FRIDAY WIND DOWN: 17th April, 2015 (#sexpile Special Edition) FRIDAY WIND DOWN: 17th April, 2015 (#sexpile Special Edition)

FRIDAY WIND DOWN: 17th April, 2015 (#sexpile Special Edition)

Felix Scholz

Happy Friday everyone! This week we have a special themed edition of the wind-down, talking all about Sexpiles. Totally SFW BTW.


What happened?

Basically a bunch of mainstream media outlets shone some light on a fairly niche aspect of the watch collecting community – specifically the #sexpile hashtag used by the @redbarcrew. For those of you unfamiliar with Instagram watch culture, the hashtag is misleading. Rather than a deliciously NSFW pile of hot hot flesh that your dirty mind might be conjuring, a sexpile refers to neither sex, nor piles (don’t click this link if you’re eating).

Quartz, The Guardian, Esquire and Cosmopolitan and stumbled upon this and (not entirely unreasonably, it must be said), surmised that the act of taking pictures of piles of expensive watches and sharing them on Instagram was a pretty d-bag thing to do. The Guardian seemed to get it a bit more. They concluded that it wasn’t just a horological game of ‘mine’s bigger than yours’, but also was about the appreciation and craftsmanship of watches. Almost there, bravo Guardian, but still missing the most crucial point of a sexpile.

A small #sexpile

So, what is a sexpile?

This can only be answered by one man. A man who (as an adult, not a teenager mind you) shaved his mohawk off to get a loan off his mum to buy an IWC Top Gun Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar (SO MUCH RESPECT). A man by the name of Adam Craniotes, founder of the Insta-active Red Bar Group, a nationwide (that’d be USA for the rest of the world) collective of watch enthusiasts. Craniotes, unperturbed by the snarky tone in the above articles helpfully defined a #sexpile for us;

“Simply put, the #sexpile is a pile of sex. That is to say, a sensuous grouping of metal, sapphire crystal, rubber and ceramic that quickens the pulse of the average horophile. To those on the other side of the looking glass, it can seem indulgent, but hey, we just do it for love.”

Craniotes credits Red Bar Group COO Kathleen McGivney for coining the term ‘sexpile’ but it should be said that in essence, the sexpile as a concept is not a new thing. But the hashtag is: #fresh #new #innovative #sexpile #wordoftheday #yolo

Rolex Passion Tableshot
An example of a mega tableshot from Rolex Passion Report. Whether or not this is a sexpile is debatable. It might be considered a ‘sexpile in the making’. If lots of drinks are served, etc.

These sorts of group watch shots have their roots in watch forums such as Watchuseek or Puristspro. These spaces are clannish, tightly-knit online communities full of cryptic usernames and obscure in-jokes. Sometimes members of these forums met up in real life, to admire and (it must be admitted) ogle each others watches in the reals. Think car swap meet, but more portable.

On forums, these sort of shots are usually called ‘tableshots’. Yawn. There’s no hashtag potential in #tableshots. Which is why it never happened. And, whether you call it a #tableshot or a #sexpile, the truth is that yes there is an amount of “look at all the money on the table”, but honestly everyone attending and everyone reading these forums already knows that. Someone who knows these communities will be able to tell, at a glance who was present simply from the watches on the table.

And, to move north from the crotch to the heart,  this does get to the heart of what this practice is about – community.

Transferring this practice to the often ‘look-at-me’ culture of Instagram always meant that some of this nuance in would get lost in translation, and using the geeky and masculine #sexpile hashtag doesn’t help with the conspicuous consumption stigma, but fundamentally what the Red Bar Group guys are doing isn’t showing off – it’s sharing.

People who love watches as more than status objects will get it, and everyone else won’t. But that’s OK.

The week in numbers

400: The number of posts on Instagram tagged #sexpile

5: The minimum number of watches required to constitute a #sexpile

6: The number of NSFW entries above the Cosmo article when you type “Cosmopolitan sex pile” into google.

19: The number of times the word ‘sexpile’ appears in this article.