Bert’s Photo Book Part 3 — Watch Macro Photography
When writing my first photo book article, it brought up some of the things I have learned over time. It also shows some specific topics related to watch photography which I find fascinating. So after mentioning lume photos, there is another topic which is about the details. Though the years I’ve created many watch macro photos that reveal details that can be hard to see with the naked eye.
Watch macro photos simply reveal the true beauty of a watch, or, occasionally, the not so perfect craftsmanship. Thankfully that rarely happens but through the years only a few blemishes have crossed my lens. When this is something you don’t want to find on a new watch, vintage watches are something different. When looking back at some of the pictures they all have a lot of awesome details to show. All those years of wear and tear become visible when you get up close and personal.
There are many macro lenses out there but do they allow you to get really close for a watch macro? Not really, although there are a few exceptions. Even today’s cameras that pack sensors with a whopping amount of pixels that allow you to crop a lot. To get really close you can use various techniques and thought the years I’ve tried several.
As this all started as a hobby, on a modest budget, my first macro images were created using extension tubes. They work really well and the best thing is that they won’t break the bank. And to be honest, I still have one with me a lot of times, just in case. Later I started experimenting with stacking lenses, sometimes with extra extenders. The only downside of that is that the quality of the image can drop considerably as you can see in the image below. This is the full and uncropped 10mp image straight from the camera. It was fun to experiment with and you learn a lot from doing it.
Beauty in the details
My passion for watches has allowed me to meet many people. Some do everything to keep their watch in pristine condition. I have no clue how they do it, especially with polished surfaces. Others don’t care and just wear them whenever they feel like it. My personal watches seem to get tiny scratches just by looking at them. When getting creative with watch macro photos you can create stylish visuals from which you can hardly tell you are looking at a watch.
“So there is a personal relationship with it which you wouldn’t get when a watch is always perfect.”
This also reminds me about that moment we sat down with Octavio Garcia back in 2012. During a short interview, he explained his views on user marks on a watch. How wear on a watch tells a story about the person who wears it. Although I am careful with some watches, most of them are worn and I don’t worry about small blemishes.
Some even “damage” or mark their watches on purpose. During a Speedy Tuesday event last year, our own RJ had his watch signed by astronaut Charlie Duke. Apparently some people were in shock, thinking this ruined the watch. To RJ it enriched his precious Snoopy. As they say “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”.
Back in the day, I owned a Tudor Submariner 7928 from 1966. That watch was the subject of this photo essay from 2014. Through the years it picked up all kinds of minuscule damages and inscriptions from various watchmakers. These imperfections made it a unique watch in all its beauty — service logbook and a logbook of a life well lived.
Even modern watches show more signs of wear that you would expect. But it’s all part of the process of becoming a better version of itself over time. Like a pair of jeans or shoes that are more and more comfortable the longer you wear them. Aging is a beautiful thing if you appreciate all its beautiful details. Make sure to check out the full gallery below. All of the images shown represent the full and uncropped visual as they were taken.