When you think of "things that self-aggrandizing assholes like," you may think of flashy jewelry, or exotic sports cars, or misquoting The Art of War. True enough. But there is no single signifier more characteristic of the upwardly mobile, ostentatious yet fundamentally insecure, braggart asshole male than an expensive fucking watch. See this? It's a Breitling, bro. Don't touch.

Why? What is it with watches? I mean you see a dude wearing flashy diamond jewelry that cost tens of thousands of dollars, or driving a freshly waxed Ferrari somewhere other than a race track, and you say to yourself, "Yeah, look at that rich flashy asshole." But that is so typical as to be forgettable; it renders the asshole in question an easily dismissed caricature.

I wear a watch. You wear a watch. Your dad wears a watch, and your granddad wears a watch, and your accountant and your garbage man and the grocery store cashier all wear watches. So do the nightclub bouncer and the nightclub owner and the stock trader and the hedge fund guy and the idle rich layabout. Which is to say, the mere act of wearing a watch is not an immediate giveaway of assholedom. This means that the rich pompous asshole, with his big fucking watch with the face as big as a dessert plate, can sidle on up next to you without raising your automatic "rich asshole" defense system. You might, distracted, unaware, even fall into the trap of uttering the words, "Nice watch." At that point, it's already too late.

"Oh this? Yeah. Better be. Sixteen grand, right here. Ha. This is just my walking-around watch, you know? A little Tourneau, a little something. It's nice, but I don't give a fuck if I lose it, you know? I'll go out drinking in this watch. The Patek Phillippes, I keep at home. I only break those out on special occasions. Just for little parties and shit like this, I got this one, I got the Movado, I got the B-vvv-lgari, and I got the Vacheron. That one, I bought at the auction. People don't know about Vacheron. You got guys out there, they think Rolex is the thing. They think Rollies are like the nicest watch there is. That's amateur hour. Me, I don't even own a Rolex. Rolex makes you look like an asshole. Every time I see a guy in a Rolex I walk up to him and say, 'You see this? This is a fucking Richard Mille. This right here is worth more than ten of your shitty Rolexes.' Then I laugh at him and walk away. This watch thing is really about taste."

The stealth factor of watches combined with the virtually limitless price of watches is, I theorize, what makes them so attractive to asshole. I know no way of changing this intractable dynamic. But we can, at least, put forth some simple truisms:

  • You can get a perfectly serviceable watch for about fifty bucks. All watch prices in excess of fifty bucks are due to the vanity of the wearer.
  • Assuming the wearer is not extremely large, the size of a watch face is inversely proportional to the dick size of the wearer.
  • The intricate complexity of an expensive watch, which sends its price astoundingly high, will never be understood one bit by the wearer.
  • The average buyer could not tell the difference between a moderately priced watch and an extravagantly expensive watch without a price tag and marketing materials to guide him. (Watches are like wine, in this way.)
  • The woman you want to sleep with cannot tell a Patek Phillippe from a Timex from five paces away.

What kind of watch do you wear?

[Photo: James/ Flickr]