Discover more from ScrewDownCrown
SDC Weekly GPHG banter; History of the Internet; Osama bin Laden SEAL Raid #7
Marine chronometers, Japanese folklore, Lionel Messi and some more auction fakery exposed by Perezcope!
You may have heard… some of the world's biggest films and TV shows have hit pause on production (Sag-Aftra strike). It seems the performing artists are worried about the use of their likeness (among other things) by AI. The thing is… what makes actors so great anyway? Their skill, beauty, or perhaps their ability to captivate an audience… I actually think AI will be able to do all that, and more.
Ōoka Tadasuke was a Japanese samurai in the service of the Tokugawa shogunate, and this figure took on a legendary status in a number of stories about his unorthodox and wise legal decisions, frequently used in rakugo (Japanese storytelling).
One of the cases was called “The Case of the Stolen Smell,” where he heard the case of a paranoid innkeeper who accused a poor student of literally stealing the fumes of his cooking by eating when the innkeeper was cooking, in order to flavour his dull food. The owner wanted the poor student to pay for the smells he was enjoying.
Maybe it sounds ridiculous to treat smells as property, but if you’ve seen the movie The Lorax, you will know of the world in which people were being charged for fresh air! The reason it seems ridiculous to treat smells as property, is simply because we can’t reasonably see an easy manner of enforcing this as being ‘property’.
What counts as property depends on what works to treat as property. And that not only can change, but has changed. Humans may always have treated small items carried on our person as property. But hunter gatherers didn't treat land, for example, as property in the way we do today.
What’s my point? Suppose the studios picked a random attractive person from an Abercrombie store, and offered to upload their ‘likeness’ into an AI-powered animation system, and have this ‘actor’ perform in a movie. We know Tom Cruise does his own stunts, but most others just use CGI… so they could take this random Abercrombie model, use AI to ‘perform’ an entire movie, and assuming its a great performance, this person becomes a superstar, right? Rinse, repeat.
We’re all in this mindset that Hollywood ‘needs stars’ - but I don’t think that’s true. This outcome probably won’t materialise because there are sufficient voices of influence to steer things away from that outcome - but I think studios and directors should think about the upside of being ‘freed’ from working with the egos of movie stars. Just make AI movies, and where possible, use perfectly tuned actors who aren’t even real people. It would be no different for a viewer, than watching some random hit Spanish TV series where you’ve never heard of the cast, but still enjoy the show!
Ok, that said, bringing it back to watches… What if watch brands started using virtual influencers? Imagine if LVMH could buy a digital version of Pharrell instead of hiring him? Or if Tudor could buy the virtual Beckham? It gives them the upside of a personal brand, but it becomes IP the company can trade. This is similar to how Spider Man is IP to Marvel. Maybe just a half-baked idea, but do share your thoughts if you have any.
New subscribers never fail to excite me; a warm welcome to you if this is your first edition! It is a pleasure to have you here, and I hope you enjoy it. You can find previous editions here.
Frankly, I feel dirty referencing this utter shitshow of an event, but for better or worse, it happens to be ‘the’ official shitshow of significance in our hobby, and it is therefore pointless trying to ignore it!
They recently shared the 2023 lineup of competing watches, and I figured I could have a little fun.
The Men’s category at GPHG is akin to the ‘best actor’ Oscar in movies, or the 100m men’s sprint final at the Olympics. I would say the above Chronomètre FB 3SPC would be an easy pick in an objective world. Unfortunately for this watch, it has not received even a fraction of the publicity which Simon Brette managed with his launch of this piece which is also competing in the same category:
Objectively speaking, this is a truly novel dial and design aesthetic… Simon talks about the highly skilled artisans who were involved in the creation of this watch - but I don’t think anyone would have cared if the watch didn’t look this good. So, my prediction is that the GPHG jury will end up debating between these two for the big win.
Honourable mention, for this Dark horse:
I made my views on this watch clear in this old post:
Aside from that, despite the Rexhepi name, this watch has no chance of winning because of the stiff competition. Had he waited a year, launched the watch with some fanfare and publicity (just like Simon Brette) … perhaps he would have had a shot at the win. That is of course, unless he has friends in high places… in which case - he could still win. After all, this GPHG game is pay to play! There, I said it.
On that topic, here’s another wild entry:
Get this: The above LV watch has been entered under the ICONIC category. Was that a joke, perhaps? I already struggle with people calling things iconic - at the very least, iconic objects are instantly recongnisable and have stood some test of time insofar as being relevant within its ‘field' of influence’… this watch ticks neither of those boxes. Arguably, the GPHG having a category named “ICONIC” is idiotic, since it’s an award for watches launched in the last year… so perhaps LV isn’t entirely to blame.
Despite that… here’s my wild take: I would bet that this watch will win this category. Why? Because LVMH will have paid enough people directly and/or indirectly, to ensure that this watch wins. Simple as that. That win, will be iconic - that is for damn sure.
The History Of The Internet
This video was surprising and enlightening … just how fast things have moved over the last 30 years. Google’s explosion is incredible, and I also hadn’t realised how long Yahoo! was actually a big player...
Links of interest
🐕 You will enjoy this fascinating story about a Navy SEAL, his dog Cairo, and the Rolex (pictured above) which accompanied the officer on Operation Neptune Spear, the raid which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden!
🐦 In honour of
🧞♂️ AWatchCritic shared this interesting video on Instagram about The longitude problem, and how it was solved by John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer. Many rabbit holes to dive into on this subject, such as the longitude prize!
⚽ Interesting article about Lionel Messi… “His number 1 passion is money. Not far behind is football. Everything he does is geared towards money.”
🥬 Ever seen a kimchi factory?
If you haven’t already seen it, I shared a post on Monday:
Version without a paywall will be available to free subscribers next Monday, so stay tuned for that.
Testing out this new system of sharing paywalled posts, and then having the paywall removed after a week or two… this hopefully encourages folks to sign up as a free subscriber instead of just reading the posts for free without signing up. I suppose, as a reader of this chronicle, you’re most likely already signed up so this doesn’t affect you; just sharing the thought process for your information! Open to other ideas if you have them.
If you don’t feel like waiting until Monday, and aren’t a paid subscriber, feel free to email me. I have said before, and will remind you again: I will give free access to those who are unwilling or unable to pay for one - all you have to do is ask… yes, it’s a rigged system. 🤪
Bonus link: Perezcope strikes again
I had finished off this edition of SDC, and then opened Instagram to find that Jose had dropped another story on auction house fakery… following that,decided to egg me on and test whether watch media was actually willing to cover this sort of thing - if you’re reading this on Wednesday 26th July 2023 at the time of this going live, my story on Instagram will still be available. I will share another update next week, if anything does come of it.