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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
You've seen your lands invaded by piratical opportunists and religious fundamentalists. Your population has been laid low by smallpox and syphilis (two of the earliest and most effective exports of the modern globalised world).

You've watched helplessly as occupying priests order the burning of codices that reduce to cinders thousands of years of knowledge, an act of vandalism that has cut the modern world off from its ancient past. Your astronomical and religious sites are razed to the ground. You are forcibly converted to the invaders' religion or decide - under duress - to adopt it as an alternative to death. You are voiceless as the occupying colonists pass laws that remove you from your homes and homelands.

Your children are sent to re-education camps hundreds of miles away where they are starved, raped and murdered. The bones of your ancestors are dug up and studied for genetic inferiority and then put on display in museums. If you fight back your are branded a terrorist and collectively, savagely punished. You are, eventually, ethnically cleansed or reduced to a pathetic vestige. You are then asked to forget the past, see the positives, and move on.

Then, centuries later, along come European watch companies celebrating the progenitors of your people's destruction.

Examples:

1. Anderson Geneve Christopher Columbus World Timer
2. Franck Muller Conquistador
3. Zenith bearing engraving of Pedro Álvarez Cabral's caravel

There are more. Any suggestions?

Imagine for a moment if a European country was invaded and its occupants at the time - maybe your ancestors - wiped out by venereal disease and state-sanctioned murder. Then, after a long interval, along comes a watch company commemorating the achievements of the invaders, only not the parts that mattered to you.

Watch companies don't care much for history. They're more focused on heritage. History is critical enquiry. Heritage is uncritical lionisation. It's why A. Lang und Söhne lavishes a cooing market with its own back story. It has less to say about the bit where its watches were passed around as gifts within the upper eschelons of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (a.k.a. N...A...Z...I Party).

If like me you come from a community that has experienced manmade famine and state-sanctioned genocide, you will be inclined to wonder how people can be so clueless, or parochial or both. I'm sure that these are innocent gaffs for the most part. If that is the case, I would still single out the outsized influence of an amoral and ahistorical marketing function.

There are exceptions. Longines has distanced itself from N...A...Z...I sympathiser Charles Lindbergh. Franck Muller has retired its Conquistador line. But for every baby step forward, there are cloddish reversals. One example would be Cuervo y Sobrinos and its Churchill watch. After all, the old racist and aggressive advocate of gassing Arabs bought a watch in Havana once.

There seem to be two alternatives. Either watch companies think a bit harder about the names they give these watches. Or watch companies should feel free to celebrate all forms of unrepaired historical violence. Only one of these alternatives seems to be a reasonable ask.

___

p.s. Someone reading this might be tempted to comment that these sentiments are 'woke.' I will accept usage of that term if you are an African-American person voicing objections to systematic violence against black people in America.
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Hmm... I think I'm pretty sympathetic to the plight of marginalized people, being part of some of those groups myself... but I also think there are battles worth fighting and this isn't one of them. If you're well off enough to afford a nice watch then there's more effective ways to use your energy to help the cause than picking which brand to consume.

But hey... you do you...
 

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I'm going to go for an IBTL here
 

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Hmm... I think I'm pretty sympathetic to the plight of marginalized people, being part of some of those groups myself... but I also think there are battles worth fighting and this isn't one of them.
^^ This for me.

One person's Great Leader is another person's villain, anyway.
 

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Agreed though this isn't limited to watch branding. A lot of companies carelessly or complicity make these sort of mistakes making references to people or events involved in historic and racial atrocities.

Already mentioned but I avoid Rado as well because of the Captain Cook reference. Flieger type watches are also glossed over but they do have an association with the **** Luftwaffe. There are some watches that is associated with the Vietnam war as if it wasn't filled with death and war crimes.

Outerwear Photograph Peaked cap Watch Military uniform


Watch Photograph White Black Style


Another unfortunate watch is Seiko's Age of Discovery that commemorates Christopher Columbus which are invasions rather than scientific exploration to some peoples.

Interesting topic worth exploring.

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Hmm... I think I'm pretty sympathetic to the plight of marginalized people, being part of some of those groups myself... but I also think there are battles worth fighting and this isn't one of them. If you're well off enough to afford a nice watch then there's more effective ways to use your energy to help the cause than picking which brand to consume.

But hey... you do you...
Why would you have to choose. You can do both. Talking about awareness of real history and real struggles is always enlightening.
 

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Why would you have to choose. You can do both. Talking about awareness of real history and real struggles is always enlightening.
Like I said, you do you. And good for you for being aware of history.

Just don't pretend you're helping right any wrongs by being picky with your luxury purchases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hmm... I think I'm pretty sympathetic to the plight of marginalized people, being part of some of those groups myself... but I also think there are battles worth fighting and this isn't one of them. If you're well off enough to afford a nice watch then there's more effective ways to use your energy to help the cause than picking which brand to consume.

But hey... you do you...
You're right of course. But there is also such thing as death by a thousand cuts. The stuff that happened in the past might have been explicit and extraordinarily violent, but it has not been redressed and is instead sustained today by amnesia, casual neglect and propaganda. Watch names are a little cut. It doesn't hurt. It's just idiotic.

I actually own one of the watches pictured above, have a different reference from a second, and have another from the third on my to-do list. They're all good brands that have much to commend them. Except when they muck things up like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Agreed though this isn't limited to watch branding. A lot of companies carelessly or complicity make these sort of mistakes making references to people or events involved in historic and racial atrocities.

Already mentioned but I avoid Rado as well because of the Captain Cook reference. Flieger type watches are also glossed over but they do have an association with the **** Luftwaffe. There are some watches that is associated with the Vietnam war as if it wasn't filled with death and war crimes.

View attachment 16141774

View attachment 16141776

Another unfortunate watch is Seiko's Age of Discovery that commemorates Christopher Columbus which are invasions rather than scientific exploration to some peoples.

Interesting topic worth exploring.

View attachment 16141762

Why would you have to choose. You can do both. Talking about awareness of real history and real struggles is always enlightening.
IWC made watches to both the Allies and the Axis. That's hedging your bets.
 

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If you take issue with the name of a bloody watch, you have bigger issues - probably mental - that need to be dealt with.

Same with statues, landmarks and street names.
Don’t like them? Don’t look at them.

If some of these people never did what they did, the “indigenous people” would not have houses with indoor plumbing, clothing or any other modern luxury, including watches.
If you want to go live in the middle of nowhere, that’s still an option for you to do.
 
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