To those who know me from The Sydney Tarts website, welcome to my first post at my own site – Horologium.
The watch world is, as they say, a broad church, containing adherents of varying commitment who are there for as many reasons as there are watch brands, with interests which might not overlap, and owning watches that number from one to in the hundreds.
Recently, there was a discussion on twitter started by @Noodlefish (aka The Watchnerd) about the acronym ‘WIS’ (watch idiot savant), coined by Chuck Maddox and taken up to varying degrees by watch folk since its first appearance. The vast majority of those who took part in the twitter discussion seemed to dislike the term. The reasons were varied e.g. it is a bit nerdy and/ or exclusionary, that the term itself sounds awkward, and a belief that using ‘idiot savant’ is disrespectful to those suffering from autism spectrum disorders.
Disregarding the names given to themselves by sub-groups such as the (Pane)Risti, as a general group, what do we prefer? WIS? Watchnerd (particularly popular on twitter as the hashtag #watchnerd)? Watch geek? Watch enthusiast? Or a simple all-purpose ‘collector’? Is this self-labelling even something that most watch enthusiasts even engage in?
It can be argued that any tendency towards navel gazing about identity when engaged in a hobby (and this is clearly not just restricted to those who get excited about timepieces) is nothing more than the identification of those within from those without and utterly unnecessary, but for as long as humans continue to congregate in groups or try to find commonalities there will be those who wish to give themselves and their cohort a name.
I’ve never been one for labels; for me, a simple ‘watch enthusiast’ is nomenclature enough.
It’s filled with its own weird and wonderful idiosyncrasies, the watch world, but if you engage with it online there’s one thing that, regardless of what we like to buy and wear, regardless of our budgets and regardless of why we like watches and what (if anything) we call ourselves that is constant – it’s a very sociable world. Come on and jump in, the water’s (mostly) fine.