When we hear about consumerism, we tend to think about ‘the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of material goods‘. There is also another side to it; That is, ‘the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers’. and this is something that seems to have infiltrated almost all aspects of our lives.
Today, any person with internet access can rate anything they want; from books and movies, to parks and stores, or watches and even watchmakers. Unsolicited requests for feedback are the norm it seems; Employers survey their workforce, universities survey their students, and watch collectors seek feedback from owners they can reach, and even from strangers on YouTube!
Every person wears many hats – husband, wife, friend, student, journalist, hobbyist, collector – each of these personas still possesses the modern meta-identity: customer. Customers tend to feel entitled to many options, and each customer will have distinct tastes to be catered to. Customers are loyal until the opportunity for an upgrade comes along. A customer is always right.
Except, as we all know… human beings are often wrong!
If we continue to approach life as consumers, we will always look for things which meet us where we are. We will demand that the available options are changed, to be better suited to what we want or prefer.
The thing is, there are certain things in life that have an intrinsic value which has nothing to do with our personal preferences. It isn’t the thing that needs to shape itself to our desires, but our desires which must shape themselves to it.
There are many examples of this happening around us. In the iPhone vs Android debate for example… it is factual that iPhones have always been lacking certain functionality when compared with their counterparts in the market … yet, the iPhone remains as popular as ever, even becoming the hardware of choice for many large corporations. I remember making a personal decision to continue using an iPhone, despite the ‘shortcomings’ of the device.
So many of Picasso’s paintings look absurd at first glance, and somehow when you take the time to learn more about the craft, or evaluate it critically you may start to appreciate things such as ‘curvilinear’ Cubism, due to the exclusion of rectilinear geometry in ‘Head of a Woman’.
When it comes to watches, it is quite remarkable how ruthless the watch collecting community (‘watchfam’) can be. Of course, feedback is a gift, and independent watchmakers in particular can benefit immensely from having such a direct form of feedback on platforms such as Instagram. That said, I think the watchfam could do with some introspection on how this feedback is delivered. For some indies, these products are their life’s work… and while every one of them is not unanimously loved as much as Rexhep Rexhepi, they should at least be afforded the same level of respect when speaking and dealing with them.
Sometimes, when a product or service challenges us or does not conform to our expectations… we rush to ‘evaluate outward’ instead of testing our expectations, and confirming that they are reasonable and fair. We might even give that person / product / experience a scathing review, for all to see… with no real concern given to the repercussions of our words and actions.
In conclusion, all I am saying is that all watches are not for everyone… that’s the beauty of our hobby. If you don’t like a watch, that’s your business. If you’d like to offer feedback to the watchmaker or company selling the watch, that’s obviously a good thing, and they ought to appreciate it. Just remember that you’re dealing with people who will take these comments quite personally, and these people have emotions just like you do. Sure, as a customer you might be ‘always right’, but as the artist or craftsman creating the product, they had a certain vision in mind and maybe it just isn’t for you. It would behoove you to check yourself before delivering your opinions and feedback. Except for Hublot – those are just shit 🙂