Apologies beforehand to those I will surely offend by writing this.
The short answer is a definite yes but not the way it is defined in the dictionary. For our purposes we will define a watch snob as a Patek owner and the Cambridge Dictionary defines a snob as “a person who respects and likes only people who are of a high social class, and/or a person who has extremely high standards who is not satisfied by the things that ordinary people like.” While this definition describes a person who dissociates with people of lower status or wealth and wants nothing to do with them, I dearly want my non-Patek watch friends to become a watch snob or Patek owner like myself.
It’s not that I feel like I am of higher standing, like the definition suggests, than my non-Patek friends, it’s just that I feel the need to share the joy of owning one with them. And until one of them obtains one, they will never be able to share the common satisfaction and pure joy of owning one. So in that way, owning a Patek has transformed me into a watch snob in that one can only converse about Pateks with Patek owners. Ownership is exclusive but it also makes conversation exclusive, very exclusive. I have one watch friend who owns two Pateks, the 5960p and the 5227g, and he can definitely relate to the pride of owning a Patek. He purchased them long before me and had always encouraged me to purchase one, but I was too imbibed in buying all things Rolex and I simply couldn’t afford it back then. I think though, that my one Patek friend has since lost interest in the watch game and he is way past the honeymoon phase so he doesn’t currently share my new enthusiasm for the brand.
My other watch friends however, all own quite formidable and highly sought after pieces, predominantly Rolexes. I still converse frequently to them about the current state of the market and new happenings from Rolex (which is not much these days), but I always mention Patek Philippe, particularly my Aquanaut. I am always trying to convince them to purchase any Patek for themselves so they can experience the craftsmanship, elegance and overall wear but they always reply that they are too expensive or hard to obtain or too delicate etc… These are the very things I reckoned when my Patek friend tried to convince me way back. I usually tell my Rolex friends that if they sold some of their Rolexes including the Hulk, the stainless Daytona, the Submariner or Pepsi, they too could afford a Patek. But they are still very much interested in what Rolex will produce next, whether the new models will have the new movement and which models will be discontinued. I am somewhat curious about those issues but frankly couldn’t care less. The Rolex brand is quite predictable in that they will produce new models with small variations on the old model. Patek however, always produces entirely brand new models and like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.
If a watch snob only wants to talk about their brand and their model to their friends and if a watch snob wants them to buy into that brand so they can have something interesting to talk about then yes, I am definitely a watch snob. If a watch snob feels elevated by a certain brand, but not other brands then yes I do feel like a watch snob. I realize that not everyone can afford a Patek and even if they could, they may not be able to obtain a desirable model. I have mentioned many times before that I am very lucky to have obtained a Patek but that won’t stop me from gushing about it.
It is frustrating owning a Patek Philippe. They are produced very rarely, leading to rare ownership and rarer still is the amount of available information about them. The only reliable and interesting information can only be obtained by other owners but those owners willing to divulge are also rare and the type of clientele that own Pateks, similar to their watches, are reclusive, introverted and understated. Rolex types are more brash, status oriented and tending more towards celebrity. To be a Patek owner can be lonely and no one really knows how it feels and this is demonstrated by the very few websites dedicated to the brand. But perhaps by design, this is the way Patek intended, to not advertise, not sponsor and not splash their name across the globe. In that way, Patek owners are not snobs because no one really knows who they are and they don’t really like to advertise their identities. But I can assure you that Patek owners dearly love their timepieces and they will never hide this open book fact.
Perhaps snobbery is not the right word to describe this state of mind. It is more like an understanding of a state of joy and wonder. It is something I wish to impart to my friends and to have them share the same feedback. I never felt this snobbery with Rolex but I do with Patek. But hey, they own Rolexes and in this world that’s not too bad of an achievement, so after all, we are all watch snobs but just on different levels.