Dear Watch Family,
Let’s write about something that everybody knows but no one wants to talk about, even less to admit it. Did Instagram influence you as a watch lover / enthusiast?
If you say ‘No,’ you are probably not being truthful to yourself; unless you are an old hand (no pun intended) in the watch industry and have been collecting since ages before Social Media came along. Instagram and in general, Social Media has made a huge impact on the watch industry over the last few years. I don’t think I am even going out on a limb when I say that Social Media (Instagram in particular) had the biggest impact on haute horology since the quartz crisis in the 1970s and early 1980s.
I don’t mean this in necessarily in a negative way since unlike the quartz crisis, the influence of Social Media had also a positive impact. Thanks to Instagram, it was easier to find like-minded people with the same passion towards watches. Every day, I enjoy the conversations with clients, friends or followers on the social media channels we offer at The Collectors Circle. I shared a good amount of thoughts and insights with them and the exchange of knowledge is just priceless. In fact, I can say that thanks to Instagram, followers turned into friends, and some friends even turned into family. A fact I wouldn’t want to miss!
Furthermore, I think Instagram is the greatest source of information for watch lovers. There are so many great pages that share fantastic information, from modern to vintage watches, and those that tell stories that you can’t find anywhere else. The content produced on IG alone is unique and collecting watches would only be half the fun without Instagram.
But the hype of social media has also its dark side – let’s face it. The razzmatazz of showing off on Instagram reached another level. People who are not even interested in watches are now putting their name on the waiting lists for hot items like the new Rolex Submariner line just to reach a few more likes. The sad truth is – Instagram has made most people interested in the exact same watches. As a result, demand rises and prices on the grey market do rise as well. Consequently, for watch lovers like us, we will need to wait a decade for a Patek Philippe Nautilus.
Instagram as we know are being used by many brands as a marketing platform to advertise their products successfully. Take for example Jacob & Co. and founder Jacob Arabo, who used Social Media to place his products on the right channels. Some brands have even cancelled traditional exhibitions to release their novelties only through their Social Media channels. Powerhouses like Audemars Piguet use their 2.2 million followers on Instagram as a platform to kick off their newest products. What an efficient marketing tool! On the other hand, brands that played the more traditional card are facing difficulties reaching the younger generation. Nowadays a Social Media marketing strategy must be part of a company’s brand awareness otherwise, you will be out of the game very soon.
Another interesting fact resulting from social media hype albeit not on a positive note and which is even more annoying are watch thefts. Sad but true. Although the exchange of information on social media is fantastic, it unfortunately allows thieves to gain important information such as being able to differentiate between a quarter million worth Richard Mille from $100 Swatch timepiece. It is such a pity, that some cities, like London or Paris are nowadays unsafe for us wristrollers. There are countless stories of robbery on broad daylight and organized crime.
In summary, I do like the fresh breeze of Social Media in the watch industry, especially the community that keeps growing day by day. But unfortunately, it comes with a price. Instagram has definitively influenced the watch community whether you like it or not; and personally, I am very excited to see how the story continues.
I am happy to discuss your insights and comments. Feel free to share your thoughts with The Collectors Circle and I will post the most interesting comments on my Instagram story. Just upload your thoughts and tag @collectors.circle .
Keep (wrist)rolling dear watch family.
Photography: Yves Müller for The Collectors Circle: @visiuns_com & @collectors.circle