In my previous working life, I worked for an investment bank, and seeing interesting watches around me in the office was pretty common. But this is different for many others. They are uncomfortable wearing their expensive watch to work for fear of negative comments or implications for their position.

I also remember reading a discussion on the TimeZone forums many moons ago where someone wrote that it was not acceptable to wear a more expensive watch than your manager. Perhaps I am a bit naïve and only thought this was an American Psycho kind of thing. Apparently, though, it’s real because quite recently, I noticed a few similar remarks in our comments.

Rolex Daytona Platinum bringing watches to the office

Wearing nice watches to the office

In certain circles, a watch is still a status symbol, and the more you’ve made (it), the more expensive the watch will be. I don’t know how widespread this is, to be honest. It might still be a very valid and common approach.

As I wrote above, I worked for this investment bank in the mid-2000s, and once in a while, I had to attend some meetings with people who had a higher corporate title than I did. More than once, I wore one of my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or Rolex watches to these meetings. Indeed, some people higher up the ladder eyeballed my watches, but it never resulted in snarky remarks. When it became known within that company that I ran this blog about watches called Fratello on the side, colleagues approached me more than once to discuss watches or to ask for my advice on a purchase.

Patek Philippe 5905R-010 bringing watches to the office

Patek Philippe 5905R-010

It might have been different if I had shown up with gold watches, which can be a bit “in your face,” for sure. People do not always appreciate it for different reasons. They don’t like the “show-off” or bling factor, or they might feel threatened by someone lower in the hierarchy wearing a costly watch in precious metal.

Wearing a nice watch in the office can be appreciated

It’s easy for me to write that you shouldn’t care and should just wear your expensive watch to the office anyway. But I also know that it doesn’t always work that way. If, like us, are working with watches or in the watch industry, there’s no problem whatsoever wearing what you want. Regardless of your position on the career ladder, wearing watches that are incredibly rare, unique, or exceptional is applauded.

Most watches will not be recognized

Now, the reality is that we are overthinking this. Only on rare occasions will other people recognize your watch as something expensive. They might frown a bit if it’s gold, but if it’s a steel watch (or a similar color, including white gold and platinum), there’s only a slight chance that a person will recognize it. Outside my watch bubble, only my PloProf gets attention because it looks big and awkward. Occasionally, someone recognizes my Rolex Day-Date, but that’s about it.

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 wearing nice watches to the office

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1

Company culture(s)

However, you are the one who can assess your (social) environment best. I feel it shouldn’t be an issue among friends or family if there’s mutual respect (which should be the base for these relationships anyway). In a working environment, perhaps you shouldn’t slam on that gold watch on your first working day or week at a company. It might be wise to analyze the company culture before wearing your luxury watch to the office. It should be fine in most cases, but if you notice that it’s frowned upon or people take offense, it might be wise to wear a low-profile alternative.

I can think of instances in which wearing an expensive watch to the office won’t do you any favors, for instance, if you work in sales. The other party might think your services or goods are too expensive. In a company culture where status and hierarchy go hand in hand, leaving your gold Submariner at home is also wise unless you’re part of the management.

Breitling Chronomat Automatic GMT

There’s a difference between passion and showing off

Using a bit of common sense is key here, and there’s no reason to overthink these kinds of things unless the environment is a bit “hostile” toward your passion for watches. What I have noticed over time is that once the others know it is your hobby or passion, they soften up about the topic. People will understand the difference between showing off and being passionate about something. And people with a passion for something always get the benefit of the doubt.

Let us know about your thoughts and experiences when it comes to bringing your passion for watches to the office. Is there any appreciation, or is it better not to show your wrist where you work?