Are watch spotters the new train spotters? Train spotters were rife in the 50s and 60s when trains were a whole lot more interesting to look at as they ran on steam, and were gloriously mechanical. But by 1968, locomotives which had been designed to happily ply Britain’s railways, had been more or less phased out, and with them went the traditional train spotter, clad in his grubby anorak, carrying his thermos flask and notepad so as to hang around chilly railway embankments in the hope of noting down locomotive numbers.
In contrast, the watch spotter has had a much better time of it. There’s no hanging around freezing train stations, no anoraks required, and above all, since the nadir of the 70s and early 80s, there has been a renaissance in mechanical timepieces for the watch spotter to marvel at from a multitude of top Swiss brands who dedicate their lives to developing innovative ideas around the theme of intricate and brilliantly conceived mechanical movements. Unlike train spotters, the heyday for the ardent watch spotter was not the 50s or 60s, it is right here right now.
With the rise and rise of celebrity culture, watchspotting has become almost an obsessive sport. Unlike trains, which are visible to the naked eye from hundreds of metres away, the watch spot requires high powered camera lenses to capture a fleeting glimpse of shiny wrist candy on a celebrity as it is glimpsed half hiding under an Italian bespoke suit cuff. Then the challenge really begins, it’s an IWC, a Rolex, or maybe a Cartier, but which model, which version? It looks incredibly familiar, but is it that exact model?
If you decide to post your latest watch spot on a Forum, you either need to be sure of your facts, or just ‘fess up and say ‘hey guys, anyone recognize this watch on David Bowie’s wrist? It’s usually certain to cause a lot of Forum heat as watch spotting experts wade in with their opinions. But it’s all part of the fun.
Watch spotters have huge advantages over train spotters, because while the paparazzi don’t tend to waste time taking pictures of trains, they do spend hours upon hours waiting in uncomfortable circumstances to all hours so as to grab candid pictures of celebrities emerging from houses or night clubs, or hotels. Often as not, as a happy coincidence, they are wearing an expensive watch that gets shown off in an attempt to by the celebrity to shield himself and his new girlfriend from the flashing, prying cameras.
When it suits them, celebrities are more than happy to show off their watches, and there are several celebrities well known for their love of them, these include the likes of Eric Clapton, Jason Statham, Orlando Bloom, Craig Daniel, Ben Affleck, Ashton Kutcher, Will Smith, David Beckham, Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone (said to have almost single handedly revived the fortunes of Panerai) and many, many more. ‘A list’ celebs are frequently seen in a range of different watches, even if they happen to be brand ambassadors for certain specific brands. And there are worthwhile watch spots not just from the world of entertainment but from politics, business, sport and adventure. A watch spotter has his work cut out just trying to keep pace.
Each new dawn presents a fresh watch spotting opportunity. With this in mind, DreamChrono has dedicated a section of the site to the contemporary noble art of Watchspotting. Several well known personalities from all walks of life will be profiled. You can check the watch they wear against the DreamChrono Watch Database so that you can study every detail of the watch worn by your favorite celebrity. But more importantly, the idea of the Watchspotting section is for it to take on a life of its own with contributors posting their best watch spots for everyone to savour. A good watch spot thrills the heart of every true watch spotter, so whether your shots are sharp and clear, or snapped on the fly with the model and make an uncertainty, send them in, so wthat readers may ponder, debate and wonder.