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Thoughts on Watches: Watch Collecting Meetups During the COVID-19 Quarantine


Unless your name is Scrooge McDuck, watch collectors tend to be social creatures. Part of the fun of participating in this hobby is sharing in the excitement of acting like a nerd with like-minded enthusiasts. Who else is going to understand why you just had to have that rare Omega Speedmaster with an extra dot on the dial that looks just like all the other Speedies? Of course, your fellow watch collecting enablers get the obsession, because they are just as committed as you are.

Atlanta Watch Collective Event

Like everything else, the watch collecting hobby has been affected by COVID-19 “Coronavirus”. The 2020 pandemic has redefined aspects of daily life that we have all taken for granted. Standing face to face with others in a bar while you fondle each other’s precious timepieces was something that most of us watch collectors did not think twice about even a month ago. Now, that sort of interaction could land you in a hospital or worse. This is a sobering thought.

Secret locations and handshakes for RedBar Group

Who let these nerds in?

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and watch collectors are a resourceful group. They will find a way to still share their stories and passion for watches. Instead of face-to-face GTGs (get-togethers), many collectors are now having virtual meet-ups. The technology is accessible to most people to make this possible.

I am fortunate to be part of the Atlanta Red Bar Group. Our fearless leader, Faisal,  has been putting together regular ZOOM meetings for the Atlanta chapter. This has let us stay in touch with each other and see how the other guys (and gal) are doing in our part of the world. There is some talk about watches, but there is more than that. There is a human connection that is lacking when you are cooped up at home and not going outside.

ZOOM Meetups

Virtual meeting software has given average collectors unprecedented access to industry VIPs of the watch industry whom they might never meet. Our last meetup included two esteemed executives from Oris (V.J. and Mark) who were very generous with their time and were open to answering our questions. This was a new way to interact with watch companies because it was so direct, so human. It was a reminder that there are normal people at these famous watch manufacturers who have the same concerns and limitations on them as we do right now. It was refreshing to feel so connected to a brand. As a result, another Oris has moved to the top of my wish list. I just don’t know which one yet… maybe a Carl Brashear Chrono (if I can find one).

Atlanta Watch Club Event

Another celebrity figure that showed up unexpectedly to our ZOOM meeting was Adam Craniotes, the founder of RedBar Group. This guy is hilarious because he was enjoying a nightcap (or two) in a cabin in an undisclosed location that still had a Christmas tree lit up! He is either running behind from last year, or he is getting a jump on the 2020 Christmas season. Heck, it could be both. Adam is quite the character and perfectly suited to bring the fun back to watch collecting without stuffiness. I mean, you cannot really be snooty while wearing gym shorts, right?

Adam Craniotes – RedBar Group Founder

I see others in the watch community creating similar virtual meetups. Maybe the world will actually feel friendlier after the pandemic is over because of this effort to come together… apart. In fact, I think a good dose of isolation has made many people more thankful for the good things they have in life. There may be a little more “real conversation” and less “talking at each other” after all of this.

Atlanta Watch Club with Jonathan Snyder

Watch collectors have also been reaching out to their friends through other methods including texts, phone calls forums chats and other technologies like Facetime. Just the other night, I had a Facetime chat with my good buddy Scotty D. and things got a little out of hand with some whiskey, watches and wacky video filters. We felt like we were in our own comic book! Bratman and Bobbin step aside! (not a typo haha).

Too many whiskeys and filters? No way!

Nobody is immune to the financial or societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Big questions remain unanswered. When it is finally over, will things return to normal? Will people venture out into groups of ten or more without wearing a hazmat suit? Only time will tell what permanent changes have been made to the watch collecting community and global watch industry. In some ways, it has brought us all closer together. Let’s hope we all remember this when the rat race starts up again and we feel that we are too busy to spend time with each other. Humans are better together than alone.

Virtual Watch Piles

A note about the illustrations: I used sketches of places and meetup attendees instead of real photos. We take the privacy and security of our events seriously so. You will only recognize people in the images if you already know them. Think of this as an Easter egg hunt for the local Atlanta watch collecting community. 

The post Thoughts on Watches: Watch Collecting Meetups During the COVID-19 Quarantine appeared first on Watch Hunter – Watch Reviews, Photos and Articles.

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