Horological high school: what watch clique do you belong to? Here’s what you had to say Horological high school: what watch clique do you belong to? Here’s what you had to say

Horological high school: what watch clique do you belong to? Here’s what you had to say

Jamie Weiss

Watch collecting is a hobby defined by categorisation. I’m not only talking about different types of watches or complications – divers, pilot’s watches, chronographs, minute repeaters – although that’s part of it. What I really mean is that the watch community is one that’s filled with different categories of collectors. Even the most eclectic watch collectors can identify with a certain tribe of collectors who, even if you don’t collect exactly the same watches, still definitely get each other.

So, we put it to our community on Instagram: imagine you’re back in high school and the bell rings for lunch. But now you have a tough choice. Which table in the cafeteria do you choose? Which watch clique are you hanging out with at Time+Tide High?


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Taking attendance


Now, for each of the four cliques we identified, we gave three examples of watches we feel belong to those groups: the Patek Philippe Calatrava, Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 for “the icons”; the TAG Heuer Glassbox Carrera Chronosprint, Tudor Pelagos FXD and IWC Ingenieur for “the jocks”; the Longines Legend Diver, Rolex Explorer and Tudor Black Bay 54 for “the daily drivers” and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, Universal Geneve Polerouter and Zenith El Primero A384  for “the old boys”.

Rolex Explorer 1016

Commenters interpreted this two ways. Firstly, as “Which of these collections of three watches would you prefer?”, but also as “Which broader tribe of collectors do you belong to?” In my opinion, both interpretations are valid. Of course, there’s a lot of overlap between these categories, too: no one would argue that the Rolex Explorer could not easily sit at the jocks’ and icons’ table as well as the daily drivers’, for instance (maybe even the old boys as well if you pick a 1016).

The icons

Vintage Omega Speedmaster

Naturally, most of our community wants to sit with the icons – which makes sense. Every collection needs a few genre classics: whether that’s a Holy Trinity integrated sports watch or a pop culture-famous chronograph, the big names will always be in demand.

Patek Philippe Reference 5711 Nautilus

I did find this comment from @1moregaryfrank funny, however: “Having flashbacks to my UK comprehensive school days when I couldn’t decide if I wanted to sit with the Patek Philippe kids or not. Always a dilemma.” Very droll. I will admit that this is a very well-heeled hypothetical horological high school.

The jocks

IWC Ingenieur 40 Titanium desktop

While dress watches certainly aren’t a thing of the past just yet, the reality is that sports watches reign supreme these days. Yet surprisingly few commenters want to sit with the jocks. Maybe that’s because of high school trauma, maybe that’s because the three watches we suggested weren’t the exact trio some would have liked, or maybe it’s because people would rather be iconic than athletic…

tudor pelagos fxd black us navy green red strap

Whatever the case, this seemed to be the loneliest table, or at least this was a table not everyone could fully commit to. That said, I liked this comment from @robert_van_barneveld: “first time in my sportless life I can be part of the jocks team. Nice.” Go the Desk Divers!

The daily drivers

Longines Legend Diver 2023 leather

Not all of us peak in high school: some of us prefer to stay under the radar with reliable daily drivers (although @kmkartashoff pointed out that often, daily drivers are “essentially some old iconic jocks” – maybe these watches are just the B team?)

Tudor Black Bay 54 DSC03725 1 e1680899334933

This was one of my favourite comments, posted by @bearskinsky: “I’m at the daily drivers’ table talking smack about the icons – ‘they think they’re SOOO hot!’ and the jocks – ‘they think they’re SOOO tough!'”

The old boys

universal geneve polerouter wrist

Perhaps we should’ve called this one the “old at heart” table. Whatever. This was definitely a table lots of people wanted to sit at, and I don’t blame them: vintage watch collecting is a particular treat, and I think we picked three fantastic watches to represent this part of the watch community.

zenith chronomaster revival el primero a384

For a lot of our readers, they identify with the old boys not necessarily because of the watches they want, but because of their age. My take is that with age comes wisdom (and hopefully enough money to start collecting Reversos…) There’s also those who like the old stuff but prefer to wear their modern revivals.

The other cliques

MBandF HM8 Mark 2 Blue Wrist Shot 4 Hres

We also had a few great suggestions for other watch cliques we didn’t provide the option of choosing. Chief among those was “the geeks”, although there were variations on that theme: some brands thrown out there included (Grand) Seiko, Citizen and Casio on the lower end and MB&F, F.P. Journe and Greubel Forsey at the high end (thanks @jeanclaude.beaver). Perhaps this is a case where it’s good to hang with the nerds in high school because they’re the ones who end up successful.

casio calculator

@consistent_gent suggested that there’s also “the military boys” (or should that be the school cadets unit?) – Casio, G-SHOCK, Timex and Garmin – and @thenotoriuosbg suggested we should consider “the arts crowd… I see Cartier, being at the front of the class with 2 other slightly obscure but not too out there watches.” Buffy will be pleased to hear that @time4nothing also suggested “the goths”.

Bulgari Serpenti Tadao Ando 21

Moving beyond the high school metaphor, Britt Pearce a.k.a. @watch.gringa had another great call: “it’s all about the rich wives in Serpentis. Those gals are the best time!” While I’m personally not so big on the bling and have wrists too big to wear anything close to feminine, I definitely agree that there are absolute joys to be had in collecting jewellery watches.

The loners

SINN T50 GOLDBRONZE Wrist1 e1677524311524

Finally, we had a few people who don’t feel as if they belong to any cliques – and that’s totally valid, too! “I’m at my own table wearing a Sinn,” says @steelman1999 (perhaps you should hang with the daily drivers, then?), “I’m gonna have to avoid the cafeteria,” chimed in @mr.spaceman24, and “did Lange get homeschooled” asked @the_left_hand_man (clearly the class clown).

“I’ll be sitting at the table of misfits,” @goonfather reckons, “the odds ones that don’t fit into any definable category, but they’re my crew!” Power to the misfits, I say.