If you are into watches, then you spend a good deal of time online reading about, looking at, or shopping for watches. But you can supplement this time by looking at watch magazines. Yes, there are actually a good number of them. In fact, as watch enthusiasm draws some of the most artistic, mechanical, and style conscious fans, there is bound to be a good deal of well written print content on watches.
Watch magazines are a good deal like car magazines in that each has a particular appeal while trying to remain general as well. Some are more “technically driven,” discussing watch movements and innovations at length, while other magazines are more “style” or “lifestyle” focused. These latter options may appeal more to the casual watch enthusiast, and will most certainly include a few articles on other interests such as fine liquor and wine, cars, or travel. Technical watch magazines can easily bore readers by going into great detail with gear diagrams and the benefits of new techniques of micro engineering.
A glaringly open segment of watch magazines are those dedicated to, or even those that mention at any length less expensive watches. It is true that in terms of auto magazines, one prefers to read about high performing and beautiful exotic cars that they may rarely see, but it is important to have editorial content on watches that people can find in any city.
It is this sub $1000 watch segment which is mostly ignored. There are likely some reasons for this, but I think it is a negative omission that could easily be addressed. In the US, most watches sold, by far, are under $1000. There is no good resource for information on what is out there, and new items from manufactures. Aside from online forums, such as the Poor Man’s Watch Forum, there is little out there on the strongest segment of the US market. Hopefully this will change in time.
This is not to say that the established watch media never talks about anything save for the ultra expensive. There are common mentions, and occasional reviews of lower priced watches. No review has been of a quartz watch though (unless a very high-end quartz), and less expensive mentions are infrequent. Yes, a good purpose of watch magazines is to beef up, and promote the high-end watch market, but at the same time, there is a dedicated group of watch lovers who cannot afford watches in the many thousands of dollars, but are still worthy consumers.
So what is out there for your reading pleasure? Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most common watch magazines.
1. WatchTime: Available at most newstands, WatchTime is the “Car & Driver” of watch magazines. Good overview of fine watches with a handful of in depth reviews. Little mention of watch prices for the most part, but then again this can be blamed on the manufactures. WatchTime is coherently written, and always has a good deal of imagines and pictures. Another good aspect of the magazine are interviews with watch lovers, including celebrities or wealth collectors. Interesting to see how their love of watches started and developed.
2. Revolution: This is the high-end of watch magazines. Not a technical journal, but not a fashion magazine, Revolution touts itself as a “watch lifestyle” magazine. Probably the best watch magazine in terms of editorial content and articles, this highly polished testament to watch love is a collector’s piece in itself. The gem here is the attention to detail when discussing watches or watch personalities. Revolution understands that there is so much more to a watch than meets the eye, and each issue has lots dedicated to defining and discussing questions that most watch enthusiasts have, and cannot get answers to. Further, there are industry news mentions, and editorial articles focused on the more political or intellectual side of watch manufacturing and collecting. Revolution magazine is highly recommended.
3. International Watch (IW): Decent magazine. Well written and often has good assortments of watches (i.e. issue on sport, or diving watches). There is nothing particularly standout about this magazine, but it is a worthwhile read for the dedicated, and recommended as a newsstand pickup if you like what is being features in that issue.
4. InSync: Another watch magazine with no particular stand out features. This magazine however focuses more often on less expensive watches that are more affordable. You won’t have to complain that you can never afford any of the watches discussed. This is important as most other watch magazines ignore most “consumer” level timepieces.
5. Chronos: An aptly named magazine that is sadly often thin in size and overly bloated with advertisements. It is true that most watch magazine have a ton of ads, but that is half the charm as these are interesting to look at. Regardless, Chronos could easily segment itself by being more niche marketed. Instead, it simply overlaps to a great degree with other watch magazines and provides little stand out content. If you see a copy, by all means leaf through the pages, and pick on up if there is an article or two that catches your eye.
As the US watch market continues to expand, there will inevitably be more watch magazines available. Keep a sharp out, and regularly pick up on or more of the above magazines. You’ll enjoy them, and it will totally mystify most people who don’t like watches what could possibly be discussed in a magazine about watches. Ah, the ignorance of the uninitiated.