December 18th, 2012
04:02 PM GMT
Hong Kong (CNN) - My cousin Anson Chiou, who lives in Boston, has three passions: Movies, the New England Patriots and wristwatches. I saw him in the U.S. a few weeks ago for the Thanksgiving holiday and we got into a long conversation about two of those passions.
While watching Ben Affleck's new movie "Argo," he noticed something odd in a one-second scene. Ben Affleck's character, (pictured in the image above) was putting on a Rolex in his hotel room.
My cousin noticed the clasp on the Rolex was too modern for the movie’s 1979-1980 timeframe. "Ben Affleck is wearing a Rolex Submariner. It's been around since the early 50s and has had a few updates and upgrades. One of the major updates was on the clasp a few years ago. It's much more beefy looking - solid and modern versus the older thin tiny clasp," he said.
My cousin wasn’t the only one who noticed. Immediately after the movie's premiere, there was a whole thread on watch chat forums about this minor movie mistake. One watch aficionado wrote: "They show a close-up in one scene of the back of his wrist and it is clearly the new style glide lock clasp, brushed finish, so it is either the newer ceramic sub or DSSD … it is definitely not a vintage Rolex model associated with the time period of the movie." Another comment on the thread was more succinct: "My wife thinks you guys are nerds."
Watch aficionados notice everything. They keep track of how many times actor Daniel Craig wears an Omega watch in his James Bond movies. They will tell you that Arnold Schwarzenegger wore an Audemars Piguet in “Terminator 3.” And did you know Elvis Presley sported an Omega while Gandhi owned a Zenith pocket watch? Fascinated by this watch subculture, I reached out to watch expert Genki Sakamoto of Antiquorum, an auction house for luxury watches.
He said Swiss watches (the best of the best) saw a record year in 2011 with a 19% increase in exports. Asia was the main growth driver with Chinese buyers capturing 49% of that growth.
"Fashion and status are the reasons collectors are so passionate,” Sakamoto says. “Watch collectors love and enjoy the story behind every watch."
There is often a story behind a great watch. Tenzing Norgay wore the Rolex Explorer when he climbed Mount Everest. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore the Omega Speedmaster on his mission to the moon.
If you ask my cousin, he says most of watch geeks are men. Why are they so passionate? "Watches are an art form where guys get into the technology of the automatic watch - all those gears, wheels, levers and springs where you don't need a battery and the watch winds itself,” he says. “They are kind of cool living machines!"
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