Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Deadweight Loss of Christmas

I promise you that I am neither Scrooge or Krampus -

Shamelessly borrowed from the world-wide infoweb
But yet another year is rapidly coming to a close, and the emphatic requests from watch pr folks urging me to include their latest offerings in my "Gift Guide".  This told me first and foremost that they really had no idea about me, and likely had never read Tempus Fugit.  Well, fair enough.  

But then it got me thinking on the angst and economic necessity of the holiday gift giving season for the watch industry.  It goes without saying that it truly does largely determine how well (and not well) a brand is going to do that year.  And I can understand how for a lower end brand that could and maybe even should be the case.  A SWATCH, a Fossil, even a G-Shock is not an unreasonable amount to spend on a Holiday gift to stick under the tree or give on the eighth night, or whatever else your winter holiday gift giving might entail.  But where I feel we have lost the plot as watch fans is that the big events that are meant to really be meaningful (Graduations, Marriages, Anniversaries, REALLY BIG PROMOTIONS at work) all seem to drift by the wayside with the sensory overload that the holidays can bring.  

I heard a very interesting bit on NPR today and found this via Google -

The economics of wasteful spending: The deadweight loss of Christmas

And it really made me think about trying to understand how much do we really value that one or two "special" watches, and do they really even exist for some of us any more?  Now I realize that is a bit of a holiday downer, and I don't mean to piss in anyone's eggnog, but if you are reading this and your feeling down because you haven't (and likely will not) receive that much wanted Patek Philippe, Rolex or other beyond extravagantly priced holiday present, don't feel bad about it.  

I realize that this is just my own personal opinion, and may well be part of the reason why I don't work full-time for a watch brand any longer, but what I love (particularly) about the two watches my wife Wendy has given me for Christmas presents is that they really meant something on that particular holiday (and still do).  So any Christmas, you will see me wearing my Junghans Max Bill (circa 2000, gold plate and manual winding) which she gave me the Christmas after I had lost my high-flying career and been brought back down to earth managing a Starbucks in San Francisco.  It was in some ways the very worst and the very best thing that ever happened to me professionally.  And in the process I rediscovered myself and what made me happy.  And on Christmas, you are just as likely to see me channeling my "inner-Hayek" by wearing a watch on my right wrist as well - a burgundy SWATCH which was one of the first larger "Gent's" size models that SWATCH came out with.  And as I recall, this was the Christmas after my father died, and for the first time I didn't have a parent to call or get a call from on Christmas.  It was something that reminded me that while life has a time limit on it, it is something that should be enjoyed.

Now I realize, again, that this is all a matter of personal opinion, and no judgements from me if you disagree and feel that a holiday isn't a holiday without a new $3,000 to $5,000 watch on your wrist.  All that I would say is that it should not be the price tag on the watch that moves you or the person who buys it for you.  It should be the thought that goes into it.  Now if that person has the disposable income to make such a grand gesture?  Make sure you appreciate and treasure it, and don't go looking to re-sell it to fund your next "dream watch, and the one after that, and the one after that ; )

Happy Holidays!  And enjoy your watches!

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