Why Are Watches Increasingly Complicated?

Its 20 different complications, divided on two dial faces, include grande and petite sonnerie, a minute-repeater and an instantaneous perpetual calendar.

“I am not technical. I read what they say about the watch, and I recognize that it is fantastic and what it can do — but I am not a watchmaker — I bought all my watches with my feeling and my passion, and with help from experts,” said Mr. Getreide, renowned for his approximately 600-piece OAK watch collection. (OAK stands for “one of a kind,” and many of his pieces were shown at a Design Museum exhibition in London in 2022.)

Most of the collection consists of rare and understated pieces, both vintage and modern. But now, after acquiring the Grandmaster Chime this year, Mr. Getreide has entered much more complicated territory. “I will wear it if I want to show off and make some people jealous, people I don’t like,” he said jokingly during a video call, adding that other passions, including for his dogs, soccer games and his family, are more important to him than watches.

“For my watch collection, I rely on the experts to explain to me the particularity, but most of the time it goes into one ear and out of the other,” he said. “But I just know when I want to have a watch.”

To the Swiss psychoanalyst and historian of ideas Dr. Daniel Strassberg, the author of the book “Spektakuläre Maschinen” (“Spectacular Machines,” published in 2022), watches and clocks go beyond all that.

“The mechanical clock was one of the most important machines ever designed; it shaped a whole world of thinking,” he said during an interview at his Zurich practice. “There is something special with a watch, which is different from a car or a jewel or something.

“The watch has a very old mythological, or even theological, meaning, as the clocks made us independent from God and nature, since the clock produces the time it measures, independent of the time that God created. Since the 17th century, we have the feeling that we are the masters of nature, and I think that there is no stronger symbol for that than the watch.”

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