Ask five watch or car enthusiasts to list their “top five” and while there is likely to be a few of each that are nominated more than once, the range of answers is likely to be pretty varied.
Why each model makes it on to a list is also likely to be varied and interesting too.
“It’s just so beautiful”
“It’s a classic”
“It was my first”
“My uncle had one”
“I’ve just always wanted one”
It is inevitable. When one attends any event celebrating a love for motoring, fine watches peek from the cuffs of aficionados everywhere. Like cars, a fine watch is a delicate balance between aesthetic beauty and, functional, reliable – and dare I say – practical design. It is this balance that attracts a good portion of car enthusiasts to horology.
It is the balanced co-existence in watches and cars of function and beauty that fascinates the aficionado about both;
The cold objective engineering calculations and adjustments that shave a few hundredths of a second off a race car’s lap times. Microns of difference between teeth on a cog that affects the accuracy of the hand on a watch-face that times the race.
Contrast with this the truly sensual experience of hearing an Aston Martin engine roar into life, or sitting in the unparalleled luxury of a Rolls-Royce for the first time.
For those of us who do not have the privilege of an engineer’s understanding, the former intrigues us as a wonderful mechanical mystery, the latter evokes a reaction more readily associated with the bouquet of a fine wine, seeing the smile of a lover, or a birthday surprise.
It is this interplay between the objectivity of physics; torsional rigidity, grip limits, the complexity and precision of a tourbillion – and the subjective pleasure of beautiful design – that makes watches and cars such a beguiling obsession for most enthusiasts.
Both cars and watches, when you break it down to the fundamental, serve a very simple practical purpose. One is a tool to tell the time, the other, a mode of transport. Both have evolved well beyond this core purpose. The reason is a spiritual one, and a testament to the ingenuity of humankind.
Since ancient cultures we have decorated everyday objects to enrich life’s experience. Humans have always wanted more than to simply survive. Buildings are not just shelter, food is not just sustenance, the objects we use every day are not just tools.
As with fashion, furniture, and other fields of design, one’s choice of style reflects one as an individual. Some prefer the avant-garde style of Richard Mille and Lamborghini, others the more restrained traditional mode of Patek Philip and Rolls-Royce. All four houses represent the paradigm for their type, and yet none necessarily suits everyone. It is this diversity that creates the rich range of beautiful watches and cars available today.
What is perhaps even more exciting is that humans, by our very nature will never cease trying to approach perfection. This, along with our insatiable desire for beauty, will continue to see exciting watches and cars being released far into the future.