Some Musings on the Future Desirability of Mechanical Timepieces
My dad collected grandfather clocks. He moved to England in the early 1960s and over the next fifteen years or so amassed a collection of forty-something fully operational and striking grandfather clocks. Had he sold them when he retired to The States in the early 1990s, he would have turned a nice profit on his investment. Alas, he did not, and when he died last year and my mother downsized to a condo, we ended up sending thirty of them to auction. They yielded pennies on my dad’s estimates and I’m glad he was not there to see it. The reason is simple, the generation who love grandfather clocks is my dad’s and their numbers fall by the day. As demand decreases so does price and today many view grandfather clocks as just another form of unwanted brown furniture.
And so this brings me to mechanical timepieces. I’m guessing here, but I would wager that most folks who post on this site belong to the Baby Boomer or Gen X generations. In other words, most of us here were born before 1979. We are unique in that we are the last generations of Digital Immigrants. That is, we remember a time before email, text, the internet, social media, iPhones, 24/7 connectivity and technological advances such as electric cars. We will always have a special place in our hearts for analog and mechanical devices as they harken to our youth. But what of the generations who follow us? The Millennials (Gen Y) and Gen Z are Digital Natives and have never known a world without the advanced technology of the past few decades. Will someone who is born today and grows up entirely in a family with electric and/or self-driving cars ever appreciate or want to own a vehicle with a V12 combustion engine? Maybe I’m wrong and maybe today’s boys will grow up to be adult men who love their mechanical baubles every bit as much as we do. But I’m cautious as I believe every technology has its time. And so it makes me wonder what the world’s general interest in mechanical timepieces will be thirty years from now? Will it still be a passion shared by many or are mechanical timepieces destined to go the way of grandfather clocks and die a slow and silent death as those who truly love them pass on and are not replaced by those who follow? Only time will tell.
This message has been edited by ChristianDK on 2019-11-15 00:24:58