Marc Bridge, Ben Bridge Jeweler’s Vice President of Marketing, is not only an experienced watch and jewelry industry professional — he is also a dyed-in-the-wool timepiece fanatic. He shares some insight about the allure of fine timepieces and why he loves them so much. Do you have any specific memories about when and how your […]
Marc Bridge, Ben Bridge Jeweler’s Vice President of Marketing, is not only an experienced watch and jewelry industry professional — he is also a dyed-in-the-wool timepiece fanatic. He shares some insight about the allure of fine timepieces and why he loves them so much.
Do you have any specific memories about when and how your love of timepieces started?
When you start working in a watch and jewelry store at age 14 like I did, falling in love with watches is an occupational hazard. My love for watches actually predates that, however. The first watch I remember picking out for myself was a black Swatch Scuba on a perforated rubber strap. Back in the heyday of the Swatch brand, we used to sell them in most of our stores. I found the Scuba at our store in Ala Moana and was immediately smitten. I might have been 10 years old at the time. Most of my watch purchases begin that way: with me being smitten.
As a collector yourself, how has your passion for watches affected your personal life? Is it more than a hobby for you in your downtime?
Those of us who are passionate about watches comprise a friendly and fanatical tribe. We recognize each other’s cues and nod knowingly when we encounter a fellow traveler. I feel satisfaction in having indoctrinated a great number of my friends (and even my wife!) into this peculiar cult. When my wife and I first started dating, she didn’t understand how someone could get so excited about a little mechanical circle that did little beyond what she could get from her phone. After I gave her one as a birthday gift, it was like the world suddenly opened up and she began singing a different tune. The wonderfully frustrating thing about fine timepieces is that they are non-satiating. The more you have, the more you want. Logically, it doesn’t make any sense, but it is true.
Do you have any go-to “mantras” as advice for a person taking the next step in a watch acquisition?
Give yourself a break and don’t think too hard about it! If you find something you love, there is a reason for that. The thought of that piece will haunt you until you finally have it around your wrist. Don’t worry about having the appropriate watch for a specific occasion. There is no reason you can’t wear an ultrathin dress watch with shorts or a dive watch with a tuxedo. If it feels right to you, go for it! You’ll never be disappointed with quality. Err on the side of buying pieces you can wear forever.
Should someone start by exploring a single brand that appeals to them? A single style?
Start with a piece that speaks to you. Some people find a style they love and don’t deviate from it. It becomes their icon. I have a friend who has an entire collection of black-dial chronographs on stainless steel bracelets. Other people love color and will collect the most vibrant and exciting pieces they can find. For some people, materials are interesting and they get excited over bronze cases or meteorite dials. The world of watches is so varied; there are lots of paths to explore.
What if, beyond personal appeal, someone wanted to add a bit of a speculative bent to their collection? Do you have any tips?
I buy watches to enjoy them. I feel sad when someone tells me they have an amazing watch collection, but it is all “in the safe.” While it is intellectually satisfying to see watches sell for impressive amounts at an auction, it is disappointing to see those those pieces might be many years old but still in mint condition.
Often, a first fine watch arrives in the form of a present or memento to celebrate a big event. How do you move from that to the idea of “treating yourself”?
Personally, I am all about marking special moments in life with a fine timepiece, but you don’t need to wait for someone else to make the occasion for you! It’s equally gratifying to treat yourself — and you always get exactly what you want.
Is there anything about the Ben Bridge approach to retail that can help people that are new to watches?
We are passionate about watches, and we love to share that passion. We will help you understand the technical nature of watches and offer perspective about what might be right for you. If you have never thought about owning a fine timepiece before, we would be delighted to introduce you to a world of many choices. If you are a passionate collector, we would love to help you find something limited and extraordinary you’ve never seen before. We help match watches to people.
For help finding your next watch, reach out to us, or have fun exploring!
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