What is an Honest Watch?

In combing the internets for pictures and deals on the watch I’m currently craving, several times I came across the term “it’s an honest watch,” usually with other descriptors attached.

It got me to thinking about what an honest watch actually is. Well, it would seem that it first isn’t a dishonest watch, which, while that would include counterfeit watches and watches that were stolen, it also goes far beyond.

The nature of any watch is to fulfil the purpose of what it was built to do. A delicate, thin dress watch originally made to be worn with a tuxedo or under a French cuff is honest in that purpose and, by implication, would be dishonest and inauthentic as a sports or water watch – two functions that would surely destroy it.

But I’ve been drawn to watch value for decades and written about that for years. To me, an honest watch is one that has value. Can a $500,000 Richard Mille have value? Sure. And so can a Timex on sale for $25. While value is subjective, honesty is attached to it. Just search for a specific watch on eBay – you’ll see a massive price range, especially on watches out of production. If everyone is selling it for around $500 and you list yours for $3,300, is it an honest watch. I don’t know. Doesn’t feel that way, though if someone wants it for the price, fine.

An honest watch is one that allows you to do everything you intended it for when you acquired it. I am, for example, known for being pretty rough with my watches. Especially big watches, which I accidentally and often hit against walls and car doors and refrigerators.

So if I acquire a watch for surfing, for it to be an honest watch in my mind, it also should endure me shooting some free throws or tossing around a football. And if I forget (or don’t want) to take it off before getting in the shower, I shouldn’t need to think about it.

Quartz or mechanical, an honest watch should also be well-built (at any price) and designed for a long life. In the past three years, I’ve acquired like three quartz watches that didn’t work when I got them. And it wasn’t the battery, it was just poorly made. That’s not honest, as part of the reason for getting a quartz is not needing to think about it.

An honest watch is, most importantly, one you will feel better about months and years after you acquire it.

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