Watches I Would Never Wear

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Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 on wrist

I used to think there wasn’t a watch I wouldn’t wear. I mean for a week or so, like on a dare. There are tons of watches I wouldn’t buy or choose. There’s a narrower category: watches I couldn’t stand to have on my wrist. These are the watches I would never wear . . .

watches like this are dumb

Stupid Watches: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

I prefer to call this “the stupid crooked dial watch.” That is my entire objection. This watch doesn’t know which way is up.

“Oh but it’s so you can tell time with your hand on the steering wheel! So historic, so unique, so I really hope people will think I’m interesting!”  Blah blah blah. That might have made sense for a dozen people a century ago. None of this matters anymore. If you want to be a pretend olde-timey bon vivant, get a crank-start daily driver and get back to me, or STFU.

Porsche Cayenne dashboard clock

Every modern car has a clock or two on the dashboard. Vacheron customers surely don’t have jalopies requiring two hands on the wheel at all times. This whole premise seems bogus. I don’t know in what magical placement this works anyway.

For normal back-of-wrist wear, the face is always pointing away. Unless maybe you put your hand right at 12 o’clock so an airbag can make you punch yourself in the face in a collision. I broke my teeth with my cockeyed watch, which also broke my wrist. Jolly good motoring! So dapper!

This is an R&D prototype that should be a novelty on a museum display somewhere. But suckers drool over it. I want a watch that can make me tell time, not make me feel drunk and stupid.

Crazy watches! Cartier Crash

Crazy Watches: Cartier Crash

My objections are simple. I don’t like disorienting watches that make time telling harder than necessary. They infuriate me as much as unlikely backstories. The alleged inspiration for the Cartier Crash is morbid: pretend that some guy was immolated in a vehicular crash. Also pretend that his watch softened up and somehow took a psychedelic shape, dial and all.

This is another novelty watch for the bored rich who buy the morbid explanation and/or can’t get The Wizard of Oz wicked witch death scene out of their head. I’m melting! Of course, the Crash is perfect modern art; one can’t appreciate it on its own. It needs some lengthy explanation.

I have nothing against Cartier, but they are trading on their name here. If not for their haute horology rep, the Crash watch would be called out as tacky gimmick. Which it is. As a Cartier though, it’s “eccentric.”

Konstantin Chaykin Joker

I’m not easily creeped out, but this lazy/crazy-eyed Twilight Zone reject is pure nightmare fuel. It’s surely possessed by demons and cackles at you, urging murders and suicide, until the wearer goes insane and tries in vain to destroy it. It’s also terribly tasteless, gimmicky, hard to read and disturbingly ugly.

Did I say Joker? It turns out that there is an entire Wristmons collection of variations on this theme. Surely Wristmons is a portmanteau of wrist and demons. Luckily these are outrageously expensive and in the hands of mega-rich supervillains, so I won’t need to drown one in holy water.

Who wants watches like this?

Ugly Watches: OMEGA Ploprof 1200M

I’m pretty sure that Ploprof is a portmanteau for “professor of plop” where plop refers to excretion. Just kidding, it’s for plongeur professionnel, Francais for “(Invicta) Pro Diver.” The important thing: this OMEGA is a profoundly ugly watch that’s also hideously large.

Was there a contest to make a crown guard magnitudes less elegant than those on Panerai? I understand that, supposedly, divers are always bopping their watches on rocks and stuff. This is the same reason that rotating bezels are uni-directional. This in no way means I’ll be seen with a destro crown on some asymmetric trapezoidal hump. Capped off by being hung up on with a miniature phone handset.

There’s also a colored button on the right, looking like a remote bomb detonator from the movies. Presumably somebody found a shirt cuff big enough to hide the horror of the crown, so this was necessary to maintain the hunchback fugly factor.

Obviously is has a purpose, and that is . . . I’ll be right back . . . locking the bezel. Well, for some reason it’s a bidirectional bezel. So you have to push the button to move it.

Anyway, it makes the Ploprof look like a cigarette lighter. The helium escape valve, or HEV if you’re on friendly terms, opposite this button looks like a butane fill valve, completing the look. Where does the flame come out?

I’ll qualify this by saying that I’d wear the OMEGA Ploprof underwater. Why anyone would wear one out of water is a mystery for the ages.

Watches to watch out for: Panerai

Epilogue

I’d have announced my criteria beforehand, had I known what they were. It turns out that pretension, illegibility and very, very questionable aesthetics are the hallmarks. Despite some of these watches being whimsical or outrageous or whatever, they are all joyless to me.

This is why I couldn’t include a Panerai or some giant G-SHOCK. Those are comical, but in a way that has some joy to it. Well, Panerai probably takes themselves seriously, but they’re a joke to me. I could wear one as a goof. Same with any number of bottom rung abominations. They can be laughed off in a way that a five figure watch cannot.

