When you’re a watch journalist working for a respected publication, you’ll receive several invitations for press trips throughout the year. Brands sure know how to get them excited, offering more champagne than water in some of the world’s most breathtaking locations with accommodations that rarely rate below five stars.
It sounds like heaven on earth, but I reject some because they don’t always serve a unique purpose. I got into the watch industry because I have a deep passion and fascination for watchmaking. Press trips are only really worthwhile when they give me a better understanding of specific topics and inspire content for at least some articles.
One of my favorite trips to be invited to is to see the makers. So much so that I usually make a few of them on my own accord (and on my own dime). Traveling to the makers brings our beloved watches to life.
In general, there are some things that almost all manufacturers have in common. Except for the finer technical details, casing watches, setting hands and manufacturing parts on a CNC machine are very similar in all these places. The exceptions ultimately make them worth visiting.
I got a great example last week as I enjoyed a fascinating demonstration of how they developed colored ceramics at the Hublot manufacture. Similarly, the production of Atmos watches can only be seen in person at Jaeger-LeCoultre preparation
This is interesting information for me to write articles about, but it also improves my understanding of watchmaking as a whole. It helps my personal development as a watch journalist because these bits of information tend to be useful in some way in the future.
As unfortunately it is impossible for the majority of watch collectors and enthusiasts to visit the manufacture, I feel that we as journalists are ambassadors for craftsmen and women. We have the privilege of telling the stories of how they develop and create our favorite watches, and that in itself is a five-star experience.