From their first toy to the latest racing car, men need to understand the inner workings of something before they’ll fall for it. And this applies of watches too.
Getting a present for father’s day is a real puzzle. Of course, there is always the option of getting after-shave, a vintage wine or a polo shirt in a different colour to last year. But if you really want to make it special, warm his heart and give him something he genuinely likes, the range of possibilities is suddenly quite limited. The perfect solution, if the budget wasn’t also limited, would be a car or a motorbike, a great big toy with mechanical parts under the bonnet.
In fact, even as adults, men are still children at heart when it comes to their relationship with objects. Knee high to a grasshopper, they were already taking their toys apart to find out what they were made of inside. Then it was their trike, their bike, their scooter or their first motorbike - or even all four just a few years apart - that ended up being turned upside down to stand on the saddle and handlebars so that the owner could understand the system for transmitting movement from the wheel to the chain and cog.
After that they didn’t necessarily continue to get their hands dirty, because the mechanism in their first car was much more complicated. But a certain curiosity lingered on, and by extension, they continue to collect information on the origin, composition, build, characteristics and performance of any object that they buy … Up to the age of 77, and even beyond.
In terms of clothing, for example, retailers maintain that men aren’t particularly interested in or aware of fashion or trends. But sometimes all that’s needed is to steer the conversation towards the history of the brand, its traditions and its know-how, and you have their attention. After that, you can follow on with technical details and the originality and solidity of products to convince them.
And so this explains how male consumers become more attached to certain brands than women. And explains how those who can afford it may well fall for their first hand-made shirt and, as one fitting session leads to another, get used to dressing from head to toe on the basis of the recommendations of their tailor, who knows just which manufacturing secrets to whisper in their ear whilst taking measurements.
It is also because of patents, prowess and other such phenomena pushing back the limits of the impossible, that guys of all ages have developed a serious interest in high-tech toys such as computers, telephones and other personal assistants.
And it is because of its highly meticulous, complicated and high-performance character that many men develop a passionate interest in the inner workings of the watch. There is no apparent logic to all of the cogs and wheels, and yet at the same time, there is a certain mystery to it all, incomprehensible as it is to the naked eye. And that’s without mentioning Klokers watches which heckle and jeer at the sector’s standards with their dials that display the time where the hands would normally appear… Now here’s a gift that breaks away from the usual and is calibrated to appeal to men.
Text: Frédéric Martin-Bernard
©filrouge-automobile.fr, exhibition "Des jouets et des hommes"