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  • Ticking Boxes: (re)constructing the wristwatch as a luxury object

Oakley, Peter, 2015, Journal Article, Ticking Boxes: (re)constructing the wristwatch as a luxury object Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption, Vol.1, No.2, 1 (2). pp. 41-60. ISSN 2051-1817

Abstract or Description:

Today the high-price mechanical wristwatch is recognized as a luxury object redolent with notions of adventure, sporting achievement, elevated social status, and technical precision. Through an examination of the segmentation of the current luxury wristwatch market and key moments in the historical development of the wristwatch, this article will explain why these connotations exist. In particular, the article will explain the role that the early development of the wristwatch as a piece of military technical equipment and the mechanical wristwatch’s revitalization as a luxury good in response to the development of commercial quartz timekeeping technology have played in reconstructing the wristwatch as an object type. By utilizing network theory and the analytical tool of complexity, and drawing on fieldwork undertaken in London and Switzerland amongst the manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers of high-value wristwatches, the article will explain how the wristwatch can simultaneously be seen as functional tool, fashion statement, status symbol, and anachronism. This insight into the true nature of the wristwatch as a multivalent and semiotically charged object will also be used to inform reflections on the likely impact of generally perceived current threats to the luxury watch industry: the rise in ethical material sourcing campaigns, the stubborn gender imbalance in watch sales, and the recent appearance of smart watches and similar digital devices.

Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rflu20#.V1KK62z2aUn
Subjects: Other > Social studies > L600 Anthropology > L610 Social and Cultural Anthropology
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W720 Metal Crafts > W723 Clock/Watchmaking
School or Centre: School of Material
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2016 08:16
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2016 08:16
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1790

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