No matter where you get your watch industry news, we’ve all seen it: endless enthusiast outrage when we are finally fed up with a hype train, despite the rest of the world keeping it going full steam ahead. Sometimes, niche groups drive industry trends informing brands what the next hot thing can be, or more often, what has been in the spotlight long enough. But sometimes, this enthusiast pushback has no effect other than creating a deafening echo chamber and lacing otherwise courteous discourse with vitriol.
The fury is often directed at the media for covering topics enthusiasts are fed up with in the first place. (Don’t worry we can handle it, and we are here, listening, and in some cases, telling brands what you are saying.) Enthusiasts are tired of everything from Tiffany Blue to integrated bracelets, but perhaps nothing has recently drawn the ire of the watchfam like the Moonswatch.
The front-page mainstream news features and widespread viral attention that Swatch and Omega have thanks to the Moonswatch is almost unheard of, representing an exceptionally rare breakthrough of our hobby into the zeitgeist. While ABTW rarely covers celebrity watch news, one of the major drivers of watch hype outside the watch community is celebrities and product placement — Jay-Z rapping about Patek and Rolex, Jennifer Anniston wearing Chopard Alpine Eagle on The Morning Show, Hamiltons being worn by everyone in all the movies.
While watches are a regular topic of discussion for many of us, they are rarely even considered something to be interested in, let alone enthusiastic or obsessive about, by most of society, even if The Rock does happen to be wearing the new IWC Ingenieur. But after seeing blocks-long lines outside of Swatch stores and coverage on the local and national news, it is evident that this hobby isn’t as odd as it may seem, and this exposure has resulted in the rapid growth of the watch enthusiast community. The Moonswatch was and is a gateway drug.
When trends have this much momentum and attention, there is little to nothing the niche crowds can do to change it. However, we can change how we react to it. Instead of taking to the keyboard to vent our rage every time a release doesn’t feel tailored to our interests, we can dive deeper into the hobby to find something that does meet our needs. Not every watch is designed with your interests in mind, but I can guarantee there is something out there for you. We can also welcome with open arms those who are new to the world of horology, whether they’re here because their friend brought them along to wait in line for a Moonswatch, because their favorite celebrity posted a wrist shot, or because they just got their first Rolex after being told by their boss that it’s the best watch. Gatekeeping this hobby does nothing except feign reduce the number of people on a waitlist you’ll never get to the top of and narrow the competition for an eBay listing you’ll still lose at the last second.
The more watch lovers the better, and the more watches purchased, the more the industry can grow. While the Moonswatch craze will inevitably die down, something else will just as inevitably replace it. When it does, instead of falling into our collective negativity, celebrate the hype machines as the community builders they are, chat up the kid down the street who just got his first watch (even if you hate it), and enjoy the hobby.