If watches were merely instruments for telling the time, the industry would have died out years ago.
They are, of course, so much more. They can represent and reflect personal style; they can symbolise status or intent; they can embody the pinnacle of technological and mechanical accomplishment; they can be works of art for your wrist.
They can be bought to congratulate achievement or reward success. They can be family heirlooms, uniquely personal gifts, or even part of your pension plan.
Perhaps most endearingly of all, they can tell stories. Or at least, their wearers can.
And that’s what this new editorial series - Telling Time - is all about.
For the first edition, we’re starting with our editorial director, Mark Hedley, who has been writing about watches for 15 years - but for the first time here, gets to talk about his own personal favourites and what they mean to him.
What’s your favourite watch that you own?
An IWC Portofino Automatic from 2009: it’s the stainless steel version, silver sunburst dial and gold hands.
It has a real timeless class to it – looks as good with black tie as with a denim shirt.
More than a decade on, it’s never gone wrong; the leather strap has aged beautifully; and the case’s mirror polishing hasn’t dulled a bit.
Who gave this watch to you – or did you buy it for yourself?
My wife gave it to me for our first wedding anniversary. She said it was a belated ‘engagement ring’.
As it happens, it cost almost the same amount as her ring, so a fair trade all in all!
Is there a story behind it?
She was pretty sneaky in how she went about choosing it.
A few months before our anniversary, she pretended that her colleague was interested in buying his first ‘serious watch’.
As she knew I wrote about watches for Square Mile, she asked me to do some research “for him”.
So I came up with a pretty thorough list with pros and cons for each watch. The IWC was at the top of it.
What’s on your wrist today?
I’m a big fan of the Tudor Black Bay; my daily beater is the Chronograph.
I’d love a Rolex Daytona one day - but I’m very happy with my 'Baytona'.
The one that really got me hooked on the brand, though, was the Bronze – launched at Baselworld in 2016.
I know it’s become a bit of a watch cliché, but I love the unique patina mine has gained over the years.
What watch do you have in your sights on next – and why?
I’m a huge fan of all the heritage re-editions being created at the moment.
For £2k, the Longines Heritage Military 1938 is a steal.
The Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition has to be high up the list.
And the Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph, too.
What’s your ‘grail’ watch – and why?
Well, I’ve been lusting over Patek Philippes for nearly 20 years now.
Last year, the REF.5172G-001 Chronograph won the Reader’s Choice at 2019 Square Mile Watch Awards.
That would certainly be an amazing place to start.
To keep this contemporary though, the most exciting launch this year for me has been the Audemars Piguet [Re]master01 Self Winding Chronograph.
I just love everything about it. One can always dream, right?