Exploring the two different mindsets to scratches on your favorite watches.
“Wear your watches.” It’s something I’ve said over and over again when hearing about people who are too concerned to wear their watches for fear of getting them all scratched up. They’re tool watches after all, right? Created to tackle the tops of mountains, the depths of oceans, and even the battlefield, there’s no denying that the watches on our wrists today are a little more “pampered” than their predecessors. But if we know they were made for such heavy-duty tasks, why do we try so hard to protect them?
Okay, so let’s be honest. I was all about “wear your watches” until I recently came across an Instagram post showcasing their Submariner bracelet absolutely covered in scratches. And I can’t lie, it made me cringe a little. That reaction has me re-thinking the idea behind our watches and why there seems to be two specific ideologies surrounding them.
First up: Team “No Scratches.”
I think as much as we don’t want to be, a lot of us are secretly on this team. We may not be quite as extreme as to buy into the sticker sets that some companies sell in order to protect your watch bracelets (and no judgement to those who do), but we still worry about the scratches that many of our bracelets just naturally seem to attract. Okay okay, “damage” may be a bit dramatic, but isn’t that how most things that get scratched up are considered? Most people wouldn’t consider scratches on their car to be character. And aside from the aesthetics of seeing those scratches all over your watches, there’s honestly a bit of guilt that comes into it.
Whether your watch cost $500 or $5,000, it likely wasn’t a purchase that you took lightly, and is probably something that meant a lot to you when you bought it and still has sentimental significance now. It’s difficult to justify beating up something that you worked so hard to purchase in the first place. To be clear, I’m definitely not beating up on this side of the fence because honestly, I’m right here with you guys and gals. A lot of us are, and there are a ton of memes to bring us together in our concerns for our watch’s safety.
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Up Next: Team "Character."
Alright, let’s take a look at the other team. To those collectors who say that scratches tell a story. The guys who say those deep gauges in that Submariner bezel are “character.” That patina is the soul of a watch. Honestly, I get it. I want to be on your side so badly. My Speedmaster passed 11 of the craziest tests any watch has ever been through to be selected as the official watch for the Apollo missions, but the first knock of the bezel and I may have shed a tear.
Scratches are a natural part of life, especially for an object that is being used on a day to day basis. I envy your care-free nature in accepting this fact. I often look at vintage tool watches in absolute awe. Rarely do you find watches from the 50s, 60s, or 70s in good condition. They were worn as the tools they were designed to be, and somewhere over the years we have forgotten that. Watches have gone from being tools to being luxury goods made to look like tools, and I think that’s where the problem lies. There’s just a completely different mindset now than that of our previous generations. After all, they were the ones designing these watches to accompany them on life’s biggest adventures.
At the end of the day, there isn’t a right or a wrong answer here. I’d even go as far to say that many of us fall in the middle of these two mindsets. The most important thing is that no matter how you wear your watches, you enjoy them. But I am curious to know what you think! Drop a comment and let us know how you wear your watches and what side of the fence you’re on.
Written by: K. Wells