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The charm and uselessness of mechanical watches

The charm and uselessness of mechanical watches

The 1920’s was the decade when people first began to turn from pocket watches to wrist watches as a carry-over trend from soldiers in WWI.  Watch makers were forced to innovate by developing smaller movements and new case designs with lugs and straps.  The Age of Art Deco was defined by such innovation – households became infatuated with mass produced automobiles, quick frozen fish, Band-Aids, sunglasses and even water-skis.  The confluence of emerging technologies with the easy transmission of ideas whetted the public appetite for new things that offered both utility and convenience.

BREMOIR watches are directly inspired by the iconic design of this period, but today, perhaps the most Art Deco watch of all would in fact be an Apple watch.  

Apple Watch

Just as it does now, its sheer functionality would have been appealing to a huge amount of shoppers whose willing consumerism was being targeted by corporations via mass advertising.

We are not so different one hundred years later.  Thanks to billions of dollars spent on clever advertising campaigns, a handful of corporations are omni-present in our daily lives.  They hope we will buy in to their never-ending cycle of product releases that they position as necessary to our basic well-being and even existence as humans in the 21st century.  Apple watches account for 60% of all global smartwatch revenue.  The ability to monitor your heartbeat, count steps & calories, send emails and take phone calls, is a technological marvel.  All these features, coupled with the very visible status of the Apple brand on your wrist, are proving irresistible to many people who value connectivity or maybe just an easy escape from the boredom thanks to an endless stream of new apps.

Apple Watch with Apps


So why are there so many small, independent watch brands thriving these days selling mechanical watches?  

Most of these simple, less accurate timekeeping devices don’t offer any of the same functionality, and even need to be actively wound to work!

Well, maybe it’s because the micro-engineering of a mechanical movement fascinates us because we know that it’s the result of hundreds of years of a technical innovation by men and women dedicated to a single craft. 

watch maker

As is the case with the BREMOIR - Lexington, these movements are often gorgeously finished and can be viewed through an exhibition caseback. 

Bremoir Swiss Automatic Movement

They power the watch with tiny gears and springs rather than through a complex series of coded 1’s and 0’s.  And there is something so satisfying about understanding the way a mechanical movement converts the potential energy stored in a main spring into kinetic energy that makes the hands go round and round.  

Main Spring of Movement


Just as importantly, the design of the dial and watch case help you stand out from the crowd and reflect your personal style.  A great watch has all the right proportions, balancing textures, finishes, fonts and everything in between to achieve a specific design aesthetic.  There is a watch out there for every taste and in some cases, for every occupation.

Bremoir dial

At BREMOIR, we’re inspired by a love for Art Deco architecture, and while many of our customers became a customer because they also shared this passion, still countless others simply appreciate the design of our watches regardless of what they’ve been inspired by.

What do apple watches really say about the person who wears them?  

That they have a bit of money?  Probably.  That they’re concerned or obsessed with their health?  Maybe.  Whatever the case, they are all likely represented somewhere in the Apple marketing department’s target audience segmentation, which is a little sad.  Whilst I type this blog from an Apple MacBook, you may think that I’m hypocritical, but a watch is not a computer.  A watch is the most important and valuable accessory a man can wear because it says something about its owner.  We like to think that we’re helping individualism flourish by offering an alternative to the homogenization of whole generations by big companies.

Bremoir - Havana watch


The Jazz Age zeitgeist is defined by more than the advent of easy, mass, functionality-driven consumerism.  It was also characterised by free thinking and individualism; a desire to shake off the shackles of the past and to probe new frontiers in music, film, fashion, architecture, transportation and social status.  These days perhaps self-winding, mechanical timepieces are a reaction to the frenetic pace of life.  On a deeper level, maybe they evoke a subconscious yearning for the past - a simpler time when it was easier to concentrate and focus because your wrist wasn’t buzzing with each new text, call or email that comes in.  When time passed just a little bit slower.  How can you really savour a moment after all, if you’re in a constant state of distraction?  Time is our most precious commodity, and anything that slows it down is good in our book.

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