At first, I couldn’t quite decipher what it was about some fellow bankers and them proudly wearing Swatch watches that gave me the creeps. I just had the feeling that something unusual was at play. Sure enough, it didn’t take long for me to learn that my suspicions were warranted.Something as seemingly trivial as wearing a ‘relatively’ inexpensive watch can have deep-seated motivations. Now, before I move on, I just want to be straight with you: I’ve got nothing against Swatch watches. In fact, I own a few and I love the way they look. What the heck, I’m lying: in fact I own a collection of them.
What disturbs me is the way Swatch watches are worn by people like Mario, an Italian Managing Director people referred to as ‘linguini head’ because of his curls.
I don’t need to get into a discussion surrounding the interplay of the things we wear, fashion statements, wealth and perception. Most of us will agree that, on average, young women will find a guy sitting behind the wheels of a Ferrari Testarossa more attractive than a similar looking guy driving a Honda Civic. And, like it or not, many bankers have the means to look and dress affluent, irrespective of whether the aim is to attract the opposite sex, exude power or satisfy some personal fetish.
In a rare twist of nature, however, sometimes a banker will try to give off that signal of affluence by doing something a little off the beaten path of the traditional banker. He’ll put aside the Piaget and Rolex and strap on a Swatch.
That was Mario. And trust me it wasn’t because he particularly like Swatches for what they were, their style or their mechanics. It was the ‘I’m-an-MD-wearing-a-freaking-Swatch-watch-take-that’ reason.
Linguini head had a collection of a least 9 watches from what I remembered. All seriously expensive. All giving off the ‘wow’ factor. Please note, ‘wow’ can be interpreted many ways: ‘wow, he must be rich!’; or ‘wow, what a waste of money!’; or ‘wow, he must have a tiny @*£%$’. Point is, these were £10k+ watches. But every once in a while Mario wore a Swatch watch. A plain black Swatch watch.
Swatch me baby
I wish I could have commissioned a psychologist to study Mario’s brain activity under two different circumstances.
Setting: sitting at a conference table with his watch nicely visible
Scenario 1: wearing a Rolex
Scenario 2: wearing a Swatch watch
Stimulus: catching someone looking at his watch
I guarantee the pleasure centre of his brain would not only show high levels of excitement in the first scenario but also the second. Perhaps even more in the latter. I’ll never forget the twinkle in his eyes the first time he caught me looking. He probably ran home and made love to his wife for the first time in over 5 months as a result.
On the rare occasions Mario did wear a Swatch he tried hard to catch your eye, either by wittingly moving his right hand and wrist or by staring at his watch long enough to draw you in.
And I couldn’t help but think to myself, this cheeseball is actually getting a buzz from wearing a Swatch. The notion that he is presently wearing a $50 watch despite earning millions a year in bonus money probably excites him. He’s gotten to a point where wearing expensive watches has pretty much reached its limit so now he has taken it to the next level: wearing cute, relatively inexpensive ones.
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