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SDC Weekly 16; More Blancpain; How to Say No; Deep dive into Big Ben
More Blancpain comedy, The Rule of Trees debunked, Burnout test and a History of Newsletters.
👋 Hello again,
Have you ever wondered if there’s a correct way to say “no”? Do you know that Big Ben is not the name of the famous clock tower in London? Find out more in today’s edition.
Some of you may know I am South African. Unfortunately South Africa got smacked down by Ireland in the Rugby World Cup last weekend; While I don’t particularly care for now, I am excited by the prospect of smacking down the French in the quarter finals.
Welcome to the new subs! You will find the older editions of SDC Weekly here. A special shout out to one of my oldest friends who, despite not being a serious watch collector and owning a Hublot, has become a subscriber. It is an honour to be able to land in your inbox every week. One love bru!
I was surprised with how few people reacted to last week’s talk of subscriptions in the watch world. Was this just such a daft idea that nobody believed it was possible? I’m not so sure.
Let’s get on with it.
Blancpain: we can’t get enough
No major watch news comes to mind since the last edition, except for the fact that Blancpain dropped a new Fifty Fathoms watch. This wouldn’t ordinarily be newsworthy I concede, but this post on Instagram made the launch more memorable for me, because it summed up the watch perfectly - at a glance, you can barely distinguish between the $400 Swatch version, and the new one which costs $32,000!
This isn’t a bad thing, per se - anyone buying this limited edition will probably not care and enjoy it despite the similarities… I just found it amusing, and just as most watch collectors didn’t give much of a f*ck about new Blancpain releases a few months ago.
If you fancy a bit more Blancpain drama, Jose Pereztroika posted another entertaining scoop on the history of Blancpain and their allegedly false claims about being the first dive watch:
The false narrative pushed by Blancpain since 2002 that the Fifty Fathoms was launched in 1953, and since 2007, was the very first modern dive watch is easily debunked for people who appreciate facts over what ambitious brands and hired “scholars” have to say.
Worth noting, a number of people with a better understanding of patent law than I, have made counterclaims on Jose’s Instagram post which imply the evidence presented in the post is less conclusive than the ‘water tight’ conclusion might suggest1. Whether it is true or not, Rolex as a brand is so far away from being comparable to Blancpain, that I don’t think it really matters. It’s still a fun read, as Jose is so condescending (about the people leading the brand) in his writing, makes me smile every time! Here’s a link to his post once again - originally had “Thrifty Fathoms” in the title but might have since been edited lol!
Your thoughts? Go!
How to say “no”
If you’ve been collecting watches with more than just a passing interest, you will have faced a purchase decision which may have felt somewhat reluctant. Perhaps you felt reluctant to say “no” for fear of ruining a relationship or potentially nuking future opportunities to buy from the same brand or seller. This is of course irrational, but tends to define plenty of situations which collectors find themselves in. This research paper seems to have some relevant wisdom on the subject.
The paper is focused on how we become better at getting other people to accept when we say “no” in an everyday context.
The paper has three main takeaways;
The way you frame your refusal can influence how likely people are to accept it, especially without further argument - specific mention of “I can’t” versus “I don’t” is addressed.
Saying “I don’t” is generally more persuasive than saying “I can’t” (e.g., “I don’t wear chronographs” is more likely to be accepted by someone else than “I can’t wear chronographs”).
“I don’t” suggests stronger conviction, by signalling that the refusal relates to your (relatively permanent) identity, whereas “I can’t” suggests that your refusal is driven by more temporary considerations.
If you think about it, such linguistic framing would also be useful for improving our own self-talk. You could deny yourself a purchase by saying “I can’t buy this Tudor because I set a goal to start saving up for a Rolex” … but you would probably be less susceptible to temptation or weakness if you said “I don’t self-sabotage or lose sight of my goals”.
Don’t lose sight of the goal - it is not about the language we use (“I don’t” vs. “I can’t”) - it is about conveying a strong degree of conviction (by tying our refusal to our identity, or in some other way).
Remember, “no” is a complete sentence. Sure, nowadays this seems unintuitive, particularly if you’re used to being polite. The idea of simply refusing something - without explaining why - seems harsh, despite the fact that you typically don’t owe anyone an explanation and they likely will not benefit from receiving one.
For instance, you might have told someone you “can’t” buy a watch because you can’t afford it … only to hear them agree to hold it for you, for another month! This makes it even harder to say no again, because they have now graciously ‘done you a favour’ by agreeing to not sell it while waiting for you to come up with the money. All along, it would have been better for everyone to you to have simply said: “I don‘t want to buy it”!
📌 Links of interest
🕰️ Ever wondered what’s inside the Elizabeth Tower? Or how it works? Or what the hell “Big Ben” is? This video is 14 minutes long, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. In particular, it shares visualisations from within the clock tower, explaining how it works, how it produces the sound of Westminster chimes, and reveals which part of this clock is still manually wound!
📱 JerryRigEverything tears down the newest iPhone in this video and follows it up with another equally entertaining video which gets to the bottom of just how much titanium is in the new iPhone. I already have the phone, but if you’re still on the fence, these QC issues might encourage you to wait a little longer before buying one.
🤩 If you’re into vintage Rolex deep-dives, you might enjoy this Collector's Guide to the Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675 in Steel.
☕ Starbucks offers 383 billion possibilities of customisation just for its latte!
🇬🇧 Age, not class, is now the biggest demographic divide in British politics.
🚗 Tesla is trying to 3D print its car bodies.
🌳 Apparently, Da Vinci’s “rule of trees” was wrong - according to scientists from Bangor University in the U.K. and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
💀 Burnout is on the rise in modern society due to increasing workloads, longer work hours, lack of sleep, and pressure to balance work, family and a social life. More and more workers are taking time off on stress leave...and you don't want to be next! Find out whether you are at risk with this burnout test.
If you haven’t already seen it, I shared a new post last Friday:
The post discusses Social Comparison Orientation, introduces the concept of Envy, and for the most part explores Envy from an evolutionary, societal and cultural perspective.
It’s paywalled, but there is a free preview to get you started, and it will be sent to free subscribers via email - so if you haven’t already, go ahead and subscribe now :)
Until next time!
Bonus link: The history of newsletters
…and what they reveal about their own materiality.
Pretty fascinating post; Here’s a clipping to whet your appetite:
…the biggest obstacle to the supply of news was the suspicion of plague and the fear of contagion. Letters and newsletters reached their destinations with more difficulty during the epidemics than in wartime, because couriers coming from plague-infested places were forbidden to enter into the safe cities or to pass through some regions. The newsletters were believed to be vectors of infection just like any other physical object and rules were introduced to reduce the contagion caused by them.
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Yes, pun most definitely intended. Thanks for asking.