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Countering the methodical approach of watch marketing, there’s an undercurrent at work on social media for the welthie, the watch selfie.

There’s always that one person on Christmas Day that likes to post every single item they’ve scored from Santa. And with 500 million users posting on Instagram stories on a daily basis, that’s a lot of Christmas presents to see. But rest assured, for the other 364 days of the year, you’ll indefinitely see a selfie or too. The word ‘selfie’ found its way into the Oxford Dictionary back in 2013, naturally assimilating its way into our vocabulary, as if we learnt to say it when we were three and acquiring speech. Next up, introducing the ‘welfie,’ the watch selfie which sees the evolution of the cultural phenomenon migrate away from our faces to our wrists. Is this the future of a more authentic type of watch marketing?

In the age of sharing, selfie’s have fundamentally become a part of our social interaction, blurring the boundaries between public and private as we expose the intimacies of our life and our surroundings through the quick flash of the camera, producing an instant self-portrait. While the origins of the selfie technically date back to the early 19th century, when in 1839, American photographer Robert Cornelius took a picture of himself outside a store in Philadelphia, the boom of interpersonal photography gained its momentum with the advent of compact cameras. Millennials might remember taking a Canon camera out on every night out, later followed by an influx of Facebook photo albums the next day at what felt like the biggest turnaround. And there’s no chance of the youngest Gen Zers remembering the trawl to take your camera to the pharmacy to get it developed 2 weeks later. 

Millennials might remember taking a Canon camera out on every night out, later followed by an influx of Facebook photo albums the next day at what felt like the biggest turnaround. And there’s no chance of the youngest Gen Zers remembering the trawl to take your camera to the pharmacy to get it developed 2 weeks later. 

A testament to the proliferation of modern technology and the relentless speed of communication, the selfie finds itself in an equivocal position today, reflective of the zeitgeist’s problematic relationship with privacy and social media. “Is the rise of the selfie a sign of a culture collapsing into narcissism?” questions Rose Capdevila and Lisa Lazard for the Open University. While there’s a dark shadow over the intentions and implications of the selfie, a benevolent trope remains in its invention, of formative experience of sharing and meeting new communities. 

Whether it’s performative or not, it inhibits a cooperative function. So much so that 10 months into my horological journey, I’m united with fellow aesthetes and enthusiasts in the industry via means of selfie culture. Introducing the ‘welthie’ the watch selfie, which sees the evolution of the cultural phenomenon migrate away from our faces to our wrists. Arguably a current of unorthodox marketing, uniting the voices of aficionados and enthusiasts, watch selfies allow collectors and newbies alike to witness the craftsmanship in a new light. The watch industry has been long criticized for its lack of relevancy and lack of tone for the tone of the times, circulating visuals that feel tired and ignorant to prevailing gender bias in the industry.

Introducing the ‘welthie’ the watch selfie, which sees the evolution of the cultural phenomenon migrate away from our faces to our wrists. Arguably a current of unorthodox marketing, uniting the voices of aficionados and enthusiasts, watch selfies allow collectors and newbies alike to witness the craftsmanship in a new light. The watch industry has been long criticized for its lack of relevancy and lack of tone for the tone of the times, circulating visuals that feel tired and ignorant to prevailing gender bias in the industry. Lit up against backdrops with contrived props there’s a feeling of displacement between brand and consumer. Perhaps there’s a fear that placing watches in their quotidian context will cloud their luxurious intentions? But after all, aren’t we wearing these watches day-to-day as we navigate each day?

In a bid to make watchmaking and the ownership of haute horology more authentic, zealots are taking to Instagram to showcase their collections amongst a far more refreshing backdrop, their own lives. As such, the same watch can tell more than one story. 

Take for instance the Omega Ladies Club, an Instagram platform, championing a space for watch wearers and enthusiasts. Documenting the scope of watchmaking amongst women across the world, the Ladies Club gives a voice not only to  Omega’s ambassadors, such as Kaia Gerber and Cindy Crawford, but to avid consumers. Admittedly, the first thing I did when I borrowed a watch from a friend recently was to buy a McDonad’s hash brown (if you know you know), and snap the two together in some sort of hi-low hybrid. If a watch is going to help us navigate our way through daily life, isn’t it about time we started showcasing these delicate artefacts of superlative engineering in the environment they belong, each telling time to someone in a different way. 

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Scarlett is a writer, editor, and creative consultant specializing in art, fashion, culture and digital strategy. Drawing on her work from previous titles including Dazed, LOVE Magazine, The Perfect Magazine, AnOther and 1 Granary, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Hour, Scarlett is leading the editorial vision toward new territories providing an alternative lens of social commentary to recontextualize the world of watchmaking for the next generation.