You’re picking the kid out of the bathwater that is just beginning to turn cool, suddenly the phone pings. It’s that notification, the one you were waiting for!
That online exclusive watch that everyone has been Instagramming is back in stock and you are not gonna miss out this time. You make a rapid risk assessment, the partner is at their pilates class, if you take the kid out you will have to dry and get their clothes on; back into the bath for them, with the arm tap slowing flowing*. (*Halfwatchtuesday insists children in baths must be supervised at all times)
You run to the bedroom, open the laptop, navigate to the webpage…’loading, Loading…’, the wait is agonising. The page pops up, you hit the search bar with whatever you think will get you to the correct destination.
Finally, you get to that product, the watch you have heard, read, thought about for months and as you scan down to the ‘Add to Bag’ icon and then you see those words, almost smirking at you, goading you. OUT OF STOCK. You failed, better luck next time, if there is a next time.
You trudge back to the normality of the lukewarm bath reeling from the emotional rollercoaster the last 3 minutes brought, the line between elation and despair is fine.
It’s safe to say the traditional method of watch consumerism, the AD, has seen a number of challenges over the years, from brand-owned boutiques, the grey market and now the ever-increasing online presence. Do I think the ADs will be safe, in a word, yes. Nothing beats the experience in a good AD. We often hear you need to build up a good relationship if you want those waitlisted watches. Ever try and have a relationship with a website? Probably best not to answer.
The online presence broadly falls into two forms, watch brands or big players in the watch media who have also become retailers. Such sites will show off their usual wares but excitement builds when the words limited availability/edition or collaboration are thrown into the mix.
I first came to know of such things with the very sexy Tag Carrera Skipper for @Hodinkee. Released in 2017 and limited to 150 pieces it didn’t last long and remains to this day one of the best collaborative pieces.
That’s all good and well but I don’t really have $5k sitting in a bank account waiting to be spunked on a watch. So, whilst these limited releases are interesting they were never an option for me, until 26th Feb 2019, the day of the Hodinkee blue Alpinist. Some may argue the game changers were the Swatch collaborations which were at a very accessible price point, and whilst this is true, they weren’t of the iconic watches from one of the most loved brands.
Selling out in less time than Odell Beckham Jr, the blue alpinist caused a storm both good and bad. Those who were quick-fingered enough to secure one of the 1959 pieces happily told everyone on the forums serving only to further fuel the anger of those who missed out. And so started the limited availability game of haves and have nots.
(editor note: yup I got one if it is any consolation, it is too small)
This is not a phenomenon isolated to one outlet. I practically had a convulsion at seeing @revolution.watch sell out of their beautiful IWC Pilot’s 36mm Edition, but with only 150 in existence, luck needs to be on your side. Nor does it need to a collaboration.
In a year where the luxury brands did little to push the boat, Timex stole a lot of thunder with their outstanding reissue of the 1979 Q-Timex. Faithful in design and function, the Q’s release was timed to perfection at the height of Pepsi bezel fever. Priced at a very amenable £159 it makes a great case for watch of the year. Being featured on Hodinkee and Worn & Wound (an article topic on its own) meant demand ramped up to fever pitch. Timex would not be able make them fast enough and so the story unfolded. The limited quantity available lasted a matter of hours leaving some disappointed.
Missing out doesn’t feel great but what rubs salt in the wounds is those who by multiple to then sell on for a profit with no intention of ownership. The Qs went for three times the price on the aftermarket. In good news, Timex was true to their word and a second batch was released and many who missed out the first time are getting to enjoy their pieces now.
(editors note: nope don’t know anyone near here who flipped one, do we, Mr O?)
Although this sounds a foolproof plan by the watch companies it doesn’t always work. The Hodinkee Oris 65 diver did sell out but it received a mixed reception. You can still get Revolution’s lovely Rado Captain Cook and if we consider that very popular blue alpinist, sold out practically in minutes but is it actually a better watch than the original green? Many would argue not. (@rickticktalk’s is still for sale I believe)
There is a convincing argument to say this is less about the watch and more to do with the ownership of something difficult to obtain. The want to have the thing that no one else has is strong, hence we put up with waitlists etc. Potentially that scarcity might lead to added attention and perhaps value. Love it or hate it, it’s part of the new watch landscape now. If nothing else they offer a sprinkle of variety that keeps us enthused and dreaming of that perfect watch, like a Halfwatchtuesday Anordain collaboration 😊.
In the last fortnight, we have seen a few excellent value limited availability watches come out. A few of us helped ourselves to the stealthy octagonal G-Shock GA 2100, whilst the attention of most was rightly turned to the epic before mentioned QTimex which was by far the most popular watch to be posted on Halfwatchtuesday over the last two weeks. We simply can’t mention all those submissions so on behalf of you all we kick off top pics with this Pepsi beauty from @watchaccumulator
I often wonder why the pepsi was not called the Superman, after all, we have a Hulk and of course a Batman, which @dianaevansillustration has put her amazing spin on. Personally, in my humble open this is her finest work.
There is only one Batman, or is there? @exitwatch flies into Halfwatchtuesday to show us some Dark Knight Lume.
Not to be outdone by her buddy @katlenschmidt smashes back into the top picks with a smattering of Avengers but manages to get the top prize.
Showing off on of the world’s most iconic watches in halfwatch-fullwatch style is @watchaddictwt with the dual face Reverso, a true grail watch.
Ok, hands up, I don’t know if this is a stock image because it is of such high quality, but this Franck Muller Casablanca from @franckmuller90210 is jaw dropping.
Equally so is this macro from @tunokies, this Seikomatic might be vintage but looks pristine.
Finally, for the top picks we have been seeing a lot of you have great fun with mashups of your own. We loved this one from @awatchlist combining the things we love with the gadgets we snap them with. Dude is becoming a halfwatch legend.
High-end Rubber straps are a thing and if you want to change up the look of your Sub or Black Bay @vanguardstraps might have just the thing for you. Not only in a range of colours but also in some rather cool camouflage patterns.
As you will have guessed we love hearing about the newer brands and what they are doing so we welcome @kustom.watches who true to their name offer a range of options to ensure you get the watch for you. We look forward to following your journey guys.
That’s a wrap guys. If you have bagged an online exclusive, we’d love to see a post and whether it lived up to expectations. For all those who miss Nic, you ain’t got long to wait he’s at the helm next week. Until then Ciao