With metaphysical certitude, someone reading will feel that I’ve attacked a watch that they love, love, love. Hey, it’s subjective. On a long enough timeline, every watch I love will get listed as unwearable by a commenter. I don’t care. This is a selfish hobby. It’s about me, not you! But go ahead, list the watches you would never voluntarily wear. More importantly, tell me why.

21 COMMENTS

  1. When I see the Cartier Crash, I think Dali, not car crashes.

    The Ploprof was originally designed with diving exclusively in mind. A lot of the “ugliness” did have a practical function in the days before dive computers.

    • Cartier claims the crash story, albeit very dubiously. But do you want surrealism on your wrist? I find it disturbing whatever the reason.

      Yes, the Ploprof is a pure dive watch, like the Rolex Deep Sea Special. It blows my mind that there are people using them as casual wear. I won’t wear Sperry Top-Siders because I’m not near enough to the water.

      • Yes, I do want surrealism on my wrist! I like the idea of a watch as wearable art that I can strap to my wrist, but I understand that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

        I agree with you about the Ploprof as casual wear. The only people who should be wearing it are divers or collectors who own a vintage piece. Although I feel like less of a poser when wearing a dive watch now since I’ve realized that even back in the day, non-divers would wear them for aesthetic purposes, or because a lot of dive watches were the “G-shocks” of their day.

  2. 😂 I hope Racer’s a real astronaut cause otherwise O.K. might hack off the wrist his NASA plastic special’s worn on. jk It’s not hard to recognize that notions of “ugly”, “fun”, “interesting” or “hated” even, are subjective. At least we’re able to vocalize those preferences without getting maimed (hopefully) or criminalized (hopefully) . For me, some of it takes into account the thought process or objective of the creator. Do I want to be associated or linked with the their preferences or outlook on their craft/art/priorities. Needless to say, I have my lists too.

          • No, but I was quite happy to get delivery of my new, old style GWM5610-1 today. First G-shock for me actually, hard to take the damn thing off…I feel like knocking it around to see what it can take.

          • A classic square that “does it all.” If you want to make it even MORE comfortable, swap the strap for a GW-5000 strap (you can find them on eBay for about $18, if I recall). The GW-5000 strap is much softer and a bit longer. With the GW-5000 strap, the watch disappears on your wrist.

    • This is purely my feelz. I can even understand why one would like some of these.
      I don’t necessarily hate these watches. I just would dread wearing them. There are watches I loathe that I’d readily wear for a while exactly because they are so godawful.

      Thanks for the future article tip on brand identity and the twin topic of brand customer identity. An upshot of not that many people even wearing watches is that it lessens the negative personal associations. There are plenty of brands that I avoid solely to distance myself from their typical customer base. Can’t say I really do that with watches.

  3. I have tried to convince myself to buy a gshock and I just can’t do it. So unfortunately for Racer, I don’t understand gshocks considering they’re ugly and you might as well wear a smart watch. I do like the Vacheron though.

    • They have a slight negative association for me as well. However, RF made me review the similar big black rubber multifunction Marathon ADANAC GDP. I thought I’d hate it but I discovered the charm of that sort of thing. Not my style, but satisfying nonetheless.

    • Joking aside… obviously your sentiment against G-Shocks is not shared by millions and millions of people who buy one. And probably millions who buy more than one. Of course, it’s a matter of taste. And, one might argue that the appeal of G-Shocks (to those whom they appeal) goes MUCH further than the “esthetics” of their watches. One might even argue that it MUST be something other than esthetics. So, what is it?

  4. Let us not forget that Panerai was the timepiece of choice for a certain group of aquatic loving swastika swimmers. Wilsdorf himself authorized the supplying of movements to the Italian Officine. Subsequently he had the Rolex name removed from them to avoid controversy/shame in the same way they quietly refrained from claiming Hillary wore the crown on his summit when everyone knew it was a Smiths. I love the VC and the Crash but they aren’t to everyone’s taste but I wouldn’t wear a Nazi Nautilus if it were given to me.

  5. Dude bro still imagines / pretends that mechanical watches costing tens of thousands of dollars are worn to tell time. 😂😂😂😂😂

    • People say this. I’m obviously not rich enough to buy things that don’t their primary job well, and I’m not bored or insecure enough to care about the imaginary functions.

    • I loathe Richard Mille watches, but my utter inability to take them seriously means I’d have a ball wearing one. It would be like Halloween with a gag costume. I’d just be giggling and constantly telling everyone “See this, quess what some people supposedly pay for these? Yeah, the workings are actually sort of impressive, but look at this redonkulousness! No, hundreds times your guess! Seriously! Hahaha!”

      Were I not allowed an irony exemption, this would be a much more comprehensive list.

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