Why men are now wearing broken watches

The new trend in men's accessories seems counterintuitive. [Photo: Getty]
The new trend in men’s accessories seems counterintuitive. [Photo: Getty]

Why do we wear watches?

First and foremost, for telling the time – and it’s an added bonus if they happen to be super sleek and fashionable.

I mean, you’d never continue wearing your watch if it was broken, would you? Would you?

Well think again, because apparently there’s a new trend among men to purchase timepieces that don’t actually work.

Whether it’s buying from a high-end merchant, scouting a steal on eBay, or rifling through vintage shops, watch collectors’ priorities have changed when it comes putting down their money.

Now, it’s all about image rather than actual function.

That’s right: where watches were first invented as a practical accessory – a necessity even – to help us keep track of the minutes, they’ve now dipped into jewellery-only territory.


The Wall Street Journal‘s men’s fashion editor, Jacob Gallagher, explains that the trend of wearing useless timepieces could fall on artist Andy Warhol.

Warhol famously wore a Cartier Tank watch that didn’t work.

“I don’t wear a Tank watch to tell the time,” Warhol said in 1973. “Actually I never even wind it. I wear a Tank because it is the watch to wear!”

These days, surely it makes more sense than ever to forgo watches for their intended purpose, when we’re glued to out iPhones anyway.

Dennis Green of Business Insider noted that there had been a “lamentable shift” in watch-wearing in the last few decades.

“A watch on the wrist holds tangible benefits for the wearer that go beyond telling the time. In fact, I rarely find myself looking down at my watch to actually find out what time it is,” he writes.

“A watch symbolises time much more than a smartphone does. More to the point, it reminds you that time is constantly moving and slipping away — so you better get living and doing all those things you’re planning.”

Sure, wearing broken hardware on your wrist might seem counterintuitive, but I think we can all agree that when you find the right watch, you never want to take it off.

Functioning or not.

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