Start with this: only the pure of heart will ever wear a Grail watch. Which is why you don’t see Indiana Jones wearing one in The Last Crusade. So really, you don’t deserve a Grail watch. That said . . .
You probably think you do. Anyway, your unworthiness isn’t one of the three reasons not to buy a Grail watch.
Before I lay it out, let’s be clear which watches qualify: the steel Patek Philippe Nautilus, steel panda-faced Rolex Daytona and the steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The Holy Trinity.
Feel free to add any other watch you consider Grail-worthy – as long as it’s not the OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional. They’re too easy to acquire for reasonable money. Which brings us to reason one to take a GW off your bucket list.
1. A Grail Watches is Too Expensive
Here in the United States, a steel Patek Philippe Nautilus (reference 5711/1A-010) retails for $30,620. Your garden variety steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (reference 15500ST.OO.1220ST.01) msrp’s at $20,400. The steel, panda-faced Rolex Daytona (reference 116500LN) lists for a mere $13,500.
As you know, these numbers are meaningless. To buy a GW at that price, you have to be closerthanthis with an authorized dealer. There’s only one way that’s gonna happen: you have to buy a shit ton of other watches from the dealer. More than a $100k worth. Maybe a lot more.
Even money may not be enough; you have to be “the right sort of person.” The kind who promises to wear your GW, so that other people will covet it. Even if you pass muster, you’ll have to wait your turn for the privilege of subsidizing your dealer’s Cuban cigar collection. A long time. Years. Which is another kind of price, too.
If you can’t be bothered sucking-up to an AD and waiting for Godot, you can buy a new Grail watch from a “flipper.”
There’s a new-in-box Patek Philippe Nautilus on Chrono24.com for $81,999. An NIB Audemars Piguet Royal Oak can be yours for $38,500. A new steel panda-faced Rolex Daytona is also available for just $27,499.
Hang on. What happened to all that ass kissing, kowtowing and endless anticipation? You mean any old yutz can buy a GW? A yutz with deep pockets. What if that’s not you? What if it is? At that point, why not? It’s only money, right?
C’mon man! Even if the Chrono24 payout is chump change for you, Grail watches are a waste of money. Here’s why . . .
2. A Grail Watch Makes You A Sheep
You could argue Grail watches are Grail watches because they’re proven classics with important historical provenance. If you do, I’m outtahere. The last thing I want to hear about is a watch about which I’ve heard everything there is to hear.
You may think wearing a Grail watch shows your taste and sophistication, your devotion to timeless timepieces. For the sake of argument, let’s say you’re right. At the same time, a Grail watch is a status symbol. More subtle than a Rolex President, sure. But the same thing. There’s a reason #royaloak has 626,467 posts.
Are you really so shallow, so ego-deficient, that you want to wear a watch that makes you feel special because watch nerds, colleagues, friends, lovers, dry cleaners and other clued-in members of the gen pop consider you special for wearing it? Of course not! Yes but –
Even if you own a GW because you like it, other people think you own your Rollie or Nautilus or Royal Oak because you’re rich and you want the world to know it. You may not care what other people think about your taste or financial status, but on some level, yeah, you do.
Take it from a guy who used a Ferrari F355B as a daily driver, no matter how great a thing is in and of itself, the public perception of the thing can be a major pain-in-the-ass. As in “I swear I’m not that guy.”
There’s no getting around it: perception is reality. Humans are social animals. We can’t escape other people’s perceptions. Other people’s reality.
Bottom line: wearing a Nautilus, Royal Oak or Daytona betrays a lack of confidence. If not that, imagination. Not to put too fine a point on it, these watches are an expensive cliché.
If that doesn’t strike a chord, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at yourself. Specifically, the timepiece on your wrist. Bringing us to reason three not to buy a Grail watch.
3. There Are Better Watches Than a Grail Watch
If money’s not an issue and you really couldn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about you, buy a watch that truly expresses who you are. What’s that you say? The Nautilus, Royal Oak or Daytona fits the bill? Think again.
All three watchmakers offer far more dynamic and interesting pieces than their Grail watches, with the possible exception of Patek Philippe and Rolex. You’re a dynamic and interesting person! Someone who appreciates perfectly realized design and unimpeachable craftsmanship. Someone with real joie de vivre.
I submit that there are timepieces that have just as much workmanship and a lot more oomph than the GWs. I’m looking at you Jaeger-leCoultre, A. Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin (assuming we’re staying at the Grail watches’ real-world price points).
And that’s just for a start. There are plenty of less expensive watches that do the Grail watch thing – excellence on every level. In the main, they lack one thing: cachet. Can you live without it? You can and you should.
I refer you to a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson in my novel: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
If you like your Grail watch you can keep your Grail watch. If you like yourself, buy something else.