Strenght and weaknesses of watchfora
I assume watchforums are nothing new for most of you, in fact, besides using Google to ‘hit’ this watchblog, chances are big you linked from one of the watchfora around.
Besides international watchportals like WatchUseek, TimeZone, Equation of Time and ThePurists you have some smaller more ‘country’-based watchforums. So a forum in one language, so besides English, you should be able to find a watchforum in German, Swedish, French and even in Dutch (we are a small country).
One of the Dutch watchfora is called ‘Horloge Pagina’ and is part of a large startpage company/organization. People can get a subdomain for their particular subject of interest and even link a discussionera to it. For watches, this is horloge.pagina.nl. It is maintained and managed by Henrik and he is doing a great job. Besides some banners, there is probably nothing in it for him financialwise. Like this site, labour of love! 🙂
Anyway, today I was going through some discussionthreads at the particular forum and noticed that even this friendly site is affected by misunderstanding and miscommunication between certain users. Which causes some irritated discussion ofcourse. This initiated some thoughts, like the one in the subjectfield on top of this post. The strength and weaknesses of watchfora.
I have seen worse discussions at the other mentioned fora (except on ThePurists), but this one was really about nothing. Not even Rolex vs Another Brand 🙂
So, to continue explaining my thought on this, besides arguements, watchfora have another nasty weakness. This is called ‘untrue statements’. Being moderator of the Omega Forum at WatchUseek and being a regular visitor of lots of other fora, I have seen people making statements which were simply brought in the world by misunderstandings. So, I hear you think, what damage can be done by making these?
Well, as you might know, another poster on this watch blog is Gerard Nijenbrinks, owner of a watchshop in The Hague. Maybe he can do some commenting later one, but for starters, when something is being stated (in for example) the Sinn forum at WatchUseek, he can be affected by this. Like for example, if someone tells in the Sinn forum that one can expect a new Sinn to be released, to celebrate Porsche’s xxth anniversary of the 911, he will receive calls from people who want to order it. He has to tell them that this isn’t the case and that Sinn is never going to release such a thing. Gerard is probably not the only one, and other fora of larger brand do probably more damage, but it shows how simple people can take statements at a watchforum for ‘true’ and make this thing live its own life.
I have been guilty of doing so too, not on purpose, but I have written an article some years ago on the hands of a Speedmaster Professional. Which type/model should have which hands and since Omega made quite some ‘versions’ of the famous Speedmaster Professional, it was quite a long list. People were starting to take this list with them to watchfairs or eBay as being the bible to check if a Speedmaster Pro was original or a Frankenwatch (original replacement parts but not the original ones). However, Omega didn’t take this assembly thing on the Speedmaster too seriously in the 60s and 70s, and just used what was in stock or on the shelves. They even printed ‘wrong’ Speedmasters in magazines in those days. Their blueprint should be like the list I have made, but in reality, they used dials with the metal raised logo’s far after 1968 when they should start using the dials with printed logo. So fact is, these post-1968 Speedmasters with metal raised logo’s and triangle-cut secondhand can be original as well.
So, without the proper channels of information, it is hard to make statements or even write articles on watches and history of watches or certain models. Chuck and Jean-Michel are busy trying to find out when a certain movement-part got changed. They try to do this by asking people at watchfora which part they have in their vintage Speedmaster watch. So at least this is an attempt to get a fact straight, however, if Omega changed using certain parts in, let’s say, 1977, and found use of the old ones again in the period of 1981-1983, who is ever going to find out?
Another good example is the use of the movement in the Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow. This was quite heated discussion on several boards, one party said the caliber 330x can’t be trusted because too many flaws occur, the other party stated that Omega solved this and everyting was allright again. So if a newbie checks a watchforum for the first time because he wants to get informed if he should go Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow or the Speedmaster Professional, he is probably getting just more confused.
I don’t see a way to stop people from posting nonsense, because you can’t always tell it is.
So now for the good things about watchforums!
It gives people a good feeling to have more think-alikes on the internet to discuss their favorite watches. It is also a source of information, if you want to know something about your new / vintage watch, just do a search query in one of the fora or post a question about it. People in fora can also give you feedback on companies that sell and buy watches, not always allowed due to sponsoring-matters, but if you just ask it and leave your e-mail address inside, I am sure you get some response.
And hey, it is a place to make new friends! You can make watchfair dates and meet new people to talk about your passion. It is not very likely to meet people with this very same interest at your local grocery store, and if your not online, your only chance to talk about your passion is on public watchfairs and in watchshops. If your passionate about watches, you need to talk about it with others, right? Watchforums are the ultimate place to make new contacts all over the world, or just in your hometown, which you otherwise never knew.
Now, there is something that is even more dangerous than faulty information on the watchforums… ..that is being affected by someone else’s passion for a brand! I made quite a few people buy a Speedmaster Pro because of my posts and articles, being infected by my enthusiasm for this watch. I bought a Sinn 142 myself because people just kept on raving about this lemania 5100 movement! And so, this watchforum thingy is costing you money in the end!! Be carefull, but have fun anyway!!
p.s. I don’t hope that people who didn’t have too much patience really think there is going to be a Porsche 911 Sinn special 🙂