If you missed my post Thursday, Jack Forster is doing a series on why NOT to buy a mechanical watch. I'm commenting here. Today is part 2: Watch designers have painted themselves into a corner and run out of things to say. Well isn't this a meaty topic. I will direct the conversation by first modifying the premise: *SOME* watch designers have run out of things to say. With that modification comes my biggest complaint with Jack's point and that is he is arguing this is a product of the industry and watchmaking in general. I would argue that this is because there are very few really good product people in the industry.
First, going back to my somewhat provocative recent post (Chronometry, who gives a sh!t?) I think a vast portion of the industry is missing a basic understanding of WHY they are doing what they're doing and what a mechanical watch is in 2011. Then you add risk aversion, design by committee, focus on sales and marketing rather than product, and a whole slew of other depressing corporate issues and you're left with uninspired and confused watches.
There are some genuinely talented and passionate designers in the industry. They have a very clear raison d'etre. For them, ideas are a dime a dozen. They have genius products lined up for years.
Unfortunately, most consumers are not that well educated. The bad sells as well or better than the good in most cases. This gives the wrong feedback to the people in charge. If we educate customers and make them more thoughtful purchasers so that the junk dies and the cream comes to the top, you'll see tons of amazing products for years to come. In the meantime, I will continue to cringe a lot.