It’s been some time since I published a piece on this ‘blog.
In the months since I last wrote an article, much has changed: the online world has become more polarised; the #watcherati has further stratified; and many, many new watches have been released.
During the past year, I’ve also changed, taking time to focus less on what I was writing, and more on why I was writing. The why has been the problem: I’ve been trying to understand what it is about this ‘blog, and the process of writing articles, that makes me happy.
It turns out that learning and research make me far happier than finishing (let alone publishing) an article. That talking to people, and listening to their stories, is far more enjoyable than typing up their words. That this ‘blog is actually more about me, than it is about you, the audience.
When I first started ‘blogging, I just wanted to get things out there, to build some kind of community with others that shared similar interests. I’ve never really been sure whether I succeeded. As time has past, I’ve realised I’ve actually been focusing far more on real world relationships than this ‘blog. I’d neglected my audience, while at the same time becoming to feel increasingly aware of my own limitations.
Writing about watches – writing about anything – used to be a way of relaxing. Just as I find the relatively solitary act of preparing food rather relaxing, the act of crafting an article was a way of removing myself from the day-to-day and immersing myself in a different world. A quieter, less cluttered, less stressful environment in which to put work, my career and my personal problems to one side. To portray a side of me that was in control, confident, even knowledgeable (perhaps).
But I have increasingly become to feel that the personal benefit I was getting from writing was being eroded. The proliferation of online watch content, the significant and seemingly uncontrolled rise in the value of watches as an asset class and the increasing lack of transparency among influencers began to concern me. The latter is particularly worrying given the vested interests / potential conflicts of interest that exist within the community. As the lines between the information that ‘blogs / online magazines produce and the items that they sell become increasingly blurred, the onus needs to be on content providers to identify and manage these conflicts, and to ensure that they meet the principles set out in relevant jurisdictions regarding ‘influencers’.
I still think there’s a place for independent research and writing and I’d like to encourage more people to engage with horology as an academic subject (and in particular, watchmaking).
I’m not sure what happens next, or where this is going, but if you’d like to join me, please let me know.