About The Open Caseback
Hi, this is Mike. I started The Open Caseback with a close buddy as an attempt to combine all the things I love most in one place: horology, critical theory, sociology, economics, and community. It’s also in many ways a response to the dominant forms of watch community culture, where dialogue tends to be very product-centric and image-heavy. Here, things go a little bit against the grain of both. This is unadulterated watch talk, online, in black and white text.
The watch complication of the 21st century hasn’t been invented yet
Quartz brought the industry’s 500-year-old raison d’être to its knees. Decades later, the industry is still grappling with what complication development in the 21st century means. Here, I want to think through how complications can evolve in the post-quartz era.
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We’re really not the target audience — reflections on watch collecting
It’s difficult to find a collector today who isn’t disenfranchised by social media hype, the secondary market bubble, and never-ending waitlists. The truth is, we feel the pang of reality because we’re really not the ideal consumer for the watch industry.
Time is Money — how watches became financial assets
Everyday consumers and seasoned collectors are now locked onto the probabilities a potential purchase decreases, holds, or gains value over time. Watches are now firmly thought of as a financial asset, but why?
Not all independents are created equal
Why do some independent brands fly journalists on private jets while others don’t? Why do some independents produce one-off watches for exhibition only while others don’t? It might seem like a ridiculous question, easily answered with the notion of subjective management style and approach.
Finding our critical voice on Instagram
Things are changing in the community: critical, investigative commentary and analysis are now growing on Instagram.
What would Steve Jobs do if he ran a Swiss watch company?
My speculative take on what one of the most formidable business leaders and visionaries in the 20th and 21st centuries would do if he took the reins of a Swiss watch brand.
Why are independent watchmakers so popular in Japan?
I was lucky enough to get in touch with Naoya Hida, Masahiro Kikuno, Svend Andersen and Pierre-Alexander Aeschlimann to discuss the topic in depth.
Is the secondary watch market a bubble?
There’s a binding connection between financialized watches and the secondary market “bubble”.
Are the problems in the watch industry by design?
Why aren’t brands listening or responding to the watch community? Is there a root cause to all of our gripes with the industry? The Luxury Strategy, gives us a hint.
Examining the Time-Only Hype
Time-only watches are no longer, in part, the result of limited budgets, but rather a specific choice made by many.
Are watches really art?
Whenever I hear someone say, “buy watches because they’re art,” it often makes me think that they don’t understand why people buy art. And by extension, they probably don’t understand why people buy watches.
Criticism is absent in the watch industry, but it shouldn’t be
How do we expect consumer and collector knowledge to grow when we struggle to find analytical content? Is the pinnacle of watch knowledge memorizing a bunch of reference numbers? I hope not.
Why watch brands and authorized dealers should be worried about the secondary market
Secondary market platforms like Chrono24 and WatchBox have positioned themselves to compete head-on with brands and AD’s, whether the latter believes it or not.