We browse through Instagram, or see a watch advert in a magazine. Or on tv. Or a review on YouTube. And something happens.
A watch leaps out the page or screen at us. There’s a sound – it’s a chorus of angels. A new quest has just been born at that moment. A watch-quest that may take weeks, months or even years to fulfill.
What causes our jaw to drop and hearts to skip a bit when we see a watch we love? A watch that makes my heart skip a beat is different to one that will make yours do the same. A watch that shouts at me loudly enough for me to put my hand in my pocket won’t be the same for you. What’s going on in our head and heart that kick starts the journey of research? Budget to assignment, to hunt, to buy, wait, wait some more, receive and fall in love.
Then do the entire thing all over again with a totally different style of watch.
What IS going on in our heads and hearts when we buy a new watch?
Keep reading. I’ll tell you…
There are two things going on.
Phase 1 (made up of two parts).
1) The watch itself.
The tangible elements of the watch. The design – which is the overall look. The colour schemes.
This is the first thing that draws us in. It instantly moves us. In fact, it more than moves us… it shakes our bones. It can cause us to gasp a little when our heart skips a beat. And it happens in an instant.
The processing of hundreds of things. The ticking of hundreds of tick boxes in our semi conscious minds. The boxes my brain ticks are totally different to the ones yours ticks. These general interests change daily, weekly and monthly.
From gold, to two tone, to Black PVD coated. To our current interests and motivations. Mountains or board rooms. Underwater or in the air. Rubber straps to metal. GMT, Chronograph or Moon Phase. Thin watches. Massive watches. Salmon dials. Panda dials. Sporty. Dressy. Hybrid. The physical features of the watch first catch the eye.
These are our own personal drivers, current search criteria and feature requirements.
And this is like seeing an attractive person that makes your eyes pop out your face and you can’t stop looking at them across the room.
2) The watch’s specification (Part 2 of phase 1)
We then scan the details of the watch. The specifications. This is different for everyone.
I may like 38mm watches. You may like 44mm.
I may like dive watches. You may like pilot watches
I may like new, cutting edge, avant garde watches. You may like vintage or vintage inspired ones.
I may like adventure tool watches. You may like dress watches. And so on…
But the design and the details need to be on point here so the watch floats your boat.
If phase one of the launch sequence isn’t activated, we won’t get to phase 2 – which will lead us to lift off.
This is like striking up the first conversation with the attractive person.
You’ve had the initial “love at first sight” emotional explosion, where you ticked the boxes for what appeals to you visually. Hair colour, height, dress sense, posh, casual, stature, shoe choice…
Now we are in conversation mode. We’ve approached them, broken the silence and said Hello. We are “chatting”. Internally processing every step of the way.
Do I like this person? Do I think they like me? Is there a spark of magic?
Is it easy going? Or hard work? Does the conversation flow?
Is this second step as good as the “first impressions” expectations?
Once we have checked all the boxes of phase one – and this could take a few seconds to process (our brains are pretty powerful lumps of matter), we then enter phase two – where we start thinking about (obsessing) about how that watch would make us feel if we were to own it and have it on our wrist.
We visualise ourselves putting it on. Wearing it to the pub to see our mates.
Or out for a meal with the other half. Or driving in our car. Or walking down the street, or in the wilderness. Or having it as a travel companion.
These thoughts can manifest in our conscious and subconscious thoughts for many weeks to the point where it becomes a mini obsession.
We are falling in love with that watch because of how it could and would make us feel in the future.
The excitement of it. Maybe it’s a bit naughty. The forbidden fruit. You can’t afford it – and you know it – but you are interested in it anyway. The irrational processing in your mind where good gives in to evil. “You can always sell it” – you tell yourself.
“Actually it’s an investment” you convince yourself. “You could make money” – you attempt to justify.
Then, there’s the thrill of the hunt. The gamification of seeking and hunting.
Like a lion trying to outsmart the gazelle. Out thinking. And then out performing.
You look for deals. Contact the dealer. Negotiate. Negotiate some more.
Your feel-good hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins are triggering our emotions enough to deepen our connection with the watch in question and happily and willingly spending our money. These hormones have been fighting and overcoming our amygdala in an almighty battle of good balance evil.
The Amygdala is a region of the brain primarily associated with emotional processes.
Little fun fact because I love the psychology, business and marketing side of watches and watch buying… The amygdala is believed to form the core of a neural system for processing fearful and threatening stimuli, including detection of threat and activation of appropriate fear-related behaviors in response to threatening or dangerous stimuli.
So here we have rational resistance Vs emotional pull.
And then there’s the trophy of it all. I’m not talking about a status trophy like a super high end watch here – a Rolex, AP or Patek that many buy as wealth symbols and dollar bills on the wrist in an ostentation and vulgar display of arrogance. What I am talking about here is a watch enthusiast trophy that is awarded by the journey of acquiring any watch that is loved and respected. A Seiko, Omega, Cartier or Panerai. And of course high horology – but for the right reasons. Passion and genuine enjoyment. Not status and wealth.
We have the feeling of sensation transference. The feelings of nostalgia, past memories, places and people. The dreams of things to come. The places you wish to see. The things you wish to do. The person you wish to become.
Sensation transference from watches is real! It’s powerful. It’s a force.
SO, we buy the watch.
Boom - we are engaged and then married!
Next we have the energy that is created from the purchase and ownership of the watch.
A new watch will go a long way in increasing self-esteem and providing a sense of belonging. A sense of accomplishment and achievement. Rewarding ourselves for our hard work. It can motivate, inspire and remind us to perform at our best for ourselves and our family. This energy is real!
We love the watch and wear it constantly and look at it with loving eyes.
The Honeymoon period. Then BOOM….we’re making babies.
Soon, our watch interests have and will change. We look at other watch styles. Different things attract us. Our watch sits in the watch box for longer than usual.
Then it comes out again and we love it. We rotate the watch with others.
This is where we have been in a married relationship with our attractive someone for quite some time. We love. We argue. We experience lots together. Traveling. Moving house. Endured & enjoyed.
Finally – We own, admire, love and cherish the watch. It has survived being sold. It has stayed with us. It will never leave us.