Watch Websites to Watch
In the earlier days of the Web, like the mid-90’s and early 2000’s, websites often contained lists of the owner’s favorite websites, or websites of interest to his or her audience. This website feature, regrettably, has all but disappeared, undoubtably because some digital marketing expert has determined that it will hurt your website’s Google rankings if you dare to provide such interesting, useful and community-building information.
Anyway, during these days of Coronavirus, in a foreign country remote from most of my beloved watches, I have done much, too much web surfing, having literally approached the point of finishing Google. For watch admirers, I have concluded, there is a plethora of watch-oriented websites, as well as their affiliated Instagram feeds and YouTube channels, with which to keep yourself distracted and distanced. Below is my attempt to share the better ones with you.
General Watch News and Reviews:
General watch industry news sites today are primarily about providing news about recent watch releases, reviews, buyer guides and trade fair and industry news — offering varying degrees of independence.
If you are in a rush for new release news, I highly recommend the watch news aggregator site, Watchville, which also has an IPhone and Android app. Watchville picks up stories from most of the major (and less major) websites.
Beyond that, there are frankly too many generalized watch websites to mention, with focuses on new (and to a lesser extent, vintage) reviews and watch industry news. Differences among them often come down to market focus and tone – the big brands vs smaller or independent ones, and those that focus on higher luxury vs more affordable watches. The largest, most well-known watch sites include Watchtime, Ablogtowatch, Watchuseek, Hodinkee, Fratello Watches, Time and Tide Watches and Monochrome. There is no right answer to “which is the correct one to follow?”, and I typically scan several of them. Quill & Pad provides excellent, mostly cut-above-the-rest watch journalism and analysis, often covering brands that the others don’t, with first class photography to boot. Worn and Wound is more value driven, with The Time Bum bringing up the rear, budget-wise. Pure review sites include Wristwatch Review in the UK and NYC-based Professionalwatches.com. For auction and collecting analysis, check out the watch section at LeMonde Edmond and The Rolex Passion Report for great content on Rolexes and Pateks. The best “insider” watch industry news website that I know of is Watchpro.
One cautionary note when reading ALL news these days, especially those that cater to a consumer audience – approach “news” and reviews in most of these sites as a starting point to providing information and revealing the truth, nothing more than that. Read reviews with discrimination – you should get good at noticing the difference between higher quality, independent, thoughtful reviews, versus salesmanship for advertisers cribbed from watchmaker press releases.
Which takes us to the next place to go when researching a watch you might have your eye on, the forums….
The granddaddy of these, in my opinion, is the Forum portion of Watchuseek’s site, with a plethora of subjects on used, vintage and new watches from just about every watchmaker you have ever heard of (and not), specific watch movements, accessories and tools, independent watchmaking (for Walter Middy’s like me), dealers, watch repair, watches for sale, general watch industry trends, etc. You can spend hours on this site. You can’t believe everything you read here (it is the internet, after all), but it is an excellent font of information, and I have always received some really knowledgeable answers to my watch questions. Another forum that is worth checking out is Timezone.
A place to go looking for watch information, albeit more hit and miss, is the general question site, Quora.
If you are a collector of a specific brand or have more interest in that brand, you may find a forum or blog that focuses on it. I have a proclivity towards Rolexes, so I follow Rolex Forums (which also hosts forums for other brands like Patek, AP, Seiko, etc…).
Finally, there are numerous used and new watch marketplaces and stores out there to monitor watch values, including Chrono 24, Crown and Caliber, Watchfinder, the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and, yes, Ebay. I find Chronos 24 to be the best for me, and I can also log and monitor my watch collection market value on it’s app. I have bought and sold watches on it with no incident, though I advise being careful, as with any online marketplace.
As a watch collector, I am intrigued by the history of watches and their construction, these fascinating tiny machines. For information on lectures and watch repair classes, increasingly online in the era of COVID-19, check out the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, the Horological Society of New York, and the aptly named, and professionally done (Masterclass-level), No BS Watchmaker courses to learn watchmaking, repair and maintenance on a variety of common movements. In addition, I always look forward to the latest watch deconstruction by The Naked Watchmaker (there is just no way, however, that I will follow his instructions to tear apart my Grand Seiko Hi-Beat).
Other Watch Fun
Want to track the timekeeping accuracy on your watches anywhere without buying a Timegrapher, or sit with an atomic-linked clock and a piece of graph paper or spreadsheet? Register your watches at the Toolwatch website or download their app. Started by my friend Marc Montagne, digital manager at Vacheron Constantin and a very active Quora watch participant, Toolwatch is fun and easy to use anywhere.
Please drop a comment with other suggested sites that you like.
OK, you are prepared to return to quarantine now.