Advice for the non-watch-loving partner of any watch nerd Advice for the non-watch-loving partner of any watch nerd

Advice for the non-watch-loving partner of any watch nerd

Adam Reeder

I imagine being the life partner of a watch nerd is kind of like being the life partner of mobster. You meet a lot of strange characters and you hear a lot of confusing jargon. You also don’t ask questions that you don’t want the answers to, like “Where did you get the money for this?” or “What are you hiding in that trunk?” However, as someone who loves someone…who loves me, I feel like I owe it to all of our partners to help them cope with living alongside a watch nerd. So here are a few tips to help you make it through life with the watch addict you love, or at least tolerate.

Learn the lingo

depancel allure chronograph dial close up

It can be confusing to listen to someone talk in-depth about watches. Feel free to refer back to this brief glossary if you need to decipher what your partner is saying.

Bicompax – Fear not. This is not a dirty proposition involving you and your friend Tracy. It just means that your partner’s chronograph has two registers, or, more traditionally, a two-complication chronograph. “What’s a chronograph?”, you ask?

Chronograph – A chronograph is a watch that, in addition to telling time, has a stopwatch-like feature, allowing you to measure units of elapsed time. One example might be the two tenths of a second that you stay interested when your partner says “Hey! Look at my new chronograph!”

Flex – Something you hope your partner doesn’t do, unless impressing random strangers while spending ungodly amounts of money is something that interests you. Don’t believe the hype.

Escapement – This isn’t what you try to do when your partner drags you into a watch boutique. An escapement is just the part of a mechanical watch that controls the release of energy from the mainspring and allows the seconds to tick away.

I can already see your eyes glazing over so maybe that’s enough vocabulary words for now. There are a lot of other ways that you can support your partner in their love of watches. Let’s move on to a few of them.

Feign interest

lv tambour gold dial brown

You may be saying to yourself “I already do that!” Maybe you do, but odds are you’re not doing it very well. The next time your partner comes at you with a sentence like: “Wow. The Tambour is really taking LVMH’s foundational brand to the next level of watchmaking.”, try this. Instead of a bored sounding “yeah, I guess”, bring the topic back to your partner. Try an open ended question that doesn’t require any knowledge on your part, coupled with a random contradictory opinion, like: “Do you really think so? I feel like it’s not quite there yet.”

This will elicit in your partner a shocked facial expression, an indignant gasp, and possibly some slight arousal. You now have a free ten to twenty minutes to do whatever you want. Your partner will continue to voice their well-evidenced opinions at absolutely nobody and lay out all the changes they would make if they were in charge of a luxury watch brand. You’ll know the rant has ended once you hear a random phrase that sounds like it was uttered by a dejected 13-year-old such as “nobody gets it!” or “whatever man, where are the snacks?”

Don’t judge

Breitling Georges Kern Interview 1

It may feel natural to mock and laugh at your watch weirdo when they’re being, well, weird. However, we’re a sensitive breed and want desperately for someone to take us as seriously as we take ourselves. While that may be too tall an order for a muggle like you, there are ways to disguise your ire when your watch-loving partner is acting a bit over the top. For instance, if they just came home with a new watch and start talking about the next watch on their purchase list, don’t overreact. Even if they’re talking about buying another watch from the very same brand. Of course, the rational response would be along the lines of “what’s wrong with you, and why is it never enough?”

Unfortunately, such a response will just cause your partner to withdraw and not share any more with you about their favourite debilitating addiction. Or hobby. Whatever. Instead, try redirecting their attention (like you might do to a disruptive kitten) away from the next watch and toward something a little healthier, and less costly. Maybe something like “Hey, how about you make a scrapbook of all your watches?” or “Tell me again about that Tambour LVMH stuff. It was sooooo interesting.” This type of response will make your watch nerd feel seen, but also help them to stop fixating on the next shiny thing. If neither of these suggestions work, I might recommend a ball of yarn as a last resort.

Stash some cash

tag heuer carrera plasma bracelet diamonds

This one may be obvious, but watch collecting is not a cheap hobby. Even the well-known, and somewhat affordable (in watch circles) TAG Heuer has some insane models that cost well over half a million dollars. You may be saying to yourself “But my beloved doesn’t even have that many watches?” Oh you poor naive soul. Think about how many watches you believe your partner owns. Now multiply that number by two (plus three G-Shocks) and you’ll get the real number. Whether your loved one collects luxury or “affordable” watches, this addiction can result in all kinds of financial discomfort. It can start with a missed credit card payment here and some reduced liquidity there. Before you know it, your household is responsible for the total economic collapse of the western world.

While that may be a tad bit hyperbolic, making sure you always have a little reserve of cash is sound advice for anyone. However, it’s especially important for the partner of a watch nerd. You must make your partner agree that this money is never to be used for watches, watch tools, NATO straps, drinks at watch meetups, trips to watch shows, or bail money for their favourite watch YouTuber. Emergency cash only for emergencies. And remind them that a holiday weekend luxury watch sale on eBay is not an emergency. Doing so will ensure that your partner’s love of watches doesn’t put you in any further financial distress.

Enjoy the ride


As I said earlier, the life of a watch nerd’s partner isn’t always an easy one, but easy is boring. While your partner’s obsession with timepieces might seem a bit odd to you, chances are it’s also likely one of the reasons you find them interesting. This hobby is all about passion for and appreciation of beautiful things. So be patient and embrace their childlike enthusiasm with open arms. But just remember to never ever look inside that trunk in their closet.