f we could point to just one reason for mechanical watchmaking’s return to fashion, it would be its material aspect. We’re beings of flesh and blood, and we live in space and time. Flesh, blood and space are measurable and material. Only time eludes our touch. It’s immaterial; it slips between our fingers. And yet it orders and structures our lives.
A mechanical watch that can measure the passing minutes and hours is the only material connection we have with time. A watch is like us: it has a skeleton of mechanical bones, covered with a skin. We read its face. We see more of ourselves in a watch than in an electronic circuit board powered by a quartz resonator. I’m convinced this is far from being irrelevant to the popularity of mechanical watches.
But our lives have been gradually dematerialised. It’s as if we’re doing our very best to cast off our mortal integument, and go floating off into the clouds – or the Cloud – where, apparently, we could end up living out our lives. Our meta-lives. But, these philosophical musings aside, if mechanical watchmaking has not only survived, but thrived, it’s for far more pragmatic reasons. Mechanical watches have become status symbols and investment vehicles.
So, why not take the logical next step, and dematerialise watches too? You have to agree it makes good business sense. Imagine if bakers could sell their loaves as NFTs? OK, you can’t eat them, but they might actually be worth something one day. Try selling someone a loaf of stale bread and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Mechanical watches have become status symbols and investment vehicles. So, why not take the logical next step, and dematerialise watches too? You have to agree it makes good business sense.
Welcome to Non Fungible Watches. Watchmaking’s final frontier. Now, rather than buying a real watch like all the other poor, deluded sheeple – you might lose it, have it stolen, or just forget which car you left it in! – you have a far more secure option. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard about it, it’s on everyone’s lips: you can’t lose an NFW because it BELONGS TO YOU. It’s carved on a cloud, recorded on a blockchain somewhere, you can’t get rid of it that easily.
OK, it doesn’t tell the time and, between you and me, it’s a bit ugly. And even though it doesn’t actually work, its carbon footprint is kind of worryingly huge. But who cares, it’s dematerialised! And that’s what counts these days, isn’t it?