recommend they don’t even bother with a mechanical watch under $3000 or so – and at that you’re really looking at vintage to get good value.  The pieces I find to be particularly worthwhile are all in the yearly salary range.

So yes, this is a very fair criticism.  The way I deal with this personally is to always remember that in general, these are ridiculous purchases.  Therefore, in order to justify their merit, they have to be something really special.  That is why the general tone of my posts is to focus on intangibles, historical significance, etc.  Some pieces, upon close analysis, seem to be bargains even at very high prices.  Others fall completely flat.

This also brings up one of my biggest gripes with the watch media (see Jack, I praise and then I taketh away 😉 ).  Who is looking out for us and holding these brands accountable?  Why are there watches that cost 100% more for the exact same watch now than they did 6 years ago?  Why is the media so shy to question where the value is in these things?  I see the tremendous amount of work, risk, and skill that goes into creating pieces at MB&F and even at the high prices they seem like a bargain (no one is getting rich off of MB&F, unfortunately).  There are other watches I see at the same price points that are just silly – offering no value at all.  I do believe the watch media has completely dropped the ball on educating the public as to which is which.

Let’s see what Jack has up his sleeve for Reason Number 2…

EDIT: As clarified in the comments below.  I use MB&F as an example not to say that they’re the only brand making good watches, but simply because I get to see the entire process there so I can be 100% certain in my assessment

  • perhaps your viewpoint is biased? i love MB&F, but i also think the “tremendous amount of work, risk, and skill that goes into creating pieces at MB&F” is employed by certain other very worthy brands – such as Christophe Claret, Richard Mille and a few others whose price points are not silly but are warranted and whose watches offer great value.Sorry you feel the watch media has dropped a proverbial ball- however, some of us have not!

    • Hi Roberta,
      I certainly don’t mean to say that MB&F is the ONLY brand worthwhile!  You know that I actually buy and own watches from all sorts of brands and am just as quick to praise those that I like as MB&F.  I am simply using them as an example because they’re the one where I really see how the sausage is made.

      Thanks for the comment!  I hope that clears up my position.

      • Ed

        well now that u r out u can really name names and educate people, the last thing we need is someone who is exhausted and still avoiding confrontations:) best, Ed~ 

  • Jack Forster

    Steve thanks so much for your kind words and also for your spirit of engagement with the question.  You might like to know that it is Max himself who is partly responsible for this series.  When I first met him in person, it was just after HM1 had come out and he had invited me to dinner at MOMA (quite a gesture of faith on a number of levels.)  It was a fascinating night and conversation, but one of the things he said was, “You know, one of the problems I think we have today in luxury watches is that there is simply not enough understanding of watch history and culture.”  I have been thinking and griping to myself about this ever since and I finally decided to stop complaining and try to do something about it ;).  

    • Thanks, Jack. I love the direction of this series. I believe that anyone who expects to really get to the heart of this industry needs to fully understand and acknowledge these issues.

  • Humberto Palomeque

    Well, of course the price of this beautiful machines is tremendous, but for example, the fact that I can´t buy one of this master pieces, doesn´t make me lose the passion to admire every part, the details, the materials, EVEN MORE, create new designs to measure the time, I love design watches. 
    And if you let me Steve, I have to say that you fulfill your dream every day, when you wear on your wrist the horological machines of MB&F.