Are You Crazy? You’d Pay How Much For A Watch? – Reprise
by John Keil
Here is an entertaining little story about me, my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and a bunch of guys around a poker table – a story I’m sure many watch guys and gals can relate to.
I grew up in the perfect American household, in my opinion, in a suburban neighborhood on southeastern Long Island with the best family a guy could wish for.
Mom and Dad both worked hard to provide. We took regular vacations and spent a good part of the summer at Fire Island or on our modest boat. I played soccer.
Basically, I grew up living the life my wife and I work so hard to provide for our own children.
I tell you this to provide background and color to my story. Most of my friends and family are just like me . . . except for one thing: I will spend thousands of dollars on a nice watch.
About ten years ago I was playing $20 poker on a Thursday night at a friend’s house, a ritual we all looked forward to each week. I came straight from work, where I managed a high-end watch retail store and was wearing my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak chronograph in steel with a blue dial.
With eight guys around the table (four of whom I didn’t know well) and an hour into the game, Joe (one of the guys I didn’t know too well) said, “Hey, that’s a good looking watch!”
My friend Chris replied, “John is in the watch business. He’s always wearing something cool.”
Joe asked if I sold watches like the one I was wearing. I nodded in affirmation.
“Wait for it . . . wait for it . . .” I thought to myself.
“How much does something like that go for?” Joe asked the dreaded question no watch guy ever wants to hear unless surrounded by other watch guys.
Also for background and color: I live my life very under the radar. I don’t wear expensive watches so other people notice, I do it for myself. When other guys do notice, I instantly recognize them as a fellow watch guy, comrade, and facilitator.
“It’s expensive,” I replied.
“Like how much?” Joe asked.
“Between $1,000 and $1,500,” I lied.
My good buddy, watching the exchange, gave me a look that screamed, “You’re so full of it!”
Joe didn’t notice and replied, “Wow! That’s almost as much as a Rolex!”
I nodded in affirmation once again, folded the crummy cards in my poker hand, got up, and went into the kitchen to grab some beers for the guys, thankful that exchange was over.
However, Joe followed me into the kitchen and asked, “Hey, John, do you guys have financing or a layaway plan? Can I give you $250 a week until it’s paid off?”
Begrudgingly, I confessed to Joe that my watch retailed for $14,400 (this was in 2004) and asked him to keep it between us.
Joe and the guys wouldn’t shut up for the rest of the night about how much an “idiot” like me would pay for a watch!
I guess that’s why they call us Watch Idiot Savants.
* This article was first published on August 3, 2017 at Are You Crazy? You’d Pay How Much For A Watch?
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I guess Joe and the guys would have even a harder time shutting up if they knew what was going on in the watch industry these days. And who could blame them.
Interesting article to bring back in 2021. I would simply like to say that the reason that you did buy it was because….you could! No use beating around the bush. If you like it and you could afford it, buy it. You will always have people who would say that a $300 watch could also tell you the time. Its complicated!
Ok, that’s the intro to a story, but where’s the actual story?
EDIT: Ah, seeing on the original 2017 publish date many similar comments. Not only is this shameless clickbait, it’s recycled shameless clickbait. Shame.
This is a seriously difficult situation and could be very testing. I generally wear my Fitbit for such occasions and wear the $1500 !!!! ones with like minded idiots
If you manage a high-end watch store, you could be wearing a “loaner” to promote the business ? Sounds plausible to me ! Actually a lot more plausible than you owning that AP !
A very long time ago I bought my first “expensive” watch. I was incredibly excited to be able to afford it, yet nervous about spending so much. But once it was on my wrist I was in love. All my friends were extremely impressed. One of them couldn’t believe that I had it.
It was a real prestige item.
It was a Tissot that cost £265.😁😁
As for poker, my friends and I used to play “penny poker”. We’d bring along about £10 in 1 & 2p pieces. It was fun and a bit silly.
“I’ll raise you……. 8… Pence!”
“Ooh no! You’re trying to buy the pot!”
I love how you mention that you don’t wear luxury watches to get people to notice, you have them because you appreciate them. My dad collects luxury watches and it makes him really happy to find and get one he’s been looking forward to for a while. I’ve been looking with him to find other brands and stores that sell luxury watches so he can admire and add to his collection.