A reader recently emailed an attaboy. David closed his much-appreciated appreciation by asking how to detect an honest watch review. Easy. Read ours. Assume that all other watch reviews are co-opted. Bogus. Bullsh*t. If you read between the lines, it’s obvious. Here’s a blow-by-blow analysis of A Blog to Watch’s review of the Timex Expedition North Titanium Automatic . . .
When a watch sucks, the first thing an advertiser-supported reviewer has to do: kiss its metaphorical *ss. But even the best spin doctor leaves clues to the carefully concealed carnage to follow.
Sellers is giving readers a heads-up, telling us to discount the semi-obscured failings to follow.
Actually, he’s not giving us a heads-up. He’s framing the review for Timex. Covering his and the publication’s *ss, should they want to know why they should support a website that tears their titanium pride and joy a new *sshole, however gentle the proctology.
At this point, an experienced enthusiast knows there’s only one reason to read this “review”: to marvel at the true terribleness of the Timex Expedition North Titanium Automatic. Mercifully, we don’t have to wait long for the first shoe to drop.
While ABTW and its ilk are so deep in manufacturers’ pockets they risk lint asphyxiation, they can’t resist putting some truthiness in their work. In this case – literally – Sellers is calling out Timex’s bald-faced lie about the Expedition North Titanium Automatic’s case thickness (by a full millimeter, no less).
Note: the discrepancy between the watch’s case thickness and the listing on Timex’s website is a fact, not an opinion. The manufacturer can’t fault Sellers for that! Hence its revelation. But we’re just getting this party started!
“Refinement is secondary to functionality when if comes to field watches.” So true! A close second. Close enough not to be dismissed, unless a watch lacks any hint of it and your job is to praise a horological Cesar, not bury it.
Sellers could have written “Only an idiot would expect refinement from a $349 Chinese-made Timex.” Instead, he pulls his punches by saying the titanium Timex has a “slightly less refined appearance.”
Less than what? A $499 USA-assembled Vaer A5 Field Black. If so, fail. Not to put too fine a point on it, I don’t think the word “slightly” means what Sellers needs it to mean.
There’s no getting around it: a watch review must contain an opinion! When that opinion is negative, a co-opted watch reviewer must state clearly IT’S ONLY MY OPINION! and IT’S NOT THAT IMPORTANT!
Sellers ticks the first box twice in the same sentence (“I would have personally preferred” and “as far as I’m concerned”) and spins magnificently (“hardly an aesthetic dealbreaker”).
Why did he choose something as trivial as the color of the Timex Expedition North Titanium Automatic’s crown’s tip? You ever heard/used the expression “just the tip”? Just sayin’ . . .
Timex doesn’t offer ANY information about the titanium watch’s shock resistance. But that’s OK because price-sensitive consumers don’t want, need or deserve to know.
It’s one thing to run cover for a company paying your bills and throwing free watches at you, it’s another to insult your audience. Sellers scores another two-fer. But he ain’t done.
F*ck your lizard brain! I told you before: it’s functionality über alles b*tches!
Suggesting that Timex’s noisy flyweight titanium field watch has “inherent quality” is like saying a Big Mac has inherent nutritional value. It’s both true and largely irrelevant. Damn! Did I use a qualifier? That sh*t is catching! I meant “both true and irrelevant.” Sorry.
WHAT? Is Mr. Sellers unfamiliar with the lume-tastic innovation known as Timex Indiglo? Or does he simply not “typically associate” with such luminescent riff-raff? Anyway, this part of his PR-pleasing prose offers a dictionary definition of “damned by faint praise.” Again, literally.
Another opinion! This time, Mr. Sellers shows us how a watch reviewer pulls his punches.
In this example, substitute “major f*ck-up” for “slight misstep” and “laughably inappropriate for its intended purpose” for “arguably least suited to regular aquatic use.” With a “might have been” thrown in for good measure.
To his credit, Mr. Sellers concludes his puff piece by naming cheaper titanium field watches for people who don’t give a sh*t about quality. He ends as he started, offering an editorial BJ to Timex’s deep-pocketed PR peeps.
So the Timex Expedition North Titanium Automatic won’t be available in malls and departments stores? Maybe so, given they’re both busy going extinct. Meanwhile, I hope this analysis helps David appreciate the skill needed to parse mainstream watch reviews, and appreciate our efforts on readers’ behalf.
NOTE: TTAW needs independent watch reviewers! No experience necessary, no pay available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with Ba-BAM! in the subject bar.