While flying to Hong Kong, I noticed the handsome smart man there next to me donning not one but two watches. I can relate to his scenario since I have more than a hundred timepieces (and even run a brand named TsarBomba) and spend most evenings agonising over which one to put on.
My left brain, the logical thinker in me, and my right brain, the creative, aesthetic thinker in me, are at odds with each other over this. In any case, I never would have thought of the extreme solution of wearing two watches. You might anticipate some curious looks if you show up to work with such an ensemble.
As such, I questioned him on why a dapper person like him would do something as odd as wearing two watches. Using a crying giggle gesture, he said, “The first is a classic beauty and the other is intended for gauging steps."
When I asked my readers what they thought, the vast majority responded that they wore a luxury watch in addition to their smartwatches, or vice versa. They all had similar sentiments, praising automatic watches for their timeless appeal while admitting a desire for the more advanced functions available on modern smartwatches. The double-wristing fad has gained traction with the introduction of smartwatches, although it is not without its historical roots.
It all started when…
- General Norman Schwarzkopf of the United States wore two watches during the Gulf War in 1991, although he did it for reasons of efficiency rather than fashion. He possessed two clocks, one showing Washington time and the other Saudi time.
- Nicholas A. Hayek, better known by his nickname Mr Swatch, wore as many as eight watches at once on each of his wrists, making him one of the most famous specimens of double wristing in pop culture.
- In addition to Billie Eilish, Chris Pratt, and Bill Murray, who wore a reader with a more expensive watch at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson and Marlon Brando have also experimented with the style.
The trend of wearing many timepieces begs the question…
"Why bother wearing one?" Is it meant to complement one's outfit or serve as a replacement for one's smartphone?
Or maybe it's best to just avoid answering that. Om Malik, a technology journalist and venture capitalist, claims he always has two watches on his wrist, One is a luxury automatic watch that he wears on his left wrist, and a smart Watch, which he wears on his right wrist for health monitoring, text messages, and payments. Since I am becoming older, I think the concept of a fall detector and a heart monitor would be helpful.
Is double-wristing a style that popular faces have evolved?
Over time, a wide variety of double-wrist motions have emerged. Double wristing encompasses a wide variety of individual tastes, but at its core is the practice of donning multiple timepieces on each wrist.
Dr Karan Madan, the founder of Watch Enthusiasts, one of the largest watch-collecting organisations, has been double wristing for years. Although I am aware of my own double-wristing, I have never actually observed it in other people. Enjoying my timepieces and collection in this way is a lot of fun, therefore you can typically find Madan with an automatic watch on his non-dominant hand and a digital watch on his dominant hand. When I am taking notes or using my right hand more frequently, I don't have to worry about scratching or denting my automatic watch because I always have a digital watch in my right hand. The watches I wear on my left hand are usually the most special ones in my collection.
IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr, widely considered one of the most dapper men in the watch industry, argues that an automatic watch is more about the wearer's feelings and personality than anything else: “I seldom leave the house without a watch on my wrist since it has become a vital part of my personal style and the message I'm trying to portray at any given time, and because the occasion, my mood, and my wardrobe all play a significant role in determining which watch I choose each morning.”
However, matters have become more complex for fans of mechanical watches since smartwatches provide technology worthy of science fiction that many of us don't think we can live without.
A True Instance…
Although there is competition between smartwatches and traditional versions, and passions ran high in Geneva when the Apple Watch was launched in 2014, the technology did not wreck the Swiss sector as quartz watches did. “Getting people acclimated to the habit of putting something on in the morning and wearing anything on their wrist and ultimately then being interested in actual timepieces is a positive thing," says Grainger-Herr.
Maybe this is just a new way of saying that form trumps function in our lives. To me, wearing two watches at once is just too ostentatious a display of wealth and status to be acceptable. Instead, I'll keep picking and choosing between the dapper man with the gorgeous mechanical watch or the Automatic watch and the futuristic man who converses with a miniature computer strapped to his wrist.