Your partner thinks you’re crazy. Your friends don’t understand you. Your siblings have stopped speaking to you. And all this because you dream of steel-cased sports watches and complicated perpetual calendars. What is a person to do? To whom does one turn?
Well, to other watch collectors, duh! But how do you meet such people, these fellow horological devotees? (Nerds like us, basically.) The good news is that you’re not alone — there are people like us in every major city, and many non-major ones to boot. You just have to know where to look…
Go to a Red Bar Meetup
Red Bar is, in their own words, “the world's largest watch enthusiast and collector community.” With chapters in dozens of cities across the globe, Red Bar holds events, get-togethers (weekly, in some cities like NYC) , field trips and other horological shenanigans. (Ever seen those “sexpiles” of watches on Instagram taken someplace in a dimly lit bar — just a huge pile of watches on a table? That was probably at a Red Bar meetup.) Truly, if you want to quickly identify a group of like-minded collectors, then looking up a local Red Bar chapter is the best thing to do. No Red Bar chapter operating in your area? Reach out to them, you might just find yourself the new chapter head for your region!
Get on the Forums
Yes, you read that right: The 90s-themed, antiquated-seeming watch forums are still some of the best places to meet like-minded collectors. (Where do you think so many of the current generation of horological aficionados got their start?) Sites such as Timezone, Rolexforums and Watchuseek each have their different niches, so we say explore them all and figure out which best suits your needs. Whether it’s expanding your knowledge base, selling or buying a watch, or — most importantly — meeting a new friend, the forums are a great tool and resource.
Sign Up for Events
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Many of the major watch industry publications — HODINKEE, Worn & Wound, Watchtime, etc. — hold events all over the country. Check in with these publications frequently and sign up for these events — they’re a fantastic way to meet other watch enthusiasts. Examples include a celebration of a particular watch launch; a multi-day, microbrand-centered watch shop; or a weekend-long fair with keynote speakers, meetings, and more. In fact, Analog:Shift and Watches of Switzerland have held (and will continue to hold!) many such events ourselves.
Post on Social Media
Yep — it can be that simple. Look up some appropriate tags for watch collectors and post some pics of your collection, or anything watch-related you’re excited about. This is a fantastic way to meet other enthusiasts — especially on Instagram, as it’s image-based. Comment on others’ posts that you like, and of course, keep the discourse positive and civil. You’d be surprised how easy it is to meet like-minded folks this way, and you can even connect with editors from some of your favorite publications. Don't forget the #hashtags!