There was a poignant moment as we went to pick up the tab from the barmaid at the end of our very casual Australian Watch Week drinks. And it was not the usual picking up the bill kind of poignant, i.e raw panic. Oh my god. Who drank all that. Etc. It was late, it was Friday, baby it was cold outside. Winter was not coming. Winter was here man.
The people left in the pub were making sure the bar didn’t fall over by leaning pretty heavily on it. The commentators on Friday night footy were debriefing on a great win to the Swans (go Swans). And two final orders for chicken parmagiana for me and Christophe from Bausele (we’d been a wee bit too excited to eat until now) just snuck in before the kitchen closed.
I handed our cards over and asked her if the watch guys that had overrun the pub had caused any trouble over the night, and if so, sorry. They can get out of hand. It was a tongue in cheek question but an honest answer: “They were way too preoccupied to cause any trouble.” There was a touch of melancholy to her tone. Like, what’s the world coming to. No fights, no flaming drinks, no flirting. Damn.
It turns out the Aussie Watch Week (with free beer) was not taken in the usual spirit of open bar events. It was way more about the product than the pints. It was more about the case body, than body shots. The good news for us and the Aussie watch brands was that the small loan we’d taken out in anticipation of an epic bill was not required. The bad news was that I’d promised the pub they’d make a packet from hosting us. Sorry Rose Hotel. Next time we’ll do better.
What the lock-in proved was that the people that showed for this night were here to discover Australian watches first and drink Australian beer second. After a short Welcome to Country from us, a quick pointing out of the five watch brand founders in the room and a reminder that the drinks were free if anyone would like one, the night was composed of people trying on, taking pictures of and asking questions about the various Australian wristwatches in the room. Todd from Aegir was overheard describing the condition of a watch of his that a customer had returned; “It looked like he’d used it as a hammer.”
Wes from Erroyl, who looked like he’d brought a security detail of two guys the size and breadth of Dwayne Johnson, was in fact travelling with his three business partners. They talked enthusiastically about the strength that comes in numbers as entrepreneurs and the inspiration they drew from Wes, who “had a vision and has started to make it happen.”
Meanwhile, Melbourne Watch Company were living up to their name, with yet another model to show off from a rapidly expanding collection. The Carlton (which is next door to the pub geographically) was quickly on wrists and featured heavily at the hashtag: #tntaussiewatchweek
Christophe from Bausele just passed around his Terra Australis model to awed silence. The size! The weight! The SIZE.
Simon from Haigh & Hastings had a story to tell too, explaining his heavy customisation strategy (you can mix and match bracelets and bezel colours when you purchase online) and also allowing little glimpses of his new model on his wrist. But not allowing anything on social media, or on here.
The setting was like a country footy club, replete with lots of faded photos of dudes with moustaches, and it was intentional. A lot of our work at Time+Tide is conducted in high places. Private bars, fine dining restaurants, luxurious trade fairs. But when we considered where we’d hold a get together (or G2G if you’re millennial) for the local watch brands it had to be a pub, it had to be relaxed and it had to be on a Friday.
What the group might have lacked in boozy cheers it made up for in collegiate cheer. If you attended as a reader or Instagram #watchfam, thank you for supporting local guys doing their thing against the odds. If you’re a brand and you flew in, we salute you. If you’re a barmaid at the Rose and you were on Friday night just gone, thank you too for putting up with a pub full of preoccupied watch lovers, we really appreciate it. Lastly, word to our CEO (Community Engagement Officer) Andy Green who put together the guest list and managed all enquiries about the night. Here he is, looking serenely comfortable with an Aegir on his wrist. He was heard to swoon over its vertically brushed gunmetal grey dial and clean bezel. You may have a sale here Todd, we can make this happen….
CHEERS FROM ALL OF US AT TIME+TIDE – ANDY, ANDREW, HAMISH AND MR ED, FELIX
Images by Kristoffer Paulsen.